Your brain has melted to mush, your eyes are as glassy as your lips are glossy, and three Advils couldn’t cut the tension in your neck… It must be about 4 p.m. on a workday.
The afternoon crash and burn is somewhat of an American phenomenon. Probably because midday siestas are common in Latin America and parts of Europe and Asia. But if your company’s not inclined to let you bring your own inflatable mattress just yet, here are some tips to help you regain focus and finish the day with a bang (and not the kind where your head hits the desk!).
Free your mind. You can only focus so long on a project before you become about as productive as the apathetic intern. Take a 15-minute break from your nine-to-five push and read the newspaper, or visit one of these playful sites to give your mental mojo a chance to recharge: Snow Day, Collage Machine, Montage-a-google, Jackson Pollock.
Mend your wounds. The workweek can take a toll on your body. Whether you’ve been cramped in your cubicle or running around like a rebel with a cause, there are a few quick fixes that can help:
For feet that have been tortured by unmerciful heels, apply Dr. Scholl’s Rub Relief Strips to stop chafing and help prevent blisters.
An overheated office can leave your pores begging for moisture. Bring skin back to life with Clinique’s Moisture Surge Face Spray. A midday spritz is an instant wake-up call.
For the ultimate rejuvenating quickie, bring in some electronic reinforcement. Go with a back-massage pillow such as the iNeed Lumbar Massage Pillow or a handheld aim-as-you-please version like Homedics Mini Massager.
Get your stretch on. If your job’s got you handcuffed to the desk all day, a daily stretch is essential. Not only does it reduce tension, but it increases blood flow to your muscles, which ups your energy level. Stand up straight with your shoulders pressed back and downward and stretch each set of muscles one at a time. Move from your neck downward to your shoulders, forearms, wrists, back, groin, hamstrings, quads, calves, and finally to your ankles. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds, concentrating on deep, steady breathing as you go.
Take a cue from the Brits. Sipping on a cup of tea is a perfect way to calm your nerves and recollect your thoughts. Green tea is ideal when you want a gentle boost without the jitters and acid reflux that come from maxing out on your coffee intake. It also has EGCG, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells, regulates blood sugar, promotes digestion, and improves mental processes. For an extra liftoff, try black tea, which has about twice as much caffeine as green tea, but only about half as much as coffee.
Get in a groove. Just like listening to JT motivates you to pump harder on the elliptical, sometimes a few tunes are all you need to get you through the workday. At Pandora.com you can enter in the name of a genre, artist, or song you like and it will create a playlist of similar-sounding songs. Plow through the tedious tasks you’ve been avoiding while expanding your musical horizons. Just be sure to plug in your headphones so you don’t disturb the neighbors.