Working can be a grind. Long hours, demanding clients, tight deadlines and other pressures take their toll on even the most dedicated professionals. There’s only so much coffee and Red Bull you can drink before your performance starts to suffer. As with any job that requires long hours and constant stress, a hectic work life takes its toll on your physical and mental health. However, there are many steps you can take to keep your energy high throughout an exhausting day at work or a difficult project. Whether you work in a traditional office or telecommute from home every day, there are ways to stay energized and healthy in the face of constant stressors.
Make Your Workspace Work For You
Your workspace has a significant effect on your mental focus and productivity. If you work in an open-plan office, there’s little you can do to change the environment to suit your needs. However, if you have the option of working in a designated office, take it. You’ll be able to control your lighting and temperature to suit your circadian rhythm — that is, the daily cycle of hormone release that regulates your energy levels. You might also be able to install blackout blinds to give you a space that truly lets you focus on your work. A comfortable workspace can help you to stay focused, alleviating stress and promoting productivity.
Choose a chair that is both comfortable and promotes good posture, as well as a desk that lets you work with minimal distractions. If you can, try to choose a desk that has a drawer for your keyboard, mouse and other accessories. That way, your desk stays clear and you can clear your mind — no matter how full your schedule is.
Take More Breaks
Your body and mind need breaks if they are to remain healthy and productive. But unfortunately, the nature of work today means that breaks are often overlooked. One simple way to increase the number of breaks you take is to add an hourly countdown timer to your computer screen. Rather than checking your email or social media accounts every few minutes, set an hourly countdown and take a short walk, stretch or simply close your eyes for a few minutes to rest. If you have a more structured environment where breaks are expected, use them. If you work in an office, try to get in the habit of taking breaks together with your colleagues. This will keep your colleagues fresh — and you'll have new friends. Be careful about taking breaks that involve sitting on your smartphone. While some breaks can involve checking your phone, others should be smartphone-free.
Don't Skip Meals
To create as much time as possible for work and squeeze in quick snacks between tasks, many professionals skip meals. While this might seem like an efficient way to save time and energy, it can do significant damage to your health. A healthy, balanced diet is essential to keeping your body and brain running at full capacity. Without regular and substantial meals, your body can run low on the energy it needs to keep you going. Make sure that you get your hands on plenty of nutrients such as vitamins B, C, zinc and iron. These are essential for mental and physical energy, helping to keep your brain focused and your mood high.
Working out is not just a way to stay in shape. It also helps to keep your energy levels high and your mood positive — even when you’re under stress. Your body needs regular exercise to stay healthy. It also releases endorphins — the “happy hormones” that make you feel good. Regular exercise can also help you to sleep better at night. Sleeping well is important for keeping your energy levels consistent: You need to sleep regularly to recover from the day’s stresses and strains. If you’re not sure how to fit regular exercise into your schedule, try a shorter routine. You don’t need to hit the gym for two hours every day — especially if you’re working long hours. A 30-minute routine three times per week can be just as beneficial — and more achievable.
You don’t need to go on a restrictive diet to stay healthy while working long hours. In fact, eating a balanced diet is essential to your mental and physical health. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables each day can help to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and various cancers. A healthy diet also means that you get an adequate amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats — as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals. Without these nutrients, your energy levels will drop as your body struggles to function at full capacity. A healthy diet doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive. You can eat a wide variety of foods and still receive enough vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Try to choose foods that are high in fiber and low in fat. You can also eat plenty of protein-rich foods such as eggs and beans. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Learn To Recognize Some Signs of Stress
Stress is something that most of us feel at some point in our lives. And while it can be an important response to being challenged, extreme stress can be debilitating. To help combat the effects of stress before they become debilitating, you need to recognize the signs of stress and make a conscious effort to combat them. Start by keeping a journal of how your body feels when you’re stressed. Is your stomach always in knots? Do you get headaches? What helps to relieve stress? Once you’ve identified the signs of stress in your life, you can take action against them. The best way to deal with stress is to nip it in the bud. Before you find yourself feeling stressed, try some yoga poses or mindfulness exercises.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
When you’re working long hours, you might not have the time to sit down to a full meal during every meal break. A busy schedule can leave you skipping meals or eating on the go. However, this can lead to deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals — which are essential for keeping your energy levels up. To stay healthy and keep your energy high, it’s important to take vitamin and mineral supplements. You can also try to eat more foods in your diet that contain vitamins and minerals — such as leafy greens, fish and nuts. To keep your energy levels up, it’s essential to stay hydrated throughout the day. You also need to get a healthy amount of food in your stomach — but not so much that you feel bloated.