How to beat fatigue & be fully focused

How to beat fatigue & be fully focused

Health & Lifestyle

ExecFuel Editorial Staff

ExecFuel Editorial Staff

378 week ago — 9 min read

Have you ever been caught sleeping in office by your boss at work? Have you ever felt embarrassed when you unconsciously yawned in a board meeting or during a presentation? Continuous stress, frequent business travels, back-to-back meetings, late-night work deadlines could result in severe fatigue.


What is fatigue?


Simply put, fatigue is the feeling of exhaustion, all the time. It is generally different from the sleepy feeling of drowsiness, or from the psychological feeling of apathy, although these can both accompany fatigue.


The following is a list of factors that can contribute to fatigue, either alone or in combination, demonstrating just how varied the causes can be:


  • Psychological and psychosocial – e.g., stress, anxiety and depression
  • Physical – e.g., anemia, diabetes, glandular fever, and cancer
  • Physiological – e.g., pregnancy, breastfeeding, inadequate rest or sleep, and excessive exercise.


Maintaining a proper diet helps you win 60% of the battle against fatigue


Busy executives, including people who usually work late at night, should take special care of their individual nutrition. This is because late night shifts interfere with the body’s natural rhythm, causing cases of gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, sporadic appetite changes and either weight loss, or weight gain. Further complications could lead to cases of hypertension and diabetes. 


Avoid processed food to fight fatigue


Processed foods and beverages contain excessive amounts of added sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup. Sugar, when consumed in excess, is seriously harmful. Known as 'empty' calories, sugar has no essential nutrients, but large amounts of energy. Excessive intake that can come from regularly eating processed foods, can lead to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, increased levels of harmful cholesterol and increased fat accumulation in the liver. 


Most highly processed foods are loaded with artificial chemicals, including flavorings, textures, colorants and preservatives, and the carbohydrates you find in processed foods are usually refined, 'simple' carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are quickly broken down in the digestive tract, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Alternatively, real foods contain essential nutrients that cannot be found processed foods. The more processed foods you eat, the less vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and various nutrients your body will receive. 


Due the harmful chemicals, artificial ingredients, unhealthy fats and added sugar, processed foods causes a plethora of diseases including diabetes mellitus, obesity, increased harmful cholesterol and certain cardiovascular diseases. Such chronic internal ailments are potential reasons of reduced energy levels & concentration, leading to an onset of acute fatigue syndrome. 


Mindful eating is the key to day-long energy


Don’t skip your breakfast: If you are working late, chances are you get up late from bed. However, don’t skip your breakfast – a healthy first meal is essential in kick-starting the body’s metabolism process. A light healthy whole-grain breakfast comprising of oatmeal, fruit, or bran cereals, and then adding protein such as yoghurt or eggs, are simple and effective breakfasts. 


Watch out for dehydration: Fatigue, lack of concentration or sudden weakness are also signs of dehydration. When you have a continuously hectic schedule, the body organs literally work over-time and often get fatigued. While it is always good to consume loads of fresh and clean water, another beneficial add-on could be watermelon juice; 2 glasses of watermelon juice works wonder for dehydration, has less than 100 calories and meets half the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. 


Arugula & bitter greens: We can thank powerful compounds called 'glucosinolates' for the bitter taste, strong odors, and excellent health benefits of certain greens. Choose from a bouquet of bitters such as mustard greens, turnips, bok choy, radishes, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and, of course, the almighty kale. A treasure trove of nutrients, these babies will keep your heart pumping and body moving.


Beetroot juice: If you want to boost your energy and defeat fatigue, nothing beats beets! Out of all the fruits and vegetables, beets contain the highest concentration of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide (NO) is a compound that increases vasodilation, improving the health of your blood vessels, with a reduced need for oxygen consumption. This translates into increased efficiency and performance. 


B12 vitamin-rich foods: Also known as the 'energy vitamin', B12 is responsible for energy production. So if your body is low or isn’t absorbing B12, you may feel sluggish. B12 is present in eggs, meat, fish, dairy, nori seaweed, and some varieties of mushrooms and tempeh, a fermented soy product. 


Iron-rich foods: One of the most important functions of iron is carrying oxygen to your tissues. Without proper oxygenation your cells quickly start dying, as do your energy levels; this can lead to anemia. Two forms of iron exist: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is found in meat, poultry, and fish, and non-heme iron is found in plants, but is more poorly absorbed. The good news is that adding vitamin C-rich foods to your meal will boost the absorption of non-heme iron. Examples include chickpeas and tomato sauce or stir-fried tofu, and collard greens and fresh-squeezed lemon. 


Fruits & vegetables: Vegetables and fruits contain natural sugar that helps the brain function at its best by providing natural energy. Avocados are also rich in good fats, and Vitamin E, which keeps the brain healthy. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and also protects the cell membranes from oxidative damage due to free radicals. Sprouted and whole grains from fruits are rich in fiber. Quick alternatives such as bananas, avocados, lima beans, legumes, etc. are also sources of Vitamin C and E.


Protein and nutrient rich natural whole foods are far more effective in boosting energy levels, as opposed to processed packages ready-to-eat foods, and energy drinks. Real food also plays a large role in controlling blood pressure, and moderating cholesterol. 


Proper exercise and sleep wins you the remaining 40%


While proper nutrition is very essential, proper sleep is equally needed for a healthy brain to help avoid fatigue. Sound sleep is crucial for good mental and physical health, and a sharp and focused mind. Lack of sleep may cause issues with decision making, problem solving capabilities, exercising emotional control, and coping with constant change. Lack of sleep is also linked to heart diseases, kidney troubles, stroke and diabetes. If you struggle to get a full 7-8 hours night’s sleep, take a brief afternoon nap instead. Napping can help too make you alert, and promotes performance and learning. A 20-minute nap is usually enough to boost energy. A nap followed by a cup of coffee may provide an even bigger energy boost, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 




The secret to an indefatigable, sharp and attentive mind is a mix of proper diet containing nutritious meals, proper rest and adequate exercise. Busy entrepreneurs and executives tend to lead a lifestyle that involves large amounts of pressure, stress and strain. The above points can be applied to fight chances of fatigue.


If you have been struggling from stress and fatigue, find it hard to make time to formulate a daily routine for health and fitness, or travelling is keeping you busy and away from home, an online nutrition programme such as ExecFuel provides you with invaluable information, on how to maintain a healthy routine, by eating right and performing quick and effective in-room exercises. You can even keep healthy while entertaining clients and attending corporate events.


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