I am a morning cocktail connoisseur. No, I'm not talking about indulging in alcoholic cocktails. I'm talking about using a combination of morning habits and routines that turn me from "Dozing Off Dora" to "Killin' It Keesa," before 8am.
Morning-time is My Time
I've spent the last several years researching morning alertness hacks. The primary reason I became interested in those those hacks is because I don't drink coffee. Never have. And, that really seemed to hold me back.
For example, it used to take me at least 2 hours to feel fully awake. I'd wake up, lay in bed for another 10 minutes, take a warm shower and spend at least 15 minutes of my train commute getting some shut eye. I'd arrive at work write a things to do list, and finally hit my stride by mid-morning.
I knew this was no way to operate, and if I wanted to thrive, I needed to interject more energy into my morning. That's when I started some early morning peak performance habits.
So, if you've heard of it, I've tried it
Immersing myself in cold morning showers (my mom still thinks I'm a bit "touched" for doing this), 5am power yoga and protein-only breakfasts, just to name a few things. The amazing thing is, I've found some morning habits that really work for me. I can proudly say I've accomplished my morning energy goal. Being amped at 6 a.m. is what I live for!
Then, reality hit me in the head like my grandmom's neon orange alarm clock. I have another challenge I need to deal with, and it's not my morning energy. I put so much intention on being at my peak early on, that I didn't even notice how much of a struggle midday had become for me. It wasn't that I was having issues keeping my eyes open, rather my focus was a bit scattered and my priorities lacked the luster they had held for me at 6 a.m.
I'd justify the lethargy by telling myself that days are supposed to have ebbs and flows. I'm a morning person by nature, and that's just when I do my best work. Midday doldrums are just a consequence of my decided personality and makeup. There's just no changing that fact. Or is there?
Testing the "Morning Person Only" Theory
When building and testing the best routines for a better morning, a better evening or better sleep, did I neglect routines to get me through post-lunch lethargy? Let's face it, we've all been there. At our desks after a nice sandwich catching ourselves staring off into space feeling the need to rest our eyes for a few moments.
I decided to test the theory that as a self-proclaimed morning maven, I could still create an exorbitant amount of energy in the afternoon. So I kept my favorite morning routines - prayer, exercise etc- but, layered in new midday routines.
Here is a list of what worked for me
If you co-work in a busy office environment, you may opt to find a place where you won't be conspicuous. Once the rest of the team gets what you are doing they will either join you -- or they pretend they don't see you. Both choices are fine.
Five Afternoon Quickies
1) Get Up, Get Moving: Whether I take stairs a few floors or step outside for a 10-minute walk around my building, moving quickly changes my mood. I go from tired and licked, to a woman with fire in her belly and purpose in her heart. I know I'm not done with the day yet!
2) Nap: There is pride in the 15 minute nap y'all! If you work in an environment with sleeping pods, or are in the work from home community try it for yourself. Afterwards, douse your face with some cold water. Only sleep for 15 minutes -- and own it -- take pride in it.
3) Aromatherapy: Specifically peppermint oil really awakens my senses and helps me to focus and organize thoughts that become scattered by 2pm. Just as lavender calms and soothes, peppermint invigorates and energizes. Others have told me any citrus works for them, as does bergamot. You can get any of these in sprays and spray straight on your face for a quick uplift.
4) Create: I'm a bit of a numbers girl, so this one was the most difficult for me. I started this after taking an acting class. We were encouraged to draw with crayons for 5-10 minutes. It had been a long time (i.e. kindergarten) since I had done that type of "drawing." Drawing forced me to take my mind in a direction it doesn't usually go in, which was fun and exciting. It took me out of my comfort zone and gave me a different level of alertness. Whether it's drawing, writing or building with legos, take a few minutes in the middle of your day to do something artistic, creative and fun.
5) Connect: Visit a colleague who shares your workspace instead of pressing "send" on an email or messaging app. You may be helping them and yourself by reaching out in person.
I'm still a morning person, and I get a bit sluggish by midday. But putting these 5 tips into practice helped me a great deal.
I'm mastering these midday habits in the same way I've mastered my morning routine, and already feel like a new woman. Next up is tackling those evening habits.
What are you midday energy success stories?