You just had a nice lunch and before you know it, you’re struggling to stay awake at work. Fret not, it’s not always doom and gloom – here’s how to re-energise yourself and avoid the dreaded ‘food coma’.
Getting up from your desk and taking a quick walk around the office (or your home) will help boost your blood circulation and aid digestion. You’ll be perked up as long as you’re not sedentary. Try to walk to the furthest toilet or even walk to the toilet one floor up. You can also do some stretches while you’re at it, too.
After eating, your body transports more blood to your digestive system. Heavy meals require even more blood, which causes temporary deprivation of blood and nutrients in your brain, resulting in grogginess. Cut down on carbohydrates like pasta and bread, as they make your brain produce serotonin, a chemical that helps create a calm and pleasant mood, while making tryptophan, the chemical responsible for sleepiness. Protein is the way to go as it is proven to make you feel fuller compared to an equal amount of calories from carbohydrate or fat.
Make small talk with your colleagues (text, Zoom or just good ol’ fashioned face-to-face), whether it’s about what they’re doing this weekend or that gorgeous handbag you’re eyeing. That one or two minutes can make a difference. Hopefully, something funny emerges from the conversation and you’ll have a good laugh. That burst of energy is sure to do wonders!
Be sure to avoid drinking carbonated or sweet drinks after a meal. They can make your sugar levels rise even more, inhibiting orexin, the brain chemical that makes you feel awake. Having lots of water is not only good for your health, you’ll be energised from constantly getting up to walk to the toilet.
Fight sleepiness by munching an apple – all that moving of your jaw with each crunchy bite will get you through the mid-afternoon slump. The process of digesting the natural sugars helps wake up your body and then keep it that way for about as long as it takes for your body to process the apple. This healthy option definitely beats downing caffeine.
Apply pressure to these acupressure stimulation points – the top of your head, top of the back of both sides of your neck, just below both knees and on the back of your hands in between the thumb and forefinger. Acupressure can help students keep awake, according to research by the University of Michigan Health System’s Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Centre.
Take your mind off the afternoon lull by texting a friend. It gives you something to focus on and will likely brighten your day, so you have more motivation to continue working. But don’t do this for too long, in case you get distracted from the tasks at hand.
Text: Loh Pui Ying/Her World