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Try This – How to Beat Your Afternoon Slump

Quick notethank you so much to everyone who left a review last week and entered our $100 Amazon gift card raffle! We picked our 10 winners earlier this week, and we’ll be emailing them today!

With that out of the way, let’s jump into this week’s Try This!

Every weekday, around three to four in the afternoon, I notice that my ability to focus drops significantly. I’ve likely been in front of the computer too long and in too many meetings, and it all takes a toll on my energy. 

I know a lot of you can relate to that afternoon energy slump! 

I’ve tried to willpower through it. A few years ago I would even reach for caffeine to give me a little boost. But none of that really sustainably worked.

A few months ago I tried a game-changing hack in the afternoon that not only gave me a nice break but dramatically increased my energy levels and made me feel like I had hit the reset button on my brain.

The hack is cold therapy, and yes, I’ve written about it before. But today, I’m going to specifically be talking about ways to implement it around this time of day for anyone who’s also suffering from the afternoon slump.

Let’s get into it…

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At least a few times a year, I like to take a break from coffee, especially when I find myself reaching for a cup in the afternoon, jittery, sluggish, and depleted. I know I’m not alone. So many others struggle with finding the right balance between energizing ourselves and not being dependent on caffeine. 

That’s why I love Nandaka, the revolutionary coffee replacement designed by Pique!

Switching from coffee to an alternative like Nandaka can help your body align with its innate circadian rhythm and feel less stressed. This is profoundly helpful for regulating stress hormones, digestion, metabolism, and sleep.

I stumbled upon Nandaka during my quest for a coffee replacement that not only tasted great but also supported my health goals. After trying various options with little success, I discovered Nandaka through a friend who raved about its benefits. I can confidently say it's become an integral part of my morning routine, especially when I’m taking a coffee break. 

Here are some of the reasons I love it: 

  • The functional mushroom blend features fruiting bodies (the bioactive treasure chest) of adaptogenic mushrooms Chaga, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Lion’s Mane, along with Reishi powder, extract, and spore powder.

  • It tastes like a chocolatey coffee but has all the benefits of black and green Pu’er teas: antioxidant catechins, theaflavins, l-theanine (nature’s chill pill), and pre- and probiotics to nourish the gut.

  • Ceremonial Peruvian Cacao adds both a satisfying flavor and metabolism support, helping with nutrient absorption and preventing an energy crash hours after drinking.

  • 82mg of slow-release caffeine per serving provides a gentle energy lift (compared to the ~200mg of caffeine per serving in an average cup of craft-brewed coffee.

Why Cold Therapy Works (a Quick Refresher) 

Before we get started with how to implement your new afternoon energy-boosting trick, I want to shed light on some of the reasons why cold therapy is so beneficial for our energy, mood, and mental clarity. 

Typically, the afternoon energy slump is the result of some combination of the following: 

  • Blood sugar crashes from imbalanced meals throughout the day or a big lunch

  • Being sedentary in an office or chair for most of the day without breaks for sunlight and nature

  • Exhaustion from mental energy exerted

I believe cold therapy in the afternoon works because it tackles each of these by improving our metabolism, insulin, and mitochondria and the function of our stress hormones. Here’s more on that:

  • Increase in metabolic rate: Exposure to cold therapy can increase our metabolic rate, which means we can burn more calories at rest.

  • Increase insulin sensitivity: A study that Dr. Susanna Søberg shared with me, looking at 14 recreational swimmers, found that cold water swimming can improve our insulin sensitivity. This is huge, considering insulin resistance is one of the biggest contributors to low energy.

  • Energy booster: Exposure to cold therapy gives a nice energy boost, possibly due to the increases in dopamine and norepinephrine as well as mitochondrial biogenesis!

  • Anxiety reducer: Cold therapy can lower cortisol, which makes it a great tool for reducing anxiety, especially in the moment. 

How to Use Cold Therapy for Your Afternoon Slump

There are so many ways to practice cold therapy; find what works for you! Here are some options: 

  • Quickly dunk your face in ice water*: This first recommendation might sound super basic, but I promise it works for anyone who needs a burst of energy or needs to calm their nerves. It also feels great for the skin.

    I fill a bowl with water and ice and immerse my face for just a few seconds at a time. You can even do this 3–5 times as long as it’s only for a second or two.

    *Only try this if you can do it safely and quickly. If you have any concerns that you can’t, simply splash cold water on your face. Drowning is a serious concern, even in small amounts of water. If holding your breath is a challenge, please avoid this recommendation. 

  • Cold shower: I know a lot of people love this one, but I have to admit that I do NOT like cold showers. I actually find that they’re more difficult to implement compared to other options like a cold plunge or a dunk in a cold tub. Personally, I hate when one part of my body is cold and another part of my body isn't, which is what happens in the shower. I’d much rather be fully submerged in cold and not have the contrast of temperatures. That being said, I still want to include this option because it’s a popular choice and pretty easy to implement in the afternoon. When your energy slump hits, you can take a cold shower (if you can tolerate it), which can be just as simple as jumping in a cold shower for a couple of minutes and hopping out.

  • Cryotherapy or cold plunges: Personally, my favorite way to beat the afternoon slump is to get out of my home office and either go to cryotherapy with a friend or do a quick cold plunge. Whether with friends or solo, my goal is to aim for 11 minutes of total cold exposure between a cold plunge and cryotherapy. This is the cold plunge that I own.

Cryotherapy and cold plunges have been particularly impactful for my energy slumps. After either of these, I feel wide awake, like I have just taken a shot of espresso—but without all the jitters! Both of these options are going to be significantly colder than a cold shower or a splash of water on the face, too, so they definitely have more of an energy-boosting effect! 

Who Might Want to Avoid Cold Therapy?  

I truly believe that pretty much everyone can dunk their face in ice water, but when it comes to full-body immersion, there might be some caveats here to think through! 

  1. If you don’t like cold therapy or it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t do it! There’s no use in forcing yourself to do something that doesn’t make you feel good just because everyone else is doing it.

  2. Women might be more sensitive to cold than men. Dr. Stacy Sims does not recommend that women go any colder than 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). In fact, Dr. Sims says that women often fare better using sauna therapy or heat therapy rather than cold.

  3. If you’re pregnant, wanting to get pregnant, or nearing the menstrual phase of your cycle, cold therapy might not be for you.

  4. If you have a serious health condition, always work with a practitioner before you start cold therapy. 

Concluding Thoughts – Cold Therapy Can Do the Trick!   

If you’re like me and you struggle with an afternoon energy slump, cold therapy might provide exactly what you need to get that nice boost of energy. If you’re new to cold therapy, start small. Even just a splash of cold water on your face or one minute of cryotherapy can make a huge difference when it comes to energy levels. 

Cold therapy isn’t the panacea for everything that ails us, but when it comes to mental clarity, improved focus, and increased energy, it’s just what I needed! 

Stay cool, 

Dhru Purohit