Dear Matt: I started a new job where I’m on my feet and move around all day. I like working in a fast-paced environment instead of sitting at a desk, but it really stressing me out, physically and mentally. By the end of the day I feel exhausted. Help!
Matt says: More than 15 years ago I worked for a furniture moving company. By the end of a long day — sometimes 12-15 hours — my back hurt and my fingers would cramp up if I tried to carry one more box. So I know how one can feel run down, tired and weary at the end of the day.
That being said, there are steps you can mix into your daily routine that can help, says Rachel Hastings, Vice President of WFC Resources (wfcresources.com), a Minnetonka-based company that provides a variety of organizational wellness services, including stress management and resilience.
“You might need to start some kind of exercise program to get in better condition,” says Hastings. “Over time you will certainly become more fit, simply through the mileage you are covering each day.”
For those who walk a lot or are on their feet all day — such as those in construction, retail or the service industry — good shoes can be a life saver. Additionally, a healthy diet can help both your physical and mental alertness, says Hastings.
At work, take advantage of breaks to sit, put your feet up and step away from the busy pace. Make sure you really rest and let go of physical tension, which might mean preparing a packed lunch or snacks and not trying to run errands during that time.
Try carrying a pedometer to keep track of the mileage you’re covering while working. This can make it fun to see how much you walk all day, turning it into part of a daily workout program.
A positive attitude — cultivating happy relationships with co-workers and customers — can also boost your mood and help you overcome exhaustion.
If you try these tips and it’s not working, ask your manager for advice. They know it’s physically challenging and may have some tips or be willing to help. Consider asking your manager if you can take another short break or two to make it through such a long shift and provide your best quality work.
“The secret is to propose a solution that will mean you will work better, rather than sounding as if you are complaining or defeated,” says Hastings. “Take a proactive and positive attitude. You are more likely to be heard when you attach potential solutions to your problem.”
Finally, hang in there and know it will get better. “Remember, our jobs tend to become easier the more familiar we get with them,” says Hastings.
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