Next time you’re feeling that way, try adding one (or a few!) of these brilliant, energizing afternoon habits into your day. Some of them require more time, energy, and overall flexibility than others, so they might not all work for you depending on your exact work (and life) situation. But, hopefully, they provide a bit of inspiration for working your way out of that dreaded afternoon slump—or avoiding it entirely.
1. Take a few deep diaphragmatic breaths.
It’s hard to blame you if you’re sitting there thinking, Uh, how exactly is breathing—that thing I’ve already been doing all day to, um, survive—going to make a difference in my afternoon? The key is to focus on diaphragmatic breathing specifically. Your diaphragm is a muscle above your stomach, and it’s the main muscle you use to breathe, the Cleveland Clinic explains. When you’re anxious or rushed—like, say, before a tricky work meeting—your body’s sympathetic nervous system can make you default to breathing in a fast, 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 in your diaphragm as much as possible activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which can help counter that stress response. This is why deep diaphragmatic breathing can be a grounding technique in anxious moments. Here are some helpful details on how to do this kind of breathing, along with some handy deep breathing videos you can even follow along with as needed.
2. Or try another grounding technique.
There are grounding techniques galore to choose from if you’re in need of a soothing yet energizing midday break! Ultimately, the goal with grounding techniques is to find a low-lift habit that can center you without looming as another thing on your must-do list. So it should be something that actually feels doable even (or especially) in the hustle of a busy day and that is designed to really activate your all-important parasympathetic nervous system. This can go far beyond diaphragmatic breathing. Other options include touching something cold, tapping into your five…