Marketing of several energy drinks that are loaded with sugars and caffeine target the mid-afternoon fatigue common in the workplace. It is the drowsy feeling, the yawning, and the heavy eyes that eventually lead to fatigue at home in the evenings which can manifest in all kinds of behavior that is potentially unhealthy for the family, not to mention the drop in productivity in the afternoon hours. I am not a fan of these drinks or other similar supplements as remedies to this chronic issue. There is a easier, better, and healthier way to address this.
It is my contention that the lunch hour should be treated as one of the more sacred hours of the workday. This seems counterintuitive given that it is typically viewed as an “off” hour. But given the impact that this hour can have on both the productivity of rest of the afternoon as well as on the activities post-workday, you should consider the changes I am proposing.
During my ironman training this past year, I learned a great deal about nutrition and the kinds of foods to eat at different times of the day to sustain energy levels that would allow me to integrate hours of workouts. Certain types of foods take longer to digest, such as heavy carbohydrates and fats, and avoiding over-eating them during lunch can in fact, play a significant role in that afternoon period. So the first action step is to review what you eat during lunch and how much of it you eat. Eating a mid-morning snack can be helpful in reducing the lunch binge. Consult an expert on how to modify your lunch nutrition specifically. It might be as simple as shifting what you like to eat to the dinner hour and just focusing on quality lunches, and snacks spreadout during the day.
Equally important is what you do during the lunch hour. A mental and emotional break from the grind of the day is critical in managing stress and other hormones that also lead to binge lunches and dinners. I suggest you always leave the office if you can, even if it is eating just outside your building or in your cafeteria or a restaurant. The physical departure from your office or place of daily grind should be considered as a necessary break for your mind. In addition, consider eliminating all work-related topics from the lunch hour. This may mean going to lunch by yourself, or with people you can have other conversations that are of interest to you but not related to work. A good plan is to have lunch with GREEN people on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, if your schedule and logistics permit, and having lunch on your own on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Take a book or watch something of interest or inspiration on youtube, for example.
Both what you put in your body nutritionally and what you put in your mind cognitively and emotionally should be as carefully orchestrated as you would any other part of your day. I have recommended this regimen to many executives I coach and almost all have seen quite significant positive changes to their afternoon, productivity, home activity, and in some cases, their bodies. This week, give it a try!