Head outside and sit in the daylight for 10 minutes
Better still, have your lunch outside and divide your break between eating and a walk. It will help reset your chronological clock, keep down the amount of melatonin (the sleep hormone) your body produces during this circadian dip and give you a valuable boost of beneficial vitamin D, reducing your risk of osteoporosis as well as various cancers. Here's how healthy, happy people spend their lunch breaks.
Choose energizing protein, not energy-sapping carbs
For lunch, a tuna salad without the bread is a better choice than a tuna sandwich. A green salad sprinkled with low-fat cheese, a hardboiled egg, and some sliced turkey wins over a pasta salad. The change can really make a difference when it comes to not craving a nap come 3 p.m.
Get into the routine of a mid-afternoon cup. It’s a good step toward beating the afternoon doldrums thanks to that little bit of a caffeine burst and the few quiet minutes the brewning and steeping entails. Keep a selection of exotic flavored teas (preferably caffeinated) in your office and an aesthetically pleasing cup and saucer just for tea.
Clean your desk and clear out your email inbox
Both are relatively mindless tasks that don’t require great amounts of concentration or clear thinking, and both will leave you feeling more energized because you’ll have accomplished something visible as well as having reduced energy-sapping clutter. Here are other productive ways to spend five minutes.
Make an “I was thinking of you” phone call
To your wife, child, siblings, parents, a friend, or a retired colleague. A five-minute keep-in-touch call will lift your spirits for hours and reinvigorate you to get your work done.
Put a drop of peppermint oil in your hand
Briskly rub your hands together, then rub them over your face (avoid your eyes). Peppermint is a known energy-enhancing scent. Here are other ways aromatherapy improves your mood.
Roll your shoulders forward, then backward, timing each roll with a deep breath in and out. Repeat for two minutes.
Consider a morsel of dark chocolate
This is not a license to overindulge, but dark chocolate does have some unique advantages. Unlike milk chocolate, it is truly a healthy food, closer to the category of nuts than sweets, given the high levels of healthy fat and antioxidants it contains. Plus, it has abundant fiber and magnesium. Additionally, it provides a little caffeine, as well as a satisfyingly decadent feeling. But don’t eat more than one square.
Chew some “spicy” gum
Chewing gums with strong minty flavors are stimulating, and the mere act of chewing is something of a tonic to a brain succumbing to lethargy. Plus, chewing stimulates saliva, which helps to clear out bacteria responsible for cavities and gum disease from lunch. Just be sure to choose sugar-free gum.
Plan group activities for midday
If you often work on your own, try to organize work involving others at the time of day when your concentration might otherwise be waning. We are social animals, and interactions always rev us up. But make sure it’s an interesting, interactive activity. Sitting in a room listening to someone else drone on and on will just send you snoozing.