Many individuals start off their day differently each day, some having a great day while others have been lackluster. Having an established set of afternoon habits can be helpful for breaking up the day into managable chunks that would be mentally draining and stressful. Mental health experts suggest taking little breaks throughout the day to refocus and reenergize. Medical experts like Dave Spegiel, MD, associate chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, director of the Center on Stress and Health, and medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine calls this, "state change." This involves changing mental states to not feel overwhelmed or trapped with the same situation. The same problem can be approached differently with a refreshed mindset .
Here is a list of some mid-day activities and habits you can start which can help improve overall wellbeing and your mental health:
1. Read a Chapter in a Fiction Book
Reading just 15 minutes a day during your lunch break can help reset and clear your mind, which can help get you through the rest of your day. Reading a book, especially fiction, can change your mental state so you can reengage in your tasks and duties with a clear mindset.
2. Make an Elaborate/Visually Appealing Snack
An appealing mini charcuterie board or a parfait is simple yet fun and easy to make. You can get very creative with these snacks from using things like Cheez-its, pretzels, frozen fruits, freeze dried fruits, and fresh veggies.
3. Take an Organizing Break
It may be time to clean up and tidy up the desk that you have been putting off. Keeping things organized can not only help you locate and sort out clutter, but also helps put your mind at ease and can reduce stress. Your time and workspace is worth your attention and is an important part in promoting relaxation.
4. Refrain From Drinking More Coffee in the Afternoon
Although caffeine can help provide fuel for you to get through the day, late-afternoon coffee can affect your sleep later in the night causing your body to feel more stressed and on edge. This can affect your performance the next morning and can build on a new unhealthy habit that will be difficult to fix because of the effects of caffeine withdrawals. Swapping out a coffee with some water or sparkling soda can be another alternative.
5. Getting a Mental Break by Watching a 30 Minute TV Show
TV shows are delightful and distracting and can be a good way to divert your mind off stressful situations that build up in the morning. A mindless TV show like Friends or The Office can provide you with that much needed mental break the same way reading a fictional book can.
6. Taking a Power Nap
For those who can nap without feeling groggy or even more tired should take a short midday nap. Click this link here, for information on how to take a nap without affecting your sleep at night. Finding a comfortable and quiet place to unwind and close your eyes to restart your mind can be beneficial for you throughout the day.
7. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the act of focusing on being aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment without interpretation or judgement. This practice is very simple and can be easy to incorporate into your schedule and create a habit. This practice can also be completed many times throughout the day as needed.
8. Go on a Midday Walk
Getting Vitamin D during a quick walk under the sun is a perfect way to re-energize and improve your mood during the day. Getting some fresh air outdoors is a great stress reliever and mood booster. Taking a walk around the block, to a coffee shop, or to a park is a good habit to incorporate into your daily routine.