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Published on October 9, 2020

Feeling Fatigue? 3 Reasons Why And How to Fix It

Feeling Fatigue? 3 Reasons Why And How to Fix It

Fatigue can be described as the overall feeling of tiredness, lack of energy, and having no motivation. This feeling of fatigue is such a common problem that it has its own abbreviation, TATT, which is short for “Tired All The Time”.

Various factors can contribute to fatigue, including psychological, physical, and lifestyle factors. The key is to understand which contributing factor or factors may be resulting in you feeling fatigued and understanding what steps you can take to fix the problem.

Forming new habits, lifestyle changes, and a change in mindset can be the first steps in overcoming fatigue. It may simpler than you first think.

What Contributes to Fatigue?

There are three main factors that can contribute to feeling fatigued. These are the following:

1. Psychological Factors

Work and family worries can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. If you are facing any problems in your relationships, they may be causing you mental and psychological burdens, which can make you feel fatigued.

2. Physical factors

Sleep apnoea, anemia, being overweight, and pregnancy are some of the examples of the physical causes of feeling fatigued. It is important to see your doctor if you are experiencing ongoing fatigue that you cannot attribute to psychological or lifestyle factors.

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3. Lifestyle Factors

Sleep, hygiene, working long hours, exercise, diet, and alcohol can all contribute to fatigue. In today’s world, it can seem that there is too much to do but too little time to do it.[1]

How to Overcome Fatigue

Now that you know the factors that are contributing to your feeling of fatigue, what steps can you take to overcome it?

An important factor in overcoming fatigue is to practice self-care. Utilize your time more efficiently to create more time for you to do what you want to do rather than spend too much time worrying about what you have to do. A simple change in your mindset and approach to life can make a big difference to how fatigued you feel.

1. Daily Chores and Habit-Forming

Let’s start with the basics. There is a saying that a tidy home helps promote a tidy mind. If your home is untidy and cluttered, then how are you able to even think about relaxing? You will always have tasks on your mind that you need to do, and you won’t be able to fully take advantage of your relaxation time.

Create daily habits that take little time to do but if done every day enables you to keep on top of your housework and chores.

The result is that you do not have to spend a large part of your weekend on a big tidying up of your home. You will not spend your relaxation time in a cluttered home not fully being able to relax because everywhere you look reminds you of the chores that you need to do.

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  1. Make your bed in the morning. This sets your intention for the day and also helps create a tidy bedroom.
  2. Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than you need to. This ensures that you are not in a rush in the morning and have time to have a quick tidy up after yourself and your family. Being in a rush creates undue stress and anxiety that can affect the rest of your day.
  3. If you do not have time to wash your breakfast dishes, put them in a neat pile next to the sink. If dishes are scattered around the house, it immediately creates the illusion of more work to be done.
  4. When you get back from work, calm down for 10 minutes, sit down, watch TV, and create a line between your work life and your home life. If you have kept on top of the morning routine, then there should not be much housework for you to do when you get back home.
  5. Start making the evening meal, do the dishes as you go along, and make lunches for the next day. Multitasking is the key to creating more time for yourself.
  6. Eat the evening meal as a family at the table. Use this time to catch up on the day’s events and anything that you need to discuss.
  7. After the evening meal, set 10 minutes for relaxation and then clean up. Get your child to help you to take the dishes out and share this task with your partner if you can. You can use this time to chat among yourselves and communicate before you all do your separate things.
  8. Finally, give the house a quick hoover. Put your clothes out for the following day, and you are ready to do what you wish with your evening. You can relax knowing that lunches are prepared for tomorrow, the house is tidy, and the chores are completed.

2. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

The best way to overcome feeling fatigued is to avoid what causes it, and you can do this by living a healthy lifestyle. To live a healthy lifestyle, take note of the following:

Sleep

The amount and quality of sleep that you get each night is an important part of preventing fatigue. Good sleep hygiene is a must. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours per night to promote health and well-being. The benefits of good sleep hygiene are increased focus, productivity, and being more present throughout the day.[2]

Sleep is the time when the body heals and restores itself. It promotes weight control and lowers the risk of health complications. Quality sleep can also improve memory and mood.

If you struggle to obtain good quality and amount of sleep, then there are a few tips that you can follow to ensure that you get a restful night’s sleep.

