How to get your energy and productivity back from a heatwave slump

Sunshine is guaranteed to put a smile on people’s faces.

But hot weather isn’t without its drawbacks.

The intensity of a heatwave (not to mention the sweatiness it brings with it) can leave us feeling sluggish and exhausted – so it’s only natural for energy and productivity to take a hit.

With many still working from home, it can be particularly difficult to self-motivate when soaring temperatures are zapping our energy.

But, thankfully, there are a number of ways to break this summer slump. 

Experts share a few simple things to keep in mind if you’re struggling on balmy days.

Stay hydrated

We all feel considerably less rotten when we are hydrated.

Career coach Natalie Trice says: ‘Water is a simple but key way to avoid your energy dropping when it’s hot outside. 

‘While you might want to reach for an energy drink, try to keep a glass of water on your desk and drink little and often.’

Caffeine and sugary drinks might seem like a good option, but the boost will only be temporary – leading to a later crash that’s likely to make you feel even worse.

Try not to overload on carbs

Our diets are another factor we should be paying attention to when temperatures rise.

This is because overloading on certain food groups, like carbohydrates, can make us feel even more groggy.

Business owner Lucy Arnold, founder of Lucy Locket Loves, says: ‘Eating something a bit lighter and lower in calories will help your body to put less energy into breaking down any calories in the foods also, making you less hot.

‘Plus water-saturated foods – like watermelon or cucumber – make a tasty snack, as well as keeping you hydrated and your blood sugar levels up.’

Gentle exercise goes a long way

Exercising leaves us feeling energised, due to the feel-good hormones that are released post-workout.

Of course, running a 10k in the midday sunshine probably isn’t the best idea, but a walk, cycle or a low intensity workout may help.

And be sure to exercise safely in the heat, too.

Lucy says: ‘Some gentle exercise can really help to provide a much needed burst of energy. Find a shady spot and practice a bit of yoga.

‘Sometimes you have to move to create some more energy and something gentle really helps with this.’

Break up your day

Natalie adds that taking breaks when you feel the most drained can actually help you to be more efficient with your time. 

So don’t feel guilty about having some rest intervals during the day.

She says: ‘If you know that 3pm is going to be the hottest, stuffiest time of the day, use that time to do something less brain intensive, maybe admin or even popping to the air-conditioned supermarket and work when it has cooled down.’

NLP practitioner and mindset coach Tara Best also recommends going as far as to set alarms to ensure this happens. 

She says: ‘Set a timer and work for no more than 60 minutes at a time.

‘When it’s sweltering out there it can feel like time becomes abstract or slows down. Set a timer on your phone (then set it out of reach) and totally focus for that one hour block. Then take a break, check messages and have a drink.’

Tailor your timelines

Another great technique is to switch up your day to work around when your energy levels peak. 

Tara says: ‘If you can, move your schedule around so that you can make the most of cooler air in the early morning or evening.

‘Think about splitting your day into two chunks and taking a siesta in the middle of the day.’

Set targets and regularly reward yourself 

Working during a heatwave is tiring – but having things to look forward to can make it easier. 

Tara adds: ‘Whether that reward is a cold drink, ice cream, lie down in the shade or treat from ASOS – rewards are a great way to get some focus when it’s hot and you feel sluggish.’

Don’t sweat the hot stuff

It’s also important to give yourself a break, as further stress and anxiety is likely to make you feel even worse. 

Natalie says: ‘Just like getting worked up over not getting to sleep, if you focus on being hot and bothered, that’s how you are going to feel. 

‘Remember, the sun won’t shine forever and you may well miss it when it’s gone, so create a list for your day, get the top points ticked off early in the day and then let it go when it comes to that later energy-zapping moment.‘

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