National Stress Awareness Day – 1st November
Stress can take on many forms and can be caused by a multitude of things. For example; anxiety, depression, phobias, physical health, work and social life, personal life, self confidence and self esteem can all have a significant impact on our stress levels.
Stress in itself can also cause physical symptoms such as headaches and muscular tension. This can lead to sleeplessness, lethargy, irritability, chronic muscle pain, tension headaches and an increased/decreased appetite. As you will probably have experienced at some point, physical complaints and stress can often become a vicious cycle. Chronic health conditions, such as diabetes can also have a hugely negative impact on our stress levels.
Establishing a balance in all areas of life will help to alleviate stresses and strains, these include:
1. Eat a balanced and healthy diet of real food
This means natural food that occurs within nature. Consider, does it have two legs, four legs, can it swim, does it fly, does it grow? If the answer is yes, then it is real food.
2. Eat regularly
This means having three main meals plus two healthy snacks each day. Try not to go more than five hours without eating. By eating regularly, you will be maintaining a steady blood sugar level, meaning your energy will remain stable, helping to reduce stress.
3. Drink alcohol in moderation (if desired)
Don’t have more than 14 units of alcohol per week and ensure this is spread over at least three days with two consecutive alcohol free days.
4. Get adequate sleep
This means at least 7-10 hours each night. This will help to reduce stress.
5. Take regular exercise
Current exercise guidelines state that we should be participating in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (cycling, brisk walking) each week, plus strength exercises on two or more days each week. Alternatively you could swap 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise for 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week (running, tennis).
6. Ensure that you drink enough water
Drink 1.5 – 2L of water each day.
7. Weigh yourself once a week, maximum
Weighing yourself any more frequently than this is unhelpful and often stress causing. Hopping onto the scales on a daily basis will do nothing to stablise any stresses you are having. Relaxing around food, your weight and your wellbeing will help to reduce your stress. Ensuring you are eating a diet based around lean proteins, whole grains and plenty of fruit and veg, you should have nothing to stress over when it comes to any potential weight gain. And if you do happen to see the scales climbing up a couple of lbs, simply cut back on any treats you are having, and you’ll be back to where you started in no time at all.
8. Quit smoking
Talk to your GP for help and advice.
9. Go steady on your caffeine intake
Don’t have more than 4 cups of tea or coffee each day, and be aware that energy drinks and soft drinks often have much more than tea and coffee with lots of added sugar. This will cause your energy and blood sugar levels to soar and eventually slump.
10. Strike a healthy work/life balance
Leaving work at the office and making time for family and friends will enable an equilibrium that will significantly help to reduce stress.
For more about healthy eating please click on the boxes below.
To discuss our Employee Nutrition Services, call 07778 218009 or email Anna.