Planning + Productivity

How to Beat the Afternoon Slump (Without Caffeine)

Do you feel sleepy around 2:00pm? These tips help you beat the afternoon slump so you can be more productive throughout the day. They’re simple, effective, and give you a boost when you need it most!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

My brain literally shuts down at 2:30pm almost every day!! I work retail so a nap isn't really possible, but I'm definitely packing those yummy treats to bring with me next time. They look SO GOOD and will help me power through a productive afternoon! #productivitytips #productiveday #dailyhabits #afternoonslump #tiredintheafternoon
Your shoulders droop….your eyes feel heavy….and you blink a few times to clear the cobwebs from your mind. It’s 2:00pm and all you can think about is that comfy bed you crawled out of this morning. Do you hear it calling your name? 

Heads up—you’ve just hit the afternoon slump! Your mind is minutes from shutting down. Lovely, isn’t it?

Apparently, this slump is caused by our natural sleep cycles—one that happens while we sleep at night, and one that happens 12 hours later—or midday. A good night’s rest and proper protein at lunch can help you avoid it, but many of us still encounter this “state of grogginess” no matter how many things we do to prepare.

These 5 tips help you clear the cobwebs so you can be more energized and productive throughout the day. They’re simple, effective, and give you a boost when you need it most!

1. Work on an Easy Task

Sometimes that groggy feeling creeps in after I’ve been concentrating too hard on a big project. And just like our bodies, our brains need a break too! Use this as a literal wake up call to switch it up and focus on something fresh and new.

I suggest choosing a more mundane task like clearing out your inbox, cleaning out a junk drawer, or folding a load of laundry. This not only lets your mind rest, it also gives you a quick win. That way you’ll feel even more accomplished and ready to finish the rest of your day!

TIP: I try to prepare for this groggy feeling ahead of time by doing my most important tasks mid-morning {when I’m more awake}, and scheduling simpler stuff later in the day.

2. Indulge in a Small Treat

When I start feeling sleepy, I’m most apt to get the munchies….and that’s okay, provided I choose the right foods to eat! String cheese, a handful of nuts, and even a piece of dark chocolate boosts energy levels without feeling too awfully heavy.

Another treat that keeps me alert? Homemade chocolate-chip granola bars. Oh my goodness, these are amazing! Perfect as an afternoon pick-me-up, or a nighttime indulgence!

3. Get Moving

One of my favorite things about living in the Florida is the weather. You can take a walk almost every day, and the sunshine is a huge motivator to finish out the afternoon. Let’s be honest, fresh air does wonders for practically everything! (Well, except allergies maybe.)

Even if you have crazy weather though, you can still take advantage of exercise. Go for a brisk walk in the cold (that will really wake you up!) or do a series of stretches mixed with a 5-10 minute workout. This printable plan is what I normally do to help me wake up in the morning, but the same exercises can be done mid-afternoon too.

Either way, keep plenty of cold water on hand so you stay hydrated and refreshed.

4. Diffuse an Energy Blend

I keep a diffuser in my office and almost always have a blend of Peppermint and Lemon Essential Oil on hand. The Peppermint gives your senses a huge kick, and the citrusy smell of Lemon boosts mood and energy levels. It’s one of the best combinations to break through the midday slump, and smells divine!

But if you’re REALLY slogging through the afternoon, step it up a notch and place 1-2 drops of Peppermint in your hands, rub together, and inhale deeply. Be careful not to get it near your eyes—it’s powerful smell can smart if you’re not careful, but will also help get you up and running again.

peppermint-and-lemon-oil-2

Want to know how I got started in Essential Oils? I promise it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Here’s my story, what I use them for, and where I prefer to buy them.

5. Take a Nap

Naps can easily make you feel guilty {at least they do me!}, but pushing through the slump is not always best for my body….or my productivity. In fact, naps are incredibly beneficial to boost performance, and I have seen first hand the benefits naps can have on my to-do list.

