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How to Battle the After-Lunch Slump

Momentum usually runs its course through the morning hours and into the early afternoon, but around two or three o'clock there's typically a lag in energy. Suddenly you're not sure how you'll ever survive the next few hours awake at your desk. You think caffeine may be the answer except you've already had your fair share and are trying to cut back. Candy? Only if you want to crash again in an hour's time. Even the most motivated workers aren't immune to the afternoon drag — no matter how much you love your job or how jam-packed your daily schedule, the slump somehow manages to seep in some days. To see how I battle the midafternoon slump just


  • Eat lunch that will give you energy, not slow you down. While they can be made healthily, during my small stint as a meat-eater I found that turkey sandwiches made me want to take a nap. The same can be said for anything on the greasier side and lunches that are served in large portions.
  • Call a friend. This is one of my favorite ways to jump-start my afternoon. If you work in an open space, grab your cell phone and take a 15-minute walk. Call a friend that you know will have time to chat and you enjoy talking to — catching up and getting away from your desk will give you a boost that will push you through the rest of the day.
  • Rearrange your schedule. If possible, move your workout from after work to midday. It may not be feasible every day but doing this just a couple times a week will break up the monotony of the work day. Plus, you'll learn to manage your time better when you know you'll be out of the office for a period of time.
  • Get out of the office. Even if you don't work in an area that's exciting to walk around, just take time to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Just sitting on the steps outside of your building and taking some time to refocus for the rest of the day will help.


Join The Conversation
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
krys786 had a great tip!! Water is a natural energizer and it also supresses hunger. I bring a water bottle to work and as soon as I am done with lunch, I fill it up freshly with COLD water. That wakes me up enough for the rest of the afternoon. Also, exercising is definately an energy booster. Exercising (at any time of the day) will give you a boost for the rest of that day AND the next day :)
gigill gigill 9 years
Thanks for the tips! I usually do the shopping for the office food/drinks/supplies, and sometimes I put it off until the afternoon so I can get a little walk in like you suggested.
krys786 krys786 9 years
Good tips! I also suggest that when you return to your desk after lunch, make a to-do list of things you can get done quickly that afternoon, then check them off as soon as you're finished. Visually perceiving progress definitely motivates me!! Oh and I also treat myself to a favorite juice or flavored water (not coffee, I only drink that in the AM!) if I am feeling unfocused and need a 2 minute walk to the refrigerator! :)
MissMarisol MissMarisol 9 years
I agree on taking a walk after lunch. I usually suffer from the slump at around 3ish so a coworker and I walk around the block.
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
I work from home so its tempting sometimes to just take a nooner. However I usually hop on the treadmill or go for a walk ;)
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 9 years
With my students, I try to let them walk outside after lunch. However, it takes up an extra 5 minutes of an already too short class time. Going outside seems to really help keep them awake (maybe too awake... ;)).
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Great tips.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
i always take a long walk and call someone on my lunch hour, unless it's really freezing out. talking to my mom makes me walk longer, because she can go on for 45 minutes without fail. ha. i think it's really necessary to take a long break to keep your focus later in the day.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Great tips, I feel this way at times. I will change up my menu for sure.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 9 years
For me it's all about what I eat for lunch. I used to eat heavier stuff (leftovers) and I always felt like passing out by 2pm. Now I eat salad everyday and never have that feeling. The difference is AMAZING.
rickimc rickimc 9 years
I work at a Y, so to battle my sleepy time, I just take my break and hop on a cardio machine for 1/2 an hour.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
I take a quick walk about 10 minutes after I eat lunch. I go around the block at least twice.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I work in a smaller cute village and I will take a walk around the block and stop into some of the shops. But if I don't I just do some cross words to get my brain going.
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 9 years
Good tips! It's always good to try to avoid tryptophan when you have to do work since it makes you tired, even though a little bit might not make TOO big of a difference.
SugarCat SugarCat 9 years
I got out at lunch, bought some new shoes so that was a bit of a boost, but yeah, I am so lagging right now!
PammyLZ PammyLZ 9 years
I've always taken my lunches out of the office. I always either eat in my car, or outside on a nice day. I need the mental break from the office. But, I've found some employers that I've had, seem to think that leaving the office on your unpaid lunch break, is a poor work ethic. Like I'm suppose to work thru my lunch and not get paid for it? yeah right.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I find the last tip helps me a lot, especially since I have a penchant for rather greasy lunches :) I'm lucky to work surrounded by nature, so there are always lots of things to look at and the wonderful smell of grass and stuff in the air. (I don't feel so lucky on the days when the rancher next door does his manure-spreading routine, though.)
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
Great tips. I need to start doing this. I'm starting to gain alot of weight.
lizrocks lizrocks 9 years
Ugh. I had a turkey sandwich today. No wonder I'm so sleepy.
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