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To avoid burnout, maintain sleep quality and secure sanity it’s necessary to consider strategies beyond a “power nap.”
It is first important to understand what’s depleting your low afternoon drive.
Think of your energy as water in a bucket. After a night of quality sleep, you wake feeling refreshed and start your day with a jug that’s full. Throughout the morning, you expend energy. By the time afternoon rolls around, the water in your bucket has decreased.
The overall amount depends on two things: A) how active you’ve been (physically, mentally or emotionally) and B) how big your bucket was to begin with.
If your H20 holder is small, via illness or insufficient sleep the night before, take note of the following brain boosting hacks.
Related: How to Wake Up Early
Dehydration is an overlooked, yet common contributor to feeling fatigued (and often confused with sleepiness). Refill your bucket with a tall glass of actual agua.
It’s common to reach for hyper-palatable foods (i.e. those high in sugar or fat) to help power through an afternoon. A more energy-sustaining choice is a macronutrient-balanced snack. Taking an uninterrupted 20-30 minutes away from workspaces to receive pleasure from your grub comes with the added benefit of feeling nourished.
Vary your tasks
If you’ve been sitting at your computer and using mental energy all morning, it’s useful to get physical in the afternoon. While a walk outside in daylight may be enjoyable and useful for helping you sleep at night, this technique doesn’t necessarily imply exercise. If you’re working from home, you can do something simple like emptying the dishwasher.
Engage in what excites you
Boredom can masquerade as low energy. Have the types of challenges that originally interested you been solved or otherwise delegated? Are you spending your afternoons in aspects of your business you find routine or tedious? Reconnect with something you’re deeply passionate about and you’ll notice your energy soar.
Float in the trough
Set a timer for 10-15 minutes, close your eyes, and lie down on your back with your feet flat and knees bent. This position is called “constructive rest” because it helps to release tense muscles, relieve eye strain and induce a “relaxation response” in the nervous system.
If you’re unable to honor and surrender to your mind-body’s need for rest during the day, it’s likely you’ll struggle with being still at night. Therefore, becoming a skilled “rester” may have the welcomed side effect of improving your sleep.
If you also have an over-achieving personality, it may be even more beneficial to set more reasonable expectations about what can get done in a day.
Related: 4 “Unproductive” Habits That Make You More Productive
Navigate your night
This might mean increasing your sleep opportunity (i.e. giving yourself more time in bed for added REMs) or unpacking less obvious contributors to insomnia challenges.
Just as there are many reasons why you may feel wide awake at 3 am, there can be many causes for feeling “low and slow” in the afternoons. It’s important to consider the underlying reasons and to adapt your strategy (and techniques) to your situation.
Making more skillful choices about your afternoon energy will not only help you in the second half of your day, but will also preserve your nightly sleep and help you maintain long-term health and well-being.
Related: 4 Changes to Make to Your Day so You Get Better Sleep Tonight
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