Working out the stress during the workday

10 Mar

In my post, Is Weight Gain Stressing You Out?, I talked about how stress can trigger reactions in your body that lead to weight increases. 

Scientifically, we can point to the obvious fact that stress is a big factor in weight loss resistance.  That’s the easy part.  The tough part is what you can do about it particularly during one of the times of greatest stress:  The workday.

If you’re always feeling stressed at the office, you can try a few tips designed to help you cope with work.  Give these a shot:

Eat breakfast, avoid coffee.  What?  Am I suggesting you forego the time-honored tradition of skipping breakfast and instead grabbing an extra-large cup of coffee at Starbucks for your morning energy burst?

I most certainly am.  Starting off the day with the right nutrition can make a huge difference.  And switching to herbal or decaffeinated tea can reduce those caffeine-causing jitters.

The early bird avoids the road rage.  Instead of frantically scrambling out the door and driving like a lunatic to get to work on time, leave ten minutes early.  That way you avoid the rush, and you can handle the inevitable traffic jams without stress.

Of course, this means you might have to set the alarm clock ten minutes earlier, which means you go to bed ten minutes earlier.  But it’s a great way to stem the road rage. 

Break for lunch, relax the mind.  Yes, the work is piling up.  But doesn’t it always?  Don’t forget that you’re not a machine, and that you need to take a break and unwind.

Eat a healthy, nutritious lunch, and then get out of the office space.  If possible, go for a walk.  Or find some place quiet to meditate and relax.  Don’t forget to try some of the stretching exercises I mentioned in “Stretching to Lose Weight Naturally.”

Even better, go on a nice walk with a co-worker and share some laughs.

Deep breathing (but not loud enough to scare the person in the cubicle next to you).  It’s been proven that your breathing affects your stress level, so we recommend you become more aware of your breathing. 

Now don’t pull a Darth Vader and start freaking out your co-workers.  But pause and take a deep, cleansing breath – perhaps every time the phone rings.  Just don’t do any deep breathing over the phone.

In Part 2 of Working Out the Stress During the Workday, I’ll give you some more tips for relaxing while on the clock.

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