Afternoon Slump: How to Prevent It

Do you often grab a coffee, some sweets or a nap so you’ll have enough energy to get through the afternoon?

Let’s talk about why this afternoon slump happens.

In Ayurveda we see that the afternoon hours (approximately 2 to 6 p.m.) are vata hours of the days, when vata is naturally high both inside our bodies and in the environment around us.

Vata is wind in space. Wind whipping around in empty space is fast. It’s mobile. It’s cold. It’s dry. And it’s erratic.

If we’re not keeping vata in check during this period of the day, it dries up our reserves, so we end up running on fumes—in the Ayurvedic context, literally.

These vata-dominant after-lunch hours are also a time when the agni—the digestive fire—can easily be blown out by vata’s rapid winds.  When that happens, our body has to expend even MORE energy to build the digestive fire just so it can digest lunch.

The result?  Lagging energy—a.k.a., afternoon slump.  You know—that time of the afternoon when you just want to lay down for a catnap, but because you’ve got other things to do, you probably just grab a stimulating drink or snack instead.

How to Treat and Prevent Afternoon Slump

Think about those qualities of vata—fast, mobile, cold, dry and erratic.

To keep your vata in gentle check each day, you want to antidote those vata qualities—apply the opposite.  This means: slow down; stay warm; hydrate; lubricate; and find a rhythm.  In particular, BEFORE you get tired in the afternoon…

  1. Purposefully slow down.  Stop multi-tasking. Limit rigorous, fast or erratic movements or traveling during these afternoon hours.
  2. But still move a little.  Find a way to work in some gentle movements or exercise.  Try a short walk if nothing else!
  3. Keep a rhythm during these hours; follow some sort of general routine each afternoon.  (This will also help you increase your focus, which tends to dissipate during this time.)
  4. Breathe through your nose.  Each afternoon, offer yourself a few moments to simply sit down, relax and breathe long, deep breaths in and out through the nose.  Inhale from the belly upward into the chest.  Exhale downward from the chest down through the belly.  Do this for a cycle of 12.

Do you fall into an afternoon slump? Let me know in the comments below!

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