Have you ever wondered what you could accomplish if you could double your afternoon energy and have two mornings’ worth of vitality packed into every single day?
Whether you’re a morning person or a night-owl, once we have woken up after a decent night’s sleep, the majority of us tend to do our best work in the mornings. But once post-lunch fatigue and an afternoon slump kicks in, often made worse by nagging thoughts of curling up in pyjamas on the sofa in the evening and watching TV once the day is over, it’s hard to stay focused and full of get up and go.
Studies have shown time and time again that a short nap break at lunchtime can improve mood, alertness, concentration and overall productivity – whether that’s running around after the kids, hanging out with friends, or having to be on the ball at the office.
But, you don’t necessarily have to get into bed and actually nod off to reap these benefits.
New research shows that just ten to twenty minutes of relaxation at lunchtime is enough to shake off stress, anxiety and tiredness and completely recharge your batteries so that you’re ready to face the afternoon and feeling full of beans.
Never eat at your desk: Nobody is so indispensable that you have to wolf back vending machine food whilst typing out emails at your desk. Take an hour away from your workspace, and ideally in a different room, or another building. Eat mindfully, and savour each and every bite and try and pack as many nutrients as you can into your meal. A meal that’s lighter on carbs, has some protein and is packed with brightly coloured vegetables is ideal. Then, after enjoying your meal, set aside the other half an hour to relax and unwind, which will top up your energy levels until the end of the work day. It could be listening to music, planning a weekend away, drawing – anything that’s nothing to do with work. We’re all addicted to our phones and computers these days, but they do have an off button for a reason.
Hypnotherapy: Find a quiet space to listen to a guided meditation using your phone and earphones. There’s some brilliant ones available online now, we love the ten minute power nap from Hypnosis Downloads, not only do they send you off to sleep, they also wake you up so you don’t accidentally spend the entire afternoon asleep.
Walk: Scientists have found that you can walk off stress and that going for a stroll releases brain neurons which help dull feelings of stress, anxiety and even depression. Even if it’s raining, leaving the house or the office and going for a ten minute walk in fresh air will help lighten your mood and give you an energy boost. Keep your phone turned off and take note of your surroundings, you’ll find it’s an active meditation – which means that by walking and keeping your body busy, your mind is free to relax and recharge.
Yoga: A short yoga session is a brilliant way to calm anxiety, soothe stress and re-energise. You don’t have to haul yourself off to a specialist class, as there’s so many brilliant videos online now. The below video shows how to stop a panic attack in its tracks, and even if you don’t have time for the full sequence, just doing the alternate nostril breathing technique which she demonstrates at the start is guaranteed to help you feel less anxious, stressed and angry and will relax you in a matter of minutes. We also have put together a guide to some office yoga moves which you can do in your office here.
Laugh: It’s true, laughter really is the best medicine. If you’re having a post-lunch slump, a good laugh increases your blood flow and your immunity as well as making you feel good. A quick Google is sure to turn up something that you find hilarious, after all the internet is a treasure trove of hilarity. Failing that, even just spending ten minutes scrolling through cute puppy gifs will lighten your mood, and you’re guaranteed to do better work if you’re happy. Find your happy place and hang out there for at least ten minutes in the middle of each day.
Aromatherapy: Mint essential oil has been shown to wake workers up and increase their productivity to such an extent that some companies now pump mint essential oil into their offices through the air conditioner. You can also try mandarin essential oil if you want an instant lift. Also, studies show that just smelling coffee can help reduce stress hormones, you don’t have to even drink it.