According to the latest statistics, 69% of employees are tired on the job. Not only does this lower your productivity, it also puts you at a higher risk of injuries and incidents as well.
To keep yourself at the top of your game, here are several effective solutions to fight being tired at work all the time.
1) Work With Your Ultradian Rhythm
Did you know that, according to famous sleep researcher Nathaniel Kleitman, we have a basic rest-activity cycle wherein we alternate between a 90-minute period of top performance and a 20-minute period of “healing”?
Also called the ultradian rhythm, fighting against this natural cycle triggers our body’s fight-or-flight response. This causes high levels of stress and fatigue.
What you need to do is work with these ebbs and flows of alertness.
Tackle important tasks for 90 minutes.
If you have some time left before your period of alertness is up, do quick, easy tasks that don’t require much concentration.
Once your body signals you to rest, take a break while your body recharges for the next burst of energy.
2) Take Smart Breaks
A lot of people respond to their body’s cues to rest by smoking, checking their emails, or opening their social media. These aren’t actually giving the body the rest it needs. To keep the fatigue away, what you need is to shift your gears and get a quick change of scenery.
Here are a few things that you can mix and match for quality ultradian rhythm breaks.
- Hit the restroom
- Go outside for a quick walk – Sunlight can release your feel-good hormones.
- Meditate – We suggest checking out Calm, a meditation app.
- Engage in small talk with your co-worker (as long as it doesn’t disturb)
- Listen to some calming music – One of our go-to’s is Calm Radio.
- Do simple errands or mindless tasks – This can be something like booking a dinner reservation or refilling your stapler.
- Give a quick call to your loved ones
3) Stand Up and Stretch
Apart from stretching, standing periodically to work is also vital. Don’t over do it however- experts recommend a 1:1 ratio between sitting and standing, meaning stand for 30 minutes after every 30 minutes of sitting.
4) Adopt a Healthy Diet
Your diet might be the culprit to your lack of energy.
Here are several possible mistakes that you might be doing:
- Mistake: You go for long periods of time without eating. The fix: Eat smaller meals and snacks but more often. Snack on healthy foods like yogurt, fruits, and dried nuts.
- Mistake: You skip or eat a poor breakfast in the morning. The fix: Avoid sugary breakfasts like white bread. Instead, opt for fiber-rich cereals and whole-grain bread.
- Mistake: You eat a heavy lunch that isn’t balanced. The fix: Eating a heavy lunch will make you feel sleepy. Plus, it might not contain balanced amounts of vitamins and minerals. The fix? Go with healthy lunchboxes with a good balance of vegetables and protein.
5) Stay Hydrated
Fatigue and sleepiness are signs of dehydration. Plus, it can affect your mood and cognition. As such, making sure you drink enough water daily is one of the easiest ways to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
To stay hydrated, you need to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water. If the weather is hot and you perspire a lot, you might need to drink more. To keep track and remind yourself to drink water, use an app or a water bottle with time markers.
6) Get Enough Quality Sleep
Lack of quality sleep impairs your cognitive functions while also making you feel tired and sluggish. If you’re having a hard time falling or staying asleep, here are a few fixes you can try:
- Watch your caffeine intake – Limit yourself to 2 to 4 cups of brewed coffee per day. You should also prevent drinking coffee after 2 PM.
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule – Settling into a regular sleep-wake cycle will train your body to sleep at a certain time and improve your metabolism.
- Avoid blue light near your bedtime – Blue light suppresses your body’s natural melatonin production, disrupting your circadian rhythm. Reduce the amount of time you spend in front of a computer, television, or smartphone screen at night.
7) Reduce Stress in the Workplace
If you’ve ever experienced stress (and who hasn’t), you know how taxing it is on the body. It saps your energy both physically and mentally, leaving you feeling completely drained. And it’s not even noon yet.
Workplace stress can be a huge contributor to fatigue at work, often unbeknownst to you. Conflicts with coworkers, looming deadlines or unbearable bosses are common culprits.
Short of changing jobs, there are in fact many ways to deal with workplace stress and in turn reduce your mental and physical drain at work.
As Hans Selye, the authority on stress related research says:
“It’s not stress that kills out, it is our reaction to it”.
Here are some of my favorite ways to manage stress at work:
- Identify the sources of stress: A lot of times you may not even be aware of the origin of your stress at work. And as they say, half the battle for winning is knowing. Tune in to your thoughts and feelings while you’re in the workplace. Take notes if needed to clearly identify the trigger points that cause a change in your mood.
- Change your response: A lot of times, you cannot change the circumstances surrounding you. You can, however, always develop more positive ways to respond to them. If a coworker is constantly rubbing you the wrong way, learn to take the high road or let things go more. If looming deadlines have you turning to caffeine or eating fast food to save time, develop more healthy coping mechanisms such as power naps and brisk walks instead, knowing they will pay off in the long run.
- Talk to upper management: Most companies want their employees to be happy, as that leads to increased productivity and retention rates. If you simply cannot manage your workplace stress, talk to your supervisors or the HR department to see if they can help. There is no shame in reaching out, and who knows, your company may just surprise you in how far they will go to try to keep you happy.
- Prioritize Everything: A lot of stress at work comes down to trying to please everyone and hit every daily, monthly, and annual goals. This is just a recipe for stress and disappointment. Start to assign all of your relationships and tasks at work a priority number. Once you’re able to clearly identify what actually matters and doesn’t at work, only then can you allocate your energy more wisely. The higher the priority, the more attention you should give them. Inversely, stop wasting so much time and stressing yourself out over low priority items that don’t matter either way.
- Change your Job: Sometimes, you just have to know when to cut your losses and walk away. Before my current job, I worked at a software company where I was utterly miserable. Having diluted myself into thinking things would get better, it took a lot of courage for me to finally realize there is nothing I could do to fundamentally change the dynamics and stressors I was experiencing at work. So I walked off. I’ve never been more happy, productive, and energized as a result.