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The 3 O’Clock Slump

Yes, everyone knows that the mornings are bad. The morning pain and stiffness is most often one of the first signs of psoriatic arthritis. We all figure out our own ways to manage in the morning. Taking more time, if we are lucky maybe a hot shower, or simple stretches to get our stiff bodies moving in the morning. But what about later in the day? How can we manage the 3 o’clock slump?

Why is 3pm so bad?

It hits me just like running right into a brick wall. I find myself 2/3rds of the way through my day and WHAM. I can barely hold my eyes open. I’ve used up what little spoons I have in my drawer and even attempting complete sentences feels overwhelming. I am physically and emotionally exhausted. Yet, I still have quite a few hours left in my day that require me to be a functioning adult.

Running on fumes, with no energy in reserve suddenly I become useless. I can’t get the energy together to fold a load of laundry. Just when my darling hubby is coming home from a long day of work and in need of rest, I find myself passing on the reigns to him. He is then left to manage the children, get dinner together, and keep the house from falling apart.

Before PsA

Sure, before PsA I fell victim to the 3 o’clock slump. The coffee had worn off, energy from lunch was sputtering out, and let’s be honest, what better time is there for a little nap? It was no problem, I’d have a short break, maybe watch a quick show, and recharge my batteries to conquer the rest of the day.

What can we do?

  • Conquer small tasks

Break everything down to the smallest level. Don’t try and take on a giant task first thing in the morning. Cut it up into smaller, doable parts so you don’t waste every single bit of energy you have right out of the gate.

  • Take frequent breaks

Take lots of little breaks so you don’t let your energy drain completely away. Set aside time during each hour to rest and recharge your batteries. Then you may not find yourself sitting on empty by 3pm.

  • Power up with protein

Yes, lack of caffeine and the usual rise and fall of the effect of sugar do have a lot to do with the 3 o’clock slump. Sneaking in extra protein at meals and snacks can help curb some of the highs and lows. Plus, energy derived from protein lasts a great deal longer than sugar and caffeine.

  • Save something fun or something to look forward to

Don’t underestimate the power of the brain. Save a little something fun to look forward to get you over the 3 o’clock slump. Maybe it’s online shopping or kicking back for a bit with a good book. Either way, having something that you look forward to doing in the evening helps me to get over that hump.

The 3 o’clock slump with psoriatic arthritis is a real thing. It can be hard to know which will help, taking a walk and getting the blood pumping, or resting and recharging. Listen to your body and hopefully you will discover ways to fight the 3 o’clock slump too.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • kathie
    10 months ago

    There are times in the afternoon when I feel like someone has taken a 1000 cc syringe and drawn out every bit of energy I had. And you’re right. Some days a short rest will help, some days just plowing through is what’s needed. I usually get a second wind after an hour or so but it’s frustrating while it’s happening.

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