How to fight fatigue

Despite your best efforts to plan your day, there are often additional demands on your time. To cope, you will frequently have to call on your energy reserves to boost your staying power. You can’t afford to wilt when the pressure is on - so here are some tips to have you feeling more zip instead of feeling zapped...

1. Understand your rhythms.

It’s OK to experience fatigue, because it’s natural to get tired at the same time every day - it’s part of a rhythm. That’s why understanding that rhythm is so important. The best way to cope with your daily rhythm is to work it into your schedule - doing the things that demand the most energy when you’re fresh and, conversely, keeping the less demanding tasks for when you're in a trough. And the highs and lows can be different for each individual.

2. Watch what you eat.

You are what you eat, so select foods that keep you competitive. Consider these tips to fuel your brain and body:

  • Carbohydrates are good fuel, but a lunch of pasta can slow you down in the afternoon. Stay away from foods high in fat. Food that combines protein with carbohydrates - a chicken sandwich, for example - helps offset fatigue.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables are essential for providing vitamins and minerals, preventing fatigue, and boosting mental recall and concentration.
  • Maintain an even blood-sugar level that keeps fuel flowing to your brain and muscles by eating small, regular helpings. Avoid a large meal when you need to be alert.
  • Go for complex carbohydrates - fruit or crackers. They will keep you going longer than lollies.
  • Drink caffeine in moderation. It can improve mental performance, but excessive amounts don’t increase mental alertness beyond the effects of the original dose.

3. Eat smart

A well-balanced diet is one thing; but if you don't have good eating habits as well, sooner or later you will do yourself a good deal of damage. So don't skip breakfast, and make sure it's a healthy one. Don't miss lunch, or rush it, or eat it on the run; but eat light meals. And watch those during-the-day snacks- often they're loaded with fat, salt, caffeine, and sugar.

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