With Benny Button's movement expert - Rosie Dumbrell
We all know that 3pm feeling and Fridays can be the hardest. As we push to the finish line of the working week we have 5 healthy tips to help you feel energised so you can get through that slump naturally.
1. Easy yoga moves - Spine extension
Yogis know that backbends assist with energy movement, or "qi" moving up the spine. Said to be akin to a shot of coffee, performing some progressive spine extensions can really help lift your energy.
i) Cobra - lay on your tummy with your legs together and feet and toes pointed. Bring your hands by your ribcage, firmly engage the muscles of your legs and squeeze them together, and press the tops of the feet down into the floor. On an in breath, lift your upper body off the floor, using your hands for partial support, and squeezing the muscles along the back of your body. Lower down as you breathe out, and repeat 5x. You can increase the intensity by straightening your elbows and lifting your thighs off the floor to, which is called Upward Facing Dog pose.
ii) Standing back bend - Stand with feet hip width apart, hands on your lower back, fingers pointing to your back pockets. Engage your core (deep ab muscles), draw your shoulder blades together and down your spine. On an inhale lift your chest skyward, working to gently arch your spine. Support your neck by keeping your gaze forward and chin parallel to the ground. Return to the start position on an exhale breath.
Repeat 5-10 cycles with breath.
iii) Bridge Pose - Lay on your back, knees bent, feet hip width apart, arms down by your sides. On an exhale breath, lift your hips skyward, but keeping some awareness of core engagement. Hips should raise to about the height of your knees. To increase the intensity, place your hands under your hips thumbs towards the centre, and walk your elbows in so they are under the line of your hands for support.
Hold for 5-10 breaths.
2. One minute of mindful breathing
Spend one minute doing deep slow breathing exercises. Breath in for the count of 5, and out for the count of five. No need to use force though, take it easy. Often when we yawn its due to lack of oxygen, so breathing fully, slowly and purposefully can assist you to re-oxygenate and rejuvenate. We, here at Benny, love the "Breathe Sync" App, which offers a paced breathing exercise for 1 minute and upwards, always helping bring you extra energy, calm and concentration.
3. Take a 5 min walk
Fresh air gives us energy too. We get some headspace for new perspectives and an increase in mental activity and creativity from increased circulation and oxygen. Ahh, there isn’t much that a 5-10min dip out in the fresh air can't fix :)
4. Eat an Apple
Apples are an amazing alternative to an afternoon cup of coffee - without the crash or overstimulation that can trouble your sleep later in the evening. Apples, like most fruit, contain fructose which is a natural sugar that can wake you up organically and help keep you going. It also moves slowly through the body, reaching areas where you may not wake up immediately, but once an apple is in your system it'll wake you up and keep you awake!
Modern science continues to prove that many ancient health-boosting techniques, like meditation, do wonders for both our mind and body. Taking as little as a couple of minutes to sit and concentrate on your breath, on an intention (or mantra), or on sensations in your body can snap you out of your afternoon haze. One of our favourite techniques is to sit with a tall spine, and our shoulders and jaw relaxed, with our eyes closed. On an inhale breath, focus on the air as it enters the tip of your nose; on an exhale breath, focus on the feeling of air passing across your top lip. Notice that the air is cooler on the way in, and warmer on the way out. Try setting yourself a timer for 5 mins (or a length of choice) so you aren't tempted to open your eyes prematurely and relish in the boost this practise gives yourself.
There you have it - 5 super simple things for overcoming that 3pm slump. Feel free to let us know how you go with them :)