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Diet and lifestyle tips when you’re overworking

When life and work become crazy busy and it’s starting to overwhelm you, then it’s critical that you make yourself as physically resilient as you can. Stress triggers cortisol, the stress hormone, and high levels of cortisol place an added burden on your body. What and how you eat can have a profound effect of how well you cope.

Here are some tips on how to stay healthy when times get stressful.

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1

Eat small regular meals with a healthy morning and afternoon snack to balance your blood sugar.

2

Eat whole grain carbohydrates with good quality white meat or vegetable protein (chicken, turkey, quinoa, lentils and beans).

3

Eat a variety and abundance of vegetables to top up nutrients and antioxidants.

4

Avoid salt and increase your intake of potassium rich foods such as avocado, bananas, beans and lentils, mushrooms, fish and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. This is because the adrenals will also be over-producing the hormone aldosterone, impacting your electrolyte balance.

5

Eat fresh oily fish.

6

Avoid caffeine and alcohol completely as they stimulate the stress hormone cortisol and affect your sleep cycle.

7

Make sure you eat regularly. If you’re going to be stuck in a meeting over lunch time, it is better to have an early lunch at 11-11.30 than a late lunch when you would have gone for too long without eating.

8

Undertake enjoyable exercise that includes social contact. Exercise raises the heart rate clearing the toxic load building up from high levels of brain activity, increases energy and reduces excess stress hormones, leading to improved happiness.

9

Laughter is the best medicine. Make a point to smile regularly throughout the day and when appropriate, laugh! Laughter decreases stress hormones, and your body relaxes.

10

Sleep! It’s important for repairing the body and processing the emotions from the day. Have some rituals to aid this; take a bath in the evening, turn off digital technology at least 90 minutes before bed or practice some calming breathing exercises.

Learn more about dealing with stress in my best-selling book, ‘How to Prevent Burnout’.

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