DePaul University Career Center's Blog

Beating the Afternoon Slump

By: Gracie Covarrubias, DePaul University organizational and multicultural communication major ’18 and Career Center communications assistant

The Afternoon Slump seems to be the bane of everyone’s existence. It’s the part of the day when your coffee has worn off and your energy and productivity levels take a turn for the worst. It happens to the best of us on the 9 to 5 grind. Have no fear–there are ways to combat the dreaded afternoon slump. We sat down with Kayla Smith, a 4th year DePaul student who is a 2-year veteran of the Health Education and Action Team (HEAT) to get some much needed answers on keeping your energy and productivity high throughout the day.

What exactly is the afternoon slump?

Whenever I think of the afternoon slump I think of those Five Hour Energy commercials where someone is sitting down and 2 or 3 pm hits and they suddenly get tired. It can happen to everyone but this midday drop in energy is common with people who work at a desk all day.

We all know that food has a lot to do with your energy levels. What do you recommend people eat to help fight the afternoon slump?

Any foods that have protein! Protein takes the most amount of time and energy to break down so you’re going to feel full for a longer period of time. They give you more energy versus empty calorie foods like chips that give you a sugar rush and then you just crash. Things like eggs, chicken, nuts and anything dairy, like yogurt with granola would be the perfect midday snacks.

Let’s say you feel your energy dropping and you can’t get away to grab a snack — what else can students do to stay focused?

Something I’ve found that works is taking a short walk to help get my mind off whatever is keeping me from focusing. This is perfect for people who are in an office all day staring at a screen, getting your body up and moving helps!

Drinking a lot of water will give you more energy throughout the day. Even getting up from your desk to get a drink of water can help revitalize you. A lot of people generally recommend 2 liters a day to keep your body healthy but everyone’s needs are different.

A lot of times we get stuck in these afternoon slumps because of something in our day-to-day routine. What are some daily routine changes that can help keep you energized?

Having a transition between work and home is really important. Not bringing your work home with you is key. For me, personally, when I get on the train that’s my transition time between work and home. As long as you’re giving yourself something to look forward to that affirms your whole life isn’t just work, you’re already helping yourself become a little more energized. Only thinking about work can mess with your motivation and make your days seem even longer. You can also implement this at work by setting small goals throughout the day and rewarding yourself to help get you through any mundane work.

Love it! Are there any parting lines of wisdom you have for students trying to beat the afternoon slump?

Sleep is really important — going to bed and waking up around the same time everyday helps keep you energized. It’s hard especially as a college student when your schedule isn’t always set in stone but getting an adequate amount of sleep and having a consistent sleep schedule gives you more energy. Experts recommend going to bed at 10pm and getting up at 6am. That quality sleep helps your body restore itself and keeps you from feeling groggy throughout the day.

A lot goes into fighting the afternoon slump! Being your best self at work means investing time and energy into fueling your body the right way. Looking for more ideas on how to fuel your body? Stop by the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness and keep an eye out for their quarterly Brain Fuel week full of tips and tricks on surviving jam packed schedules at the end of the quarter!

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