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How to Beat the Afternoon Slump: 5 Ways to Stay Energized

Overcome the afternoon slump If you're working part or full-time while also taking classes toward your degree, you know how difficult it can be to juggle so many responsibilities at once. While taking online courses is a great way to work around your busy schedule, it can be tough to find time for class sessions and homework without getting worn out. This makes figuring out how to beat the afternoon slump one of the most common and persistent challenges when balancing work and school.

Fastco Studios over at FastCompany.com has helpfully compiled 5 useful tips on avoiding loss of energy and sleepiness in the afternoon. We wanted to share these tips below in hope that they'll help you when you're struggling for ways to boost your energy levels later in the day.

Eat a Protein-Heavy Breakfast
While toast, cereal, bagels, and other carbohydrate-heavy foods are traditional breakfast staples, they can actually cause energy levels to plateau in the hours after eating—leading to a crash around lunchtime. Instead of loading up on carbs first thing in the morning, grab a protein bar, shake, or some Greek yogurt with nuts or flax seed. Protein will stick with you longer and keep you energized as you move into the second half of the day.

Take Short Breaks Throughout the Day
There's a difference between staying focused on the task(s) at hand and working continuously without a break all day. Well-timed breaks from work can help keep you fresh and focused so you can work effectively for longer, and this can be especially important during those long weekend study sessions following a full work week. In fact, frequent short breaks between tasks have been shown to increase productivity when compared to working without interruption through an entire 9-to-5 workday.

Smart Snacking Can Save the Afternoon
When you do feel yourself starting to fade, take one of the quick breaks mentioned above to grab a snack—but make sure you're snacking smart. Like with breakfast, you don't want to load up on too many carbohydrates, and you should also avoid low-nutrient sweets and empty high-fat calories like those found in chips and fries. Instead, opt for something high in protein like almonds and dark chocolate (which is typically lower in crash-inducing sugars and has been shown to provide short boosts in brain function).

Avoid Coffee Before 10 a.m.
Ok, this can be a tough one—but if you can force yourself to avoid that first cup of coffee until after you've fully woken up and started the day, it can help you stay energized later in the afternoon. Your body's natural rhythms are still adjusting to being awake during the first few hours of the morning, and too much caffeine during this period can throw them off for the rest of the day, resulting in you getting tired later in the afternoon. When it comes to how to beat the afternoon slump, holding out on your morning coffee just a little longer will work wonders.

Drink Plenty of Water Throughout the Day
In addition to being generally important for immune system function and your overall health, staying hydrated can also help you remain alert and focused (another reason to avoid relying too much on coffee, which can have dehydrating effects).

If you're considering going back to school while working, there are a number of benefits to taking classes online. We hope the above tips help when you're looking for ways to boost your energy in the afternoon so you can transition from work to school and studying.