Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Getting hit by the Tired Train

Every afternoon at 2:30 I’m inevitably and mercilessly run over by the Tired Train. It hits me in a split second, leaving me with droopy eyelids, an impossibly heavy body and the feeling that I could pass out on my keyboard at the mere thought of a nap. I never see the Tired Train coming, but once it arrives, I quickly fall into the worst sort of mid-afternoon slump imaginable.

Naturally, it’s bad when it hits me at my desk. But if I’m in a meeting when the Tired Train comes, I’m screwed. It chugs right up to me and tears my conscious state to shreds. In its wake, I become an unstoppable droopy-eyed robot that’s incapable of even pretending to pay attention. I find myself constantly pinching myself to stay awake. The problem? My arms and legs end up covered in faint blue bruises. And it hurts. A lot.

Now before you think I’m a fan of self-mutilation (ew, I’m not!), how the heck else do I stay awake? I certainly haven’t a clue. Which is why, after a little Internet investigating, I was delighted to find these terrific tips from The Daily Mind. This is just an abridged version (peppered with my comments), but you can read the full one here.

1. Go buy some fruit—It’s chock full of the good kind of sugar. You know, the kind that won’t send you on a wild and crazy roller coaster of energy ups and downs, like soda or sweets tend to do. I used to bring an apple to work every day and I never had to deal with the Tired Train. Guess I better jump back on the fruit bandwagon.

2. Drink water—A dehydrated body is a tired body. So drink up! I sometimes challenge myself to chugging contests. Sure, it’s not the most fun, but it motivates me to drink more water. And it definitely perks me up.

3. Turn on the cooling—Get a desk fan. Direct it right on your face and turn it on high. It might be just the cool breeze you need to wake right up.

4. Drink your tea and coffee—Well, of course. Though be careful, caffeine can be addictive. But it’s quite delicious, too. I try to switch between coffee, black tea and lattes (my once-a-week treat).

5. Walk or run up the stairs—It’s a great way to pump up your heart rate and get your body and blood moving. A word to the wise: Be careful if you’re clumsy (like me). Running up and down stairs in heels could be hazardous to your health (and dignity).

6. Breathe deeply—According to The Daily Mind, “In traditional Buddhist practice it is said that you need to breathe deep into your stomach instead of the top half of your lungs. Doing this has a calming effect but it can also serve to wake your mind up as it gets you focused on something internal.” So keep breathing!

8. Go outside into the fresh air—Go out. Take a deep breath. Get some air. Sitting in a fluorescent land of cubicles and corporate chaos would lull even the most energetic mind to sleep. Fresh air is your friend. Plus, it’s always good to see the daylight.

Do you guys have any good tips to stay awake at work? If so, I’d love to hear them! And thanks for the kind words and advice last week. I really appreciate it. Guess what? I haven’t had a single run-in with the stare-crazy kids since then. Hooray!


Melanie's Randomness said...

This is awesome. I'm exceedingly tired right now & I definitely needed something to perk me up at work!!

Ashley said...

I think these ideas are awesome! I used to go through the exact same thing. What has helped me is eating breakfast, then eating a small lunch. I might have a bowl of soup or a sandwich but that's all. Then around 2:00pm fruit, almonds or string cheese as a healthy snack helps keep me going. Eating less for lunch was key for me because I was overeating before (might not be your scenario).

Golden Stilettos said...

I'm familiar with the fruits and lots and lots of water but the Tired Train is sometimes unstoppable no matter what you do.

Girl About Business said...

I thought it was only me. I am thirsty for a nap everyday, and have been trying to break the habit because it really eats up a lot of time. I get tired at work everyday, and it doesn't help that I have class in the evening. Usually an iced sweet tea helps me out, even though it keeps me running to the bathroom. That combined with the radio stations that I listen to. The music keeps me moving, so I rarely get tired anymore because I'm usually moving around at my desk to the music :-)

Also eating a light breakfast and a light lunch help. I should try the water thing too.

MonsteRawr said...

I have also found that taking a deep whiff of peppermint oil helps to invigorate me mentally. Came in handy during those inevitable all-nighters. Luckily for me, my job is extremely active, so I'm usually able to stave off the tired as long as I keep moving.

Mrs Soup said...

I have nuts that I will eat as a snack after lunch...it helps give me a burst of protein when the Tired Train hits. That and the water always help.

I also have my lunch closer to 1 than noon and my break about 3:30. It cuts up the afternoon more which significantly helps.

Meagan@Megs7827 said...

Thanks for the great tips!

Miss E said...

My lunch hour doesn't finish until 2, so I usually hit a slump at about 3pm. I try to avoid the temptation of chocolate or a coke to pick me up and usually go with fruit, water and a cup of tea. I find that walking around the office and chatting also helps me get my focus back!

Anonymous said...

My bf told me a good one for meetings. He said to look awake but thinking about other things that interest me. This helps me stay awake during those painful staff meetings when people drone on and on.

Mandy said...

Those are some great ideas. I'd have to say just taking 3 really deep breaths works wonders as a quick pick-me up. It doesn't always last for long, but it's subtle enough to do in a meeting.

Anonymous said...

I have a fridge full of oranges. I think tomorrow when the Tired Train comes to give me a visit, I will be having an orange, a glass of water, and a walk around the block.

Thanks for the tips!

Blue~Flame said...

Oh, awesome tips.
Although I'm a student+freelancer.
About to start university in September. Advertising!
Nice reading.

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