Have you ever asked yourself, ‘How do I Handle that Situation?’ In our new series of blogs, Revive’s Registered Nutritionists will put their heads together and provide strategies to help you handle a variety of tricky situations. From eating strategies while watching sports with friends to how to be mindful while eating out, we will show you how to handle a variety of situations. Along the way, Revive’s Registered Nutritionists will share some of the obstacles they encounter in their own lives and the tools they use to overcome them.
Being Busy at Work
Everyone gets busy at work sometimes. Whether it is tax season or you’re working to finish a big project, being busy at work is natural. When we’re busy our good habits are often the first things to fall by the wayside, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You CAN still be mindful of your health when you are busy it work. Our guide will tell you how.
If you have ever visited the Revive office, you may have noticed the buzz of the office, and our staff running around throughout the day. We most definitely have busy days, as I am sure you do. Something you may also notice is that our staff and our clients are well hydrated. The first thing you see when you walk into our office is an array of herbal teas, as well as fruit infused water.
Despite the awesome hydration station at our office, I do on occasion find myself with a pounding headache and a parched mouth at the end of the day. When I first started working at Revive, I found it extremely difficult to keep up with my fluid intake. I’m guessing that when you are running around at work and barely have time to go to fit in a meal, drinking water is low on your to-do list! We all know it’s important, but how do we make it happen during a busy day?
- Before you even get to work, start your day with at least one glass of water at home or on your way to work.
- Treat yourself to a new water bottle or cup that you would want to drink out of. It may seem silly, but it makes a big difference! Keep it with you everywhere you go throughout the day.
- Ensure that you go into a meeting with a full water bottle or cup, and maybe a cup of herbal tea for good measure.
- When you stop for your coffee or lunch break, ensure that you have a glass of water, especially if you find it difficult to sip water throughout the day.
- Add fruit infusions, a splash of lemon or some mint to your water to make it more enjoyable! In the summer, I also like to steep herbal teas in cold water for a yummy alternative to fruit infusions.
How do I Handle the Three O’clock Crash?
I am not usually the only one who wants to take a nap when 3 o’clock rolls around. When my energy drops so does my productivity! This dip in energy is often the result of:
- skipping a meal or snack
- having an unbalanced lunch (too few or too many carbohydrates)
- lack of good quality sleep
This dip in energy often has me looking for caffeine and/or sugar (flavoured latte anyone) to increase my energy and get us through the rest of the day.
To help prevent thethree o’clock lull try:
- working on a sleep routine which includes no blue light one hour before bed
- having a balanced snack (apple and cheese) at 2: 30 PM
- doing 5-10 minutes of stretching
- going for a 10-15 minute walk, and focus on deep breathing.
- aiming to have 6 to 8 cups of water before 3 PM
These should help you stay energized and more productive at work!
A key component of fueling your body during the workday is making sure you have enough healthy snacks to space out between your meals. This is often easier said than done. Maybe your coworkers brought muffins and donuts or some of that leftover birthday cake is whispering your name, it’s easy to rely on office treats to get you through your afternoon slump. Or you might find that after an early breakfast your morning flies by, but you are losing focus in that late morning meeting, desperately waiting for lunch-time to arrive.
The key to success with snacking comes down to three basic principles: mindfulness, preparation and balance. Snacks are essential to maintaining blood sugars and reducing cravings when they are balanced and spaced appropriately between meals. Here are a few basic suggestions to incorporate these principles and set you up for snacking success!
- Set a reminder on your cell phone or laptop to have a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon. This will allow you to also stand up, stretch and re-fuel your body.
- Assess if your desire for a snack shortly after eating a meal can first be quenched with a large glass of water. It may be all you need to feel satisfied!
- Make healthy snacks accessible! Consider starting a staff snack drawer with healthy food choices. Have everyone contribute a few dollars to supply apples, mixed nuts, peanut butter and whole grain crackers.
- Keep your grains for meals and balance your snacks with a fruit or vegetable and a source of protein. For example, an apple and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter OR 1/4 cup of almonds and some baby carrots OR a boiled egg and 1/2 a cup of mini tomatoes are all excellent snack options.
Being busy at work can increase my stress levels to the point where cooking balanced, healthy meals every day is not an easy feat. It can be difficult to predict a busy week, so managing this ahead of time can be difficult. One strategy I use to maintain balance at lunch is to keep food options at work to create a “make-shift” meal.
For the veggies, I will either have a bagged salad on hand OR have a bag of frozen veggies sitting in the freezer at work. To add flavor to veggies I keep my favorite flavor of balsamic reduction in the cupboard. For protein, I will either have a container of plain Greek yogurt in the fridge or roasted nuts, nut butter, dried edamame beans, canned tuna, or canned salmon stored in the cupboard! For the starch of the meal I will have a homemade muffin that I froze (I love to bake) from the freezer or fruit on the side (packets of unsweetened fruit sauces or canned fruit packed in juice/water are easy to keep at work).
Mixing together these items I can make a satisfying salad mixture and have the fruit or muffin for “dessert”. These makeshift meal items function well as snacks between meals as well! Knowing that I have options at work helps to reduce my anxiety during busy weeks as I know I am not a great dietitian when I fall into that “hangry zone.” I try to avoid it at all costs!
As soon as our stress level rises, something happens in our brain. We prioritize. The things we deem unnecessary get cut – we do what we have to, and not what we want to. This is okay in the short term to some extent. Things can possibly wait during a girls’ shopping trip or the weekly poker game. All too often the things we let go of first are the very things that set us up for success. I’m referring to meal preparation, grocery shopping, and our regular workouts.
Exercising is actually a form of stress management and having a meal plan and prepared snacks and meals can actually decrease your stress overall. What happens “after-hours” after a long stressful day is what is going to determine how your body responds tomorrow and next week. Use meal prep and exercise as a method of dealing with your stress. Fueling and taking care of your physical body sets you up for success for whatever tomorrow brings.
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