Michael Hyatt is a huge supporter of daily naps, and I love what he says,

The secret to becoming more productive is not managing your time, but your energy. – Michael Hyatt

So when all else fails, give yourself permission to take a nap. The key is to set the alarm for a max of 20-30 minutes, no more. Any longer, and you’ll feel ultra groggy and won’t be able to sleep later that night!

The afternoon slump is a good reminder that we have to take breaks to stay productive. Very few of us can go all hours of the day, although if that’s you, I’m insanely jealous of your abilities!

For the rest of us though, we have to listen to what our bodies tell us. When they start powering down, don’t ignore it—do something to help.

How do you break through the afternoon slump?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Was this post helpful? Please consider sharing the love!

10 Comments

  1. I’m the not average case. I don’t really get afternoon slumps lol. Once a month at max maybe, if that I will sometimes get tired but that’s because of lack of sleep those days I think.

    I find that the best way for me to power through my day is to turn it into something I love doing. For example, I love having a clean home so that motivates me to keep cleaning, or I really want to be a successful blogger motivates me to sit down and crank out a good post.

    1. I’m always impressed with people like you, Lindsey. I love having a clean home….but cleaning doesn’t motivate me, unless of course company is coming but that’s a different scenario. 😉 Once I start cleaning I usually am more motivated though.

      I’m curious, do you attribute your afternoon energy to anything in particular?

      1. I actually have my day broken up into “peaks of productivity” if you will. I start my day with some intense writing (since this is when I’m most productive). Before I leave for work each day I have already cleaned up the mess of plates that didn’t make it to the sink etc. Then when I get to work usually I’ll do some writing/editorial work for my job and then write a few blog posts. Then I’ll switch to something a little mindless like checking my email or reading etc. Going back and forth with this throughout the day always keep me on top of my game.

        For example with cleaning, I’ll do the dishes when I need a little mindless time and organize the pantry when it’s time for a quick peak.

        1. What a great system! My husband is very similar. He can only work at a computer for so long before he has to be up and do something active.

          Like you, I do most of my brain work in the morning. I think I’m going to try to add some short bursts of “active” work into my afternoons.

  2. Taking a nap is definitely my favorite one! Hehe. Just give in to your body, and then you feel SOOO much better afterwards. But that’s not possible every day. I try to keep up my energy by eating healthy lunches that including protein and not too many carbs or too much sugar (recipe for totally crashing within two hours). I’d also recommend a mid-afternoon snack that includes some protein, even if you want to indulge a bit with the chocolate. 🙂

    1. My husband tells me to nap whenever I get tired. The problem is that once I’m down, I don’t want to get up. My body always wants me to turn a 30 minute power nap into a 2 hour snooze-fest….and that’s not too productive for me. 🙂

      Are you able to jump right up after a set amount of time? Do you set an alarm? Let me in on your napping secrets so I don’t have to feel guilty anymore! 🙂

  3. This is a good read. I guess I never even thought of how I cope with afternoon slump. I just start yelling at my kids or take a nap, LOL….I promised myself I would never be that person that needs more than 1 cup of coffee a day, so I have to do something. I have peppermint, so we’ll see how that works!

    1. Crankiness is the default coping mechanism for the afternoon slump 🙂 I hope the peppermint works for you! If not – try something else and feel free to come back and let us know what helps you through.

  4. If I am afternoon-slumping, it means that I’m not getting enough sleep at night. I try to get through that afternoon and go to bed as early as possible. Also, eating healthier helps me have fewer days like this. I’m all about staying motivated and energetic all through the day if possible.

    1. You are right on, Natalie. For some reason I go through weeks where I can’t seem to fall asleep even if I go to bed early. When that happens the “afternoon slump” becomes an “afternoon slog.” Eating healthy is huge, too. When I go through times where I’m not paying attention to what food I’m eating everything starts getting harder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.