The 3pm Syndrome: A Daily Cry for Energy

How to manage afternoon cravings?  The effects of “running on coffee” on your vitality, clarity and yoga practice. 

One of the most common concerns I see in my health coaching practice is the lack of energy from my clients. About 90% of the people that come to me are sick and tired of being tired. No wonder the market is saturated with products that promise instant energy and wings! Maybe you are in the same place: running on empty half way through the day. Maybe this is affecting your yoga practice, your job and your personal life. Wherever you see the pattern, the first step is to get honest about the issue.

Ask yourself: Is this breakdown a good mirror of how my day goes when you hit that valley of complete exhaustion? (Not an office person? change language and time to fit your work)

3:00 Bathroom break

3:20 Drink a coffee, energy drink, Diet cola or dig into my purse or “secret drawer” for candy to keep me awake

4:00 Find the task I can tolerate the most (email generally). Look at my Facebook

4:30 Start counting down the day

4:45 Start shutting down

4:50 Realize I shut down too early, twittle thumbs

4:55 Say “forget it!” and leave.

Now you don’t have admit to it, but there is much to say about why you feel so useless at this time. Have you ever tried to understand why? This is an epidemic in corporate America. Worst than that, it is a cycle deteriorating your nervous system, vitality and hormones day in and day out.  Even if your job is not in an office, a recurrent dramatic drop of energy could affect you at a similar time. This is your body asking for attention, don’t ignore the voice saying: “please do something”. My intention is to help you respond to that cry! In my work, I use proven food and lifestyle changes to see my clients shine bright! So lets start now with some easy ways to cut the “crash cycle” and make you shine too:

  • Stop skipping breakfast: The word breakfast means: “breaking a fast”. As you sleep, your body goes without food for over 6 hours. Mornings are time to refuel. Don’t expect your system to function efficiently if you push it to another 4 hours without fuel. If you do yoga early in the morning, make sure to eat after your practice. Please make breakfast a priority and include whole fresh fruits and grains as often as possible
  • Don’t make coffee a meal: Coffee can be an irritant of the digestive lining; it dehydrates you and sends your nervous system for a wild ride. To ease these effects, have coffee only once you have had a meal. Also, make your selection a good quality small espresso and not a sugary concoction. This is an acquired taste, but it also is the traditional & natural way to consume the ancient drink. If you practice hot yoga often remember to drink enough water to make up for the coffee dehydration effect in your body.
  • Release the low fat obsession: Your body needs healthy fats to think clearly. Essential fatty acids are brain food. Things like nuts, seeds, avocados, fatty cold water fish, good quality yogurt, olives and cold pressed oils should be often in your plate. You should honor this even more if your yoga practice is a vigorous one. Fat free processed products are loaded with sugar that causes hypoglycemic episodes; please let that 90’s fad behind.
  • Get enough sleep: I don’t need to explain. Just go to bed already…!
  • Put down the sugary drink:  There are no nutrients in that can of soda, but plenty of sugar and chemicals to send you right to the valley of the zombies in 20 minutes. Opt for a piece of fruit for a sweet fix instead. Also, drink herbal teas, lemon water with stevia or watered down fruit juice to keep you in the land of the living. Instead of a sport drink during or after practice, opt for raw coconut water or kambucha if water is not enough for you.
  • Take a break from fluorescent lights: Research has found that the artificial light coming from fluorescent bulbs affect our circadian rhythm. In short, this is the day-night cycle that controls your body chemistry. Effects include migraines, eyestrain, problem sleeping, hormonal / menstrual issues, stress-cortisol increase and other endocrine disorders. To alleviate this issue, step outside and get some sun (vitamin D!) as often as you can. Find an outdoor yoga class and enjoy summer: time to be outside!
  • Drop the Overstimulation: Our brains cannot rest if you are jumping from one device to the next. Please let go of the obsessive texting, web surfing and TV watching. The new strategy is Single pointed focus…forget multitasking. BE YOU and BE PRESENT.  Disconnect to connect to the abundance of energy available to you.

In our healthy endeavors just as in yoga, we must show up to be able to initiate any change. Practice and patience will make these strategies more and more habitual, the key is to start small and with a beginners mind. Take one of these small steps; they are crucial to start moving in the right direction. Pick the one you dislike the most and stick to it for 10 days…why? If you are really resisting it, then you truly need a change in that area.

Like in a pose that you are working towards, use compassion when things get difficult. Honor where you are and keep practicing. Get with a friend for support and help each other out. Keep selecting a new strategy and plan for a reward at the end of the trial. Find a health coach or a professional if the energy issue persists. Choose to be alive and vital! What will be your strategy?


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