  1. Try to limit caffeine late in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant and can affect when you are ready to sleep.
  2. Try to avoid food close to your bedtime. Your stomach can take 3 to 4 hours to empty. If you go to bed soon after eating, then indigestion or heartburn can disturb your sleep.
  3. Turn off devices at least an hour before bed as devices can create too many distractions. You may be tempted to reply to emails or scroll through endless social media posts. Why not read a book rather than reaching for your phone?
  4. Avoid naps in the day and try to get in the habit of going to bed at the same time every night.
  5. Meditate before you sleep. There are plenty of apps and videos on the internet that provide guided meditation. Meditation is a good technique to practice to promote relaxation ready for sleep.

Healthy Eating

Your body runs off what you feed it. The best way to get the most energy from your food is to make sure you’re giving yourself the best food possible. Besides what you eat, when you eat can also impact your energy.[3]

The key to healthy eating is making time to prepare.

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  1. Make a meal plan each week before you go shopping. Plan for both evening meals and lunches at work. This saves you money but also ensures that you are eating healthy and not rushing to the shop on your lunch hour to grab a high-calorie convenience food.
  2. Involve your family in the meal planning. Use websites such as BBC Good Food to find a healthy variation of quick healthy meals. look for some ideas for delicious and healthy lunches you can take to work.

Finally, make sure that you value mealtime. Use your evening meal as quality time with your family. Try not to think of mealtimes as an inconvenience but as precious time that you can spend with your family without any distractions.

Exercise

It’s free, easy to take, has an immediate effect, and you don’t need a GP to get some. Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had. But for too long, we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence. Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy.[4]

Many forms of exercise can suit your lifestyle, current fitness ability, and resources. Exercise can have a positive influence on fatigue as it impacts areas such as sleep quality and energy as mentioned above.

You may have the time, money, and no other commitments that enable you to join a gym and to attend the gym regularly. You may use your exercise time as social time and join a class or a sports club.

You may have family commitments, confidence issues, money issues, or other obstacles that prevent you from attending a gym or sports club. However, there are many online videos or fitness apps that you can do in the comfort of your own home or you may prefer to go running, jogging, or walking. Exercise is very personal to you and your lifestyle.

Yoga

One form of exercise that can be done at home is Yoga. Yoga is an ancient practice that involves both the mind and body. It can have an effect on your whole lifestyle with regular practice and help change your whole mindset and thus, having a positive impact on your feelings of fatigue. You can try out some beginner yoga poses first.

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The benefits to practicing yoga can include:[5]

  • Decreases stress
  • Relieves anxiety
  • May reduce inflammation
  • Could improve heart health
  • Improves quality of life
  • May fight depression
  • Could reduce chronic pain
  • Could promote sleep quality
  • Improves flexibility and balance
  • Could help improve breathing
  • May relieve migraines
  • Promotes healthy eating habits
  • Can improve strength

Summary

Fatigue can be attributed to one or more of the following factors: psychological, physical, or lifestyle. Whichever of the factors contribute to fatigue, the key is to ensure that you have self-care as your priority.

If you have a healthy, balanced lifestyle, then you will be more equipped to be able to deal with and overcome any factors that could cause you to be overwhelmed by fatigue.

The first step is to form a calm and relaxed environment as a base to practice your self-care. Creating daily habits and routines can ensure that your home environment is as relaxed and easy to manage as possible.

From this foundation, you can then have the time and energy to invest in healthy sleep habits, healthy eating, and exercise to achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle and prevent the risk of being overcome by fatigue.

More Tips When You’re Feeling Fatigued

Featured photo credit: Yuris Alhumaydy via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Charlotte Chidlow

Declutter Consultant and Life Coach with a BSc (Hons) Psychology with the Open University.

What is Mental Energy And How To Maintain A High Level of It 15 Simple And Professional Tips To Be Organized At Home How To Feel Happier (10 Scienece-Backed Ways) 27 Simple Ways to Pamper Yourself at Home 7 Benefits of Gratitude That Will Remind You To Be Thankful Daily

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Published on July 15, 2021

Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better

Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better

Are you having trouble sleeping? Or do you feel like you can barely stay awake when you need to? Are you left tired and irritable, lacking the joy and motivation that life once brought? If these complaints are tied to your long or rotating work schedule, you may be suffering from shift work disorder—a common ailment among professions with schedules outside the typical 9 am to 6 pm range.[1]

Why does it matter? Let’s be honest—being tired stinks. It feels terrible and leaves you vulnerable to many health risks that well-rested people aren’t as susceptible to. Not only that, but it can also wreak havoc on your relationships and quality of life.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to help manage this, and you can start trying them out today! Some of the solutions may not be what you expect. For instance, you might have linked improved sleep to exercise, but did you know that being compassionate with yourself can also have an impact?

