1. An XL Water bottle. Here’s the thing: Keeping a small water bottle or glass at your desk will, in theory, encourage you to get up out of your chair and walk to the water cooler more often. But in reality, most of us end up surviving the day on that one original glass of H2O because we’re too busy or too distracted to make the walk. So, make an XL bottle that you fill up once in the morning, then mindlessly sip, sip, sip until afternoon.
2. A protein bar: Not all protein bars are equal, so make sure you’re having the ones without all the rubbish. Protein will keep you fuller for longer and give you the sweetness you might need to get rid of the slump.
3. Citrus-scented lotion: Studies show that smelling citrus for several minutes will boost your mood and reduce stress levels for the next half hour. Keep a bottle of lotion handy—one with a strong scent of lemon, orange or yuzu—and take a moment to rub it on while absorbing the energizing smell. This is best if you need a quick pick-me-up, like, say, right before an afternoon meeting.
4. An easy-care plant. 2 culprits of the afternoon blues are the lighting in the office and boring views – something that we don’t really have here in Cape Town. However, if you got the desk with no view then it’s time to put something visually pleasing on your desk – from pics of your loved ones to bringing some green to your work space. An easy-care plant will not only add a pop of natural color to your desk (mood booster number one) but also filter more oxygen, giving you the benefit of extra fresh air (mood booster number two). Start with a snake plant, or spider plant, which are easier to keep alive than they are to kill.
5. A book of Sudoku puzzles. Taking a mini break in the afternoon is great and studies show that taking smart breaks is key for reducing mental fatigue, boosting brain function and increasing productivity. You might think that a break is switching your mind off… but it’s about switching your brain from the task you were doing.