If you have difficulty getting through the afternoon and evening without overeating, you are not alone. The key to managing stress is managing your energy level.
The hardest time of the day for most people is in the middle to late afternoon. Around 3:00 or 4:00 P.M. we enter the time of day that Japanese researchers have called the "breaking point."
By studying brain-wave readings throughout the day, they found 2 distinct kinds of rhythms. The
breaking point occurs when the low phases of both rhythms coincide, multiplying their effect.
It is when our bodies physiologically start to transition toward its recuperative phase – sleep.
The result is one of the deepest lows of the day.
The "breaking point" is experienced as the feeling of decreased alertness, deep fatigue and the need for rest and recovery in the late afternoon hours.
You know the feeling – struggling to push through the sluggishness at that time of day when you really wish you could go home and take a nap.
It's easy to reach for food to try to manage our mood and energy levels. Those are simply extra calories. It's not really what you need.
There IS a need.
It's just not a FOOD need.
The "breaking point" CAN be managed with a little planning . . . and your willingness to take time out.
How well you manage it determines how well the rest of the day goes.
Remember . . . diets are broken in the late afternoon and evening.
It is best to use this time for restorative activities, such as rest, reading, listening to music or meditation.
If you can, take a 20-minute break at that time. Even take a nap if you can. You will feel SO much better (with less urges to overeat) for the rest of the night.
When you can't take a break, take a mini-break. Even 3-5 minutes helps. Any break in concentrated work brings some restorative relief.
Do activities that don't require a lot of concentration – organize your desk, do some breathing exercises, or get up and take a 5-minute walk.
Give your mind a break – remember when the teacher told you to put your head down on your desk? It's a break in mind-directed activity. And a necessary respite in your day.
DON'T use the time to plan your day or think about what you will say in your next meeting.
Use the time to REST, relax and reconnect to yourself and your needs.
Above all, pay attention to your mind-body cues. The goal is to change your mental pace.
I recently heard someone say "If I have a lot to do, I just eat my way through it."
DON'T use food to push through the day. But instead, honor your body and the signals it is giving you.