By Dr. Eudene Harry, MD
We have all felt it. After lunchtime, you’re lethargic, tired, and constantly checking the clock waiting for the day to be over. Don’t let your day be ruined by the afternoon lull! Here are some quick tips to avoid the midday slump and allow you to end your day rejuvenated!
Spend 5 Minutes in Nature
According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology in 2019, 5 minutes sitting in nature improves moods, decreases negative feelings and increases your sense of being in awe and wonder at being a part of something bigger than yourself. If you have more time, combine nature with exercise. This can include hiking or simply taking a walk through a park lined with trees. This can reduce your heart rate and improve your ability to recover from stressful events
Bring the Outdoors In
Feeling overwhelmed and can’t leave the building? Hang paintings of nature scenes on the walls; look out a window or a nature scene on your video device. It seems that even the picture of nature had the potential to reduce feelings of stress. If you are able to, get a room with a view.
Break Out That Adult Coloring Book
Can’t absorb any new information? Take a break and pull out the coloring book. This distraction gives the brain the space it needs to tackle the problem while you focus on the joys of choosing the colors that make you feel better. Hint; choose yellow and other bright colors if you need a pick me up.
Incorporate Natural Mid-Afternoon Boosts
Grab some green tea, it is high in antioxidants, contains a little caffeine and also has an ingredient that can help create a sense of calm. If you combine this with a little aromatherapy, either peppermint or lemon to quick lift, or lavender to keep the calm going, you might find yourself feeling better after a quick 10 minute break.
Quick Exercises to Do At Your Desk
Here are two quick exercises that help to release stress and restore a sense of calm, while improving moods. First, do any exercise that helps to get the heart rate up a little bit to get blood pumping while also releasing energy and frustration – for example, the rocking downward dog or quick triceps extensions using a chair. Both do not require a lot of space. Then follow with a stretch that helps to relieve the tension. Shrug shoulders up to ears and gently rotate forward then backwards. Follow this with an open stance, arms open wide and slightly raised as if to open yourself up to receive warmth, love and support, then simply cross your arms around your shoulders and give yourself a hug. Cross your arms until you feel the muscles in the upper back gentle stretch and start relieving some of that built up tension. After all, we do tend to carry a lot of stress in the upper back and neck. Bonus, hugs help to relieve stress and improve moods.
Laugh & Breathe
It’s as simple as laughing. It decreases cortisol levels and improves moods. Watch a funny clip or even more simply, record a baby’s laughter and listen to it. That sound of pure joy and wonder can bring a smile back to your face and do wonders for your mood. Lastly, practice stopping and breathing – four counts in, hold for four and release for four. Do this about four times and feel the stress slowly ebb away.