We are more overworked today than ever before despite the rapid advances in technology that supposedly makes our lives easier. The need to earn more in order to maintain a comfortable standard of living has driven more of us to join the rat race, and this necessity is further aggravated by the stresses put on us by our personal lives and problems we encounter at work. Without proper care, the combination of overwork, fatigue and stress will take a toll on our bodies and it will drive us to our breaking point.
Fatigue affects both the physical and mental performance of a person. Because of our hectic lifestyles fatigue can affect the quality of life, productivity and safety. When we reach our breaking point, exhaustion can cause health problems such as high blood pressure, cardiac failure and in some cases even aggravate preexisting conditions. Extensive research has also shown that fatigue can bring deeply rooted negative emotions to surface, causing any number of psychological conditions including depression and other anxiety disorders.
A person who is suffering from excessive fatigue appears to have unusually slow reflexes and/or reduced motor functions. It can also impede their ability to think, react and make decisions, making it especially dangerous for people that with jobs that rely heavily on those functions. Fatigue can double the risk factor for workplace accidents to occur. In order to prevent this, many companies have begun educating their employees about the effects of exhaustion on the human body and teaching them to recognize the symptoms in themselves and in co-workers so help can be sought as soon as possible.
Fatigue can cause a range of emotional, physical, and mental symptoms, as listed below:
- Having trouble getting up in the morning
- Feeling run down
- Muscle spasms
- Mood swings and/or irritability
- Loss of appetite or extreme hunger
- Sore or aching muscles
- Low motivation
- Tired for no reason at all
- Slow or unable to bounce back from an illness
- Decreased libido
There are some lifestyle choices we make that can add up and cause a general feeling of fatigue. Among these are:
Too much or lack of sleep- We need about eight hours of sleep per night but sleeping more than 11 hours a day can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness.
Lack of exercise- Endorphins, the body’s feel good hormone, increase with regular exercise. This can induce a feeling of well-being and health, boosting energy levels and decreasing stress.
Sleep disturbances- A sleep disturbances may occur if you live in a very noisy neighborhood, having a snoring partner, or are afflicted with any type of sleep disorder.
Having a poor diet – Our bodies need to digest a certain amount of nutrients to maintain good health. In fact, vitamin deficiencies can be the root cause of specific illnesses like rickets.
Illness and Injuries- A compromised immune system can cause fatigue.
Shifting Schedule – Constant disruption of our “body clock” causes sleep disorders and heightens stress levels. Sleeping during the daytime can be difficult because of the person’s brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are naturally set to “waking” mode.
Workplace Stress– Stress brought on by hard labor, rotating shifts, too hot or too cold working conditions and make you sick.
You can free yourself from fatigue by following these useful tips:
- Strike a balance between work, play and rest.
- Exercise and eat right. Limit your consumption of fast food and foods high in salt or sugar.
- Organize your life and make plans.
- Prioritize. Putting too much emphasis on little details is not only a waste of time but can also increase your stress levels.
- Pamper yourself.
- Try to relax. Practice relaxation techniques that can ease your tension and anxiety.
- Don’t set unattainable goals. Failing to reach unrealistic standards will only add to your stress levels
- Conserve your energy as much as possible. Doing unnecessary tasks will only tire you out.
Most importantly, seek medical advice. Ignoring the warning signs will only make your conditions worsen as time passes. Your doctor will be able to prescribe the best possible remedy to combat fatigue, and ensure that it is not just a symptom of some other illness that you are not aware of. Remember that taking care of your body will help you lead a productive and happy life.