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11 Ways to Get Through the Afternoon Slump without Coffee

A man at a desk with two Post-Its of hand-drawn eyes over his eyes.
fizkes/Shutterstock

The midafternoon slump is real. If you find yourself stifling more yawns around 2 p.m., you’re definitely not alone. Instead of reaching for yet another cup of coffee, though, try some of these healthier ways to boost your energy.

It really doesn’t take much to rejuvenate yourself and get those energy levels back where they need to be so you can finish your day. Grab some tired friends, family members, or coworkers, and try the methods below. You’ll be surprised how alert you feel afterward!

Get Some Fresh Air

Yes, it’s a cliché, but fresh air really can work wonders on your focus, concentration, clarity, and overall energy levels. It’s also the easiest way to give yourself a boost in the most natural way possible.

If you can get out of the house or office and take a short brisk walk, that’s all it takes! Walk around your office building or take the dog for a walk around your neighborhood.

Even 10 minutes is more than enough for you to feel much more alert. If you can be away for a bit longer, head to a nearby park or explore the subdivision or block next to yours.

Do Some Squats

Squats aren’t just for workouts! They’ll wake you up and get that blood circulating again. If you find yourself wilting, get up and do 15 fast air squats. Nothing wakes you up like exercising! Your heart will start racing, your entire body will be activated and alert, and you’ll boost those endorphins and increase your energy levels.

Repeat this 3-5 times, and you’ll be more than ready to sit down again and actually get some work done.

Take the Stairs

People walking up stairs in an office building.
BGStock72/Shutterstock

You’ve heard it before: Always take the stairs. It’s helpful to get those steps in or just to get in a bit of exercise if you spend most of your day sitting at a desk. When the yawning becomes too much, though, you can also wake yourself up by going up and down the stairs a few times.

It’ll get your blood circulating and give your brain an instant refresh, so you’re ready to tackle the rest of your day. It only takes a few minutes to notice a change, so whether you’re headed to another floor for a meeting or just hitting the break room, skip the elevator!

Hydrate!

Sometimes, when fatigue creeps in, it’s due to a lack of hydration. You’ve probably heard that we should all be drinking eight glasses of water per day, but few of us actually do.

Becoming dehydrated is actually easier and far more common than you might think, especially during the winter when heating systems make indoor spaces extra dry. So, when you start feeling drowsy, try drinking a full glass of water. It might be all you need to regain your energy and focus.

If you know you don’t drink enough water each day, or just tend to forget, you might want to invest in a water bottle like this one from Giotto. It’s marked with each hour, to remind you when it’s time to drink.

Fuel Up with Food

One of the best ways to quickly increase your energy levels is by eating some energizing food. Some of the best options are:

  • Bananas
  • Mangoes
  • Dates
  • Nuts

Fruits that are high in sugar will give you a natural energy boost and the high-content fat in nuts is known to improve brain function and improve focus.

You can eat them separately or blend them in a smoothie with some quality plant-based milk. Then, you’ll have yourself an energy bomb that’ll definitely fuel the rest of your day.

Dance

A group of people line dancing at an office.
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Sometimes, all you really need to lift your spirits and refill your tank is to get your body moving! It doesn’t have to be anything specific, but if you like to dance (and you have some semblance of privacy) the 2 p.m. slump is the perfect time to bust a move!

If you’re working from home, just put on one of your favorite tunes and start shaking it. It’ll elevate your endorphins and stimulate the production of serotonin, which will also make you feel more awake and alert.

Don’t feel comfortable flossing in the middle of your office? Invite your coworkers to get involved and have a 2 p.m. dancy party every day to help everyone out.

Take a Shower or Splash Water on Your Face

If you’re finding it hard to concentrate on your to-do list and you work from home, take a short break and hop in the shower! Make sure the water is lukewarm, or colder, if you can stand it. This can literally refresh every cell in your body.

If you work in an office and can’t take a full-fledged shower, just hit the restroom and splash some cold water on your face. The shock of the cold will definitely wake you up, so you’ll be alert enough to finish your day.

Sing

Singing shouldn’t be reserved just for the shower, although, if you’re taking the advice above to get over the 2 p.m. slump, doing both is a fantastic idea! Singing also wakes up those brain cells and helps you get your energy back.

It can work wonders on your stress levels and increase your endorphins, as well. If you’re in an office and can’t really belt out a song at top volume whenever you feel like it, take a short trip to your car for a little musical therapy.

Do Some Stretches

A woman stretching at her desk in an office.
imtmphoto/Shutterstock

Sitting in front of a computer for long periods can make you feel tired and fatigued because the lack of movement slows down your metabolism and blood flow. Stretching is an easy way to wake up your muscles and get your blood circulating.

Doing some office-friendly stretches, or even some that specifically target the sacrum or slouched shoulders, will all work. They’re all easy to perform and don’t take a lot of time, but still deliver instant results.

Again, consider getting the whole office involved and schedule a 2 p.m. stretch session every day.

Adjust the Temperature

Cold weather means we crank up that thermostat to feel warm and cozy. Unfortunately, this also makes us sleepy and ready to climb up under the covers.

Similar to the cold water treatment we mentioned above, if you lower the temperature to the 66-68 degrees Fahrenheit range, it can clear the afternoon fogginess and make your mind feel clearer.

Take a Power Nap

If you can, it might be a good idea to take a power nap. When done right, power naps can be great energy and productivity boosters, but it takes a while to master them.

To maximize their efficiency, make sure you don’t go over the 20-minute mark (set an alarm if you need to). Darken your room and eliminate all distractions. When you wake up, go straight back to your tasks and your brain will feel brand new!


There are plenty of natural ways to combat afternoon fatigue, so try all of the above and see which work best for you. Want some more tips to boost your energy? Check out these long-term suggestions.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »

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