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What can you do to fend off fatigue and ensure that you’re at your best throughout the working day?
Classically, people are told to make sure that they get a minimum of 8 hours sleep a night. However, there are other things you can do throughout the day to ensure that your brain stays on the job at hand.
We’ve assembled the most effective tips to help fight fatigue at work:
Water is vital for all bodily processes, and mild dehydration can be the real reason behind your daily fatigue – especially if you consume a lot of caffeine – a natural dehydration agent. Whilst there have been varying reports in recent years regarding how much water we should drink on a daily basis – 6-8 small glasses a day is a good amount to get behind.
With cheap deals on corporate gym memberships readily available, many who exercise during their lunch breaks prefer to go to the gym to do so. Whilst this has its own health benefits, going to the gym during lunch can leave you drained in the afternoon, and can often lead to a mid-afternoon slump in energy levels.
A brisk walk at lunch is ideal for engaging core muscle groups whilst not leaving you lethargic for the afternoon. If the sun is shining, make walking an even higher priority lunchtime activity; the extra vitamin D will help your body produce more energy for the afternoon.
Coffee is the standard working drink for most of the world. A good hit in the morning followed by a couple of cups in the afternoon helps most get through the day to help combat any momentary loss of energy. However, abusing the office coffee pot can have the opposite of the desired effect. Yes it is true that coffee can give you a quick boost, but the more you drink the more prone you are to an energy crash.
In fact, most dieticians advise people to drink tea instead of coffee. Tea is less rich in caffeine per cup than coffee and has extra nutrition you can absorb through drinking it, namely folic acid, a vitamin linked to the transportation of haemoglobin in blood cells. Whilst coffee is mildly nutritious, there is no added nutritional benefit from drinking more than 3 cups per day.
We’ve all been there; you’re busy and stressed, and therefore don’t have time to track down a nutritious bite-to-eat at lunchtime. It’s the easiest thing in the world to order in fast food at lunch if you’re up to your neck in work, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that this is completely counter-productive, and can easily have a negative effect on your work performance.
Fast food is full of fats and unrefined sugars that can will give you a very quick burst of energy before reducing you to an energy-less zombie within minutes of consumption. Instead of reaching for a hamburger at lunchtime, be proactive and assemble a quick salad the night before, and bring this into work in a lidded container. This will save you time and will help conserve energy.
Eating little and often throughout the day can help preserve healthy energy levels. Good snacks to have on standby by your desk include foods high in fibre like nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and punnets of fresh vegetables i.e cherry tomatoes.
A clear-conscience is key to feeling energised throughout the day. By keeping concise to-do lists instead of a large document with endless tasks attached, you can focus on the tasks at hand instead of wasting time thinking about the large list of outstanding work you’ve got to tackle.
To gain a better feeling of control, plan each day, or even split days up into sections if you can. This will help you keep a clear and unconfused mind.
Keeping yourself cool can help you stay awake and alert your place of work. Warmth naturally makes our bodies more relaxed and makes us more vulnerable to tiredness – so if you have a particularly warm office (or inefficient air con system) you should consider obtaining a well positioned fan for your desk.
Whilst it may be unpleasant, splashing cold water in your face can be an effective way of shocking your system back into shape very quickly. When the cold water hits your face, it shocks your body into producing ‘noradrenaline’ a hormone linked to alertness, or more specifically, the ‘fight-or-flee’ instinct. Whilst your day job probably doesn’t require you to fight or flee, it can certainly help you wake up if you feel yourself drifting into a mid-afternoon slump.
Getting away from your screen for 2-3 minutes at a time can be good for both your eyes and your mind. Sitting down for hours on end can slow your blood pressure and metabolism down significantly. By getting up, walking, and stretching, you can re-energise your body whilst kick-starting your metabolism. This way, you’ll be able to process any food that you have consumed at a faster rate, giving your body a well needed energy boost.
Naturally, when working, we are too busy thinking about the job in hand and fall into a poor breathing pattern. This is known as ‘sipping’ and is detrimental to sustaining better energy levels throughout the day. If you feel yourself descending into sleep mode, sit back and take 3 very deep breaths and feel the energy flood back into your system. Taking deeper breaths encourages more oxygen into your system, and will particularly help stimulate your brain – keeping you more alert.
If none of the above work for you, then tackle the problem at its source – your sleep pattern. Most medical professionals will recommend an absolute minimum of 6-8 hours of sleep per night, depending on your age – and is the first port of call for when diagnosing tiredness problems in patients.
If you have a particularly challenging day tomorrow, prepare in the best way possible by heading off to bed an hour earlier than usual tonight – your body will reward you with the extra energy you need to overcome whatever tomorrow throws at you!