Feeling drained and like you don't have anything left to give after work is an all too common feeling for many people. However, most people also have plenty of things they want and need to do after work, so giving into post-work exhaustion isn't always possible or desirable — and it can hurt your work-life balance If you're always tired after work, you may be wondering whether there are any ways to fight after-work exhaustion. Luckily, there are quite a few methods of reducing post-work tiredness to help you feel ready to dive into your personal life once the workday is done.
There are many reasons why you might be feeling tired after work:
Some of these lifestyle variables are easily adjusted, while others are closely related to how you manage yourself during the workday.
A few simple tactics to adjust your behavior during the workday can help boost your energy levels both at and after work.
Sleep deprivation is a major cause of tiredness, both during the workday and after. Getting a solid seven to nine hours of sleep every night is one of the best things you can do for yourself. When you don't get enough sleep, it's almost guaranteed that you'll experience tiredness after work.
If you struggle with getting enough sleep, consider enlisting technology to help you out. If you're an iPhone user, you can use the Bedtime feature to set a bedtime and wake up time on your phone. After you set a bedtime, your iPhone will remind you when it's time to go to bed, and an alarm will sound when it's time for you to wake up.
Dehydration is a common cause of tiredness, especially for people who work in office environments (where they often drink lots of soda and coffee but not a lot of water). Because soda and coffee are both dehydrating, they don't give your body the water it needs for proper function — so you'll end up feeling tired at the end of the day. To determine how much water you need every day, divide your body weight by two. That's the number of ounces of water you need to drink each day (so, for example, if you weight 150 pounds, you'll want to drink at least 75 ounces of water a day). If you're drinking coffee, soda or alcoholic beverages, you'll also want to add another eight-ounce glass of water.
If you struggle with remembering to drink enough water, consider downloading a water tracker app, such as Drink Water or Drink Water Reminder N Tracker. If you're on Android or want something else, there are plenty of other water reminder apps to choose from, many of which are free to start with.
If you don't like the taste of plain water or want something more interesting to drink, consider herbal teas, sugar-free seltzers or getting a Sodastream for the office. You could also make fruit-infused water with cucumbers, berries, citrus fruits or whatever other flavors you want to jazz your water up a bit more.
The 2-3 p.m. period is called the "siesta period." Putting caffeine into your body during this period of time will disrupt your body's circadian rhythm and set you up for another slump at the end of the day. To avoid this slump, eat light lunches versus heavy, hard-to-digest foods that will make your body sluggish.
If you find yourself struggling to remember this rule, consider putting a daily block on your calendar during this time period reminding yourself to avoid caffeine. If you do this, though, remember to mark the time as "free" on your calendar so coworkers and anyone else who's looking to schedule time with you can still schedule meetings in this block.
While it's important to eat three well-balanced square meals every day, your lunch choices are especially important for avoiding post-work fatigue. Avoiding refined sugars, excessive carbohydrates and greasy foods will help keep your energy levels up throughout the day. This means burgers, bagels, donuts and fries are out. Opt for salads, low-sodium soups, sashimi and other light, healthy foods instead.
If your blood sugar levels fluctuate too much throughout the day, you'll end up feeling tired, sluggish and cranky. This will cause you to just want to take a nap after work. To keep your blood sugar levels stable, eat small, low-glycemic index (GI) meals and snacks throughout the day instead of cramming gigantic lunches into your body without snacks in between meals. As a rule, this means eating foods with healthy fats and fiber, such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, most fruits and non-starchy vegetables.
Even if you work a desk job, you'll still reap benefits of staying moderately active throughout your workday. If you're sitting all day, you're likely to end it feeling drained. So, take a walk during your lunch hour, go for a walk after work (or walk home from work if your commute allows it) or hit the gym. You can also try exercising at your desk or consider getting a standing desk so you're not sitting all day.
Wasting mental energy on anxiety and fretting throughout the day is a sneaky energy thief that's likely to leave you feeling tired, irritable and not up to the task of doing anything after you've left the office. To combat this, try to realign your mindset to let go of the things you can't control at work and avoid marinating in worries. This isn't always easy, and you won't always be successful at it, especially if you work in a high-stress industry or job function — but it's an important attitude shift that will reward you with higher energy levels and greater happiness at the end of the workday.
Maximizing your work routine to be as efficient as possible during the workday is an important tactic that will help you reclaim more of your energy after work. Planning your day out in advance so you work on the hardest tasks first will leave you with afternoons to work on easier tasks later in the day, when your energy levels may be a little lower. Working with your mental peaks and valleys throughout the day will help you achieve more, which will lower your stress levels and thereby boost your after-work mood and energy levels.
While it's important to work effectively and efficiently to get as much done as possible, it's also important to take little breaks as needed. If you struggle with remembering to do this, consider setting a timer on your phone or computer to remind you to get up for a little stretch break every hour or so. For Apple Watch or Fitbit users, there's actually a setting you can use to send an alert reminding you to get up at regular intervals.
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.