Q: I've been in my job about a year and am finding it to be physically and emotionally fatiguing. I genuinely like it – I feel challenged and like I make a difference – but am trying to figure out what I need to do to maintain my energy. Thoughts?
–Elaine, 32, management consultant
A: This is a challenge for many people; the key is using a variety of self-care tools and maintaining a diverse lifestyle.
What do I mean by that? For some, especially those who are more mission-driven or goal-oriented, work can take over one's life. When imbalance occurs, quality of life can suffer.
However, cultivating meaningful relationships and having a variety of activities helps, even in the busiest of times.
This is often problematic for women. Especially if you also have family responsibilities (children, aging parents, etc.), there's a risk of putting yourself last. Yet this will just deplete you further.
So let's move into some possible solutions.
First, address reasons for your fatigue. Any job can have physical demands. For example, if you have a sedentary job, the constant sitting can be wearing.
In that case, take the time during the day to stand up, take a short walk and stretch a little. Take a few deep breaths. Even a brief break will help you shake the tiredness.
If you have a more physical job or travel a lot, figure out the actions that will help you stay strong.
And by all means, if you think there may be illness at play, get to a doctor to have it checked out.
Then consider preventive steps on the physical side. Regular activity, even something mild like walking, can help build and maintain energy. More strenuous options, like a sport of some kind, may also suit you and give you a physical and emotional boost.
A moderate and balanced diet also helps a lot. Pay attention to how different foods make you feel, then form a habit of eating things that are energizing and cutting back on those that make you drag (even if you like them). Also cultivate a healthy sleep routine.
On to the emotional fatigue. While physical well-being will help your state of mind, there are many other steps to consider.
Take a 360-degree view of your life, reflecting on your spiritual, social, intellectual, relational and physical health.
Compare where you'd like to be with your current state, and use that to find a few changes you could make that would perk you up.
Also dig a little into how you're feeling to see what's under the fatigue. Powerlessness, anger, frustration or boredom will all have different solutions; identifying your emotion more precisely will help you match your actions to your need.
Turn to other people for support. If you need a pick-me-up during the workday, invite a congenial colleague for a walk. Increase the amount of family and friend fun time outside of work.
Balance this with reflective time to go inward and find some stillness.
As you build your portfolio of energy boosters, you'll likely find that the fatigue becomes more manageable and your work life will be even more vibrant.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes. Submit questions or comments about this column at www.deliverchange.com/coachscorner or email her at email@example.com.