Do you reach for that 3pm chocolate fix? Or for your third cup of coffee for the day? Or a bottle of wine as soon you get home from work? With 3 in 4 Australians saying that workplace stress is affecting their health, it’s fair to say it has affected most of us at some stage. You are not alone! Here are some simple tips to help you get through the day without compromising your health:
Eat protein with every meal (including all snacks). This will help balance your blood sugar levels and keep you fuller for longer. Eating high protein snacks will also help you avoid that 3pm crash when you normally need that sugar hit. Some examples are lean grass-fed meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, yogurt and hummus.
Here’s a tasty little fact; Stress causes protein to be broken down and uses muscle tissue to sustain the fuel needed for the stress response. Therefore we need protein even more when we are stressed as we don’t want our hard earned muscle mass to be broken down.
Magnesium helps the body with muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation, blood glucose control and protein synthesis as well as improving sleep, digestive peristalsis (the wavelike motion which moves faecal matter through your intestines) and bone health, just to name a few. Magnesium is found abundantly in most fibrous foods though deficiency is on the rise. Many studies have shown that a deficiency in magnesium can contribute to several mental health problems such as depression, stress and anxiety.
Some common signs you may have a magnesium deficiency include muscle contractions and cramps. To increase your magnesium intake boost your diet with green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, run an Epsom salt bath or speak to me about whether you need magnesium supplementation.
Chamomile tea after a long day’s work can eliminate the need for a glass of wine! Seriously!! Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. This beautiful flower possesses sedative properties which relieves anxiety, stress and has been found to ease the severity of panic attacks, as well as keeping your cortisol levels at bay. So try a double bagger as soon as you get home from work…. You won’t be disappointed.
A lot of people fear the word meditation, they often feel out of their depth. There are many different forms and it can be confusing which one is right. Really it’s about committing to one and seeing how you feel. But like the gym, practising is essential as it takes time to see results.
Studies have shown that meditation not only reduces stress, it improves our coping mechanisms and how often stress arises. It reduces anxiety, which is great as anxiety and stress are like batman and robin, not often will you see them apart. All you need to meditate is a quiet place to sit, the ability to direct your attention and a simple meditation technique (you can use a guided meditation such as Yoga Nidra on your smartphone if that would help). Even 5 minutes can help you feel happy and recharged.
Over time as we develop into adults, our breathing can change. Instead of taking full deep breaths and using all of our lung capacity, we grew into shallow chest breathers. Subsequently using 1/3 of our breathing capacity. Most of us typically sit with our shoulders rolling forward & our backs slightly slumped, making it more difficult for each and every cell in our body to receive the energy it needs to do its job effectively.
Time to check your own posture?
In order to breathe correctly we must have good posture. Numerous studies have shown that by breathing from our diaphragm, with little to no movement in our chest and shoulders, we deliver more energy (in the form of oxygen) into our body, and expel more toxins on the out breathe, reducing stress, preventing the manifestation of disease and promoting healing when disease has arrived.
Fresh air or a change of work environment
Long days in the office without seeing the sunshine can be detrimental to your health, not to mention affect your mental work capacity. When you feel like you’re running around in circles or can’t seem to make a rational decision, take a walk outside or change your work environment. It’s amazing what a bit of fresh air can do. Just remember to breath it all in!
Incorporating these little tricks into your daily routine could do wonders for your nervous system and your health.