HEALTHY LIVING

11 Caffeine-Free Ways To Beat Your Midday Slump

12/15/2014 08:32 am ET | Updated Dec 15, 2014
Paul Bradbury via Getty Images

Is there anything worse than midday drowsiness? One minute you're powering through a project, the next, your eyelids feel like they're loaded with lead. Talk about a productivity killer.

We've all experienced the 3 p.m. lull that makes an unwelcome appearance in our workdays. But instead of turning to a caffeine as the solution, there are other ways to bring your energy right back up and get you back on track. Below find 11 ways to power through that afternoon slump quickly and effortlessly. No coffee required.

Sniff some citrus.
lemon

Eau de Lemon, anyone? Research on aromatherapy shows that just a whiff of the crisp scent may give us the mental stimulation and mood boost we so desperately need in the middle of the afternoon. Peeling an orange also offers some stress-relieving benefits (not to mention the inevitable dose of Vitamin C you'll get if you eat it). Talk about superfruits.

Go for a walk.
There's something about fresh air that feels invigorating -- just the kind of pick me up you need when you're feeling dazed. Studies suggest that walks can improve concentration and reduce stress. A recent study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry also found that walking with a little pep in your step can even boost your mood.

Spending time in nature has some longterm benefits, too. Research shows that going for walks outside can decrease feelings of depression and improve mental health.

Work in increments.
working

How many times have you sat down to complete a project only to jump to another task 10 minutes later? We simply struggle with keeping focused -- and working in segments may be our solution. Some experts suggest that working in 90-minute bursts may help us be more productive in the long run because they give our noggins a rest.

"The human body is hard-wired to pulse. To operate at our best, we need to renew our energy at 90-minute intervals -- not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally," Tony Schwartz, president of The Energy Project, wrote in a HuffPost blog. "When we build this rhythm into our lives, it changes everything."

Jog the stairs.
There's nothing quite like exercise to get your blood and brain going. Getting in a quick workout -- even if it's just taking a trip up and down the stairwell -- will release those endorphins, and research suggests it may make you more productive. Not to mention, you'll reap the physical perks of exercise in the process. Not a bad pick-me-up.

Take a snooze.
napping

We're big fans of afternoon naps -- and it's not hard to see why. Just a 20-minute snooze can boost alertness, productivity and creativity. Sometimes the only way to fight a little fatigue is to give into it. You'll come back more reenergized, anyway.

Do some quick thinking.
It may seem counterproductive (and like the last thing you want to do), but research shows making some split decisions may actually increase your energy. When you've hit a wall, try scheduling a brainstorming session or a meeting. Getting work done in the process? Bonus!

Boogie down.
headphones desk

Okay maybe don't have a personal dance party at your desk, but at least plug those headphones in for a few minutes. Music can boost your mood and give you the opportunity to take a mini escape. Get lost in the beat, then come back to your work refreshed and ready to tackle the next task.

Hydrate.
It may be tempting to reach for that diet soda, but that's not going to help those energy levels if you're secretly parched. Research suggests mild dehydration can contribute to sleepiness. Swap the carbonated stuff for some good ol' H2O instead and power through that midday fog.

Adjust that posture.
work stress

You're going to naturally feel like you've hit a slump if you're, well, slumped. Research shows that straightening your posture can help give you an energy boost and even pump up your confidence. Take that, to-do list.

Two words: Puppy pictures.
Or cat pictures, or panda pictures... you get the point. One Japanese study found that taking a little time to look at cute content can improve your mood and actually make you more productive. Just don't let the afternoon escape you -- be sure to get back to your tasks before you catch yourself saying, "Okay, just one more."

Leave your desk.
lunch break

The bottom line is, we need a break in order to be more energized and productive. This involves leaving the confines of your workspace to give yourself some mental clarity. Studies show that eating lunch at our desks may make us more stressed and less creative. Put up that away notification on Gchat and step away from the cubicle. It'll be worth it. Promise.

This GPS Guide is part of a series of posts designed to bring you back to balance when you're feeling off course.

GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.

Also on HuffPost:

How To Nap At Work
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