Tips on how to recharge

Dr Thapelo Motshudi
13 November 2022
4 min read

Not enough time has passed to conclusively see the effects of COVID-19 on mental health, however, early results have shown significant negative mental health effects in various communities across the globe. These range from increased psychological distress, anxiety, depression, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The effects of the pandemic have been experienced at family, business, community and whole country level. Some countries have created national ministries to address sadness and loneliness which has been amplified by the loss of lives and livelihoods from COVID-19.

In addition, as we draw closer to the end of year, it is difficult to remain energetic and to concentrate on work. End-of-year fatigue is a real-life phenomenon, which requires your attention. Its effects can easily amplify your already struggling mind.

What are the signs and symptoms that I am fatigued?

  • Struggling to concentrate on your work
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor memory
  • Poor sleeping patterns
  • General body aches

Why should I be concerned with fatigue?

Fatigue poses multiple risks to you, your work performance, and to the workplace. In the short-term poor decision-making causing workplace errors can have severe repercussions, especially in high safety-demanding jobs. For example, truck or bus drivers, pilots, construction workers, healthcare workers, etc. In the longer-term fatigue can lead to poor productivity as well as burnout.

How can I recharge?


Make sure you get enough sleep. Most adults require between 7 – 9 hours of sleep at night. Good quality sleep means sleeping at a regular time consistently and waking at a regular consistent time. This creates a circadian rhythm for the body, which enables the release of hormones and balancing of bodily functions. In addition, ensure a dark room in which to sleep, avoid noise during sleep, as well as taking stimulants such as caffeine and high sugar content foods between 6 and 2 hours before bed. 

  • A tired brain cannot learn new knowledge, struggling to create the necessary neural pathways to help you remember, and it becomes harder to concentrate or respond with the necessary speed.
  • During sleep, the body repairs its cells, restores energy and releases essential hormones and proteins for metabolism and other bodily functions.
  • During sleep, various parts of the brain regulate emotions, giving you better emotional stability. When you are sleep-deprived you tend to overreact.
  • Lack of sleep deprives your body of hormones that manage appetite and support metabolism. Poor sleep patterns increase obesity and the risk of type II diabetes.

Physical exercise

Exercise may be the last thing you want to do when you are fatigued, however, regular exercise gives you energy. Put in 15 – 30 minutes of medium to high intensity exercise at least 3 days every week.

  • Exercise improves the circulation of oxygen and repair elements that the body needs in order to replenish itself.
  • Exercise causes the release of endorphins which improve your mood and make you happier.
  • Exercise lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which are common chronic cardiovascular diseases.

Healthy balanced diet

Your body feeds off what you give it. Increasing high energy foods will ensure a better supply of the right nutrients for high energy. Eating a lot or poor nutrient foods can leave you feeling sluggish and tired. Given end-of-year, we often want quick and easy meals.  Look for ways to do the following:

  • Cut down on processed foods – fast foods, canned foods, precooked foods, instant noodles and foods with preservatives.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables – the fresher the food, the better.
  • Try and add more lean proteins (with less fat), vitamins, high fibre foods (such as oats) to your diet. The more often you try to do this, the better.
  • Avoid caffeine, acid drinks and sweetened food and drinks. Instead, increase the amount of plain water that you take.
  • It may be difficult to take in less alcohol especially at this time of year, but a reduction in alcohol intake, especially binge-drinking, is exactly what will replenish your liver and leave your body feeling refreshed. Alcohol dehydrates your body, therefore drink as much water as possible.

Mental well-being habits

Stress is commonly the biggest challenge leading to mental unwellness. Looking after your mental health includes adequate sleep, eating the right foods as well as exercise. In addition, look for opportunities to connect with loved ones – social connections have been shown to stimulate happy hormones which improve your mood and reduce irritability and fatigue.

Take time off

Take leave if possible and engage in activities that make you feel relaxed and happy. Taking time off work is necessary to give perspective and makes you both creative and innovative in coming up with different energized and new ideas.

The NMG SA Group of Companies are authorised financial service providers t/a NMG Benefits

The content in this communication is for information purposes only and is not intended to be detailed advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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