10 Reasons You’re So Tired After Work (+ How Not To Be)

Do you feel exhausted when you get home from work?

There’s a reason – or several, probably.

Feeling tired after a day at work is normal, but there are also ways to alleviate it and ease the fatigue.

Let’s run through ten reasons why you’re so tired after work – and offer ways to combat them and fix the issues! 

1. You’re getting too much screen time.

If you work in an office, you’re probably on a computer for several hours a day. While it’s become the norm for so many of us, it’s not healthy!

Our eyes can get tired from staring at a screen all day, and the colors of our screen can really affect our mood. 

Combat this: Take screen breaks! Yes, it’s as simple as that. Give your eyes a rest by looking away from your screen – or closing your eyes – for a minute or so, every 20 minutes, or as needed.

It’ll give the muscles in your eyes a break from straining to read text or scanning through images. It gives your brain a bit of downtime too.

And arrange an eye test at an optician if you’re regularly getting headaches – you might need glasses for work. 

2. You’re drained by all the personal interactions.

However sociable and outgoing you are, it’s normal to feel a bit drained by interactions with others – especially those we don’t necessarily enjoy!

Chatting to your friends for hours on end doesn’t feel tiring because you love them.

Exchanging small talk with your colleagues or sitting in meetings with managers just isn’t the same.

It can take a toll on your energy levels. This is especially true if you are an introvert.

It’s normal to feel exhausted after interacting with people all day, but there are ways you can give yourself a boost…

Combat this: Try to limit your interactions where possible. Get up to make tea or coffee when the kitchen is empty rather than joining the crowd.

Take lunch into the office and plug your earphones in to eat at your desk (tell people you’re working if you want to avoid being invited out!).

Keep meetings as brief as possible whilst remaining polite.

It might feel a bit awkward, but nobody will think you’re being rude for having some quiet time every now and then, and it’ll hugely help your energy levels. 

3. You’re in a stressful job.

If you’re in a stressful environment, you’re bound to feel pretty drained and tired come the end of the day.

We use up so much energy when we’re stressed – sometimes we even burn more calories and can have physical symptoms like aches and pains.

It should come as no surprise that our bodies and our minds get more tired more quickly when under stress. 

Combat this: Try to find ways to de-stress while you’re at work. That might mean taking more breaks, eating some healthy food, or even putting a playlist on.

You can listen to soothing music, step outside and call someone you love if you need a little pep talk, or nip to the bathroom and practice some meditation for a few minutes.

Anything you can do to reduce your stress levels at work will really make a difference to your energy levels after work. 

4. You’re in a physical job.

You might have a job that has a lot of physical aspects to it – maybe you’re on your feet all day, or you have to carry heavy things or wear a restrictive uniform, like PPE.

If your job means that you’re always moving around, no wonder you’re exhausted when you get home!

Our bodies aren’t made to move constantly, so a long shift of walking and standing can really take its toll on our energy levels.

Combat this: Try to make sure you eat something balanced and nutritious before work, and make time for a quick energy-boosting snack like fruit or nuts.

Stretch well – especially those muscles you use most – both before and after a shift. And take a brief hot shower when you get home to help yourself relax.

Making sure your body is prepared for a physical day will go a long way in terms of reducing the extreme fatigue you experience when you get home. 

5. You’re not using your brain enough and you’re bored.

Being really busy can make us exhausted – but so can not being busy enough!

Unfair, right?

If you end the day feeling drained, it might be because you’ve not done enough to occupy your mind.

Sometimes, our brains just get tired from not being used – they either get used to being sleepy from a lack of stimulation, or we feel mentally drained because our brains are getting signals of boredom, frustration, anger, even.

If you find yourself getting annoyed at the lack of work you have to do, or at how unproductive you’re feeling, it may be the cause for that end-of-day dip.

Combat this: So, being busy is actually good for our energy levels? Yep! If you can find a happy medium, you’ll be much less tired – and way more productive.

Try to set yourself targets for each day (or each hour, if that helps), and make sure you vary what you’re doing every so often.

