The days when you keep staring at the screen waiting for inspiration, that is a message from your brain to walk away and refresh. I have heard the advice that staring at the screen helps, and so does the act of walking away. 

Fatigue is undefinable for me. The official definition of fatigue is extreme tiredness or exhaustion. Fatigue in reality is the inability to function. It is the culmination of overthinking and under-action.

Our world is full of challenging news. Somehow, the last few years seem imbalanced toward the bad. We expect ourselves to live through them and thrive. 

How many of us can say that we have taken time to breathe through the tough times and rejuvenate once ready? 

In this blog, we will uncover how fatigue impacts learning and actionable practices to introspect and circle-back to learning.

Fatigue is a symptom of several factors such as stress, lifestyle choices, burnout, and more. It has a direct impact on our ability to learn and grasp new information. 

How does fatigue impact learning?

  • Fatigue impacts motor skills: Have you experienced numbness in your hands after a few long days at work? The numbness is like a saturation point that depletes energy. The culmination of tasks, stress on the body and the mind, and lack of restful breaks lead to the change in body functions that are natural to humans.
  • Fatigue seems dreadful: The feeling of ‘what’s the point?’ or ‘are we done?’ is due to the disconnect between the task and the purpose. While the purpose might be clear, fatigue devalues the effort. 
  • Fatigue disconnects the dots: Research has proven that fatigue can give rise to unhealthy patterns, disconnecting the person from their habits. For example, an individual will show slowness in activity, responsiveness to questions, and the ability to take part in discussions. 

Fatigue creates a gap between the learner and their purpose and ability to learn. While there are habits to overcome fatigue, such as restful breaks, physical activity, and nutrition, how do we recognize fatigue and take it as an opportunity to take a few steps back, to help us move forward?

Three practices to follow to circle back after fatigue:

1. Pause

Fatigue is a symptom of lifestyle habits. When the going gets rough, it is time to pause. Pausing creates moments to breathe and introspect on choices. Ask yourself three questions to pause:

  • What has led to these repetitive moments of tiredness and exhaustion? Am I adding fuel to fire with my habits?
  • Which habits help vs hurt me? What can I leave behind?
  • Am I setting myself up for success? 

2. Purpose

Every now and then, it helps to remind the purpose of a learning journey. Some weeks are about execution and action and it is important to create time to focus on the big picture. Ask yourself three questions to find your purpose:

  • Why am I doing this? Is it giving me energy or is it draining? 
  • Has the purpose changed? 

3. Prioritize

I love starting new projects because they are exciting and align with my love for education. But I do not prioritize my time and energy and fall face down and wonder what went wrong. Ask yourself one question to prioritize:

  • In a year, will I regret my decision to quit this project? The one year timelines helps put things in perspective since everything seems urgent and important in the short term. 

Fatigue is a gray cloud in the learning journey. It takes a bit of patience, staring at the sky and resting for the sun to return. 

Unlearning Thought

Fatigue is a sign to unplug the hamster wheel.