OK, you’re officially falling asleep at your desk and ready to bounce—after all, you have a new episode of The Masked Singer waiting at home on your cozy couch. But wait… It’s still how early in the workday? And they expect you to make it four more hours how? Here, five afternoon-slump saviors to keep right at your desk, because your boss will probably notice if you don’t come back from lunch (sorry).
1. An XL Water Bottle
Here’s the thing: Keeping a small water bottle or glass at your desk will, in theory, encourage you to get up out of your chair and walk to the watercooler more often. But in reality, most of us end up surviving the day on that one original glass of H2O because we’re too busy or too distracted to make the walk. To help ward off a 3 p.m. crash, make an XL bottle—we’re talking around a whopping 32 ounces—a staple of your desk habitat. Fill it up once in the morning, then mindlessly sip, sip until afternoon. Fill it up just once more and you’re guaranteed to stay hydrated, making it easier for your body to pump that energizing oxygen to your brain.
2. A Tasty Protein Bar
Let’s face it: Eating a sandwich at noon just won’t satisfy you until dinner (in the fuel department or the flavor department). So stock your desk drawer with RXBARS that not only taste like a treat but also fill you with real nutritious ingredients that’ll kick that 3 p.m. feeling to the curb. We’re talking flavors like Chocolate Chip, Coconut Chocolate and Chocolate Sea Salt (uh, yum). They’re all made with simple ingredients like egg whites for protein, nuts and dates, providing 1) something delicious to snack on when you have the hankering and 2) the kick you need to make it to 6 p.m.
3. A Deck of Cards
The clock strikes lunch and you can house last night’s leftovers without shame. But as soon as you do, a food coma hits, and there you are, slumped over in the cafeteria chair wondering how you’ll make it to EOD. Nope, not on our watch. Instead, grab a pack of cards and a buddy to play a game such as Uno or Go Fish during your break. It won’t help you digest that plate of spaghetti Bolognese you pounded (that’s a personal problem), but it will keep your brain active throughout the meal and give you a reason to stay away from your desk longer. Studies show that taking smart breaks is key for reducing mental fatigue, boosting brain function and increasing productivity, so don’t be afraid to extend lunch for a stimulating game of gin rummy.
4. Citrus-Scented Hand Lotion
Studies show that smelling citrus for several minutes will boost your mood and reduce stress levels for the next half hour. Keep a bottle of lotion handy—one with a strong scent of lemon, orange or yuzu—and take a moment to rub it on while absorbing the energizing smell. This is best if you need a quick pick-me-up, like, say, right before an afternoon meeting. It also works great with more potent essential oils—just make sure you’re not allergic first.
5. A Low-Light Plant
It’s safe to assume that most of us don’t sit directly near a big, bright office window that looks out onto a gorgeous landscape of flora and fauna, right? To make up for the bad lighting and parking lot views—two culprits of the afternoon blues—bring some green to your workspace. An easy-care plant will not only add a pop of natural color to your desk (mood booster number one) but also filter more oxygen, giving you the benefit of extra fresh air (mood booster number two). Start with a snake plant, spider plant or pothos, all of which are easier to keep alive than they are to kill.