It’s 1:30pm, your post-lunch food coma is in full swing, and there’s still three hours before you can even think about leaving work; sounds like the afternoon blues! As an afternoon-blues-aficionado, I can definitely relate to those struggles. Most co-workers I know are quick to turn to caffeinated beverages like coffee or diet soda but as someone who doesn’t drink either regularly, those options never really appealed to me. Over the years, I developed some mainly-caffeine-free tips and tricks for tackling those sleepy afternoons.
Let me know in the comments if you try any or have tips I didn’t cover!
1. Chocolate! Darker the better
This is the only suggestion that contains caffeine. Caffeine naturally occurs in the cocoa bean so the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine there is! There’s still significantly less caffeine in a bar of dark chocolate than in coffee but just a few pieces should be enough for a small pick-me-up.
2. Chewing gum
So I’ve only known anecdotally that chewing gum seems to help keep me awake but a quick Google search brings up studies hat indicate that chewing gum increases blood flow to the brain, thereby keeping you more alert and functioning. Science!
3. Eating an apple
This is a tip I picked up in college to get me through those two hour lectures. Like the previous tip, the act of chewing increases blood flow to the brain. Additionally, apples have sugar in them that is slowly released into the body as you chew. Just be aware of the potential noise factor of crunching into an apple!
4. Blast your favorite song
Put on some headphones, blast your favorite song (preferably upbeat) and take a quick three minute dance break! Some of my current go-to’s: King of Anything by Sara Bareilles, The Days by Avicii, Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses, & Genghis Khan by Miike Snow.
5. Play a quick brain-busting game
If you have a few minutes, play a quick game that gets your brain going. I’ve found that anything that gets me thinking or is engaging often is enough to get me back on track. Alphabear is a great game that’s relatively easy, has cute little bouncing bears, and is easy to leave/come back to. I also enjoy doing crosswords if I have time for a longer break.
6. Stand up!
Luckily I have the option to convert my sitting desk to a standing one. It’s pretty difficult to fall asleep while standing; I haven’t done it yet, thankfully. Standing up and stretching is always a good way to reset!