Feeling exhausted at work? Here's a few reasons why ...

Exhausted at work: A few reasons why…

Feeling exhausted at work? Here's a few reasons why ...

Over the years I have observed fellow colleagues dive for the coffee machine first thing in the morning, and throughout the day. I know of young students who have taken ‘uppers’ to get them through exams after late nights studying, and have seen adults, teenagers and young children buy sweetened caffeine drinks.

It makes me wonder why we are all so exhausted that we crave coffee, sugar and other stimulants almost constantly, to keep us going.

Let me share my story ...

I was an absolute ‘sugar-holic’. I’d be the one at weddings asking for the corner piece of a square cake in order to maximize the sugar icing! I would always go for the sweeter wines and snacked on ‘Liquorice Allsorts’ or minty chocolates and eat loads of carbohydrates – mainly bread. As for coffee, I could drink 4-6 cups of coffee a day and think nothing of it.

Over the years, despite regular exercise, I gained a great deal of weight, my resting heart rate was over 90 beats a minute, and I had frequent coughs and colds.

As I began to make healthier choices about my food and drink intake, all of these symptoms gradually dropped away, but I was still craving sweet things and carbohydrates. Why? Basically because I was still exhausted, despite my healthy diet. I started to notice how I was working and that it was not so much the work I was doing, but HOW I was doing it.

I was doing a physically demanding job at the time (cleaning), and I noticed that whilst mopping the floor I would often be thinking about some event that had upset me:

  • A ‘stupid’ management decision that left us short staffed
  • Something a colleague had said
  • Or even something I had done and felt bad about

When I became aware of this, I noticed that my body felt really tense, and I was mopping the floor twice as hard as I needed to, therefore I was using twice as much energy for my body to respond to both my thinking and the activity I was engaged in.

My thinking and getting emotional was literally wasting my energy!

Time and time again in the past I’ve felt angry over situations at work, and now I wonder ... what’s that been doing to my body?

Over time, I’ve learned to:

Focus on the task in hand

I’m now working in a busy supermarket bakery, where, if my attention wavers from what I am doing, something happens (e.g. I burn my arm on an oven tray). It is a great reminder to stay present with whatever I am doing!

Get less emotional about issues

I avoid getting involved in company gossip – you know the kind of thing – where everybody moans and it pulls you down. I am also much more accepting of management decisions that I am not able to change or influence, and I am not wasting my energy in fighting the decision within myself. I often use the phrase “OK, so that’s the way it is” – it means I don’t feel so stressed. At the same time, I do not hesitate to speak up when it is called for – I don’t roll over and play dead!

Feel less anxious about getting things done

There is a lot to do in my work, and I find that, when I am calm, I get more done, whereas if I am anxious and flapping, I make mistakes and it takes longer in the end.

These three things have helped me enormously – I find that at the end of a busy eight-hour shift, I am still pretty relaxed, slightly physically tired, but not exhausted, so I don’t dive for the sugary foods and carbohydrates.

As a result of my body not being stimulated by the sugar, I feel calmer, I sleep better and my vitality is much greater ... and, I look forward to going into work the next day!

Filed under

ExhaustionCaffeineSugarWeightAcceptanceHealthy diet

  • By Carmel Reid, Goonellabah, Australia

    Carmel started her career in the UK with an electronic engineering degree and moved on into business coaching and personal counselling. Now living and working in Australia, she brings enthusiasm, experience and wisdom to many business and voluntary projects in her local community and world-wide on Social Media.

  • Photography: Clayton Lloyd