Do you ever have those days when you start to doze off at your desk in the afternoon? I remember that used to happen to me at some of my previous jobs, and it would happen all of the time at some of my classes in college. I remember trying so desperately to stay awake, but I just ended up having to leave class because I just couldn't stay awake. Does that ever happen to you? It's called the midday slump...you can feel it coming, and inevitably when the clock strikes 3:00pm, suddenly, you are exhausted. The thought of continuing your work is the last thing you want to do, not to mention you can barely keep your eyes open.
When this happens, do you ever tell yourself that you won't let this happen again? Here’s the good news: there are steps you can take to energize your body throughout the day and avoid this desperate feeling.
The best place to start is with breakfast. Before we even talk about what to eat, let’s recognize that it’s important TO EAT breakfast. Your body has been in a state of rest, relaxation, and recharging for several hours. It needs fuel in the form of carbohydrates and protein to get going in the morning. Instead of processed cereal and milk, why not go for oatmeal with almonds and blueberries? Or prepare a couple of hard boiled eggs that you can grab-n-go in a hurry. Pair them with a brown rice cake with almond butter and jelly and you’re starting your day off on the right foot. Or, even better, make a smoothie!
It’s also important to remember to drink water throughout the day. Dehydration is certain to cause sleepiness and fatigue. Imagine that a few glasses of water could be the difference between your 3pm exhaustion and vitality.
Don’t forget to put some thought into your snacks. You want to be sure to stay away from excess fats and sugars, which are in candy bars and most packaged food. The fatty foods will make you feel lethargic and the sugars will provide an initial spike, but then you’ll feel the afternoon slump as you come down from the sugar high. Take a few minutes at home to prepare trail mix with almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Goji berries, and Incan berries. For sweetness, you can add some cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips (I prefer Enjoy Life brand because their products are free of common allergens).
The midday madness doesn’t have to continue. You can control how your body feels by nourishing it with healthy food (and water) throughout the day. Also, try to avoid eating a heavy lunch or eating too much food for lunch. It's better to eat a smaller lunch along with your snacks, which will also help balance your blood sugars and keep you from crashing.