There’s something about working eight hours a day that leaves most people feeling exhausted. Whether it’s staring at a screen or dealing with demanding customers, a day at work can leave you unmotivated to do anything else. How are you supposed to cook dinner, meet your friends, or even read when all you feel like doing is slipping into your PJs and binge-watching a Netflix series?
You’re not the first (or last) person to wonder how to get things done after work. Head onto Reddit, and you’ll come across numerous threads (some of them are five years old, but they’re as useful as ever) dedicated to figuring out how to beat that post-work slump. Drinking enough water and eating healthy aside, there might be other ways to boost your energy in the evening, after all.
Skip the coffee and have a banana instead
Everyone knows the stimulating effects of caffeine, but if you don’t want to spend the entire night tossing and turning, chugging espresso after work is probably not a good idea. Instead, Reddit user capnd recommends eating a banana. “Keep a project in mind throughout the workday (even if it’s as mundane as run[ning] the vacuum or wipe the kitchen counters). Then, come home, munch a banana and set out on your task. You’ll be surprised how that leads to other little household tasks as you work off that glorious produce high.” That actually makes perfect sense—bananas are a fantastic source of carbohydrates, natural sugar, and vitamins, all of which help boost your energy levels.
Try working out in the morning
Waking up earlier to exercise doesn’t sound too appealing, especially in the dead of winter. However, a morning workout can actually help increase your energy levels for the entire day. It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous, either. The Reddit user pinguen, for example, takes their dogs out for a half an hour walk each morning. “The first couple of days it felt really hard to wake up, and I would be half asleep while starting the walk, but even from day one, I was much more wide awake and energetic throughout the day. I think it was the early morning fresh air.”
If you’re so tired the thought of doing anything else makes you wince, consider taking a power nap after work. “Even a 20 [to] 30 minutes nap will help revitalize and make you feel fresh,” says the Redditor lazy-learner. However, be sure to set the alarm to prevent oversleeping. Otherwise, you’ll not only wake up feeling groggy but can disturb your sleeping pattern, too. If you can find a quiet space on your lunch break, napping earlier in the day (before 3 pm) is also better if you’re worried about ruining your nighttime sleep.
Change your shoes for another pair
Some Redditors swear by changing into a different pair of shoes if they have to head out again. In the Reddit user’s JennyBeckman’s experience, swapping out shoes reinvigorates your feet and keeps you moving. The Redditor samw11 agrees and adds, “I go a little further and change out of my socks [or] tights as well, and I use a foot spray—I don’t think they do much apart from freshen[ing] your feet, but it’s quite soothing and I find that it helps.”
Try a different work schedule
A 9 to 5 workday doesn’t suit everyone. If your schedule doesn’t feel right and you have an understanding boss and a job that doesn’t require that you work set hours, consider testing out different shift patterns. CorgiJack says, “I work 3 pm [to] 9 pm, 6 days a week and I love it. I have so much [time in the] day! By the time I am going to work, I’ve already finished doing all the stuff that I wanted to do for that day, and don’t need to worry about being too tired.”
Keep moving and accomplish “mini-tasks”
No matter how tempted you are to plop down in front of the TV or laptop when you get home, keep moving. As the Redditor crapshack put it, “it’s game over once we sit down.” If you want to work out, try to hit the gym right after work, without stopping by home first. And if you’re having a hard time convincing yourself to tackle your chores or get started on a project, try breaking down the task into a “mini-task.” According to Reddit user Jenny Beckman, “The mini-task never seems like too much, it reduces my to-do list making it more manageable, and if I really am unable to do something else, I’ll at least have done something.” Need a place to start? Try a “surface sweep.”
Schedule a doctor’s appointment
If none of the above help and you’re still feeling as tired as ever after a day’s work, it might be time to see your doctor. “I started out after college working 9 [to] 5 fine but gradually got tired and worse,” says the Redditor themaknelly. “Found out from a doctor later that I had a swollen thyroid and thymus. Took some supplements and natural medication and I’m now back in action.” Other potential reasons you might be feeling exhausted include vitamin and mineral deficiencies, urinary tract infection, and even food intolerance, according to Medical News Today.