Your 8am alarm sounds and you drag your feet out of bed. The day is only a few minutes old but you already feel tired, worn out and run down.
Sound familiar? If this describes your day-to-day, you’re not alone.
The last year and a half has been a stressful period for most, having a significant impact on employees and businesses. With the constant and ongoing change, your body and mind may be struggling to adjust – causing otherwise healthy people to feel sluggish and tired.
If you’re feeling run down by a stressful period in your life, there are simple changes you can make to your lifestyle to get the old “you” back.
Me&Work supports Australian workplace wellness and wellbeing with strategies to overcome fatigue and avoid getting run down when each day begins to feel like a chore. Check out these strategies below to help you get back to better health, faster.
Focus on your breathing
Feeling stressed? Stress steals your physical and mental energy and can make each day a titanic struggle to get through. If those feelings of lethargy weren’t bad enough, stress hormones can disrupt your sleep, body systems and overall health.
It may sound simple, but you can use breathing exercises to trigger your body’s natural stress relief mechanism. When you’re feeling stressed, tired or burnt out, your body may inadvertently trigger a ‘fight or flight’ response. This may explain why you’ve been feeling on ‘high alert’ throughout 2020, even when there’s no immediate threat.
You may not realise, but improper breathing upsets your body’s oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange, leading to panic attacks, fatigue and other physical imbalances. In contrast, just 60 seconds of deep breathing can slow the sympathetic nervous system – your ‘fight or flight’ response, and helps flick the switch on your parasympathetic nervous system which restores a feeling of calm.
Stay connected with colleagues and friends
Humans are social animals, so disruptions to regular social engagements (such as we are experiencing on and off due to COVID) can lead to increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. Without taking steps to connect with friends, family, and colleagues, mental health challenges can worsen and feelings of being run down become more common.
Spending time with your workmates or family can help you avoid feeling tired, anxious, and run down. Or, if restrictions don’t allow for face-to-face contact, you can get creative with video calls, virtual hangouts or online peer-support groups.
The bottom line, spending time with people you care about lowers stress levels and boosts mood, both of which are crucial to avoiding frustrating feelings of fatigue.
Reduce your scrolling time
Do you pull out your phone to check your social media throughout the day? This may be contributing to feelings of stress and anxiety that make you feel run down.
Your attention is a currency and you have a finite amount to spend. Every time you watch the news, scroll social media or read negative stories online, that currency is spent. When you run out – your body feels exhausted.
It’s tempting to stay on top of the news and pop culture, but a constant level of alertness can add to feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and fatigue. As anxiety keeps you on edge, constant scrolling and negative news stories can drain your energy levels. So, by constantly scrolling social media you’re not just giving your thumbs a workout, but adding to your fatigue too.
You don’t have to delete your social media accounts entirely to avoid fatigue, but try rationing your use. Schedule a handful of ‘check-in’ sessions throughout the day, and when you’re not on social media focus on activities that make you feel happy, relaxed or calm instead.
Practice self-care (especially active self-care)
External factors or workplace challenges may trigger anxious feelings that sap your energy and leave you feeling run down – but that doesn’t mean you can’t practise self-care to boost your health and wellbeing.
The most effective type of self-care is ‘active self-care’. This includes exercise, physical activity, or just getting out and about. So as tough as it may feel (especially if your energy levels are already low) getting the blood pumping is a proven way to avoid feeling run down.
During tough times, including work-related challenges, it’s important to make self-care time for yourself at home too. This could be something as simple as turning your phone off at home and enjoying a hot bath, or reading a book that’s been on your to-do list forever. Mindlessly watching Netflix can feel relaxing, but it can also be an avoidance behaviour that isn’t restoring your energy or practising self-care.
Protect yourself from fatigue
Workplace challenges have the potential to cause stress and burnout. While you sometimes can’t control the external factors that lead to these feelings, you can control your thoughts and actions. By practising mood-boosting techniques and choosing to spend your time on activities that keep you calm, you can avoid getting run down and enjoy each day, at work or home, feeling strong and confident.
Me&Work helps organisations develop healthy and productive work environments so people can thrive. If you’d like assistance in creating a work environment that prioritises and promotes mental health and wellbeing, contact our friendly team on 1300 90 45 57 or use our contact form to organise a meeting with our staff