As our lives become hectic and our schedules fill up with meetings, lunches, family outings, etc. our stress levels tend to rise. Weather we are busy due to work or busy due to family & other obligations, stress has been proved to have a direct correlation with our level of “busyness”.
Here are a few tips and tricks on how you can manage stress and maintain a healthy body and mind during any and all busy & hectic moments/periods of your life!
Make Yourself a Priority
Oftentimes when we are busy, we get so caught up on the work that needs to be done that we forget to set time aside for ourselves! Setting time aside for ourselves during any busy time of the year will help ease the stress that goes along with our demanding schedule. Don’t know what to do with the time set aside?! Try these:
- Make and eat a healthy and well-balanced meal! Let’s face it, travel is a large part of most of our jobs. And even if it isn’t for some of you, we must set time aside to ensure we are consuming the proper nutrients for peak mental performance. Depending on your goals, protein should make up 10-35% of your diet, fat should make up 20-35% of your diet and Carbohydrates should make up 45-65% of your daily diet. Try cooking your meals as often as possible as this is the best way to ensure you are consuming the proper volume of food. Additionally, be sure to eat lunch away from your desk! Oftentimes, our daily stressors are associated with our physical work environment and since lunch should signify a break from your busy day, try eating in the breakroom, outside, or while walking around.
- Drink Water! Be sure to consume 1 gallon (3.7 liters) of water per day for men and .7 gallon per day for women (2.7 liters). Water has a whole host of benefits and ensuring that we consume the recommended daily intake of water will aide us in reaping all of the benefits associated with staying hydrated.
- Get plenty of sleep! We should attempt to sleep for 7-8 hours per night. I realize this is tough with external influences such as family, friends and other commitments, however we must identify each of our “inefficient periods” throughout the day where we can be more productive and utilize that time, accordingly. With proper time management, 7-8 hours of sleep per night is definitely attainable and highly recommended!
- Exercise, exercise, exercise! Do NOT let travel prohibit you from working out. Find a physical activity that interests you and incorporate this activity into your daily routine. These activities could range from yoga, stretching and brisk walks to cross fit, powerlifting or running. Regardless of what you do, physical activity outside of work is a must in order to maintain peak mental (and physical) performance. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intense activity 4-5 days per week.
- Cut the caffeine out by 2pm. Don’t get me wrong, caffeine is awesome and we all love it, however too much of a good thing is almost always, bad. If you are a regular coffee/caffeine drinker, try to consume between 350-450 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day. This is the equivalent of 2-4 cups of coffee. The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee varies from 100-200mg per cup. For your reference, a typical Starbucks cup has 165mg of caffeine. Coffee typically has 2-25 calories per cup, BUT added sugars or cream can increase your caloric intake, so be cautious of the cream you add to your coffee!
Last, but not least is my 2 cents on stress management. Our body produces the highest amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in the morning when we need to get things done and produces the lowest amount in the evening as we relax for the rest of the night. However, if we don’t get proper rest or consume caffeine during late afternoon, we tend to produce an increased amount of cortisol later in the night. The increased production of this hormone can lead to lack of sleep. When cortisol spikes, it signals the brain to demand high calorie foods as a survival tactic to supply the body with more energy (fight or flight response). This would be fine if you were faced with a fight or flight situation, but not in the case of mental stress.
If you have any questions. comments, concerns with the above, please do not hesitate to reach out! E-mail: Robert.Eyler@Alchemy SD.com