Managing fatigue

There is no simple answer to managing fatigue.

But we know we need to manage our own levels of fatigue. Managing is about modifying your behaviour. We have talked about some of the causes of fatigue and the risks of trying to operate aircraft, or use engineering skills, when affected. How can you change the way you look at fatigue? There are several things you can do. Understand that you are not immune to fatigue, but should be aware of the symptoms in yourself and those around you, at work or at home.

A good idea is to arrive at the airfield fit to fly – mentally and physically ready. Also, keep open the lines of communication with family and those involved in your flying. Talk to your safety officer, flight instructor and other aviation folk. They will see any signs of fatigue you might be showing, and can help you avoid behaviour that creates stress and fatigue.

Your plan for managing fatigue must include getting quality sleep and rest.

Think about family and their requirements for your time. They want you to be part of their lives but you may need to plan your work and rest around seeing them.

Home can mean demands on your time to maintain, clean, complete household chores and pay for the property. A good place to let stress take hold if your input is not properly organised.

Now, what about you?

Have you made space to enjoy your own time? Are you drinking plenty of water and eating healthy food options? What about personal fitness levels? Do you still have time for a walk, a round of golf or a bike ride? And do you see a balance between life and work?

Don’t forget age considerations. Did someone say age considerations? Just because we are getting older (and we all are) does not mean we should relax – quite the opposite. Plan for those ‘special’ requirements you might have and know the effects of any medication you are taking. Seek medical advice regularly.

Manage your fatigue by knowing what it looks and feels like, and develop a plan to manage its effects.