Have you ever wondered why your desk job makes you feel so tired by the end of the day? Work fatigue is a very real experience that leaves us not only tired, but unmotivated, disorganized, or even depressed. Defined as a state of both physical and mental exhaustion, fatigue is more than just feeling tired – but it can be managed.

From an evolutionary perspective, feelings of fatigue is meant as a kind of mental alarm that prompt us to focus on other tasks. While we no longer need to be biologically reminded to hunt for food or find shelter, the underlying triggers for fatigue, especially in our professional lives, works as a signal in a different context. Feeding into cycles of stress and general overwhelming feelings, work fatigue can turn into a slippery slope that prevents us from sleeping and reinforces poor coping habits. For night shift workers or early morning start times, the risk is even higher; healthcare providers, first responders and service employees have some of the highest rates of work fatigue.

Though we may have our responsibilities at work to blame for work fatigue, these feelings permeate into other areas of our life as well. Practicing both at-work and at-home strategies to restore balance and clarity into your daily tasks can reduce chronic fatigue by encouraging healthier habits. Small things like making sure you’re taking valuable break time and stepping away from your tasks for a few moments every day can make a big difference. Being mindful of self care needs like adequate sleep, nutrition, and self compassion can reduce fatigue and at the same time remind ourselves of truly how meaningful our work is. Chronic feelings of fatigue is often a symptom of depression, so when all else fails don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor for further support.

Tackle your work fatigue one healthy habit at a time. Take a look at this infographic for more detail on work fatigue, how it may be affecting you and your responsibilities, and what it takes to turn the tide of this negativity and take back your life.

Infographic Source: Psych Degrees