It seems more and more that the “lazy days of summer” are becoming a thing of the past. With adults – and even children and teens – becoming increasingly more scheduled, summertime can render us saddled by fatigue trying to meet the demands of increasingly busy work, family and personal lives.
The effects of fatigue can be significant. Mental and physical fatigue is very closely intertwined and may be considered one and the same. The negative impact of mental fatigue can be seen in things like decision-making, perception, critical thinking, judgment and problem solving. Physical effects of fatigue can lead to decreased immunity, and vulnerability to a number of ailments including colds and flu, headaches, muscle weakness, low motivation and irritability.
A simple two-step process can diminish negative consequences of fatigue:
1. First, recognizing and acknowledging that fatigue is present.
2. Proactively adjusting decisions, actions and priorities to accommodate diminished capacity due to fatigue. If, for example, we sprain our ankle, we make decisions like wearing appropriate shoes or taking an elevator rather than stairs to adjust to our physical state. The same can be done to mitigate against the detriments of fatigue. Important decisions can be postponed, known stressors can be avoided, second opinions can be solicited and special assistance can be requested.
In essence, anyone can use intentionality, strategy and planning to diminish the negative effects of fatigue dramatically. Get ready to enjoy summer and stay energized, and don’t let fatigue hold you back.