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Rachel Becker, LMSW on August 4, 2014
Fatigue is a common side effect both during and after treatment, and coping with symptoms during working hours can often feel like an uphill battle. However, a little knowledge can go a long way in helping you to manage low-energy and maintain productivity on the job.
1) Plan Your Day. Taking a few minutes in the morning to put some structure around your projects for the day can help make work feel less overwhelming psychologically. Take some time to think through how long each task is going to take, and break each one down into 30 minute increments: 25 minutes dedicated to working, and 5 for taking a short break. This approach is known as the Pomodoro Technique, and allows you to build in time to check-in with yourself and recharge as necessary. Another suggestion is to identify two tasks that you are particularly excited about, and assign one to do first thing in the morning and the other to take care of at the end of the day. This allows you to “bookend” your day with a sense of accomplishment.
2) Stay Hydrated. Chances are, you’ve heard this tip many times before. But beside being an essential part of a successful treatment protocol, staying hydrated can help you to feel energized during the work day. If you feel energy start to dip, take a moment to consider when you last had a drink. It might also help to keep a written log to ensure that you’re consuming water at regular intervals throughout the day.
3) Make Changes to Your Work Environment. Often making a small change to your work environment can make a big difference in energy levels. For example, adding a house plant to help filter the air in a closed office, or changing out florescent light bulbs for those that have a “natural” hue are both proven ways to boost energy levels. If you work in a setting where it’s not possible to make physical changes to the space, consider carrying around a small bottle of lemon essential oil as DIY aromatherapy. The citrusy scent is a proven pick-me-up.
4) Interact with Coworkers. As is the case with many things in life, it sometimes “takes a village” to get through the work day. Having a five minute conversation with a colleague can help you get out of your own head, reframe how you’re approaching a problem and recharge. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a colleague for help – most people are more-than-willing to lend a hand to help you get the job done faster.
5) Focus on Your Breath. Just taking two or three minutes to pay attention to your breathing can help you relax which, in turn, can help to boost energy levels. If you have the time, step outside for a quick walk and, rather than looking at your phone, pay attention to inhalations and exhalations. If it makes sense to stay at your desk, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and think about something that makes you smile.