Trying to get ahead these days often means we are burning the candle at both ends. I sometimes think we should all get a new candle because the one we have is almost used up. Seriously, it is important to realize many of us need to slow down our daily and weekly routines. Easier said than done sometimes. However, working too many hours a day, week or month can lead into a major issue with fatigue. One thing to remember is fatigue is different than just being tired. Much different.

Either way you slice it, being tired and being fatigued is an actual impairment as it lessens your ability to focus on the task you are currently performing. In the case of a professional driver, focus and concentration is such an important element to driving. Once you have identified you are suffering from fatigue and not just tiredness, you really need to do something about it.

When you feel tired you may still feel like you have some energy, but may become forgetful, impatient, and may feel muscle weakness. Fatigue is much more than that. Being fatigued will often mean you may have difficulty concentrating, you may have some anxiety, have difficult time sleeping, and possibly an increased sensitivity to light. Recognizing the difference means you will most likely choose the correct solution to rectify the problem.

Simply enough, if you are tired, the easiest and most effective solution is to get plenty of rest. Go to bed at a decent time and avoid bright screens for a minimum of 30 minutes before bed. They stimulate the mind which may make it more difficult to fall asleep. Solutions to being fatigued are much more intense.

The main thing to remember about fatigue is that it really is a serious and often ignored form of impairment. A standard dictionary definition of impairment states that to impair means lessening strength, value, quantity, or quality – to damage. Impairments are not just alcohol and drugs as many seem to relate the word to. Impairments involve many things including fatigue. So, what should you do if you are feeling fatigued?

Gradually increase your level of physical activity. You should also watch what you eat. Different foods can cause you to feel sluggish or create a sugar crash later. Eating healthy can help to sustain the feeling of energy later. Reduce caffeine as it is a short-term solution. Stay hydrated as dehydration can also cause fatigue. Managing the stress in your life can also help to reduce fatigue. It can also help you remain focused on the driving task it can pose as a serious distraction. And finally, take those much-needed breaks. Your body and mind need those breaks more than you may realize.

Visit our Fatigue Management or Wellness section of our website for great tips on eating healthy, stretching, mental health and more!

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