If I could create my ideal day, it would be one that obliterated the afternoon.
In my ideal day, if this could somehow be possible, the whole day would be a morning.
To me, mornings feel limitless. 8:30AM feels like it could be 8:30AM forever, in a good way. It’s like I have no idea that time is moving forward.
I don’t yet feel any pressure or guilt for what I haven’t accomplished.
I feel a heightened sense of calm because I’m not yet plagued by anxiety. My heart rate is slow. My breaths are deep and my sense are alert.
Mornings carry a sense of possibility.
The thing is, because time feels so limitless to me in the mornings, I am more easily distracted and I don’t always accomplish all that I hoped to do. Mornings might feel like they’re full of possibility, but that means nothing if I don’t act on it.
Once the afternoon hits, I begin to feel guilty for what I never accomplished earlier.
My heart rate increases as anxious thoughts invade my mind.
The guilt and anxiety make me feel tired and sluggish, and though I would like to accomplish what I never got to in the morning, I have such little motivation.
Afternoons are the time of day when I’m most fraught with indecision and apathy, and it’s exhausting.
I’m tempted to adopt the practice of afternoon siestas.
Some mornings I wake up to anxiety provoking thoughts, like what if I never accomplish my goals or what if I’m a talentless hack and I’m just fooling myself? but it’s easy to swat those thoughts away as I make my coffee and take the dog outside for his morning stroll and plug away at whatever needs to get done. It gets harder and harder to fight my harsh self-doubt, sense of uncertainty, and spiraling anxious thoughts as the afternoon creeps in.
I know that I’m not alone. Many people experience an afternoon slump. There are plenty of commercials marketing products like energy drinks which seem to have the sole purpose of helping us through this time of day. My playful dog even seems to get the afternoon blues between the hours of 2 and 4.
Afternoons should be full of possibility, though.
They’re just an extension of the morning.
Sometimes, I’m able to trick myself, in a way, into believing that a new morning has started by mirroring my morning routines, like making a cup of coffee or washing my face.
Here are some other strategies that have either worked for me or that I intend to practice to make it through the afternoon:
- Write about my day so far – acknowledge all that I have already accomplished
- Write down what I’d like to accomplish with the afternoon
- Spend 10 or 20 minutes writing down my worries, then choose one or two of the most pressing ones and create an action plan
- Write about my dreams and aspirations
- Do some simple stretches
- Do a quicker-paced Yoga practice like Vinyasa
- Take a walk
- Play with the dog
- Get out of the house, run errands or walk the dog at a park
- Practice mindfulness or meditation
- Sit outside with no technological distractions
- Take a shower
- Write a letter to a friend
- Listen to inspiring, up-lifting, or energizing music
- Mindfully eat a healthy snack, focusing on the smell, taste and texture of the food
Since I currently work part-time, I’m either home for the entire afternoon, or I’m leaving for work right as the afternoon begins. On work days, I don’t have to struggle through the afternoon blues because I’m occupied, but as I’m leaving for work I still experience that sense of guilt or anxiety for having not accomplished all that I wanted in the morning, so I have one last strategy for combating the afternoon blues:
- Set realistic and actionable goals for the day
Do you experience an afternoon slump, or do you get full-on afternoon blues like me? What are some strategies that you have tried or that you currently use to power through the middle of the day?