Valérie Fernandez

By Valérie Fernandez

September 9, 2016


What Can You Do to Get Over a Mid-Afternoon Slump at Work?

Article revised on 9 June 2017

Does your team’s energy level plummet in the middle of the afternoon? Wondering what you can do to bring it back up again?

First of all, it’s important to note that it is completely normal for us to feel tired around midday. Our body’s internal clock is programmed to send us a signal to rest every 12 hours or so.

The first one occurs during the night (isn’t that a good thing!).

The second generally occurs sometime between 1 and 3 p.m. Interestingly enough, most people are busy digesting their lunch at around that time, which certainly takes a toll on energy.

Fortunately, there are a number of strategies we can use to reduce the dip in productivity.

Here are 5 effective tactics you and your colleagues can apply to ensure your team performs well throughout the day.

1. Take 10 minutes

Encourage your team members to be active during their afternoon break. Just a 10-minute walk or a few stretches will provide a quick boost of energy, raise your body temperature and stimulate metabolism.

A workout at lunchtime can also overcome the midday energy dip.

If an afternoon meeting is scheduled, go outside first with the entire team for a few minutes. Or have your meeting outside, if the weather is really nice!

2. Let the sunshine in

Just as sunshine helps us wake up in the morning, sunlight can help us stay energized in the afternoon by sending a message to your brain that the work day is not over yet!

Make sure it’s possible to step outside to get some natural light, even during the winter. It might still be cold outside, but the sunlight will perk everyone up.

3. Eat…but not just anything

While diet contributes to the mid-afternoon energy slump, an empty stomach would be even worse.

It’s important to start the day with a healthy breakfast (not just a quick coffee!).

At lunchtime, avoid foods that are high in fat and take longer to digest. Reach instead for something that contains protein, for its satisfying effect, and carbs, the body’s main source of energy. Use the same strategy if you get the munchies.

Here are some smart snack ideas you can display on your vending machines or at the cafeteria.

Raw vegetables+Hummus
Whole grain crackers+Cheese
Homemade muffin+Soy beverage
Fruit+Mixed nuts

4. Breathe, relax and get going again

Taking 3 – 5 deep breaths is a well-known relaxation and stress management technique. A few minutes of breathing slowly through your belly is sometimes all it takes to restore the energy you need to get through to the end of the day. Just head to a quiet place where you can do it.

5. Get a good night’s sleep

Getting enough sleep is still the best way to minimize the fatigue experienced during the day. It’s important, therefore, to consume caffeinated beverages in moderation and to stay within your tolerance level.

It can take as long as 5 hours for your body to absorb only half of the caffeine from your bloodstream. A good rule of thumb is to avoid caffeine after 3 p.m.

Although it’s normal to experience a dip in energy in the afternoon, the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits is still the best solution for ensuring that we’re always at our best, regardless of the circumstances.

Healthy eating, daily exercise, getting enough sleep and knowing how to cope with stress are the best ways to combat fatigue and prevent health problems.

Want to encourage your employees to adopt healthy lifestyle habits?

Discover the VIVA workplace health and wellness program.

Visit our website

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