A great many of us have been working from home for at least a year now and let’s be honest it’s been one hell of a learning curve. Being in and out of various lockdowns has been exhausting and navigating the ‘new normal’ has really tested our mental and physical limits to breaking point. A common way this added stress has manifested itself in our daily lives is through our energy levels (or distinct lack of…). Despite not commuting every day, running from diary appointment to the next or having action packed weekends we’re feeling more tired and wiped out than ever before…
For some, the endless WFH has left them with a chronic lethargy which is creeping into poor productivity levels, self esteem issues and lack of quality sleep. On the Sleep Lab this week we wanted to tackle this issue head on, so here’s how to fight the fatigue if you’re currently unable to make it past 4pm without yet another coffee…
Make time to move:
It’s well documented that psychological stressors (of which the pandemic seems to specialise in) can be even more tiring than physical ones as it sends the body into a heightened state or ‘fight or flight’ mode. Whilst you might initially feel more alert in the short term due to adrenaline, prolonged time in this state can result in extreme tiredness and fatigue over time. Whilst this might be the last thing you feel like doing when your energy is low, factoring in time to move can be the easiest way to bio-hack our way out of this state. Just 30 minutes of light exercise (think a walk or restorative yoga) can provide a much-needed boost to our energy levels and keep those endorphins flowing.
Taking this concept one step further is the new trend for ‘micro workouts’ throughout the day rather than just sitting for long periods. Working from home can in fact bring some benefits like the flexibility to change location to keep things fresh. Setting your alarm each hour throughout the day to do 5-10 minutes of movement (yes, even walking to the kitchen to making a drink counts) or stretching has been shown to help regulate your energy levels and keep them consistent over the working day.
Sadly, an obvious one yet really important. When our energy levels take a dip, it can be seriously tempting to simply reach for the nearest convenience food (crisps and chocolate in our case) but eating nutrient dense food gives you much more sustainable energy. Think: dark leafy greens, berries, sustainably caught fish and healthy fats. They say the Mediterranean’s have one of the best life expectancies for a reason. When your body is stuck in this seemingly endless fight or flight state, it needs extra nutrients to support that stress response otherwise it gets depleted. Another tip is simply selecting the right fuel for the job. Opting for carbs that release energy slowly is another great tip to work with your body rather than against it. Things to reach for are pulses, quinoa and brown whole wheat bread and pasta. If you’re feeling consistently worn out, taking a look at what you're consuming could be a great first step.
We bet you were waiting for this one…
Getting a good sleep not only in terms of total hours, but also practicing good sleep hygiene and adopting a consistently regular sleeping and waking up routine is key to managing our energy levels, pandemic or not. Avoiding caffeine after midday is a great way to kick this routine into action (remember what we said before about working with, not against, your body?). Restricting the amount of blue light exposure you have for a minimum of 1 hour before bed is another winner, as well as adopting a killer wind down routine will help you maximise how effectively you sleep. If you find your mind whirring and filled with thoughts before bed, dedicated time to switch off is a game-changer.
We are on the pursuit of achieving a sleep-focused lifestyle and taking self-care seriously. We’d love to know your favourite tips and tricks to nailing your ultimate sleep routine in the comments or continue the conversation over on our Instagram.