The hour between 3pm and 4pm has to be the low point of most working days. You can feel your blood sugar plummeting by the second and when you look around there’s an unmistakable hollowness in the eyes of all your colleagues, too. You reach for the kettle and raid the office bikkies you had sworn off of, vowing tonight will be an early one. If you make it to then.
The slump happens to the best of us. Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massanet once admitted that she used to crawl under her desk and nap every afternoon when she was a receptionist just starting out.
Some super-enlightened offices like Uber HQ and Ben & Jerry’s have rest rooms where workers can retreat for a quick recharge or full-on nap, but these are few and far between. So what’s a gal to do to avoid nodding off at her desk?
- Drink water- Hydration is key. Always keep a bottle or glass of water close to hand and sip away during the course of the day. Your system needs it to function optimally at all hours of the day; without it, you can’t help but feel tired. The National Academy of Science (US) recommends 2.7 litres a day for women and too few of us manage this. Drinking water can be more beneficial than the caffeinated ( and possibly sugar-laden) beverage you gravitate towards during slumps.
- Avoid heavy lunches (and even that one glass of wine)- They literally weigh you down as your body’s limited resources struggle to digest a big feed rather than being deployed on the tasks at hand. Instead, eat little amounts often throughout the day.
- Move around- go for a walk at lunch to get the heart rate up and when you feel your energy flagging, stand up and stretch. This is a good time for a spot of office yoga- a quick downward dog can stand in for a trot up the stairs or a quick walk around the block, but any are excellent for lifting you out of the doldrums.
- Get some fresh air- Step outside and breathe in real, actual air. At the least, open a window and let the world in. Most offices are pretty hermetically sealed and their atmosphere can be downright fuggy by afternoon- all those bodies in an enclosed space sharing the same air is far from ideal.
- Forward plan- Leave your easiest tasks to do during this hour when you’re not at your intellectual best. You’ll still get things done that need doing but your head won’t be melted. Likewise, don’t schedule any tough meetings for this time block.
- Play music- pop on your earphones for a spell because music stimulates dopamine production, which not only makes you feel better but also can make you more productive.
- Move to a country that believes in siestas.
Photo credit: Stacey Rozells, Unsplash