What is the afternoon slump, and how does it affect you?
The afternoon slump refers to that period in the afternoon when you feel especially tired, typically after lunch. Thank your circadian rhythm, the 24-hour internal clock that lets the body know when it should be awake and asleep. Each person's is unique, and it's influenced by different factors that can contribute to how awake and alert you are throughout the day, such as your habits.
"In that 24-hour cycle, there is a known slight dip in the level of alertness in the mid-afternoon, commonly known as the mid-afternoon or post-prandial slump," sleep specialist Angela Holliday-Bell, MD previously told Well+Good. "Alertness subsequently increases and then dips more significantly as the late evening comes around.” You may feel it especially acutely after lunch, especially if you eat a carb-heavy meal and/or are an early morning riser, according to research.
While everyone's antidote for the afternoon slump will likely be different, there are certain activities that are supportive of kickstarting your energy, such as exercise or a targeted nap. But your zodiac sign, aka your sun sign, can shine some light on the best way for you to beat the afternoon slump because it takes into account the particular mannerisms, habits, and traits you possess. When you're looking for ideas to beat the afternoon slump, why not turn to the cosmos for inspiration?
How your zodiac sign affects your work and rest needs
According to Alexandria Lettman, astrologer and founder of spiritual-wellness platform Jupiter Jewel, the sun sign gives particularly helpful insights into how you work and rest because it represents your “conscious self and your identity, and how you approach and engage with life,” she says.
Because your sun sign colors your personality, the characteristics associated with your sign impact your habits and tendencies, for example how you tackle productivity and rest. “Using your sun sign, you can see what you need when your energy is lacking and what influences your energy to lack,” Lettman says.
"Using your sun sign, you can see what you need when your energy is lacking and what influences your energy to lack."—astrologer Alexandria Lettman
Each zodiac sign is imbued with certain traits as a result of the various components that contribute to what they’re like, such as the modality and element of each. For example, Capricorn’s status as a cardinal sign means it kicks off its season and has major self-starting energy, plus its earth sign association means it’s grounded and unwavering—these characteristics feed Capricorn’s reputation as an ambitious, hard-working sign that can sometimes struggle to let loose. Its ruling planet, Saturn, is associated with tenacity, productivity, and ambition, which makes sense when you consider the overall traits associated with Capricorn.
Read on for star-sanctioned insights from Lettman and astrologer Celeste Brooks about the best way for each zodiac sign to keep their energy levels up post-lunch.
The best way for each zodiac sign to beat the afternoon slump
Aries, your cardinal fire sign energy means you burn brightly and intensely all day long, so Brooks suggests moving your body with a quick and fun workout to get the wheels turning again if you feel a dip. “Moving fire is a great way to reignite that spark,” she says. Try a quick midday workout that’ll get your blood pumping and heart racing. Your ruling planet Mars, which is associated with action and drive, would approve.
Taurus, you’re an earth sign known for your steadfastness and your ability to plow ahead and work steadily. However, that same element and your ruling planet Venus, which is associated with beauty and pleasure, means you’re deeply in touch with all of your senses. Let yourself experience all the sights, smells, and sensations beyond your door by taking yourself on a walk, suggests Lettman. The benefits of walking are numerous, so it’s an activity that’ll help best the midday slump and then some. "You're very diligent and hardworking, but you work quite slowly, so a change of scenery will really boost your energy," says Lettman.
Gemini, being an air sign and having communication-focused Mercury as your planetary ruler means you “spend a lot of time in your head,” says Brooks. You’re deeply curious, but this can sometimes dip into overthinking, so plan to calm your mind with a midday mindfulness moment. “Take a break and do something to get out of your head and into your body, like a five minute meditation or breathwork exercise,” she says. Try a micro-meditation for a quick burst of calm and to re-center.
Cancer, you’re a deeply emotional water sign (the moon is your ruling planet, after all) who loves to care for everyone before yourself. Eating in the afternoon is a good way to power through the midday slump. Make sure you’re accounted for and nourished by treating yourself with a little self-care in the form of a your favorite treat, suggests Lettman. If you're away from home during the day, make time to pick up something nice from your go-to spot. If you spend your afternoons at home, consider whipping up a batch of beautiful ube brownies or protein cookie dough to satisfy a sweet tooth. If salty is more your style, top tortilla chips with easy air fryer salsa or make a two-ingredient yogurt bread.
