5 ways to overcome end-of-year fatigue

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There is just one month to go till the end of the year. Experts agree that it’s not unusual to struggle both physically and mentally during this time.

The rush to wrap up work, family and other life commitments before an end-of-year break can not only be exhausting but bad for your health.

The reality is that end-of-year syndrome is real, even for the most hard-working people who are often characterised by exhaustion, anxiety and laziness especially during November and December, explains Megan Hosking, psychiatric intake clinician at Akeso Clinics.

“End-of-the-year fatigue is a phenomenon experienced by some as the end of the year draws nearer, where they start to feel more tired, irritable and overwhelmed. It may feel as though every day at this time of the year is just a case of going through the motions, with little to no joy or satisfaction.”

She said different possible contributors include deadlines as people try to wrap up their work before the end of the year.

It’s important to distinguish between this, which occurs specifically at this time of year, and something like a mood or anxiety disorder or burnout, which is not time-bound.

Experts say in some cases, fatigue may present itself as burnout.

Natalie Rabson, a wellness counsellor at Boston City Campus and Business College, says: “Burnout results in physical, emotional and psychological exhaustion, often accompanied by feelings of helplessness, self-doubt, being unmotivated, defeated and fatigued in every area of life. However, there are ways to regain your balance and feel empowered and positive about life once more”.

Lyndy van den Barselaar, the managing director at ManpowerGroup SA, says employees may be reluctant to admit feeling burned out, and therefore managers need to recognise the warning signs and take steps to facilitate resiliency.

“Burnout will not only cause physical and mental health issues for employees, but will also cause ineffectiveness in the workplace. Therefore, it is in employers best interest to ensure they take the correct steps to mitigate this,” Barselaar said.

If you are struggling to pull yourself together, here are some suggestions from Better Health you can do to beat the blues.

Drink plenty of water – Sometimes you feel tired simply because you’re mildly dehydrated. A glass of water will help do the trick, especially after exercise.

Be careful with caffeine – anyone feeling tired should cut out caffeine. The best way to do this is to gradually stop having all caffeine drinks (that includes coffee, tea and cola drinks) over a three-week period.

Eat breakfast – Food boosts your metabolism and gives the body energy to burn. The brain relies on glucose for fuel, so choose carbohydrate-rich breakfast foods such as cereals or wholegrain bread.

Eat iron rich foods – Women, in particular, are prone to iron-deficiency (anaemia), which can lead to feeling fatigued. Make sure your diet includes iron-rich foods such as lean red meat.

If you feel you’re suffering consistent fatigue, which is an overwhelming tiredness that isn’t relieved by rest and sleep, you may have a medical condition.

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