Avoiding Fatigue At Work

Causes of Fatigue

Another mind-numbing day at work....
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Work can be fulfilling, dynamic and challenging, but it can also be exhausting. On average, 46 hours a week is spent at work, and one in 20 people hold down more than one job. But this is only part of the picture. Because many women work just as much as their man, there is a reasonable expectation that men should also share in domestic tasks like shopping and childcare. When you seem unable to get on top of tasks because you are so fatigued, it's time to take action to regain your stamina.

Fatigue and Nutrition
Fatigue can be linked to a poor diet high in sugar and carbs, excessive or inadequate calorie intake. A balanced diet will reduce fatigue.

Fatigue and Exercise
Regular exercise will reduce fatigue. Exercise is good for the heart, helps keep weight down, stimulates your sex life and helps lift depression. Take a break in your workday, go to the gym, take a walk, or go for a quick swim.

Fatigue and Age
Getting older is a fact of life and at some point, you may have to listen to your body telling you to slow down a bit. Energy reserves in most older people are not the same as when they were younger but older people tend to compensate very well with alternative strategies. Just think twice before competing head-on with someone half your age.

Fatigue and Mental Health
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans aged 18 and older (that's about one in four adults) suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.

Our work lives involve dealing with difficult situations, meeting targets, completing tasks and working long hours. Americans fail to take an average of four days of their vacation entitlement each year. Pressure can cause anxiety, stress, depression. Increasing levels of fatigue may be a symptom.

Consider - do you need to see your doctor or can you sort things out yourself?

A check-up with your doctor or a referral to more specialized help? Mental Health Services Locator.

Fatigue and Sleep Patterns
One obvious source of exhaustion is a lack of sleep or disruptive sleep patterns. We have all experienced it. You wake up in the night and worry about work, relationships, commitments, debt, the kids and so on. Sleep deprivation (at its most extreme) can have a devastating effect on your body and mind.

  • Alcohol and Drugs. The effects of alcohol can differ from person to person and although alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which helps some to sleep, but for others, it is highly disruptive. Consider Safe levels of alcohol intake.
    Prescription medications and non-prescription drugs need to be discussed with your doctor.
  • Eating too late, especially with a diet that is very rich and accompanied by too many fluids, may also disrupt sleep.
  • Time Zones. Jet lag when flying through time zones disrupts sleep rhythms.
  • Switching Off. Most people need to relax a little before going to bed. It can be hard to switch off if you don't break out of the work cycle. Sometimes a little light reading, a bath, or listening to relaxing music can help.
  • Mental Health Problems. Anxiety, stress an,d depression are very common and can have a significant effect on sleep patterns.
  • Sleep apnea or narcolepsy: These require diagnosis and prompt treatment.

Changing the pattern of work life, home life, and sleep may help. Power naps are good if you can get them. Consider whether you need to discuss your difficulties with your family and/or your doctor.

Fatigue and Physical Health
Sometimes fatigue is caused by illness. People usually have other symptoms, too, but not always. You need to go to your doctor if you feel that your levels of fatigue could be caused by illness. Diseases where fatigue is a major symptom include:
Addisons disease
Anemia
Allergies such as hay fever or asthma
Alcohol or Drug Addiction
Arthritis
Cancer
Congestive Heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic pain
Diabetes
Eating disorders such as anorexia
Following a head injury
Infections from the mere sore throat to more major life-threatening illnesses such as AIDS, endocarditis, TB (tuberculosis)
Kidney disease
Prescription and non-prescription drugs
Thyroid problems.

Article Sources Include:
National Institute Mental Health
The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. NIMH
U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

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