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9 Ways to Power Through a Drowsy Afternoon Sipping coffee in the midafternoon to stay awake is when we can best appreciate the wisdom of the siesta.

By Jacqueline Whitmore Edited by Dan Bova

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It's 3:00 p.m. and you start to yawn and stretch. You've hit that dreaded afternoon "hump."

You're just about ready to fall asleep in your chair because you stayed up too late the night before and ate a lunch that was a little too heavy on the carbs. You feel like you can hardly finish your work for the day, but you have several more hours to go. What's a person to do?

Here are several tips that will give you a quick pick-me-up and get you back to the job at hand with renewed enthusiasm.

1. Get outside.

There's nothing like a breathe of fresh air to clear the head and awaken the senses. Take a brisk 10 or 15 minute walk around the neighborhood and you'll feel your muscles and your brain come to life.

2. Take a coffee break.

Trek down to the kitchen or the local coffee shop and get a refreshing beverage that will help you get moving and slake any thirst. It doesn't have to be coffee. Try herbal tea or hot chocolate for a refreshing change on cold days, or an iced tea or lemonade on warm ones.

Related: Americans Are Drinking Less Coffee Than Ever. Here's Why.

3. Eat a healthy snack.

Forgo the sugary snacks and reach for something healthful like a handful of almonds or a piece of fresh fruit. A healthy snack can revive your blood sugar level after a heavy lunch.

4. Listen to music.

Put on your earphones and rock out to your favorite tunes. Music can stimulate your brain and your attitude.

5. Exercise in place.

The longer you sit, the stiffer you'll get. If you can't leave the office, you can at least leave your chair. Do yoga poses and stretches that will elongate your muscles and give them a break from the sitting position. Stretch to the ceiling and touch the floor, and rotate your head left and right, forward and back.

Related: Don't Let Too Much Sitting at Your Desk Harm Your Health

6. Take a quick nap.

If you have the liberty, set an alarm for no more than 20 minutes and catch a quick catnap. A short nap should invigorate your energy. Be careful not to sleep too long or you can counteract the benefits a nap is intended to provide.

7. Wash your face.

Splash some cold water on your face for instant refreshment or put a cold, wet cloth on the back of your neck for a few minutes.

8. Schedule a mindless task.

Give your brain a break for a few minutes to take care of the simple tasks that need to be done, like filing, emptying the trash, organizing your files, deleting your inbox, or updating your calendar.

9. Exercise your mind.

Take a break to catch up on the industry news through magazines and online articles and websites. Or take 20 minutes to listen to a TED talk. Try not to use this time to check your Facebook or LinkedIn accounts. Instead, use it to increase your knowledge and your value.

It's normal to have an energy dip in your day, however, if you regularly practice a few of these tips, you won't to let it take the rest of your business day down with it.

Related: How to Stay Focused: Train Your Brain

Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

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