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January is a great time to start making changes to your daily habits for a happier and healthier you. A lot of the time, those changes involve foods and eating. However, if you’re like both Sean and myself, you might sit at a desk all day, five days a week. It can be really hard to stay healthy when you are living a “desk bound” lifestyle. I personally find that in the morning I am energized and usually am feeling positive. Lunchtime often gives me a much-needed boost but then around 3 o’clock, I almost always hit a slump. I feel tired, groggy, and generally less sharp than I do earlier in the day. If you, too, are struggling with the three o’clock slump, here are five tips that we have found to really help.
Look away from the screen – between computers, phones, and TVs, it’s scary when you think about what percentage of your time you spend looking at screens. To prevent eye strain, it is recommended that every 20 minutes you look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds (the 20-20-20 rule). This has made a huge difference to me – by looking at something far away, your eyes really get a moment to relax and rest.
Don’t eat too big of a lunch – this is so important. On days when we have “team lunches” and all go to the nearby Mexican restaurant, I nearly fall asleep at my desk all afternoon. Having an overly-full stomach will automatically make you feel groggy, and if your job requires you to sit still for four hours right after a big meal, it can be a recipe for disaster. Whether you pack a bag or eat out, try to eat a lighter, more nutrient-dense meal to avoid this feeling.
Drink plenty of water – it is recommended that you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, and if you spend most of your waking hours at work, you should be getting most of your water intake there! I suggest bringing in a large water bottle and refilling it frequently with cold water. If you need a reminder to drink, create a tally-mark tracker or set a reminder on your phone or computer for water milestones throughout the day. When you are more hydrated, your body will automatically feel more awake and alert.
Get moving – ideally, when I am feeling tired, I walk a lap around my office suite. Just getting my blood flowing for a few minutes automatically wakes me up, and a little walk often helps me solve work problems that I am struggling with in my cubicle. If you are limited in when you can get away from your desk, consider trying some of these at-desk stretches. You might feel silly at first, but it always makes me feel better to un-slump from over the keyboard and stretch out my shoulders.
Stock up on smarter snacks – of course, sometimes what you need in the afternoon is a little snack. It’s important to stock up on quality options so that you aren’t tempted by the donuts in the kitchen or the chips in the vending machine. I have a whole drawer full of options, but my go-to is a mix of dried fruit, nuts, and dark chocolate for a balanced snack break.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying goodnessknows® snack squares. I love that they come in perfectly-portioned snack sizes and are a great combination of nuts, fruit, and dark chocolate. I actually found them in the check out aisle at my local Walmart. The goodness knows® snack squares come in three flavors: Cranberry, Almond, Dark Chocolate; Apple, Almond & Peanut, Dark Chocolate; and Peach & Cherry, Almond, Dark Chocolate.
As with any life change, it’s important to focus on small steps. Keeping these five things in mind will help you stay awake and alert and resist temptations should the 3 o’clock slump strike. Make sure that you check out goodnessknows® snack squares and the smarter choices will start coming easily.
I’d love to hear your favorite cures for the 3 o’clock slump in the comments below!