A small and appropriate amount of stress is good for us, it’s what helps us to grow and develop, to become faster or better at what we do. What is an appropriate level of stress differs from person to person, but once the balance is tipped we can start to feel overwhelmed by our day-to-day stresses. That may mean feeling exhausted by just the thought of the day ahead or seeming to pick up every cold going and not be able to shake it. It’s when we don’t address these warning signs and just carry on that our mood can be negatively affected and problems with digestion or memory may creep in.
Being aware of when stress is getting too much and addressing it as soon as you can helps to keep things in check:
As individuals we can take responsibility for ourselves by making sure we eat breakfast before leaving the house, eating regularly through the day, including good quality protein with our meals to support energy, adding good fats to our diet to support concentration and not using caffeine to keep us going as often the benefits are short lived. B vitamins from meat, fish, nuts, seeds and wholegrains as well as magnesium from dark green leafy vegetables, almonds and shellfish are particularly important nutrients when we’re under stress.
From a non-dietary point of view, we can make sure we get outdoors every day during daylight hours, leave our desks to eat lunch and perhaps use breathing or mindfulness techniques to help with focus and relaxation.
Employers can support their staff by encouraging a culture where time away from desks to eat a good lunch is the norm, allowing employees to come back feeling refreshed. Those offices that provide free fruit for employees could add some nuts or seeds to that as a source of protein and good fats that will keep staff focused and feeling full for longer.
Managing stress is not always an easy road, but we have to start somewhere and for me the key is always to start simple with one or two changes and to build on those over time so that they form habits.
If you’d like more information on personalised plans to manage stress or on workshops and courses that provide employees with the skills they need to build resilience using nutrition and lifestyle change, then please get in touch.
Take charge of your health...
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