Spend the morning meeting a deadline for an admin task, and then set aside the afternoon to work on a spreadsheet, for example.

Mixing things up will help you feel more focused on what you’re doing and stop your mind from drifting off and getting bored. 

6. You need more food – and nutrients!

This is such a common issue for people in everyday life, and it’s no different when we’re at work.

With the rush to get out of the door in the morning, many of us don’t have a healthy, filling breakfast.

We might be too busy at lunch to eat a balanced meal and end up just grabbing a supermarket sandwich or some snacks.

While this is really common, it’s not great for our bodies and can actually make us feel exhausted!

Running on empty, or low on nutrients, has a huge effect on our energy levels and can mean we end up falling asleep after work. 

Combat this: Do your best to eat something in the morning (or before your shift starts). Prep your food the night before if you can – overnight oats are an easy, nutritious option, or you could cut up some fruit if you prefer.

Try to make yourself a packed lunch too. It will save you money and mean that you’ve got something tasty to keep you going through the day. Chuck in a few healthy snacks to combat your mid-afternoon slump… 

7. Your posture is making you sleepy.

It might sound weird, but the way you sit affects your body so much more than just an achy back! It can give you digestion issues, affect your mood, and cause tiredness.

If you often feel a bit achy and sleepy when you leave work, it’s potentially due to you slumping in your chair or sitting ‘wonkily.’

The more our bodies are put in unnatural positions, the more they ‘act out’ and certain symptoms flare up. 

Combat this: Make an effort to work on your posture! You can set alarms on your phone as a reminder if you need to – to sit up straight or to get up and shake your limbs out a bit.

Your workplace will probably offer footrests that can help you work on your seating position, as well as lumbar supports and back cushion if you need them. In some countries, it’s a legal obligation, so it’s definitely worth checking! 

8. You’re not taking enough breaks.

If you’re feeling really drained when you get home from work, it could be because you’re not taking regular breaks.

This kind of ties in with issues around screen time, but can also just be a case of you overloading your brain.

If you don’t take enough breaks, your brain just becomes constantly flooded with emails, music, conversations, you name it!

Sensory overload is a real thing, and it’s draining…

Combat this: Set an alarm on your phone and give yourself 5 minutes or so to reset and take a bit of a breather.

Stretch your legs, make an excuse to get some air, and refresh during the day so that you have more energy by the time you get home.   

9. You’re not hydrated enough.

Water is the miracle product we all want but don’t really embrace enough! It helps our skin, our hair… and our energy levels!

If you’re getting sleepy toward the end of the day, it might be because you’re dehydrated. The less water in our bodies, the more tired we get – it’s that easy!

Dehydration is one of many reasons you feel tired a lot.

Combat this: Get a water bottle with times of the day on the side of it, so you know how much water you should drink by each point in the day.

Set an alarm on your phone to get up and grab a drink. Make yourself a star chart, or download an app that helps you track your water consumption each day.

Whatever you do, try to be consistent with it. You can buy sugar-free squash if it helps you drink more, or freeze it overnight if you prefer cold water! 

10. You’re slumping due to excess sugar and caffeine.

You might feel absolutely fine until about 2pm. If your day is going well until the early afternoon when you’re suddenly exhausted and half-asleep at your desk, you’re not alone.

This can be due to a range of things – it can be a physical result of eating a heavy lunch, or an energy slump due to a sugar crash. If you have a sugary snack and coffee to keep you going after lunch, it can make you feel very tired come home time. 

Combat this: Try to keep a balanced sugar and caffeine level through the day – especially in the afternoon. And aim for a lighter lunch so that you don’t get too full and sleepy!

A brisk walk after lunch can really help perk you up. If you feel like you need caffeine to get through the afternoon, grab a glass of cold water first. Sometimes, tiredness comes from being dehydrated, so it’s worth trying some water before hitting the coffee.

If you still fancy a coffee, go for a single shot (or decaf!) and avoid sugary syrups.

The more balanced you can keep your body in the afternoon, the more energy you’ll have after work.

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About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.