Strategies for overcoming workplace fatigue


According to an illuminating study by the Virgin Pulse Institute, up to 76% of the American workforce feel tired most days of the week. Another 40% find themselves dozing off during the day.

If you’ve experienced workplace fatigue, there are many initiatives you can take to reduce tiredness, increase your productivity, and ultimately your happiness at work.

Read on to learn some of the best techniques for overcoming workplace fatigue.

Eat Breakfast

You’ve probably heard experts recommend that people eat a nutrient-packed breakfast each day. And yet 31 million U.S. consumers skip breakfast daily.

What these individuals fail to realize is that skipping breakfast causes detrimental health effects, and it’s one of the reasons why you feel fatigued all day at work.

When you miss the day’s first meal, you deprive your body of much-needed energy.

Essentially, you are on an energy deficit, forcing your body to tap into energy reserves throughout the day.

Eating breakfast to avoid fatigue

Here’s how you can boost your energy levels naturally through breakfast:

  • Incorporate protein: it’s a good idea to have some type of protein at breakfast. Not only does this provide essential body-building nutrients but it also keeps you feeling full for longer. Ideal sources of protein include Greek yoghurt and eggs.
  • Make a breakfast smoothie: want to have a high-energy and refreshing breakfast? Consider blending some fruits, yoghurt, tofu and other ingredients to make a smoothie.
  • Eat-in, not out: Eating out is not only expensive but also less healthy for you. All the additives you find in restaurant food such as saturated fats and sugar can really weigh you down and deplete you of energy after an initial high.

Go For A Walk or Stretch

When you’re overcome with exhaustion or feel sleepy at work, what is the first thing you do?

For many, they either have a rest or grab a cup of coffee.

Although both of these techniques make you feel energized for a short while, a more effective way of fighting fatigue is to go for a walk.

Here are some statistics to support this concept:

  • Engaging in low-intensity exercises, like walking, reduces fatigue levels by up to 65%
  • Walking up and down the stairs for just 10 minutes has a greater effect on improving your energy than ingesting 50 mg of caffeine
  • Walking that is done outdoors significantly reduces stress levels and gives your mind a boost
A business woman on stairs at work

If you can’t spare time to go for a walk, look for clever ways to incorporate movement into your routine. Here are some ideas for you to consider:

Take the stairs instead of using a lift

  • Take the stairs instead of using a life
  • Do some office stretches every once in a while at your desk
  • Walk to your colleague’s desk instead of emailing them
  • Park your car far away from the office and walk
  • Walk to a nearby restaurant instead of eating at your desk
  • Use rest-rooms on a different floor

Remember, the other great thing about exercising is that it can also improve your productivity at work.

Incorporate Essential Oils

Essential oils refer to concentrated compounds, which are extracted from plants through mechanical methods such as cold pressing or water distillation.

For centuries now, these essential oils have been used to manage pain and fight bacteria. But recent studies also show that aromatherapy - the application of essential oils to promote well-being - can also be used to fight fatigue.

This study published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies shows that compound essential oil is particularly effective in combating central fatigue. Similarly, a different study found that essential oils boost relaxation, reduce anxiety and prevent fatigue. 

Opting for aromatherapy is a lot healthier than ingesting caffeinated drinks that cause an adrenaline rush, which in turn, strains your adrenal glands. So here are some recommendations on how to use essential oils at your workplace:

  • Aromatically - you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to your office diffuser or light a fragrant candle on your desk
  • Topically - look for body creams and lotions that contain essential oils
  • Internally - add a drop of organic lemon oil to your drinking water

Be sure to use only therapeutic grade essential oils. It’s also a good idea to get approval from your physician as some essential oils can cause side effects.

Don’t Use Tech At Bedtime

As Science Direct explains, one of the biggest causes of workplace fatigue is sleep deprivation. This is not surprising considering that one in every three Americans gets less than seven hours of sleep each night.

Now, while some causes of sleep deprivation are unavoidable - like long work shifts, there are others that you can control.

We’re referring to the use of electronic devices right before you sleep.

Using tablets, laptops, smartphones and TVs just a short while before you sleep interferes with your body’s internal clock.

More specifically, it affects the production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. As a result, this makes it much more difficult to fall asleep.

Ultimately, you sleep for a much shorter time, which is why you feel grumpy and fatigued the following day.

To avoid this, limit your exposure to electronic devices at night. This way, you’ll be able to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

You can also take up healthy sleep habits such as:

  • Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule
  • Reducing stimulant intake such as caffeine before bedtime
  • Avoiding daytime naps as they make it harder to fall asleep
  • Adopting a healthy bedtime ritual like taking a warm bath, listening to music or reading a book.
  • Creating a sleep-promoting environment; it should be dark, quiet and cool
Get a good nights sleep

Final thoughts on workplace fatigue...

If you’ve been feeling tired at work, there are a few things you can do to prevent this. First off, ensure you’re getting adequate sleep each night. You should also eat a healthy breakfast every morning to replenish your energy. Finally, try aromatherapy and incorporate movement into your routine.