The Zapper: Your Stressful Work Environment The Reason: Similar to bad posture, stress can lead to tense muscles and shallow breathing, which leave you feeling lethargic. To make matters worse, focusing on one thing for a prolonged period of time, like that looming deadline or a presentation you've been staring at for hours on end, causes your brain to use up so much energy that you feel physically drained. Researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough found that mental concentration is much like a muscle -- it becomes tired after sustained use and needs a rest period before it can recover.
The Fatigue Fighter: Instead of stewing in your stress and digging yourself into a nerve-wracked hole, force yourself to take breaks. Studies found that during the day, we move from alertness to fatigue every 90 minutes, but instead of listening to our bodies' signals to slow down, we shut it up with sugar and caffeine.
To get a boost of energy, work uninterrupted for 90 minutes, then take a 10- to 15-minute break. And no, updating your Facebook doesn't count. Leave your desk to chat with a coworker or go outside and smell the fresh air.
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