No matter how you spend your day, chances are you probably hit a wall at some point in the afternoon. Whether you’re hunched over your desk trying to plow through busywork, at home contemplating the giant pile of laundry that’s been staring you down for days, or at school struggling to concentrate while your professor drones on, you might find yourself wishing you could take a nap instead. But the day’s not even close to done and you have to make it through! Creating an energy ritual is the perfect way to schedule a few quick minutes of “me time” that will allow you to own the rest of the day.
The afternoon slump is a very real thing, and scientists think they’ve uncovered a biological reason why it happens. Apparently, our brains are wired to stop seeking out rewards like food, learning new things, and overcoming challenges around midday. When we’re less interested in rewarding ourselves, we may feel tired, unmotivated, and generally out of it. Hence, the afternoon slump.
But while the afternoon slump is a nearly universal experience, it’s not insurmountable. There are things you can do to perk yourself up at midday, allowing you to be productive instead of pooped out. Instead of zoning out at your desk, try incorporating some of these steps into your routine to create an afternoon energy ritual.
Walk It Off
Moving your body is one of the best things you can do to shake off the afternoon slump and give yourself a boost. And you don’t need to put in a lot of time (or get too sweaty) to reap the energizing benefits of exercise. Simply walking around for 10 minutes or climbing a few flights of stairs has been shown to be even more effective than a 50 mg caffeine tablet for bumping up energy levels.
When you feel that post-lunch fog descending on your brain, get up and go for a walk to the cafeteria or around the block. By the time you get back, you’ll be more alert and ready to tackle the tasks ahead of you.
Get Some Air
Have you heard about forest bathing? Originated in Japan, this practice of spending time soaking up the splendor of nature is gaining popularity as people catch on to the many ways it can improve physical and mental health. Science suggests forest bathing can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure while amping up energy and improving mood.
Unless you’re lucky enough to work or live in the woods, you probably won’t be able to spend your afternoon forest bathing in the literal sense. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the power of nature to get more out of your energy ritual. A recent study found that spending as little as 20 minutes at an urban park can brighten your day — even if you do nothing more than sit on a bench and enjoy the view.
Take a break to seek out some green space, and you’ll return to work feeling cheerful, rejuvenated, and ready to take on your to-do list.
Have a (Healthy) Snack
When the afternoon slump strikes, you may be tempted to hit the vending machine, swipe a donut from the break room, or slog to the coffee shop for a sugary drink. Why do so many of us crave junk food at this time of day? It could be low blood sugar, not enough sleep, an inadequate lunch, or all of the above. It could also be a habit, something you look forward to doing every day.
Except you’re not doing yourself any favors when you indulge this craving. Super sweet, heavily refined snacks might give you a lift for a brief period of time — until you crash and end up feeling way worse than you did before.
Keeping healthy snacks close at hand is a great way to avoid making a choice you’ll regret later. If you tend to crave salty, crunchy things, stash some almonds in your desk drawer. They’re packed with fiber to fill you up and protein to power you through the day. If you have a sweet tooth, opt for a square of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate.
Need an afternoon cup of coffee to function? Instead of buying an overpriced calorie bomb from the cafe down the street, brew yourself a cup of Wildcrafter’s Inner Warrior infused coffee. This energetic blend of herbs (plus a hit of caffeine) uses the best of nature to give you a boost and enhance your afternoon ritual. Herbs featured in Inner Warrior include:
- Rhodiola, which is widely used to combat low energy and enhance both physical and mental performance*
- Lion’s Mane mushroom, which can help support memory and concentration, along with cognitive function and the nervous system*
- Maca root, which can help give your endurance and stamina a boost while defending against stress and supporting your mood*
Energize with Essential Oils
When you only have a minute but you absolutely won’t make it through the day without some sort of pick-me-up, essential oils are your best friends. They’re the perfect addition to your energy ritual because they invigorate your senses through smell. A tiny bottle of oil stored in your purse or pocket can pack a big punch when you choose one of these stimulating scents:
This citrus oil is both calming and uplifting, replacing tension with relaxation and joy.*
Another member of the citrus family, grapefruit oil is beloved for its ability to lift the spirits.* It can also purify the air, so it’s a great choice for diffusing.
Made from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, neroli may promote happiness and mental clarity.
A whiff of this wonderfully bracing oil will instantly refresh you!
This herbaceous oil is associated with improved memory, so a sniff or two may help your recall.*
See Ya, Slump!
Whether you add a stroll around the block to your post-lunch routine, spend a few minutes at the park instead of on social media, replace your midday beverage of choice with a cup of Inner Warrior, or treat yourself to some invigorating essential oils, an energy ritual may be just what you need to beat the afternoon slump once and for all. Before you know it, you’ll be tackling the daily grind with gusto.
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