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8 Clever ways to wake yourself up when you’re literally falling asleep at your desk

Text: Amy Marturana; Photography: Gallo Images/Getty Images

September 21, 2017

8 Clever ways to boost energy at workWe’ve all been there: dozing off at our desks, trying desperately to muster up the energy to finish that assignment before the day ends. It’s easy to just throw back another cup (or three) of coffee, but perpetuating the caffeine boost-and-crash cycle is just going to leave you with the same problem later on—or worse, make it difficult for you to actually get quality sleep at night.

Next time you’re desperately considering propping your eyelids open with toothpicks, try these easy tricks to re-energise yourself and power through the rest of the day.

1 Get up and take a walk outside

Take a walk through the building if you really can’t get outside (or if the weather’s ugly). But ideally, a nice dose of fresh air will do you good. “You’ll get sunlight and really give your brain a rest,” Rachel Salas, M.D., an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine who specialises in sleep medicine, tells us. “Recharge and stop and smell the roses.”

2 Do some meditation exercises

Meditation can work really well if you’re just feeling drained, Salas says. “Implementing a two-minute meditation, even in your office, can recharge you,” she says. Integrative medicine expert Taz Bhatia, M.D., agrees: “If you can develop that skill and use it in the workplace, it really helps with energy.”

3 Take a colouring break

“I think the majority of this fatigue is mental fatigue,” Taz says. So taking a mental break is probably what your body needs. “Turn off the computer screen and do something else, like colouring in a colouring book or even knitting or journaling for a few minutes, whatever you like to do,” Taz recommends. Just make sure if you’re staring at a computer all day that your break activity doesn’t involve an electronic screen, too.

4 Chat with your co-workers

“One thing I personally do is take a break and go talk to my colleagues or people on my team and talk about things other than work,” Salas says. “That always recharges the group. I call it ‘solace rounds.'” Taking a breather can work wonders if you’re stressed, overwhelmed, or just hitting a wall and need a change of pace.

5 Use aromatherapy

Eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary are all scents known for having uplifting and energising effects. “When you inhale them, they go from the nose to the brain, straight to the limbic system,” Taz explains. The limbic system controls smell, but also emotions, motivation, and behaviour. When these uplifting scents hit the brain, “it, in turn, regulates neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine,” Taz explains, making you more alert.

6 Snack on some protein

Low blood sugar, thanks to a nice boost right after lunch followed by a dip later, can make you feel sluggish. Taz suggests keeping some high-protein snacks, like nuts or nut butter, at your desk. They’ll give you energy and help stabilise your blood sugar. “Stay away from coffee and sugary foods, because you will get an energy burst but then crash,” she warns.

7 Or dark chocolate

Dark chocolate has magnesium, which is a calming agent, Taz explains. But a square or two is also just a great emotional pick-me-up. “It just gives you a 30-second to one-minute relaxation response, so you have a minute to recharge and refocus.”

8 Get in a quick workout

“Intense exercise can change the body’s temperature and that can alert you or wake you up, which is why we don’t recommend intense exercise right at bedtime,” Salas says. It doesn’t have to be intense though — even just doing some stretches at your desk can help. A small amount of exercise can increase your endorphins, boosting your mood and energy levels instantly.

Taken from Self. Click here to read the original.

Looking for more career advice? Here’s how to get your boss to say yes to flexitime and how to maintain your focus when working from home.

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