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Your Desk Job is Making You Exhausted

Here’s how to beat the mid-afternoon slump

Photo Credit: Getty Images

There are a handful of reasons your desk job might be draining you, from a lackluster overhead lighting situation to technology overstimulation. And because it wouldn’t be professional to just stand up and walk out of the door, we’ve provided a few solutions to nip your mid-afternoon slump before it starts.

Think about your computer — the more tabs, windows, inboxes and files you have open, the slower things take to process, right? If you approach your own work in the same way, you could be at high risk for technology fatigue. Some researchers believe that technological overstimulation can negatively affect your mood and ability to focus, shifting your nervous system into fight or flight mode. To combat this, make sure to focus on one task at a time — and you don’t fill your lunch breaks with social media screen time. Eye strain is also a major concern in the office; it can lead to headaches and can quite literally harm your focus. Try keeping a shaded light at your desk, and visit the eye doctor for regular check ups if you’re prone to sitting in front of a screen for more than two hours a day.

The next time you have a fast-paced work day, running from meeting to meeting, check your mid-afternoon energy level. Is it much higher than on days where you’re chained to your desk? Thought so. That’s because movement increases blood flow, which allows for more oxygen (and we all know more O = more energy). It is proven that incorporating short movements and exercise throughout the work day has positive effects on your physical health and mental aptitude. Earlier this month, we ran through a series of desk exercises that you can practice daily while using your office gear to your advantage. At the very least, research suggests you should make it a point to stand up when given the option. So politely decline that chair at your next quick meeting; a little activity might provide you with the boost of energy you need.

Adding morning workouts to your routine could really turn around your afternoon. We’ve already covered the tricks to kicking your a.m. workout into gear, and how moving in the morning is scientifically proven to increase your energy levels throughout the day. Tack on a healthy, fiber and nutrient-rich breakfast and you’ll be well-equipped to make it through the workday.

If you’ve ever spent a full day in the office only to walk out into the 5 p.m. daylight with a major case of mole eyes, you understand that natural light deprivation is a very real concern. Natural light keeps you sharp and, as new research shows, a little dose of it a day can keep you wakeful through the early evening. If you’re feeling lethargic when the clock strikes 2 p.m., treat yourself to a quick walk around the block. See the light and get a little exercise in at the same time.

If your mid-afternoon slump starts with a grumbly stomach, ask yourself the following questions: Did you start with a nutritional breakfast? Did you pack (or pick up) a healthy lunch? Did you bring a light snack? Bananas, matcha, raw nuts, and small amounts dark chocolate are great choices for boosting your energy levels (think Popeye’s spinach cure, but less animated). If you’re in need of a few options that incorporate the energy-fueling ingredients above, we have 10 energy bar recipes that you can make ahead of time at home.

For more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness, click here.