4 tips for stressful times

By Judith Young, Mindful Life Consultant

Our busiest times of the year — whether we’re launching a new product or preparing for an industry conference — tend to be the times when we cast aside some the very habits and behaviors that actually help us maintain the levels of energy and drive we need to create and show up our best. There are a few key actions that don’t take any more time, but do in fact make a huge positive difference. These are things that military and athletic trainers emphasize. You are a “corporate athlete” who needs these basics in order to stay strong and focused:

Hydrate:

Water helps you concentrate, problem solve, remember well, and it gives you energy. Drinking water all day long will help you maintain the energy you need.

Eat:

Eat nutrient- and protein-rich foods, especially at breakfast and lunch. A carb-only meal (e.g., breakfast muffin or just toast) without protein and other nutrients will lead to an energy crash. Your food makes or breaks your energy, cognitive function and mood.

Move:

The human body and brain are meant to sit and focus for an absolute max of 90 minutes at a time, and even that’s a stretch. Your energy, brain and attitude need you to move throughout the day. Even better if you go outside; just looking at a plant measurably lowers blood pressure and mental fatigue.

Rest:

You really need the hours of sleep you’re able to get these days. Caffeine activates the system for six hours; measure your coffee timing well. When you drink more water and eat more energizing foods, you’re less caffeine-reliant and you rest more deeply during those precious sleep hours. Digital screens mimic daylight to the brain and thus reduce the sleep-hormone melatonin. Try your best to shut off all screens — computer, phone and TV — an hour before shut-eye. Calm your cortisol (stress hormone) in the evening. Practice a nightly calming habit that works for you: light exercise, stretching, yoga, breathing exercise, reading, etc.

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