Glazed over eyes. Slumped shoulders. A suddenly weighty cranium that keeps dipping toward the keyboard. Even heavier eyelids. Eyes that constantly sneak peeks at the clock, which seems to tick ever more slowly (the more you look). Work piling up without regard for your inability to acknowledge its presence.
My apologies for the string of sentence fragments, but my mind simply isn’t working quite right. I’m in the midst of ruminating on the dreaded mid afternoon slump. For my money, it’s the worst feeling in the world.
Don’t get me wrong: a mid afternoon slump can actually be quite natural. Even if you’re getting plenty of sleep, eating Primally, and exercising enough, our natural circadian rhythms dictate that there will be some ebb in our energy levels. This natural slump is totally manageable – I’m talking a slight reduction in energy, some light yawning, perhaps even a desire to curl up underneath your desk. But when you’re having trouble keeping your eyes open, when you find yourself unable to focus on anything, or when you’ve essentially become a salaried zombie, something’s out of whack and it’s time to make a change.
First, make sure you’re doing everything you can to supply your body with the energy it needs to function throughout the day. Following the Primal Blueprint is designed to give you constant, steady energy (note, though, that making a switch to the PB from a traditionally high-carb diet can sap energy for the first week or two), so make sure you’re doing so:
If you’ve got those covered – which should take care of most energy issues on the Primal Blueprint – but you’re still languishing, have hope. There are tips, hacks, and tricks to get out of that slump.
Slump-Busting Tips and Tricks
As soon as the slump hits, stand up. Get moving. Go outside, soak up some sun, maybe even do a couple pushups or something. Just remove yourself from the stifling environment of the office. If only for five minutes, you’ll be refreshed and ready to go.
Slink off for a cat nap. A short, 20-minute nap has been shown to reduce stress and replenish vital energy. If you can’t find the time, reserve a chunk of your lunch break. After all, Grok would have done the same.
Grab a coffee or some tea.Caffeine, used intermittently and in moderation, is a good temporary pick me up. Plus, the antioxidants in tea can’t hurt. Just watch the sugar.
Keep lunch light. It’s well-known that a big high-carb lunch will lead to a crash later in the day, but even a suitably enormous Primal lunch can wear you out. Instead of rushing to finish everything in the hour, graze at your desk. It’s pretty hard to fall asleep when you’re munching on nuts and berries all day.
Take B vitamins for energy. These should be taken normally throughout the day, but taking them with a meal gives your body a better chance to metabolize them for energy.
Music. Or any aural stimulation, really. Have a conversation with a co-worker if you can’t turn on music.
Keep busy. I know the main problem is an inability to get stuff done, but if you force yourself to work, you could get into a groove and achieve that zen-like state of mind where time just flies.
Mental stimulation. Work, especially office life, can be deadening. And let’s face it – nobody spends every minute in the office actually working (hell, you might be reading this post from work!). Rather than twiddling your thumbs, fighting yawns, and fretting over the work you aren’t doing, try researching something new. Look up something on Wikipedia you’ve always wondered about, and then follow the infinite string of links. It may not be the most productive way to spend a work day, but at least you won’t be miserable, and you’ll probably learn something. You could also sneak a book in.
Impromptu feats of strength (like Festivus!). See how many push-ups you can do in a minute. Do fifty dips using the arms on your chair. Complete thirty burpees. Just enough intense exercise to get your heart racing should do the trick.
For faithful adherents to the Primal Blueprint, midday energy shouldn’t be much of an issue, but it might crop up from time to time. These methods have served me well in the past, and I hope they work for our readers.
I’d be interested to hear back from you. Assuming you’re fairly good about the Primal Blueprint, eating low-glycemic index foods, getting plenty of exercise and sleep – have you had any issues with a mid afternoon slump? Let me know!
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.