Work isn't your whole life, but it sure can feel that way. Having the energy for social engagements, working out, dealing with your kids or just, you know, having a life is no easy task after putting in a full day at the office. It is possible, though. A few simple changes are all you need to have more energy after work.
If you've had a good day at work, keep that high energy going at home by tackling something on your to-do list as soon as you walk in the door. Heading straight for the couch may sound good, but it's a momentum killer. Try at least popping dinner in the oven or throwing a load of laundry in the washer before you even take off your shoes.
Power naps are a proven way to bounce back without zoning out for hours. Hardcore naps might be appealing, but they zap all your will to get up and go for the rest of the night. Try a 20-minute snooze instead. Even just laying down and practicing some deep, calming, refreshing breathing techniques will mellow you out to a remarkable degree. Set your alarm, put on some relaxing tunes or try a guided mini-meditation session.
Sure, when you're dragging after a long day at work — especially if it was as emotionally draining as it was physically taxing — you probably won't be jazzed about jogging. But incorporating some sort of physical activity into your post-work routine gets your body feeling loose, warm and more relaxed. Plus, it's a chance to give your brain a little time to process the day and leave work behind.
Rather than break up your day into work/not work, try adding a "post-work" transitional period. You're off the clock but not yet on me time. Giving yourself a bit of space, be it 20 minutes or an hour, to decompress, relax and switch modes is a powerful way to have more energy after work. Just jamming yourself from one gear to another makes you crash harder, sooner.
The end of your workday is quite a while after lunch (you did eat lunch, right?), and your stomach will probably start to complain about that. Stock your work bag and pantry with good-quality snacks to munch on, not only after work but also throughout your workday. You'll be far more motivated to make healthy dinner choices if you've got healthy munchies already boosting your energy and mood.
Coffee is delicious, but it's a quick fix that won't do you any favors after work or even necessarily in the afternoon. If you find yourself hitting a mid-day slump at work, try those healthy snacks you stocked instead of a latte for more sustained energy. Avoiding the inevitable sugar and caffeine crashes makes for a better evening by far. Caffeine will also affect your ability to fall asleep on time, and that will drain your energy after work tomorrow. Break the cycle, and try cutting off your caffeine intake by 3 pm, if not sooner.
Look at cutting off caffeine after a certain point in the day as part of creating a bedtime routine that helps both your body and mind wind down. Getting to bed easier and on time, sleeping better and feeling more rested in the morning all mean you'll have more energy after work. Make healthy dinner choices, limit screen time in the evening and go to bed around the same time every night to build a better sleep pattern and live a more balanced life.
Being productive before you even clock in at work boosts your mental and physical energy. Set your alarm for half an hour earlier, and make your bed. You can wash the dishes, do some yoga and hit the gym. Already crossing things off your to-do list will drive you through the rest of the day. It also means you'll be able to spend more time in the evening doing what you want and not having to do chores.
Dancing is a sneaky way to trick your body into breaking a sweat. Listening to music you love and moving your body is a great stress reliever and a killer energizer. Put on some high-energy music while you change out of your work clothes. Dancing gets your blood pumping and elevates your mood. You'll find it's easier to dig into anything you have to do at home or get ready to go back out when you're in that good mood. It's also hands-down one of the most fun ways to make sure you have more energy after work.
If working out just isn't in the cards for you today, and napping doesn't really sound appealing, try stimulating your brain instead. It may seem counter-intuitive, but giving your mind something completely different to do — something that challenges you but that you also enjoy — can recharge you and give you more energy after work. If you play a musical instrument, give yourself half an hour to fiddle around before you make dinner. Writing, painting and other creative outlets are excellent palate-cleansers for your brain. But so is coloring, doing crosswords or, you know, straight up rearranging the living room. That's like a real-world puzzle. Just make sure to stretch before you move the couch.
Experiencing fatigue is a lot different from dealing with your average sluggish morning sleepies. It's something you feel all day, every day, and have to fight against in order to do even the simplest things. Many aspects of your lifestyle play a part in how much or how little energy you have, so overcoming fatigue may mean addressing more than one root-cause at simultaneously.
To start, pay attention do your diet. Eating good food on a regular basis is something we all know to do, but how easy is it to just grab that bag of chips or make a dash to the drive-through when we're feeling a little too tired to cook? Make a point of having quick healthy snacks on hand to offset that risk. And keep an eye on how much water versus caffeine you drink.
Your level of exercise, the overall health and quality of your sleep routine and your stress levels at work and in your home environment are also major fatigue factors. Experiencing emotional burnout or any kind of stress affects how you feel mentally and physically. Good self-care will help you recover on both of those fronts. Get in the habit of checking in with yourself, asking if you still like your job, mostly have the life you want, are eating in a way that makes you feel good and are letting your body move and stretch and sweat. Changing your physical habits or life situations can be just the energy boost you need because they both play such a big part in fatigue.
If your fatigue has no identifiable source or feels severe, see your doctor to make sure there isn't an underlying medical issue. She will be able to recommend any specialists — from therapists to nutritionists — as well.
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