Raise your hand if you’re proud of being busy. You’re winning at life, right? Knock off one task, ready to knock the next. It’s like you’re an adrenaline junkie and workplace stress is fueling your engine. We’re all guilty of it. When asked how we are, we answer: Busy. As if it’s some kind of badge of honour. We subscribe to some pretty strange myths. How about this one? Being busy keeps you out of trouble. Or, being busy is better than being bored. Um, not so much.
The fact is, most of the time, we spend the day running from one thing to the next then feeling like we’ve accomplished next to nothing. No matter how much we try to find them, there never seem to be enough hours in the day, or enough days in the week. The demands of work, life and loved ones pushes me-time to the bottom of the to-do list.
Let’s face it, being “ultra busy” may be the new norm, but the stress that it causes is nothing to brag about. In case you haven’t noticed, that busy lifestyle you’re so proud of is having a negative impact on your health and happiness. In fact, a recent national survey conducted by the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) and Leger revealed that more than two-thirds of Canadians admit to living with workplace stress. While six in ten say their health is negatively impacted by work stress, two-thirds see it negatively impacting other areas of life.
Need tips to get beat stress? These 5 from the Natural Guide to Workplace Wellness will not only help you get stress under control while you work, but they’ll boost your energy all day long and basically improve your life.
5 NATURAL WAYS TO BEAT WORKPLACE STRESS
Punch up productivity with natural health products
Familiar with natural health products (NHPs)? These are an easy and portable way to improve productivity in the workplace. NHPs, like omega-3s, contain the essential long chain fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been shown to improve both learning and memory.
Pro Tip: Keep Vitamin D in your purse or desk drawer. It’s important for so many body processes and is also linked to improved mood and increased problem-solving abilities.
Do more than Namaste the stress away
Stay calm on the job with probiotic supplements which help boost brain health by reducing anxiety and stress. Magnesium has the ability to help us to stay calm in stressful situations. We actually deplete our magnesium stores faster when we’re stressed, so consider supplementation to keep stress levels in check.
Pro Tip: Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin B6, like avocados, baked potatoes and bananas, have also been shown to help ease psychological stress since it’s used to make serotonin (a brain chemical that calms and relaxes).
Go beyond “deskercise”
Research continually shows the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and desk jobs have too many of us sitting for hours at a time. “Deskercise” is the new workplace wellness phenomenon, using one’s own body weight or performing sitting exercises to encourage movement throughout the work day.
Pro Tip: Take advantage of the warmer weather by holding our meetings outside while walking. It’ll get you moving, and fresh air always seems to provide a new perspective.
Practice mindfulness at work
Mindfulness has been shown to help increase general awareness while decreasing stress levels. It’s a top health trend this year and can also be exercised in the workplace to combat overall stress. Set a timer set on your computer to remind you to stop and take three deep breaths throughout the day.
Pro Tip: Start and end each workday thinking of three things that you’re grateful for. It will help to set the pace for your workday and your commute.
Start eating for energy
Carbs get a bad rap, but complex carbs like beans and legumes are actually high in fibre, which slows and stabilizes glucose absorption and reduces the risk of blood sugar spikes followed by subsequent crashes. Some studies even show that when stress-prone individuals are subjected to stress, they fare better eating a high-carbohydrate diet versus a high-protein diet. Eating more complex carbs can increase serotonin, reduce stress hormones, improve mental performance and enhance your overall mood.
Pro Tip: Don’t hate on carbs. Use them to your advantage.
Michelle W. Book is the in-house holistic nutritionist for the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), the largest organization dedicated to natural health and organic products in Canada. Through a variety of media outlets and print publications, Michelle uses her role as a health advocate to fulfill CHFA’s vision of a Canada where everyone benefits from natural health and organic products. Visit chfa.ca for more tips and tricks on how to be well at work.