You went out last night and stayed up too late. Now, it's time for work and you barely have the energy to get out of bed. Sound familiar? Hopefully, not too familiar, but let's be honest - it happens to the best of us. Going to work when you are completely exhausted really sucks. It can make the little stresses that we all deal with everyday much more stressful and getting motivated is next to impossible.
It doesn't matter how responsible you are or how hard you try to get a good night's sleep, there are going to be times when you wake up exhausted. The only way to get through it, aside from hiding under your desk all day, is to find ways to work through your exhaustion and get motivated - in spite of it.
Here are a few tips that can make the day a little easier. Of course, it's not going to be easy. When you're in the weeds and super tired, it's going to be tough no matter what. These tips aren't going to magically make you feel bright, cheery and energetic, but they can help you work through it and prevent you from making the problem worse.
Here are 5 tips:
Pay attention to what you eat and drink - When you're super tired, eating is a challenge. On one hand, you need to give your body enough fuel to get through the day, but if you eat too much, you're just going to make yourself more tired. What makes this difficult is that when you're tired, it's harder to tell when you're full. Also, you need to stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid feeling worse. The best thing to do is eat a small amount and drink lots of water. An added bonus is that ice water can give you a shock and boost your energy levels in the short term. Be sure to eat a healthy breakfast and avoid sugary foods. It's tempting to think that a couple of doughnuts will give you a sugar rush, which it will, but the crash in an hour or so will make you feel worse.
Exercise - Exercise should be a part of your daily habit, but even if it isn't, small amounts of exercise throughout the day will help keep your blood flowing and help you stay alert. Just something as simple as a couple sets of pushups can give you an endorphin rush and boost your energy levels. If this kind of exercise isn't your thing or your office environment doesn't lend itself to push-ups, you can try taking a brisk walk around the office or even a quick jog during lunch.
Work standing up - There are many people who believe that working at a desk and sitting all day is bad for us, but I couldn't imagine standing at my desk all day. Although there are times when I would like to have a standing setup, it's difficult to come up with an arrangement that allows you to easily switch between standing and sitting. However, if you get creative, you should be able to find a way to change your workspace to allow for a few hours of standing. When you're feeling tired, standing will make you just uncomfortable enough to not fall asleep.
Use coffee as a last resort - I love caffeine, there's no denying it. For regular coffee drinkers, drinking more coffee isn't really going to help. Of course, you should still drink the same amount as you usually do in order to avoid getting a headache. However, for those who don't regularly drink coffee, starting your day off with a cup or two can help you get through the day without feeling super sleepy. A word of warning though, cut yourself off at 2:00 because you will want to go to sleep at some point. If your body isn't accustomed to lots of caffeine, you run the risk of not being able to get to sleep at night and having an even worse time the following day.
Take a power nap - Just 20 minutes of sleep between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00 can give you a cognitive boost, without ruining your sleep patterns. During your lunch break, take a 20 minute nap in your car and then eat lunch at your desk. Just be sure that you've got a great alarm.
How do you make it through the day after a late night? We would love to hear your tips!