Who Are Affected by Shift Work Disorder?

Twenty-five million people are shift workers in the country, so you are far from alone if you are struggling with this. Shift work disorder is a condition frequently affecting anyone who works a job where their schedule is outside standard business hours. Nurses, police officers, firefighters, and factory workers are common examples of professions with schedules that rotate around the clock.

Rotating shifts naturally leads to a change in one’s schedule, including sleep. As your sleep schedule becomes more chaotic, your body is unable to adjust and regulate itself and can result in having difficulty falling or staying asleep. This inevitably leads to less sleep, which is where some big problems can arise.

What Are the Symptoms?

Sleep is one of the most important (and underrated) aspects of our lives. Enough sleep and good quality sleep are critical to our emotional, mental, and physical health.

Insufficient sleep can lead to a significantly increased risk of physical health problems, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. Mentally, being tired contributes to having scattered concentration, difficulty processing information, and being more likely to make mistakes or have an accident. Emotionally, the fallout of being chronically exhausted is linked to poor emotional regulation including being irritated more quickly, as well as an increased likelihood of developing anxiety and depression.[2]

Any of this sound familiar? If so, keep reading for some scientifically-based tips to help you manage your sleep better and get your life back.

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17 Ways to Manage Shift Work Disorder Better

Quality sleep, or the lack thereof, impacts us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The most impactful plan of attack against shift work disorder and to regain quality sleep must also reflect that.

I suggest reading through all of the tips and formulating a plan based on what you think will work for you. Start by trying out one thing and build from there as you are able. Remember to construct a plan that addresses your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Let’s start in the most obvious place first:

Your Job

1. Make Your Schedule the Best It Can Be

Randomly rotating shifts has been found to have the worst impact on our health.[3] If you have to rotate your schedule, request to rotate shifts in a clockwise fashion.

For example: work the day shift, rotate to the nights, then to the early morning shift, then start back on the day shift. Sounds silly? It’s not. Studies show that our bodies more easily adjust to changes in schedule when completed in a clockwise manner.[4] This is because of something called our circadian rhythm—24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock that carry out essential functions. The most commonly known of these is sleep. It has been discovered that our circadian rhythm adjusts forward more easily than it does backward.

2. Speak to Your Manager About Keeping Your Workplace Bright

Special lights have been designed to assist with circadian rhythm. It turns out that absorbing bright light that is most similar to sunlight can positively impact regulating our circadian rhythm.[5]

3. Avoid a Long Commute to and From Work

Having a long drive home after working a rotating shift is statistically not in your best interest. It’s been shown that fatigued/sleepy employees are 70% more likely to have a workplace accident and 33% more likely to be involved in a traffic accident.[6]

To avoid putting yourself at risk by driving when you’re not at your best, catch a nap before leaving work, pull over to sleep, or stay at a friend’s house nearby.

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4. Speak to Your Manager About Your Concerns

Many companies that operate around the clock are willing and able to make accommodations to those working alternative shifts. Whether it’s helping you find a schedule that works best for you or connecting you with other programs designed to support your well-being, being in good communication with your employer is to everyone’s benefit.

Sleep Attitudes and Environment

5. Change Your Perspective and Start Prioritizing Sleep

Here’s the deal: despite some pretty well-known dangerous effects of not getting enough sleep, somewhere along the line, our society began to think of sleep as a luxury. Some even consider it a badge of honor to “power through” without much (or any) sleep. People have been made to feel embarrassed or lazy if they get the recommended amount of sleep each night.

Here’s the bottom line: sleep is not a luxury.

Let me repeat that—sleep is not a luxury, and getting a consistent and healthy amount does not make you a slacker. Sleep is actually when our body does a lot of repair work on itself—blood vessels, muscles, and other organs. Sleep also boosts our immunity.

If we could help people feel as proud about sleeping as we do about them working out regularly or sticking to a healthy diet, people might be a lot healthier.

