Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormones, leading to a range of symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, and difficulty concentrating. Coping with these symptoms can make it challenging to maintain productivity throughout the day.
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 10 years ago, and it took a long time to adjust and find ways to cope with the symptoms while adjusting my medication. Reading all the frustrating advice like “maintain your weight” was disheartening, especially when it felt like even looking at food could cause weight gain. Maintaining or losing weight is the most frustrating thing a doctor can suggest.
All the healthy eating tips are great, but even when I was perfect with my exercise, food and sleep, I still couldn’t perform at work at 100%. Elevated stress levels, feeling tired and brain-fogged often resulted in me working extra hours and weekends to compensate, which eventually led to a burnout. Dealing with hypothyroidism and burnout at the same time was overwhelming.
Over time, I came up with a few small changes that helped me deal with my workday and become more productive, while also alleviating the feeling of constantly falling behind.
Here are some tips to help you stay productive despite hypothyroidism.
Be mindful of your day
If you feel a lack of concentration in the morning, it’s best to plan your day in a way that allows you to tackle tasks that don’t require your full attention. For example, you could start your day with easier tasks such as replying to emails or organising your schedule. If you find that you’re more productive in the afternoon, you should schedule most of your meetings for the morning so that you can focus on actual work later.
Say no to heavy lunches
A big lunch can make you feel sleepy, which can lead to a decline in productivity in the afternoon. Instead, it’s best to opt for a lighter meal, such as a salad or a smaller main course. This will help prevent post-lunch fatigue and the feeling that you need a nap.
Make friends with making lists
Brain fog and fatigue can lead to anxiety that you might forget something or miss an important task. Making lists of tasks and prioritising them based on urgency can help you to stay organised and manage your day better. Start by jotting down everything you need to do, and then prioritise them based on importance. You can use a numbering system such as:
- for super important
- for needs to be done today
- for can be done later
Make sure to tackle the high-priority tasks first. This will help decrease your stress levels and ensure that you are using your energy effectively.
Drink plenty of water
Drinking enough water is essential for maintaining productivity and good health. When you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to feel tired and sluggish, which can reduce your ability to focus and concentrate. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day to help you stay alert and focused. Additionally, drinking cold water when you feel tired can also help to boost your energy levels and make you feel refreshed. Drinking water can also help manage the number of coffees you have per day, and it even aids in weight management.
Walk to and from work
Walking is a great way to stay active, increase your daily steps, and improve your productivity. If possible, try to organise your route so that you have at least a 10-15 minute walk to work. Walking can help improve blood flow, prepare you for the day ahead, and reduce anxiety. A short walk after work can also help you decompress and leave the day behind before you get home. Lastly, it can help you see more clearly what you need to do tomorrow, resulting in lower stress levels.
Living with hypothyroidism can be challenging, but by following these tips, you can take control of your day and stay productive. Being mindful of your day, saying no to heavy lunches, making lists, drinking enough water, and walking to and from work can all help you stay energised and focused. Remember to be kind to yourself and listen to your body’s needs. By prioritising self-care, you can manage your symptoms effectively and maintain a productive and fulfilling lifestyle.