Why Am I So Tired After Work?

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Working eight (or more) hours a day can leave you feeling drained or downright exhausted. The demands of work—whether it's dealing with co-workers, helping customers, or staring at a computer screen all day—can sap you of the energy you need to make dinner, care for your kids, or enjoy your leisure hours.

If you feel tired after work, there might be a number of different explanations for your exhaustion. Sometimes this fatigue might happen during particularly busy periods where you're simply overworked and under-rested. In other cases, other factors might be at play. 

In either case, getting to the bottom of your after-work fatigue is important in order to protect both your physical and mental well-being. This article discusses the reasons why you're tired after work and the steps you can take to feel less exhausted.

Signs That You’re Too Tired After Work

Sometimes it's easy to tell when you are more tired than you should be after a long day. You might arrive home with little energy to do much more than order takeout and relax in front of the television until bedtime. However, there are also other signs that can indicate that you are too tired after work, such as: 

  • Having trouble controlling your emotions at the end of the day
  • Having trouble focusing your vision
  • Having trouble focusing in the afternoon and evenings
  • Finding it difficult to make even simple decisions
  • Engaging in impulsive actions without thinking them through
  • Feelings of forgetfulness
  • Feeling hungry all the time
  • Having physical symptoms such as an upset stomach, dry skin, or getting sick frequently
  • Feeling frazzled and stressed without knowing why
  • Finding it difficult to fall or stay asleep at night

Reasons You’re So Tired After Work

Many factors can impact your energy levels throughout the day, including the amount and quality of rest you get each night, your overall health, and the nature of your work. If you are struggling to stay energized at the end of the work day, consider if some of the following factors might be putting a drain on your vitality.

Staying Up Late

Your afternoon and evening tiredness might be the result of staying up too late the night before. In some cases, people stay up late as a way to have free time to themselves since they don’t have time for it during the workday, a phenomenon known as revenge bedtime procrastination

Depression or Anxiety

Depression can create difficulties with sleep and energy levels. If you are depressed, you might struggle to fall or stay asleep each night, which can contribute to problems with daytime sleepiness. 

Fatigue and loss of energy are often symptoms of depression, as is diminished interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy after work.

Feeling anxious can also interfere with sleep, and research has shown that poor sleep can then contribute to increased anxiety. This harmful cycle can then affect your ability to get the rest you need each night and leave you feeling exhausted during the day and after work. In addition, experiencing excessive anxiety over the course of the day can be depleting and leave you feeling fatigued or exhausted.

Constant Socialization

Staying socially engaged all day can be draining, particularly if you tend to be more of an introvert. Where extroverted people feel energized by social interaction, introverted people become quickly exhausted.

Workplace Stress

Stress in the workplace can wear you down over the course of the day, leaving you feeling too tired after work to do much more than put up your feet and scroll on your phone or watch television.

Over time, this stress can take a toll on your physical and mental well-being.

Poor Work-Life Balance

If it feels like you are always bringing work home with you, it may indicate a lack of balance between your work life and your home life. Consider all the times you think about work during non-work hours, complain about obnoxious co-workers, or worry about work you need to do during your time at home. Or all of the times you've brought projects home and used your personal time to finish them. 

Talking about work after work is common, but evidence suggests that how you talk about it can affect both your mood and your work-home boundaries. Negative conversations about work contribute to poor mood at bedtime and the next morning further contributing to feelings of burnout and exhaustion the next day.

All of this rumination ultimately affects your ability to keep your energy levels high during your time away from your job.

Physically or Mentally Demanding Work

Jobs that are physically or mentally challenging can leave you feeling wrung out at the end of the day. Sheer exhaustion from the demands of your job might explain why you feel so tired at the end of the day.

Boredom

On the other hand, a dull job that presents few challenges can also create feelings of fatigue. You might walk away from work at the end of the day feeling unmotivated, unproductive, and undervalued, which can spill over into your off-the-clock afternoons, evenings, and weekends.

Poor Self-Care

When you aren’t caring for yourself physically and mentally, you are more likely to feel drained at the end of the day. While it can be challenging to do when you are feeling tired, doing things like getting regular exercise and eating healthy foods can help improve your energy levels.

Research has found that being sedentary can contribute to feelings of fatigue and makes it more difficult to get quality sleep at night.

Lack of Breaks

Too much time focused on work-related tasks can quickly drain your energy. If you are not taking breaks, or not using these breaks wisely, you might find yourself struggling with feelings of exhaustion after you get off work.

Too Much Caffeine and Sugar

When you are tired, it is tempting to turn to caffeinated or high-sugar snacks to help you get through the day. Unfortunately, this can often backfire and leave you feeling even more exhausted once the effects wear off. 

How to Deal With Being Tired After Work

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help protect your energy levels and stop feeling so tired after work. 

Leave Work at Work

If you are prone to worrying about work even when you are at home, look for ways to create boundaries between your job and your home life. Remind yourself that it will still be there tomorrow.

Research has found that mentally disengaging from work can improve life satisfaction and reduce psychological strain without harming work performance.

Have a Daily Ritual

An after-work ritual can be a great way to unwind and create a boundary between your job and the rest of your day. It might be as simple as relaxing with a cup of tea, going for an afternoon walk, or chatting with a loved one on the phone. 

Making sure your home is a pleasant and restful environment can also be an important way to reduce the stress that might be making you feel tired. One study found that people who describe their homes as restful have lower cortisol levels and fewer symptoms of depressed mood.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice that involves focusing fully on the present moment without judgment. It can be a helpful way to let go of feelings of stress and become more aware of how you feel in the moment. 

Do Something You Love

Rewarding yourself with something that you love is a great way to give yourself something to look forward to and combat feelings of tiredness. If you have something to anticipate after work, you might be able to keep your motivation and energy levels higher at the end of the day.

Get Enough Sleep

Making sure you are getting the rest you need each night is essential. If you are struggling to sleep, examine things that might be robbing you of your rest. Is your bedroom a relaxing place that is conducive to sleep? Are you going to bed and waking up at the same time each day? Are you avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evenings?

Taking steps to cultivate good sleep habits can ensure you have the rest you need to power through the whole day.

Quick Energy-Boosters

Tips that can help you stay energized once you clock out for the day include:

  • Squeeze in a morning workout—it will help you stay energized all day long
  • Pick the right afternoon snack, such as some greens, some mixed nuts or a piece of cheese, then some fruit. Snacking in that order can prevent a sugar spike later, which could contribute to fatigue and feelings of stress.
  • Crank up a high-energy song while you tackle a small task at home 
  • Spend a few minutes stretching to get the blood flowing and help ease muscle tension in your body
  • Get some fresh air by going for a quick walk around the neighborhood

When to Get Help

If you have made lifestyle changes but are still struggling with excessive tiredness after work, then it is time to talk to a professional. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor. In addition to talking about lifestyle factors that might affect your energy levels, your doctor will also perform a physical exam and conduct lab tests to help rule out medical conditions that might be making you tired. 

Some conditions that can lead to symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Certain medications
  • Diseases or infections (e.g., HIV, cancer)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Certain vitamin deficiencies
  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Your doctor can recommend treatments that can help or refer you to a mental health professional if they believe that your tiredness might be caused by a mental health condition.

A Word From Verywell

Feeling tired after work is common, but sometimes it can be excessive and may interfere with your health and well-being. Being aware of some of the reasons why you might be so tired after work can help you look for ways to combat these feelings of exhaustion. Taking care of yourself, setting boundaries between work and home, and finding ways to cope with stress are important first steps. 

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Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.