Leo, with the sun as your ruler and your status as a fire sign, it’s no wonder you like to be in the spotlight. When you feel your energy lag at midday, Brooks recommends calling a friend for a pep talk. Building and maintaining social bonds and friendships is important for overall health and wellness, and quality conversations with friends are part of this. Share your wins and frustrations from the day. “You have this desire to be admired and validated, so check in with someone who's going to appreciate you and all you’ve done,” says Brooks.
Virgo, you’re known to be extremely meticulous and organized and have a keen eye for details. Thank your earth element, which is responsible for your attentiveness, and your planetary ruler Mercury imbues you with your super star-level ability to plan. Mess and disorganization stress you out and you relish bringing order to chaos, so both Lettman and Brooks recommend you beat the afternoon slump with a small tidying or organizing project.
“You’ll get overwhelmed if it gets to the afternoon and your desk is a mess or dishes are piled up in the sink,” says Lettman. “Tidying up and cleaning your space will make sure there are no distractions that cause you stress.” Pick one task that will save you from a headache later on, like organizing your kitchen or tackling household chores, and make a project of it.
Libra, having Venus as your ruling planet makes you especially well-suited to socializing. You typically gain energy from your interactions with others, but you have a tough time taking a stand for fear of causing conflict or disappointment. For this reason, Lettman recommends you beat the afternoon slump by taking some time to be alone with your thoughts and journaling. "As a creative and intellectual air sign, journaling could be a valuable tool to break up their day and help them explore their thoughts and feelings," she says.
Scorpio, having outer Pluto, the planet of transformations, sex, and death, plus your emotional water sign energy means you’re singularly devoted to those you love—once you open up. You bring this intensity to your work and your playtime, so Lettman recommends you find time for a restorative nap to recharge from the afternoon slump. "You're naturally ambitious, passionate, and energized at work so you should take a nap to restore your energy," she says. Make your space dark and cool, and set a timer for 30 minutes to allow yourself some time to nod off and catch some zzzs.
You’re the zodiac’s adventurer, Sagittarius, and your outgoing and spontaneous fire element energy lends itself to your pursuit of experiences—it doesn’t hurt that Jupiter, the planet of luck and abundance, is your planetary ruler. You get bored when you don’t have activities or some fascinating excursion in the works, so Lettman recommends you beat the afternoon slump by making plans for when you’re off the clock—whether that’s tonight, or in the future for a vacation. “If you’ve got somewhere you're going at the end of the day or after work, it'll keep you motivated and inspired to work toward something,” she says. Book a dinner or happy hour reservation, round up some friends to see a movie, or even take time to ideate an itinerary for some R&R.
Capricorn, it’s no secret you work really hard—that’s the combination of your go-getter cardinal modality, determined earth element, and ruling planet Saturn at play. To give yourself a lift to deal with the afternoon slump, both Lettman and Brooks advise you find a way to check out and unwind. "You need to switch off your mind and distract yourself from fixating on your responsibilities," says Lettman. Make time to do something totally unrelated to productivity that’s just pure fun, for example listening to your favorite song or harnessing the physical and mental benefits of dancing it out.
As an intellectually driven air sign ruled by Uranus, the planet of innovation, Aquarius, you care a lot about others and the world around you. Beat the afternoon slump by carving out time to read about something new and interesting to you, says Brooks. You’re fascinated by innovation and what’s good for the collective, so pick up a book, magazine, or newspaper and see what’s happening in the world. “Take a break to investigate something you’re interested in,” she says.
Pisces, you get your dreaminess and creativity from your ruling planet Neptune, which has to do with illusions and dreams, and your emotional depths from being a water sign. Beat the afternoon slump and nourish your mind and heart by indulging in your creative pursuit of choice, suggests Brooks. “You’re a dreamer, so if you’re being so focused at work you really need to bring some creative energy to the midday, like a little drawing or doodling,” she says. Carve out time to do whatever creative activity nourishes you, whether it’s writing, crochet, painting, using a drawing journal—pick whichever activity gets those creative juices flowing.
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