14 Jul 2018 20:38 IST

Overcoming fatigue

Lack of good quality — and a good quantity — of sleep is among the leading causes for tiredness

It is becoming increasingly common for a person to feel very tired or fatigued. In many cases, it is both physical and mental. Ironically, this is in spite of the many technological devices that are supposed to help us daily to make life easier. The reality is that these devices are often the root cause for both the mental and physical fatigue. I call this the screen-induced issue and is linked to three screens — the smart phone, the laptop and, finally, the television.

Sleep and all its friends

With the over abundance of content available across these screens, it is very easy for a person to end up spending large amounts of time, even if that was not intended. This leads to two things:

Sleep time and sleep patterns are disrupted; and this is a medically-validated fact. However, waking up at a particular time in the morning is unavoidable for both students and professionals. Needless to say the reduced hours allocated for sleep has a direct effect on the physical energy levels and this leads to fatigue. This physical fatigue, often, is the main cause for stress which leads to mental fatigue.

The quality of sleep is also severely impacted, as any sensory stimulation — such as watching a movie or anything else on these screens — leads to our mind becoming active and is filled with thoughts. If you have read one of my earlier articles about controlling thoughts, you will understand this correlation better. When the mind is agitated, it is but natural that our sleep would be disturbed, and hence, a person would wake up feeling fatigued.

Makings of a good leader

Why is this an important issue? Apart from the quality of life which gets affected because of fatigue, it also makes a person very listless and irritable. More importantly, this is definitely not something an aspiring leader should get caught up in. Apart from giving direction, motivating a team and also guiding others, a true leader infuses the team with a high level of energy. This energy is infectious and drives any team to work towards objectives, sometimes seemingly impossible ones.

Having established the cause for fatigue and then underscoring why it is not desirable — especially for a leader — let me outline some simple steps to avoid, or at least minimise, such fatigue.

Improve the quality of your sleep. This is, possibly, the most critical factor that will help you avoid and minimise fatigue. Ensure that you get the required hours of sleep. More importantly, avoid any sensory stimulation, especially those in the form of using any of the three screens mentioned before.

One simple exercise is to close your eyes and think about day that has gone by and dwell on the positive moments. Even the most frustrating day will have such moments; it might even be something as small as enjoying a cup of tea or coffee.

Recharge your mind. In the morning when you wake up, avoid the temptation to see any of the three screens as the first thing. Instead, lie down with your eyes closed and stretch a bit. Apart from loosening up your muscles, it will also help you gradually transition from sleep to wakefulness. Drink a few glasses of water; this will help you detox your stomach.

If you have managed to master the duration and quality of sleep, mornings might not be so rushed and you will get time for another important activity: meditation or prayer. Meditation is ideal but if that appears to be daunting, pray. Chant a few prayers in your mind with your eyes closed. Apart from relaxing you, this would also energise your mind for the day to come and you will be ready to take on any challenge that comes your way.

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