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Fighting Back Against Work Fatigue

Thursday, February 7, 2019
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What is it about sitting at a computer all day that just seems to drain the life right out of you? It doesn’t seem as though you are doing anything that should be zapping your energy. In theory you should be making it home with plenty of energy left to accomplish all the things that you want to do. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Most of us get home from work dead tired after what seems like zero physical exertion whatsoever. It turns out that sitting all day does take a lot of energy, at least on the mental side, to keep us focused and moving forward instead of tending to our evolutionarily established hierarchy of needs. But how can you tell the difference between work fatigue and just being tired? And how can you prevent your work fatigue from taking over your personal life?

Always Look for the Simplest Explanation First

Are you just tired or is it actual fatigue? Tiredness will usually go away after a couple of good nights of sleep. As long as you're getting plenty of sleep on a regular basis, exercising, eating right, staying hydrated, and generally keeping healthy, you should not experience ongoing tiredness. If you do, it could be fatigue, which is characterized as a state of mental and physical exhaustion beyond tiredness.

What Contributes to Work Fatigue?

Willing yourself to do the same thing all day, every day is probably the biggest culprit behind work fatigue. Things like working the night shift or rotating shifts can also throw your internal clock off balance and lead to fatigue. If you work in a low-paying job, retail or service, or as a doctor or nurse or first responder, you are more likely to feel fatigued due to the added stress that comes along with that lifestyle.

There is also the matter of work-life balance. Americans are working longer hours than they were just a few decades ago. In 1976, the average was 37.5 hours a week, whereas today that has climbed more than 10 hours a week to 47.7 hours. And with the advent of technology, we are rarely leaving our work at the office anymore, opting instead to keep on top of those work emails at the dinner table.

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What Can You Do About Work Fatigue?

Drawing lines between your work life and your home life is essential. You must find a balance. If you are getting called in on too many extra projects, it may be time to talk with your boss about cutting back. Even working remotely can help you to reclaim some of your work-life balance. If there’s just no getting around the long hours, it may be time to look for a less demanding job.

Learn more about the psychology of work fatigue and how to fight back with this infographic.

The Psychology of Work Fatigue
Source: Psych Degrees

About the Author

Maggie Kimberl is a freelance writer and lover of infographics based in Louisville, Kentucky. You can find her on Twitter @LouGirl502.

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