Some days it is easy to think that stress is a part of daily life. When you are busy at work and there are deadlines to meet, it is hard to feel anything but stressed. Suddenly you find yourself reaching for the wrong foods, not sleeping well and getting grumpy easily. Of course, this leaves you less able to handle the stress well.
But it is still possible to stay healthy even when you are stressed at work. Here is how you can do it…
1: Be Prepared
The Scouts knew what they were talking about with their mantra of always being prepared. The work week can get pretty full on, pretty quickly. You know it is going to happen, so plan for it. Use Sunday afternoon (or another time that suits) to set yourself up for the week.
Prepare grab and go healthy lunches, set a meal plan for the week and have all the ingredients in the house, batch cook some meals, or simply prepare the dinner ingredients for each night. This will ensure that you keep eating healthily instead of hitting the drive-through on the way home.
2: Eat Often
Eating every 3 to 4 hours keeps your energy levels up and keeps you fuelled throughout the day. By skipping meals, or forgetting to eat, you are going to be running on empty pretty quickly. That is not going to help your productivity or stress levels.
3: Keep Active
When you are stressed and tired the last thing you probably want to do is go for a run. So don’t. Instead, work the activity into your day. Walk to the local cafe for a coffee on your break, hit the gym on the way to work if you are an early bird, or meet a friend for a bike ride together. Getting active boosts your mood and your energy levels. That is good for keeping stress to a minimum.
4: Ditch The Unhealthy Snacks
When you are busy and peckish, the call of the vending machine is sometimes too hard to resist. But those processed and sugary snacks will actually end up zapping your energy instead of boosting it. A hit of sugar will give you a high for a short while, but then a massive low afterwards. It will leave you craving more and mess with your mood. It is better to pack your own healthy snacks to munch on – fruit, veg, nuts, wholegrain crackers, or cheese sticks.
5: Stay Watered
Dehydration can drain your energy very quickly. It can also affect your memory, your cognition and make you feel hungrier than usual. So keep a water bottle, or glass of water on your desk and sip it all day.
6: Get Outdoors
In an air-conditioned office, the air and energy can get stale quickly. So try and get outdoors on your breaks. The fresh air and sunshine will energise you, and a change of scenery is always good for your mood. Going outside will get you up, moving and into a whole new headspace.
7: Ditch The Screens
You will often spend all day staring at a computer screen, so don’t then spend all evening staring at a different screen at home. Put down your phone, tablet or laptop and interact with your spouse, friends, or flatmates instead. The bright lights of a screen make it harder for the body to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. That means it takes longer for you to wind down and go to sleep at night. So try to avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime.