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!