Staying alert, awake and motivated at work can be a difficult task, especially if your job involves hard physical labor or being on your feet the whole time. Tiredness and the numbing effect of repetitive actions, as well as the pressure of multiple challenging responsibilities, can easily lead to you becoming distracted and making mistakes. You may also slip into a self-perpetuating spiral of declining physical and mental health.
If your employer or your workplace is causing you unnecessary stress, placing unrealistic expectations on your shoulders, or otherwise negatively affecting your health, then it’s reasonable to expect them to adapt to your needs. After all, it’s likely not just you who’s affected.
That said, conscious self-care is essential if you want to stay energized at work and avoid simple tiredness turning into more serious problems. Nurses are especially vulnerable to burnout, often causing them to leave the profession. The Wilkes University course catalog has a useful guide to avoiding this condition. But whatever your job, there are steps you can take to alleviate lack of energy, both during your shift and in terms of changes to your overall lifestyle.
Take a walk
This may seem counterintuitive if part of your problem is being on your feet a lot, but walking in the fresh air before your shift can reinvigorate you for the work ahead. If possible, walk to your workplace, or take a short stroll before you begin. This underrated form of exercise will get the endorphins pumping and your muscles loosened up, while the air will clear your head and wake you up. If you can take a walk in a green space among trees and flowers, then that’s even better.
Caffeine is a classic solution to tiredness, but it should be used with caution. Have a tea or coffee at the start of your shift, but then stay hydrated by sipping water regularly throughout your working day. Don’t skip on meals, but have healthy snacks such as fruit and nuts about your person that you can quickly munch on when necessary.
Getting enough sleep is crucial to staying awake. That much is obvious, but sleep is so often the first casualty of a demanding work schedule. To be at your best, prioritize getting eight hours of sleep a night, preferably in the same time slot. Avoid large meals, caffeine or alcohol at bedtime and banish electronic devices and television sets from your bedroom. If you’re doing a late or irregular shift, try to get a 15 to 20-minute nap before starting. It may not seem like much, but it can work wonders!
Keep in touch with your friends
Maintaining positive social relationships with friends and family can also help you stay energized. Healthy socializing is essential for good mental health. Friends and family are your support network, providing a sense of self-worth and informal counseling, but just as important is to be able to relax, have fun, and leave your work pressures behind when you’re with them.
Staying energized when you’re working hard is a tough call, but looking after yourself is your number one priority. If you’re healthy, you’ll work better, and you’ll also feel better about it.