The afternoon dip… Even though you had a good night’s sleep and you ate two proper meals, your body still wants to lay down and sleep after lunch. Pretty frustrating and not very productive when you are at work. Let’s dive deeper into it and see if there is a way to overcome it. I know there is. It’s a lifehack!
Fight and flight
Our nerve system consists of two systems: sympathetic nerve system which is active, alert, goal minded, and high in energy. It is also called the fight and flight mode. When you are working, you are in this state: so active and alert.
Then we have the parasympathetic nerve system which does digestion, resting, recovering, being present in the moment and not being super alert. It is also called the rest and digest system.
In today’s modern lifestyle, we often find ourselves caught up in various responsibilities like work, family, and social obligations, which keep us mostly in the fight or flight mode.
So you are having lunch on a busy day, while you are still in the fight and flight mode. Now your body suddenly has to switch to the parasympathetic nerve system in order to digest the food. So you are crashing your system into this new state. The energy in your body is now targeted to digesting food. Because your body is busy digesting, it reduces alertness and you start feeling tired. So if you are eating in an active state, it’s extra stressful for your body. And this lunch doesn’t give you the energy that you hoped for.
But… if you take the time to switch to the rest and digest state, your body can digest your food more easily in a way that it gives you energy. You actually digest the food more efficiently, it gives you energy and after lunch you have a good focus for the rest of your afternoon. Because you are using the energy of the food to focus.
Here’s the trick. Take a break half an hour before lunch. Do a breathing exercise, a meditation and/or a mindful walk. This will activate the rest and digest system. Your body can slow down and is ready to have some food. After lunch you’ll have plenty of energy for the rest of the afternoon.