Whether you’re feeling the afternoon slump or you’re exhausted from your eight-hour shift, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the rest of your day. Remember, the time you have outside of work is extremely important in order to support your mental and physical health.
You don’t want to use all your energy up at work and then feel overly exhausted during your family time. If you’re always feeling slightly sluggish and tired, you’re not alone. Fatigue is prevalent within the workforce and it’s not only making us moody, but less productive and possibly even sick, too.
A 2007 study found that 65.7% of workers who were fatigued reported lost productive time due to their health in comparison to 26.4% who weren’t fatigued. This is at work, so you can imagine how fatigued people feel during their spare time. It’s critical that you make the most of your day, which is why battling fatigue is the first place to start.
If you think you’re one of the many people who would be classified within the fatigued group, there are strategies you can take to feel more alert, allowing you to enjoy the latter part of your day. Don’t sacrifice your health and enjoyment levels due to our hectic, fast-paced world. Start making changes that will positively impact each day.
1. Drink More Water
If you’re not drinking plenty of water, now is your time to start. After all, one of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue. When your body’s water levels even slightly drop, you begin to experience negative effects.
Studies have shown that losing just 1 to 2 percent of body water is enough to impair cognition and physical performance. How much you need depends on a number of factors, but a good rule of thumb is drinking half of your weight in ounces daily. Meaning, if you weigh 180 pounds, you should be drinking 90 ounces of water each day. The more active you are, the more water you’ll need.
Not only should you drink more water, but you should also reduce your intake of soft drinks and other high-sugar beverages. These cause your blood sugar to spike, then quickly crash. If you’re already feeling fatigued, water is your best bet.
Keep a topped-up water bottle with you throughout the day, taking sips even when you don’t feel thirsty. By the time you do feel thirsty, you’re already showing signs of dehydration.
2. Focus on Breathing Techniques
We take anywhere between 17,000 to 30,000 breaths each day. If this is the case, what’s the issue? Well, although we take thousands of involuntary breaths, the majority of us aren’t breathing properly. At any given moment, you can consciously influence how you breathe. You should aim to breathe slowly but deeply.
Deep breathing helps your body take in more oxygen, which can then be delivered to your cells via your bloodstream. Considering our brains require 20 percent of our body’s oxygen, we need to ensure that we’re breathing correctly to produce oxygen-rich blood.
By deep breathing, you help your lymphatic system carry away toxins which most certainly contribute to chronic fatigue. Also, controlled deep breathing helps reduce stress and anxiety which is often what makes us feel overwhelmed and tired.
Deep breathing involves three key steps:
- Inhaling deeply, expanding your abdomen, as you count to five
- Holding the deep breath for a moment
- Exhaling through your mouth to release carbon dioxide
3. Get Your Blood Flowing
Exercise and movement can help you fight fatigue. If you sit at a desk all day, you will experience a decrease in blood flow. When you start moving, your blood flow improves and you actually increase energy levels, combating fatigue in the process.
If you sit all day, make sure you get up every hour. Even if you just stretch your arms and legs, you’ll help combat both mental and physical fatigue. Various studies have shown that individuals who exercise on workdays are happier, calm, and more productive.
Researchers at the University of Bristol found that people who worked out were better equipped to handle whatever the day threw at them. One of their key findings was that 72 percent of participants reported that they experienced improvements in time management during exercise days, in comparison to days when they did not exercise.
This is important when you already feel like there’s not enough time in the day. Get into the routine of exercising a minimum of three times a week. This will help you naturally lift your mood while supporting a healthy weight and your overall wellbeing.
4. Watch What You're Eating
Nutrition is essential when tackling the day ahead. If you don’t eat enough or you’re not consuming the right foods, you will experience high levels of fatigue. Your body requires a steady input of energy in order to function properly. The first area you’ll want to focus on is your blood sugar levels.
As mentioned earlier, a rapid spike in your blood sugar is often followed by an energy-draining crash. Processed foods and refined carbs are the biggest culprits. One way to balance your blood sugar levels is to eat little and often. This means eating a nutritious breakfast, followed by a light morning snack, a balanced lunch, an afternoon snack, and then a light but nutrient-dense dinner.
Focus on eating more lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, nuts, and as much green stuff as you can handle. These food choices will help you feel fuller for longer, without causing spikes and dips in your blood sugar levels. If you haven’t been eating a balanced whole food diet, you’re more than likely deficient in a number of vitamins and minerals.
If you want to curb fatigue and enjoy each day, you’ll need to boost your intake of B vitamins, magnesium, and iron. B vitamins and magnesium are particularly important for turning glucose and ATP into useable energy, and you can do this by consuming more dark leafy greens, beans, nuts, seeds, fish, and whole grains.
A lack of iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States. Without enough iron, your blood cells cannot effectively deliver oxygen throughout your body, resulting in increased levels of fatigue. To increase your iron levels, consume more grass-fed beef, beans, spinach, edamame, and oatmeal.
See Also: How to Embrace Your Exhaustion at Work
If you’re really feeling spent, then a quick nap will always do the trick. Unless you’re extremely sleep-deprived, 20 minutes is all you need. Any longer than that and your brain waves start slowing down. By limiting the time you sleep, you’ll be able to wake up feeling refreshed and not groggy. A quick nap in the afternoon can help you tackle the rest of your day, as you’ll feel more motivated and joyful.
It all comes down to caring for your health and your body. If you want to have an enjoyable day without crashing, all aspects of a positive lifestyle play their own key roles. Eat well, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, breathe properly, and become more active. When you do this, you’ll find that you naturally have more energy to enjoy each and every day.