By Eudene Harry, MD
But fear not! Your day will no longer be ruined by the afternoon lull. Here are some quick tips to avoid the midday slump and allow you to end your day rejuvenated!
Spend Five Minutes in Nature
According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology in 2019, just five minutes sitting in nature improves moods, decreases negative feelings and increases your sense of being awe and wonder at being a part of something bigger than yourself. If you have more time, combine being in nature with exercise. This can include hiking of simply taking a walk through the park lined with trees. This can reduce your heart rate and improve your ability to recover from stressful events.
Bring the Outdoors In
Feeling overwhelmed and can’t leave the building? Hang paintings of nature scenes on the walls, look out a window or a nature scene on your video device. It seems that even the picture of nature had the potential to reduce feelings of stress.
Break Out That Adult Coloring Book
Can’t absorb any new information? Take a break and take out the adult coloring book you have not taken the time to use. This distraction gives the brain the space it needs to tackle the problem while you focus on the joys of choosing the colors that make you feel better. Pro tip: Choose yellow and other bright colors if you need a pick me up.
Incorporate Natural Mid-Afternoon Boosts
Grab some green tea, it is high in antioxidants, contains a small amount of caffeine and also has an ingredient that can help create a sense of calmness. If you combine this with a little aromatherapy, either peppermint or lemon to quick lift or lavender to keep the calm going, you might find yourself feeling better after a quick 10-minute break.
Quick Exercises to Do at Your Desk
Here are two quick exercises that helps to release stress, restore a sense of calm while improving moods. Do any exercise that helps bring the heart rate up a little bit to get blood pumping while also releasing the energy of frustration. First, do some quick tricep extensions using a chair. Then follow with a stretch that helps to relieve the tension. Shrug shoulders up to ear and gentle rotate forward then backward. Follow this with an open stance arms open wide and slightly raised as if to open myself up to receive warmth, love and support, then simply cross your arms around your shoulders and give yourself a hug. Cross your arms until you feel the muscles in the upper back gentle stretch and start relieving some of that built up tension. After all, we do tend to carry a lot of stress in the upper back and neck. Bonus, hugs help to relieve stress and improve moods.
Laugh & Breathe
It is as simple as laughing. It decreases cortisol levels and improves moods. A simple way to watch a funny clip or even more simple, record a baby’s laughter and listen to it. That sound of pure joy and wonder can bring a smile back to your face and do wonders for your mood. Lastly, practice stopping and breathing. Four counts in, hold for four and release for four. Do this about four times and feel the stress slowly ebb away.
Eudene Harry is the medical director for Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center in Orlando, a wellness practice devoted to integrative holistic care. She is a veteran physician with more than 20 years of experience. She earned her medical degree and performed her residency at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Her most recent book, “Be Iconic: How to be Healthy and Sexy at Any Age” is now available on Amazon. She regularly contributes to television and radio shows nationwide.