Ohh 3pm, we meet again! It’s actually about 3.20 pm that I usually find the hardest; my post-lunch wind dies in the sails and I come to a grinding holt, ready for tea/chocolate/fresh air/Facebook/anything to lift my vibe back up to high voltage.
If you're trying to cut down on the caffeine or decrease the amount of sugariness in your life the 3o'clock crash is a cravings danger zone! It’s that time of the afternoon where I start to feel my brain slowing down, and I often find myself up against a creative wall. It’s a resistance minefield with all forms of procrastination, escapism and blood-sugar-spiking-snacks seeming especially tempting.
Get yourself out of your afternoon funk and keep the productivity fairies on your side with my five caffeine, sugar, guilt-free (and basically calorie free!!!) afternoon pick-me-ups.
Eradicate your ego
I can already hear a few of you saying ‘oh yeah’ to this one. Ego eradicator is an amazing meditation taught in Kundalini yoga; it will lift your vibration up to the sky and have you amped, pumped and ready to rock’n’roll in no time at all!
Here’s how it goes.
Find a comfortable seat, if you’re on a chair uncross your legs and have your feet firmly planted on the ground.
Raise your arms overhead at about 60 degrees. Make a ‘thumbs up’ with both your hands and point your thumbs in towards one another making an arc over your head.
Take a deep breath in through the nose and a long breath out through the mouth.
Inhale through the nose down into the belly, then pull your belly button in towards your spine and exhale in a short, sharp breath. Take a quick inhale and then a short, sharp exhale drawing the belly button in. This is called breath of fire.
Continue to pulse the breath, drawing the belly button in on the exhale, and extending the arms overhead for 3-5 minutes.
This is a tricky one if you’re in an open plan office, kinda makes you look a bit like a crazy person, hence the name, ego eradicator J. It’s a truly awesome practice, and my number one way of combating afternoon fatigue, so I highly recommend you give it a go! (One caveat – this one is not recommended for the soon-to-be mummas, so if you’re pregnant this is not for you.)
Citrus it up
Fresh, zesty lemon in hot water is my favourite way to start the day; it’s alkalizing, detoxifying and gives me a little zing. I know, so many of you are already on the morning lemon tea bandwagon, so why not give it a go in the afternoon? It’s a great pick-me-up and, believe it or not, it’s actually a good caffeine replacement.
Turn your perspective upside down
In yoga we practice inversions for a number of reasons, they flush bodily fluids back down towards the heart where its purified and flushed with more of the good stuff, which it then takes back out to your extremities.
Inversions also use gravity to help increase the flow of blood to the brain, hyper energizing your grey matter. You might not be able to bust out a handstand in the middle of the office (if you’ve got a meeting room or an out-of-the-way wall you can flip yourself up against then go you good thing!) but even a simple standing forward fold (uttanasana) can work wonders.
I repeat, get off your butt sister and walk out the door. Get out into the fresh air and take six long, slow breaths. Inhale right down into the pit of your stomach and then pause at the top of the breath for a count of three before exhaling slowly.
When we sit, especially hunched over a computer for hours on end, most of us don’t breath properly. Our breath becomes shallow, only filling the top of the lungs. Combine this with the stagnation that sitting for all that time creates in the body and you’re on a one-way ride to blah-ville.
Setting aside the overall dangers of a sedentary lifestyle (more dangerous than smoking people!), it’s also a disaster for concentration; our body and our brain aren’t getting an optimal amount of fresh, oxygenated blood, making focus and clarity an up-hill battle.
Pick yourself up, get outside and breath!
Say what now? Yeah I know, bit of a strange name, but what it is, is alternate nostril breathing.
Nadi shogna is a form of pranayama that helps to balance and activate both sides of the brain. It clarifies your thoughts and gives you razor sharp focus, while also having a calming and grounding effect.
Just take your right hand, place the index and middle finger to your third eye, thumb to the right nostril, ring finger to the left nostril.
Take a deep breath in and out through both nostrils then use the thumb to lightly close the right nostril as you breath in through the left.
Pause at the top of the breath, then use the ring finger to close the left nostril and release the thumb to exhale out of the right.
Inhale through the right nostril, pause at the top of the breath, close the right nostril and release the left to exhale.
Inhale left, exhale right, inhale right, exhale left.
Two to three minutes of this breath work will have you feeling clean, clear and double-shot espresso sparkly without the caffeine jitters.
So share, share, share! What’s your secret afternoon pick-me-up? (The PG 13 version, not the afternoon delight variety ;)) And if you found this list useful share it with your peeps.