6. Make Your Sleep Space as Conducive to Rest as Possible

This means tweaking your environment so it’s as enticing as possible for your body to go to sleep. Keep the room dark using blackout blinds, reduce the temperature (our body rests best when slightly cool), limit interruptions (phone calls, visitors, noise), and remove electronic devices.[7]

Set yourself up for success by supporting yourself through your surroundings. If you wanted to lose weight, you wouldn’t frequently surround yourself with cookies, cake, and ice cream, right? Same idea here.

Personal Habits and Choices

7. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule as Closely as Possible—on Workdays and Days Off

This is obviously difficult when your schedule changes on the regular, but the more consistent you can keep your bedtime, the easier time your body has getting to sleep and staying that way.[8]

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8. Allow Yourself Time to Catch Up on Sleep

Having enough days off to rest and recuperate is an important aspect of protecting your health. You wouldn’t expect to be able to drive across the country on one tank of gas, right? Filling your own personal gas tank is just as important.

9. Take Naps, but Don’t Overdo It

It’s recommended by the Cleveland Clinic to take a 90-minute nap just before starting your shift and then a 30-minute nap during your “lunch break” at work.[9] Again, this is all about keeping some gas in your tank and not allowing yourself to get to the point where you are running on fumes. Short naps will help you stay refreshed and alert on the job.

10. Limit Caffeine to the Start of Your Shift

Most of us love a good hit of caffeine, especially when we are tired. But overdoing it or having caffeine too late in your shift can negatively impact your ability to get to sleep when you finally have the time to do so. Moderate your intake to help yourself get some quality sleep.

11. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed

Unwinding after work with a drink can be tempting. It can make you drowsy, which many people mistakenly believe will help them get better sleep. Unfortunately, alcohol will actually keep you awake (or wake you up later). This obviously impairs your ability to get the quality of sleep you are looking for.

12. Don’t Smoke

Much like alcohol, people turn to nicotine to “calm their nerves” or help them relax. Also, like alcohol, nicotine has been shown to disrupt sleep.[10] Cut back or cut this habit out as able.

13. Eat Well and Eat Smart

Choose convenient nutritious meals and snacks. Nutritious food is the foundation from which our body creates the needed chemicals for quality sleep. Foods high in saturated fat and sugar have been shown to have the worst impact on sleep.[11]

Also, timing is everything as they say. Eating too much or not enough before your shift can cause you to feel tired.

14. Get Regular Exercise

According to numerous studies, exercise can be as effective in treating sleep disorders as prescription medication.[12] Yes, you read that correctly—regular exercise is the bomb!

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This one can be tricky to convince people to do, especially if they are already tired and short on time. If you don’t have the time to hit the gym, take a brisk walk, dance around your living room to your favorite song, or mow your lawn. Despite feeling tired, getting up off the couch and moving around (moderate to vigorous exercise) is best for reducing the time it takes to get to sleep and improving the quality of sleep.

Mental and Emotional

15. Establish Consistent Practices That Help You Relax Before Bed

This can include yoga, deep breathing, a warm bath, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, and hypnosis. These are designed to reduce physical tension and quiet your mind from thoughts that are keeping you awake. There are lots of great apps and free videos that can help you with this.

16. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT as it’s known, works by helping you to identify thoughts and behaviors that make sleep worse and then developing new habits consisting of thoughts and behaviors that promote sleep. There are psychologists and life coaches who are specially certified in CBT that can help you with this.

17. Show Yourself Some Compassion

Sounds silly? Well, it’s not. A seven-year study conducted at the University of Mannheim concluded that the daily practice of self-compassion positively impacted people’s quality of sleep.[13]

The concept of showing ourselves compassion is foreign (and uncomfortable) to many of us. Try going easy on yourself for being grumpy, and give yourself some credit for the efforts you are making in tough circumstances. What would you say to your best friend if they were struggling with the same situation? I routinely ask my clients this question as it’s sometimes easier to be compassionate to others than ourselves. This tip might take some practice, but the effort could result in a better night’s sleep.

Final Thoughts

Okay, there you have it—17 different ways you can help yourself manage shift work disorder, feel more rested, more like yourself, and enjoy life again. To get started with your plan, pick out a few tips that you can implement today, but remember to choose a well-rounded approach—addressing the physical, mental and emotional.

Be patient with yourself. It takes time to build new habits. And show yourself some compassion and kindness—you might just be able to sleep better when you do.

Featured photo credit: Yuris Alhumaydy via unsplash.com

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Reference

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