The Day Officially Starts
Breathe. Hunching over a keyboard restricts the diaphragm and leads to shallow breathing, which means you’re getting less oxygen to the brain, so you feel less mentally alert and energetic. Take a moment to breathe deeply: Relax your shoulders, place a hand on your abdomen, and feel your belly expanding as you inhale. Then exhale completely and watch your hand go down. The more carbon dioxide you expel, the more space you’re clearing for your next inhale. Remind yourself to take a breath whenever you check your watch or the clock, suggests Margaret Chesney, Ph.D., a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco Osher Center. Ahhh. You may now resume that e-mail.
Time for lunch. As with breakfast, you’re looking for a meal that gives you ample protein, fiber, and complex carbs and is low in refined sugar and saturated fat. Keep it light, says Matty: “The process of digestion is tiring, so if you have a lot of calories at one time, your body will be working hard to digest it all, and you’ll feel sluggish.”
If you’re a sandwich person:
- Whole-grain bread with turkey or chicken, pesto, and sliced tomato.
- Whole-grain bread with hummus, spinach, and sprouts.
If you’re a soup person:
- Vegetarian or turkey chili.
- Another bean-based soup, like split pea or lentil.
If you’re a salad person:
- Spinach or arugula with salmon, avocado, basil, parsley, and ginger dressing. (Ginger is a bonus; it aids digestion, says Walls.)
- Romaine lettuce with vegetables, cannellini beans, and olives.
Find something to look forward to. At lunchtime, browse the Web for plane tickets. Or check out reviews for a movie you want to see over the weekend. Anticipating a pleasurable reward can set off a blast of energizing dopamine.