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How to keep from becoming ‘The Walking Dead’ in the workplace

- Last modified: November 22, 2013 at 11:21 AM

We, as humans, weren’t meant to be cubicle dwellers. Our bodies simply weren’t designed for sitting for eight straight hours typing away at a computer. Therefore we quickly get tired and need a pick-me-up, or two – or three – to keep from becoming office zombies.

Like most people, my main weapon in the battle against the office zombie apocalypse is coffee, java, joe – the sweet nectar of alertness. It’s free and plentiful at work.

But the other day the boiler at good ol’ 65 East was on the fritz again and it was 79 degrees in the office at 8 a.m.

Coffee was a tad less appealing. But something was definitely needed to keep me awake and working.

I decided that while I normally try to avoid soda, a cold refreshing cola was definitely in order.

Too bad, soda machine was empty. (The soda delivery lady got quite an earful from me on that when I ran into her in the parking lot the next day.)

So, I was hot, grumpy and in desperate need of caffeination when I was contacted by a PR person about trying a new energy candy.

Normally, I would say “no.” I don’t really do product reviews. Also, I tend to shun energy drinks and supplements. They’re usually too strong for me and make me jittery instead of refreshed.

But she pointed out that the chocolate “Energems” that she was plugging had no artificial sweetener (a big plus for me), came in a serving size of three candies (so I could control how much I took) and were made of chocolate. (Who can say no to chocolate?)

Suddenly an energy source that didn’t involve boiling water or running across the street to the gas station for a Coke seemed like a marvelous idea, and I agreed.

When they arrived, however, I was cheerfully enjoying a nice cold iced tea and they didn’t seem like such a good idea anymore. I tried unsuccessfully to pawn them off on co-workers, and pushed the little box around on my desk a few times before I decided to dive in and try one – ONE.

After all, my 10:30 a.m. slump was starting to settle in, and my foot was hurting from a little stumble I had taken the day before. Trying a candy seemed like a much better idea than taking the brisk walk around the office that I normally use to perk back up into a living, breathing human being.

As I popped what looked like an oversized M&M into my mouth, I started thinking of every bad experience I had ever had with an energy supplement – bad taste, jitters and even heart palpitations one time.

I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. It was chocolate-y versus the “gahhh” taste most energy supplements have. Taking just one didn’t give me the jitters, and while I didn’t feel the sudden urge to run a marathon, my morning slump did ebb fairly quickly.

That little box might just stay on my desk for “zombie emergencies.”

So, what do you do drink or eat to stay awake and alive at work?

I’ve found that in addition to coffee, a little oatmeal in the morning keeps my energy levels up – especially versus the days when I skip breakfast.

One woman I asked said “water.” Certainly staying hydrated is key.

Another skips the water and eats “go beans” – chocolate covered espresso beans. That’s certainly efficient.

A massage therapist I consulted suggested mint oil as a holistic, aroma-therapy pick-me-up.

A former Lehigh Valley Business intern had a very specific stay-awake formula.

“I take an Arizona Green Tea and a pack of Sprees to keep me going at work. Gets me through those 12 hour days,” she said.

A few people that I asked answered “meth” – I’m pretty sure they were kidding. Besides I’m trying to go for a “Walking Dead” theme here, not a “Breaking Bad” one.

Another friend – and yes, I do believe she was serious – said she pours 5-Hour Energy into her iced tea. I don’t know if that’s the best advice.

Webmd.com had some good advice in this article.

And this is apparently how they stay alert on the job in Pakistan.

Of course, the best trick probably is to get a good night’s sleep. So, if you find yourself dragging your feet like a zombie every Monday, I have a solution.

This weekend, why don’t you DVR “The Walking Dead” on Sunday night and watch it at an earlier hour later in the week. That’s the trick used by a couple of people in this office. (Not spilling all the spoilers for them is SO hard!)

Your co-workers will thank you for getting that good night’s sleep when you’re less grumpy and not constantly draining the office coffee pot before they can get a cup … or worse … going after their ‘braaaiiins.”


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