Are you tired of having a mid-afternoon slump every day? Have you tried bulletproof coffee? How about an energy drink and you still feel ready for a nap? I hear you. I’ve always been someone who struggles with fatigue, even though I exercise regularly and get decent sleep most nights. As a busy mom who run two businesses from home and is the one juggling the house, the kids and well the circus, it’s a rare day that I don’t get hit by the mid-afternoon slump.
Over the years, I’ve learned to rise from scarcely surviving to alive and kicking and today I am sharing with some tips with you to help you start thriving again!
It is important to spend a week or two just paying attention. I recommend finding a notepad and just jotting down the level of craziness in your day and your level of energy at the time of day you feel most exhausted.
Ex: Mon. Craziness: 7 Energy at 1pm: 3
Tues. Craziness: 4 Energy at 1pm: 6
Wed. Craziness: 8 Energy at 1pm: 4
If you do this over a month you can quickly spot days of the week that you are busiest and most exhausted and which days, you tend to be less stressed with more energy. This will also help you see if there are any underlying causes to your low energy levels.
You also want to pay attention to your sleep quality (quantity doesn’t matter as much as quality), to your activity levels (are you getting up and moving) and your nutritional habits.
If you are super exhausted on an insanely busy day but you slept like crud and skipped breakfast…well, obviously that afternoon slump is going to smack you hard.
However, if you are exercising regularly, eating fairly well and every few hours and the say is average in terms of stressful – your energy levels should be manageable mid-afternoon.
Step One is to simply observe yourself, your patterns and monitor the actual craziness levels in your life.
That stands for Sleep, Eat and Exercise. These are your three, natural refueling and revitalizing systems for your body. If you place these three as higher up on your values and priority lists, you should see the degree of your afternoon slump improve from “Awful – can’t keep eyes open” to “I’m taking a 15-minute break to eat a snack, take a walk, get fresh air or sit and put my feet up – and then I’m good.”
The reasons for observing yourself goes beyond just seeing where the real culprits lie, it plays an important role in preventative care. If you know every Wed. is a bonkers kind of day where you are going 100mph, then you can plan ahead for a calmer Tues. On Tuesdays, you can get a moderate workout it, eat bigger meals, drink your H2O, work in 30 minutes of peace and quiet and even go to bed early.
#3 Adjust Your Caffeine Intake
I’m an oddball, caffeine tends to not work so well with my body. In fact, I cut pop out of my diet all together for like 3 years because it got to the point where the caffeine had zero effect and the sugar made me feel sick. (Funny thing is I never really missed it either.)
Then I became a Mom and had a baby who never slept (like ever), so I started drinking coffee. When I started my businesses, I was then not only waking up really early but staying up later. One cup of coffee became two cups of coffee and then the 3rd cup of caffeine never made any difference.
I started replacing my coffee habits with slightly better ones. I now start my morning with a cup of tea, if that doesn’t wake me up I have a small cup of coffee. If I know I have a big deadline coming up and I’m going to be up late for a week, I’ll allow myself to double up the coffee that week, then I cut back again.
If you experience harsh afternoon crashes, try adjusting how much caffeine you have during the day, what kind of caffeine it is, and even change the time of day you drink it. (Pay attention to how much sugar is in it too.)
I’ve found having a cup of coffee around 11am will result in such bad afternoon crashes that I’d have to take a 30-min. nap! Yeah, I stopped that really quick! I also know that if I’m going to have a late night, it will require caffeine and around 7pm, and believe it or not, I can fall asleep quickly when I do go to bed.
Also, pay attention to what you are eating and when, in comparison to your caffeine intake. While I enjoy a nice salad for lunch, it doesn’t fill me and I will be super hungry and low on energy for my 2pm workout.
#4 Get Up & Move
This is where I admit that I am a certified fitness instructor, coach and lifelong athlete. I love moving my body. (I also love sitting as still as possible under cozy blankets and at my desk writing pages all day.)
Being tired (and crabby) is no excuse for not getting up and getting moving! There are two kinds of tired. The first is you are just tired, you’ve been busy, stressed and not caring for yourself as well as you should. The second kind of tired is when you are completely wiped out, usually when you know your body is fighting something off and you are just done.
With the first kind of tired, one of the best things you can do is to get up and get moving! This doesn’t mean go run 10 miles. Even a nice, relaxing walk for 20 minutes in fresh air will help your body systems start circulating and moving better. You could also stretch, do some yoga or at home exercises. You don’t have to break a sweat, just get your body going.
Now if you are ready to crawl into bed and not get out for 3 days tired, you need to listen to your body. Extra sleep, extra water and vitamin C, some fruits and veggies, soup, a relaxing bath…. this is what your body is needing. (If your extreme fatigue persists without actually turning into a cold/flu, see your physician for possible underlying conditions.)
Often our afternoon slump is the direct result of either being on our feet all day without ever sitting down, or from sitting down all day and not ever getting up and moving.
#5 Rev Up Your Music
When I say turn on some of your favorite tunes, I mean get up, start moving and even start singing! You can’t stay grumpy and low on energy when you are rocking to your favorite songs.
Create a playlist just for your “I need a nap” hour and make sure the music is fast paced, upbeat and that it will lift you up and leaving you feeling inspired and like you can kick some arse.
Just let yourself take nap! Most of us are cutting ourselves short on sleep. Women tend to put their self-care on the back burner and tend to their needs last. This totally drains the fuel tank. Set the timer on your phone for 30-45 minutes, put your feet up, turn everything else off and relax. (Improve your self-love and self-care in our Learning to Love Me series.)
Bonus Tip #2
One of the things I do is save my favorite activity of the day for the time of day when I am most tired. The reason for this is I am most motivated and looking forward to it, and this is a natural pick me up. You can also use your slump hour for looking over your goals, seeing how much progress you’ve been making and writing affirmations to establish healthier beliefs and thinking patterns.
One of the biggest causes for Women having an afternoon slump is stress!
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