Integrative Nutrition Blog

Have a Better Day Series: 5 Quick Ways to Rev Up Your Afternoon Energy

February 25, 2016

Image via Shutterstock

Last week we kicked off a new series dedicated to helping you have a better, more productive, and healthy day. You can check out a simpler approach to your morning routine to start the day off right, and read on for 5 ways to boost your energy in the afternoon. Tune in Thursday’s for the latest tips!

Afternoons are a classic time of day for our minds to start getting fuzzy, our bodies to begin drooping, and our energy levels to plummet. But this doesn’t have to be your afternoon destiny!

With a few minor additions to your afternoon you can balance your day and avoid the slumps that leave you drained and unproductive.

Here are 5 ways to quickly lift your energy as soon as you feel it dropping after lunch:

1. Have a nutrient-rich snack.
Low blood sugar is one of the most common reasons for low energy in the afternoon, so be prepared with a hearty snack at around 3pm every day. The key word here is “hearty” since a simple piece of fruit or toast is not going to cut it. Make sure that your snack has some protein or healthy fat to give you lasting energy. Things like chia pudding, nut butter, an avocado, leftovers from lunch or last night’s dinner, baked or raw seeds, anything with full fat coconut, beans, cheese if you’re ok with dairy, and whatever else you can feel satiated with are all good options. Satisfy your need for nutrition and just watch how quickly you’ll perk right back up. Check out IIN’s recipe blog for more ideas!

2. Take a walk outside.
Even if the weather is cold or otherwise unappealing, getting yourself outside for a walk around the block – especially if there is some access to nature – will do wonders to energize your body and spirit. Take it a step further by turning that walk into a jog for a quick jolt of physical activity, or slow it down for a more mindful approach to clear your head and practice some deep breathing. Either way, the natural elements will invigorate you!

3. Do a headstand or handstand.
Being upside down, or even attempting to be upside down in whatever capacity you are physically able is a very effective way to quickly improve your energy. Reversing your flow of gravity increases the amount of nutrients and oxygen flowing to your brain, provides fresh blood and lymph to your glands and organs, and improves circulation. If you can’t do a headstand or handstand, see how you feel by simply folding your upper body over your legs for a few minutes, or lifting your legs up one at a time while tilting your upper body. The point is to elevate your lower half as much as you can. Check out more fitness tips on IIN’s Pinterest page and experiment with finding your favorite activity.

4. Shake it up.
You may think this is a little strange, and you are very likely to feel funny while doing this, but give it a try because it really works! Here’s what you do: stand in place with your feet hip’s-distance apart, and start to shake in place. Begin with your legs, simply bouncing without your feet leaving the floor, then start to incorporate your whole body. Shake your arms and hands and gradually raise those shaking arms until you are shaking in place with your arms completely over your head. If you work in an office and feel shy, you can easily do this in a private space like a hallway or bathroom. Aim to do it for at least 5 ongoing minutes. This is a Qi Gong warmup exercise that livens up the whole body and stimulates lymph and hormone circulation, contributing to greater energy, health, and longevity.

5. Laugh.
Laughter really is medicine for so many reasons. It decreases stress hormones, triggers endorphins, enhances the body’s ability to fight off disease, and most importantly makes you feel happy. Even if you don’t feel like you’re in a great mood to begin with, seek out things that are likely to make you laugh, such as funny videos online, a quick conversation with a friend or coworker, or looking at old photos from your last family vacation. A quick laugh AND a hearty snack? Now there’s your recipe for a happy, healthy, and productive afternoon!

How do you keep your spirits high in the middle of the day? Let’s keep this list going and share in the comments below!

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