We’re in the height of summer months when colleagues are jetting off on their summer holidays and winding down, but do you know how common fatigue is in the workplace? And more importantly do you know how to approach resolving it? Here, our Company Director Niall McCreanor shares his experience.
I’ve talked a lot recently in various Health & Safety forums and at the Senior Management Team meetings about fatigue and I would encourage you all to have a look at the information that we have out there. We can all feel tired every so often but what about when it affects your day to day activity or your health and wellbeing?
Recently I’ve become aware that I’ve been experiencing the symptoms of fatigue and I recognised that I needed to address the root causes to ensure that I start to look after myself a bit better. I first noticed that my resilience level (my ability to cope with the normal day to day stresses and strains of my professional and personal life) had dropped. When I started looking into this though there was a startling realisation that I wasn’t just feeling tired and a bit irritable a lot of the time, it was also that I was potentially doing myself long term harm by not fully resting and getting enough regular sleep.
There are those amongst us who say, “you know you should – so why don’t you?”, but sometimes it isn’t that easy. Stresses of work or home life, changes to your daily routine, or more recently even the weather, can all affect the amount of shut-eye we get.
One of my main issues is how I see myself winding down at the end of the day. I am guilty of making a point of catching up on the day’s events, usually the 10 o’clock News, checking social media on a mobile device, followed by reading ( usually for more than an hour) to wind down to sleep. Clearly none of this does me any good as I’m still awake past midnight some nights!
So, what am I doing about it? Well, being an Engineer and Project Manager at heart I’ve started tracking my sleep patterns and my evening routines, making small changes which will stick and ensuring I change my behaviour to help myself. In the first week I recorded an average of 6hrs 13mins of sleep (though two nights were around 5 hrs 20mins!). In the second I managed to get this above 7hrs with a few simple changes to my routine. (I was disappointed to find out that you can’t cheat either by sleeping in at the weekends either as this doesn’t work according to the science!)
It’s a learning curve, I’ve made a few small changes in my lifestyle, and I think its paying dividends already – at least I think my mood seems to have improved, but you might want to ask those I work with!!