January 2, 2023

The Mid-Day Energy Doldrums

Do you struggle with the 10 am or, maybe for you, the 2 pm doldrums? You know what I mean. The feeling that a nap, or better yet, a trip to Starbucks for a Trenta 6 shot something or other with whipped cream, is what you need to boost you past the yawning and the fuzziness in your thinking.

It’s a thing. The doldrum plunge is a thing. I Googled it. People get halfway through their day, and their energy spring shuts off. The yawning starts. Disorganized thinking begins. The head bobbing begs for a pillow. Can you relate?

Besides an infusion of caffeine or a comfy pillow nap, how can these slumps be overcome?

How can your productivity remain high throughout the day?

It has been shown in many studies that moving – getting up off the couch or out of your office chair – and just walking around the room will noticeably improve your energy levels and your ability to be productive. Of course, I’m not referring to “get pumped up exercise” here. I’m talking about simple movement; low intensity, change positions, stand up, walk around activity.

In a study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics in 2008, the University of Georgia researchers found that people, who typically complained of fatigue and were inactive, could decrease fatigue by as much as 65% and increase energy by 20% simply by participating in some regular, low-intensity exercise.

Quoting this article does not imply that you must become athletic, lose a bunch of weight and start wearing stretchy “athleisure” fashion to the office, although that is an option if you choose. The goal is to empower you to get your body moving for energy. The doldrum plunge does not have to be your “thing.” You can easily overcome yawns and fuzzy thinking with simple movement additions to your routine.

Try these five magical reenergizing movements:

• Stretch

When you start dragging through the day, stretch like a cat. Reach your hands high up over your head. Stand up. Bend over and try to touch the floor. Tension in your muscles can be soothed, relaxed, and revitalized with the help of a good stretch. Take one minute to reach, twist, and bend. That minute will wake up your muscles and energize your brain, making you feel more optimistic and invigorated.

• Sit Squats

Push away from the computer and stand up out of the chair. Sit back down. Stand back up. Do these ten times and get back to work. Sit squats are simple exercises that get your blood flowing and your heart pumping. Perfect to reenergize. You can do sit squats relatively anywhere. All they require a surface to sit down on where your feet can touch the floor.

• Standing Wall Push-ups

When your eyelids feel heavy, stand up. Walk over to a wall. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height and lean into the wall. Push back. Lean in. Push back. Lean in. Voila! Push-ups without having to get down on the floor! Do ten at a time, then go back to what you were doing. You only need a clear wall surface large enough to place both hands. This exercise gets the blood circulating through your arms and chest muscles. It is a guaranteed energizer.

• March in Place

When you are considering needing a third cup of coffee, march instead. Take off your heels if you wear them. Bare feet or flat shoes are perfect. Stand up and march in place like a proud soldier. Lift your knees high 20 times. Done. Heart pumping. Energy returned, totally decaffeinated.

• Take a Walk (my personal favorite)

Did you know you can literally walk your way out of the doldrums, into more energy, and, if you want, into fitness? It’s true. It is so easy – and it works! Studies have found that the same energy used for moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar health benefits. All you do is lace up a good pair of sneakers, wear some comfortable clothes – and walk! There is nothing more to it than that. It is inexpensive, safe, and has a very low exercise dropout rate. You can take a loop or two around the office, a city block, a track, or even your living room.

These five magical movements are just the tip of the iceberg as far as simple low-intensity exercise goes. They are easy to do almost anywhere. They will revitalize you and restore your pep. So, the next time you find yourself slipping into the mid-day doldrums, sleeping on the job, or putting an extra shot of caffeine in your coffee in the middle of the afternoon, stop. Instead, use one, or all five, of these simple, easy-to-do energy reboot exercises.

Try them. You will be pleasantly surprised.