17 Knowledgeable-Permitted Energizing Afternoon Habits That Can Make Your Day So A lot Higher


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The next time you feel like it, try adding one (or a few!) of these bright, energizing afternoon habits to your day. Some of them require more time, energy, and overall flexibility than others, so not all of them may work for you depending on your exact work (and personal) situation. But hopefully they provide some inspiration to get out of that dreaded afternoon slump or avoid it altogether.

1. Take a few deep diaphragmatic breaths.

It’s hard to blame yourself if you’re sitting there thinking, uh, how exactly is breathing– this thing that I’ve already been doing all day to, uh, survive – is going to make a difference in my afternoon? The key is to focus specifically on diaphragmatic breathing. Your diaphragm is a muscle above your stomach, and it’s the main muscle you use to breathe, the Cleveland Clinic Explain. When you’re anxious or in a hurry, such as before an awkward business meeting, your body’s sympathetic nervous system may cause you to default to breathing in a rapid, shallow way that doesn’t rely enough on your diaphragm. This is part of your body’s stress response. Focusing on deep breathing that intentionally loops into your diaphragm as much as possible activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which can help counteract this stress response. This is why deep diaphragmatic breathing can be a grounding technique in times of anxiety. Here are some helpful details on how to do this type of breathing, as well as how-to deep breathing videos that you can even follow along as needed.

2. Or try another grounding technique.

There are tons of rooting techniques to choose from if you need a soothing yet energizing lunch break! Ultimately, the point of grounding techniques is to find a low lift habit that can center you without appearing as another thing on your to-do list. So it should be something that actually feels doable even (or especially) in the hustle and bustle of a busy day and is designed to really activate your all-important parasympathetic nervous system. It can go far beyond diaphragmatic breathing. Other options include touching something cold, tapping into your five senses with a very specific exercise, and doing progressive muscle relaxation. Here’s a bunch of ideas for grounding techniques to try, along with step-by-step instructions if you need them.

3. Read a chapter in a fiction book.

Madison D., 29, spends 15 minutes of her lunch break reading a fictional book. This usually helps him reset and clear his mind for the rest of the day. Reading a book – and fully immersing yourself in this fictional world – is a form of changing your mental state so you can get back to the task at hand with a clear head. « Disconnecting, focusing on something else, and then re-engaging can get you out of that state of stuck or demoralized about what you have to do, » says Dr. Spiegel. « Disconnecting and reconnecting can reduce stress. »

4. Prepare an elaborate and visually appealing snack (charcuterie board, anyone?).

When Kelly O., 31, starts to get sluggish in the afternoon around 2 or 3 p.m., she prepares a charcuterie board. « It’s a lot less fancy than it sounds, but it’s more stylish than Cheez – it’s straight out of the box, » she says. It includes things like pretzel chips, hummus, salami slices, cheese, avocado slices, and whatever else is in the fridge. And then she takes the time to savor each bite. « I savor every little stack and forget for a moment that this is WFH’s 16th month during a global pandemic. » While the energy boost certainly doesn’t hurt, it’s also something Kelly looks forward to and appreciates during an otherwise mundane workday. Here are some healthy and delicious snack ideas to get you started.

5. Take a break from organizing.

« Tidying up or organizing the physical space around you may seem like a small thing, but it’s a way of proactively physically looking after yourself and taking care of your space, » says Dr. Nelson. « A lot of times people put themselves last, especially in the context of work, but pausing and minding your immediate space is really saying, ‘My time and my workspace deserve my attention. ““It can help reassure you and improve your mood, says Dr. Nelson. « Organized » can mean something different to everyone, so you don’t have to go all Marie Kondo on your desk if it’s stressing you out instead of relaxing you. Anything that helps you feel a little more collected and focused is what matters.

6. Resist the urge to grind more coffee.

We know it sounds counterintuitive, but Dr. Nelson recommends avoiding turning to mind-altering substances, like caffeine, to get through a long, stressful afternoon. “The negative sides can replace the immediate positive effects,” she says. A good example: you drink coffee in the late afternoon, and now you can’t fall asleep when you try to go to bed because you’re too wired. Then you feel more nervous and stressed and overwhelmed by the following day because you haven’t had a good night’s rest. Dr. Nelson suggests swapping out that afternoon cup for another beverage you like to drink and making it your new afternoon habit. For example, maybe it’s lime sparkling water if you’re looking for a little spice, or herbal tea if you’re craving a warm, nourishing liquid.

7. Host a “you can do it” hype session with someone you love.

Who better than the group chat to cheer you on so you can get through the rest of the afternoon? If you feel like you’re hanging out and have the kind of connection with someone you can turn to for energizing encouragement, go for it. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a group chat with friends. It could be a one-on-one conversation with a family member who always cheers you on, or scrolling through your favorite Instagram account based on affirmations.

8. Watch a stupid 30 minute TV show.

Yes, we recommend the TV in the middle of the workday if you can rock it. It can help you get a much-needed mental break in much the same way as reading a good book. Annie D., 36, opts for a show that lasts only half an hour and that will make her laugh. « Something crazy, like Friends Where Younger, and the rule is one episode,” she says. (Need some ideas? Check out one of these 17 shows that are delicious and entertaining.)

9. Start and end your afternoon with transition rituals.

What is a transition ritual, you ask? Excellent question. « We spend our days transitioning between individual tasks and projects, and we also transition between larger blocks of time, like from our work day to our personal time, » explained former editor Anna Borges. of SELF, writing about the beauty of transition rituals. “But what we often don’t realize is that we don’t always jump aimlessly from one thing to another. Instead, we sometimes mark transitions with little “rituals” that signal our brains that it’s time to switch gears. So if you’re moving from one type of task in the morning to another in the afternoon, transition rituals (whether it’s moving your body, taking a coffee break, or whatever) can facilitate this change.


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