We all know that healthy lifestyle is essential when it comes to reducing our stress levels, and a healthy lifestyle means finding balance. Balance may look a little different for each of us, but there are a few components to health that are applicable to all of us:
1. Getting enough rest;
2. Making sure that we get enough exercise;
3. Eating a healthy diet filled with a variety of yummy, nutrient-dense foods;
4. Avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking and having one too many boozy brunches or dinners (or just too much alcohol in general);
5. Doing introspection to check in with ourselves and how we're doing; and
6. Having a solid support system of people we trust and can open up.
A healthy lifestyle improves our focus and concentration, which makes us
more efficient so that we can complete tasks as quickly and thoroughly as possible!
Talk about a win-win-win situation! ✔✔✔😁
Let's examine components 1 - 3 more closely (4 - 6 will be in a separate post 😊):
1. Getting Enough Rest:
I can't stress (excuse the pun hehehe 😋🤭) enough how important it is to make sure you're getting enough sleep, but also to make sure that you aren't working flat-out all day, every day, without consistently taking breaks and giving yourself time to refresh! Try to get at least - AT LEAST - 6 hours of sleep every night, but don't forget to set aside little windows of rest during the day, too!
Take Breaks Regularly
Taking breaks when you need to is vital for your overall health. Pushing yourself hard for too long can actually derail your attempts to be productive and to get organized, because feeling constantly pressured, harried, or borderline overwhelmed distracts you from focusing on one task at a time.
The best way to tell when you need a break is to do a quick little check-in as the day progresses. Ask yourself questions like,
"How am I feeling right now, physically?"
"What about mentally and emotionally?"
"How long have a been working for?"
"Am I starting to get fidgety, or distracted?"
"Is my concentration waning?"
When you need a break, take one! Step away from your work-space, take a walk, do some quick stretches, grab a coffee or drink some water....anything that helps you feel refreshed and ready to tackle your next task!
Another great way to maximize your productivity is to know what times of day you work most efficiently, and what times of day your energy levels are lower and you feel less inclined to tackle work tasks. Me? I'm a morning person. I'm that person who jumps out of bed bright and early, full of energy and ready to seize the day! 🤹♀️ But I know that around 2pm (especially now that I'm pregnant!) I need to take a 45 - 60 minute break, and after 8pm I'm pretty much useless when it comes to work-related tasks 🤷♀️🤣 Check in with yourself and find out what works best for you!
Combined with with other stress-less techniques, exercise is one of the most beneficial ways to lower your stress levels and improve your overall quality of life.
It's an effective distraction from stressful events, it directly improves stress-related health problems like high blood pressure and sleep problems, and the release of feel-good endorphins automatically makes you feel better!
The great thing is that exercise doesn't need to be done in the form of a long, fixed workout at the gym or another form of structured activity: it can be as simple as going for a brisk walk during your work breaks every day. Even getting in a few minutes of stretching can help to loosen up tight neck and shoulder muscles and get the blood flowing - trust me, you'll feel a noticeable difference very quickly!
3. Eat for Efficiency
I find the best way to make sure I eat a varied, colorful diet full of nutrient-dense foods is to focus on what I should eat, not on what I "shouldn't" eat. Now, please hear me when I say this:
There are NO foods that you CAN'T eat, but there are foods that are better reducing stress levels and increasing productivity.
Nutrient-dense foods with slow-releasing carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats will not only keep you full for hours (and therefore able to concentrate on a task for much longer), but they also help to stabilize energy levels and avoid the blood sugar spikes and dips that cause us to crash shortly after we eat that highly refined, sugary donut.
Soooo rather than adding to your stress by pressuring yourself and focusing on what you "shouldn't" eat, focus on all the delicious foods that will fuel your inner task-master! 💪😁🤹♀️
Always eat a combination of healthy carbs like fruits, veggies, wholegrain bread/ rice/ pasta; proteins like lean chicken breast or steak, poached eggs, fish, and grilled tofu; and good-for-you fats like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds (or nut or seed butters), avocado...there are so many possibilities when it comes to nutritious food combos, and you'll feel a huge difference in energy and concentration as you go about your daily to-do's! 📝😄
What times of day do you feel most productive?
What do you do when you take work breaks that helps you feel refreshed and re-energized?
What are your go-to healthy meals and snacks?
Stay tuned for components 4 - 6 in another post, coming soon!