How can you get anything done when you are so tired after work?
After work is the only time throughout the day you get a chance to take steps toward your ambitions and passions.
You want to practice a hobby, work toward your goal, or read a book, but you’re at the office all day.
In the few hours you have in the evening, you’re beat.
All you can manage is a few chores here and there before you crawl into bed, hoping tomorrow will be different. (Heads up, it won’t be.)
How can you achieve greatness if your 9-5 job takes up all your time and energy?
Those hours after work are valuable assets in your journey to success. When else are you supposed to make progress?
Luckily, post-work fatigue isn’t an incurable condition.
You can boost your energy after work and spend your evenings on activities you want to do.
Why You Are Too Tired to Do Anything After Work
Your job isn’t physically demanding.
You sit in front of a computer screen, and you chat with your co-workers. The most strenuous activity you do is sprint to the printer.
So, why do you feel like you ran a marathon?
You smile at vile customers. You bear the stress of deadlines, tyrannical bosses, and spiteful co-workers. You face frustrating setbacks.
All of these are emotionally-taxing situations.
It’s no surprise you’re exhausted after work, then.
Here are some more energy-sucking situations that are a norm in the workplace:
- Stressful interactions with your boss or colleagues.
- Burnout and a lack of passion for your job.
- Mindless, repetitive activities that provide little to no stimulation.
- Worrying and overthinking.
- Socialization (for introverts).
- Overstimulation and fast-paced projects.
It’s not just negative emotions that cause the crash. Any high-intensity emotion can drain your energy levels, including positive emotions like excitement.
What high-intensity emotions do you face in the workplace? Which ones are the most draining?
And the most important question:
Which emotions can you avoid?
If you’re surrounded by toxic people, make an effort to limit your contact with them. If you procrastinate on work until just before the deadline, try spreading the work out on a timeline to avoid the stress.
How Can You Boost Your Energy Levels After Work?
You know why you are drained after work.
It’s emotional and mental exhaustion from the not-human-friendly workplace. You know to stay away from toxic people and avoid the “OMG, I have five minutes to get this report on my boss’s desk” panic.
Avoiding these situations is a start, but it’s not enough. More can be done to make your evenings as energetic as your mornings.
1. The Obvious
You’ve heard this before, so I won’t go into the details.
Fatigue could be a sign that your lifestyle needs adjustments. Your relationship with your body is high-maintenance.
Fatigue is your body’s way of telling you that you’re not taking care of it the way you should.
You can’t take a supplement and expect everything to be OK. Like any relationship, you need to be consistent and show it that you care. Here’s how to do that:
Sleep is important. As members of the human race, we need 7-8 hours of sleep a day. We all got some revenge bedtime procrastination going on, and we stay up when we know we’ll regret it in the morning.
For tips on how to sleep better, check out this post on Baka Desu Yo.
Exercising to boost your energy seems counterintuitive—wouldn’t running tire you out?
Science disagrees. Exercise actually boosts your energy levels. It delivers more blood and oxygen to your organs and increases your endurance.
Just a half-hour of light exercise in the morning is enough to do the trick.
Junk food and caffeine do you no good. Throughout the day, eat well and stay hydrated.
Caffeine may keep you energized for a while, but you’ll crash when the effects wear off. The same goes for sugar.
Instead, eat a banana and snack on some nuts or a protein bar.
Improve your sleep, fitness, and nutrition, and you’ll feel more energized throughout the day.
Still, you want enough energy to put into your goals, so you have more work to do. Now that you’ve got the lifestyle down, it’s time to set up your environment right.
2. Your Environment
Your environment at work plays a big role in your energy levels.
If possible, eliminate distractions from your environment. Put up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign to curb off any distracting co-workers. Silence your phone and disable desktop notifications.
Also, work somewhere quiet with lots of natural light.
Where you sit affects your energy, but so does how you sit.
Bad posture depletes your energy through a bout of mechanisms.
For one, bad posture puts too much stress on your muscles. Your muscles will work harder and thus take up more energy.
Additionally, a slouched position restricts the space your lungs have to expand. Less oxygen = less energy.
You’re fatigued after just a few hours at your desk.
Not to mention, your body language influences how you feel—what message are you sending your mind when you sit slouched?
Definitely not an energetic one.
Here’s a short video showing how you should sit when at your desk:
You’ve just come home from a tiring day at work. Putting 3 hours into your side-hustle is not high up on the list of things you want to do.
You need to dispose of the tiredness of the day and reboot.
What’s a better way to get rid of the weariness than a short power nap?
Ideally, your nap would be in the middle of the day. We don’t live in an ideal world, so you may have to settle for the next best thing: napping after you get home.
Power naps are short—only 15-20 minutes long. Be sure to set your alarm or you’ll sleep your evening away and ruin your sleep schedule (which if you read the above, you know is a bad idea.)
If you’re like me and have trouble falling asleep, then just lying down for the 20 minutes also works. You could listen to guided meditation or white noise to make it even more relaxing.
Whatever you do, do not use electronics during this time. You’ll waste your time and feel even more exhausted than before.
4. Move Around Frequently
When you sit down all day, your blood pools into your feet and none reaches your brain—that explains the mental fog.
OK, that’s not entirely true, but sitting down really does make you tired.
Being idle, whether by sitting down or lying on a couch, tells your body it’s time to sleep.
So, listen to King Julien from Madagascar and “move it, move it”.
Every hour, get out of your chair and move around. Walk to your coworker’s desk, stretch, or jog to the bathroom (or just fast walk). Here are 10 office-friendly stretches to do at work.
If you forget to get up every hour, wear a watch that beeps at the start of each hour or set an alarm.
5. Take Breaks Throughout the Day
Staring at a computer screen all day causes eyestrain, making your eyes tired and in need of rest. Also, continuous work taxes your brain and makes you yearn for sleep by noon.
After every half hour or hour of work, take a 5-minute break at your desk. Look at the window. Walk around and get your blood flowing. Observe the dynamics around you. You’ll be surprised what you notice when you start paying attention.
Never Get So Busy Making a Living That You Forget to Make a Life
Work takes up most of your time, and it sucks your energy so you can’t do anything with what’s left of it.
Your life doesn’t have to be just work, though.
You can reclaim your energy and get your evenings back.
Use that time to work on what really matters—your goals, relationships, and hobbies.
You weren’t made to just work. You need to have time for yourself, too, and just as importantly, the energy to enjoy it.