Ever wondered why you’re totally exhausted at 2 o’clock in the afternoon? Ever been so frustrated with the work in front of you that you want to throw things? Ever think you’re trapped in your mind and can’t seem to get out? You’re not alone: all of these things are related to an imbalance in your eating habits, your time spent concentrating on work, and your physical fitness.
We all have good and bad days, no question. But there are things you can do to have more good days than bad. The easiest thing to do? Eat a good breakfast! Your body’s been running on fumes all night so instead of reaching for that cup of coffee (caffeine is an appetite suppressant) reach for a bowl of cereal, a few pieces of toast and a piece of fruit, or a granola bar and some yogurt. Bring those blood sugar levels back up and your mornings will immediately get easier. The next thing you can do is start eating throughout the day – grazing keeps your energy levels much more constant and helps you avoid the mid-afternoon crash. For two weeks try having a good breakfast, a mid-morning snack (granola bar, yogurt, or fruits/veggies), a good lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, and a good dinner. I guarantee it’ll change how you feel during the day. It’ll also jumpstart your metabolism into burning more calories and who’s going to argue with that benefit?
I think you’ll agree with me when I say that we as human beings need to mentally disengage every now and again. Sitting at your desk for eight or nine hours is hard on the body but more so on the mind. And, no, getting up to go to meetings doesn’t count as disengaging. Instead of crowding around the coffee machine in the morning or afternoon, go for a quick walk somewhere to clear your head, get some fresh air if you can, and forget about work for 15 minutes. When lunch rolls around, why not take a walk to eat somewhere that’s not your desk? Take a book or a paper with you or just sit and listen to your favourite music when you reach your destination. Physically relocating from your workspace gives you a much-needed mental break that will actually increase your focus in the afternoon.
Lastly, at the end of your day think about something active you’d like to do. You could go to the gym, go for a run with your dog, play with your kids, or go for a walk with some folks you know – anything that lets you be physically active. Studies have shown that a person can get “stuck” in their mind which can become quite overwhelming and that an effective way to become “unstuck” is to disengage mentally and engage physically. Try it for two weeks and you’ll see how it helps you close out your day and prepare you for tomorrow.