Reduce stress during the workday can reduce work time splurges.
We all experience the stress of a busy workday. Some days have tighter schedules than others, but schedules full of tight deadlines, endless meetings, and elevated demands tend to increase your stress and often end with us eating our lunches at our desks to tackle all of these expectations. There is no doubt why a significant portion of Americans are stressed about work, and we are increasingly turning fatter and fatter.
Your body responds to all stress, in the same way, every time you experience and elevated stress. The response you have is a means to prepare yourself for a fight or difficult times. So every time you are exposed to stress, your brain signals your cells to release stress hormones. This burst of adrenaline taps stored energy so you can fight or flee a perceived or real threat. You also release a surge of cortisol. Cortisol tells your body to store energy as fat and increase hunger to add calories for future storage.
Because of psychologic stress does not necessarily increased energy expenditure, it is especially deleterious because the increase in anxiety and hunger creates a cycle of eating and storage that will continue to expand your waistline. The more you expand your waist, the higher the degree of metabolic syndrome and risk of diabetes you will develop. The trick to reducing the risk is to control or reduce your stress expose. Stress is good, but too much stress is bad. The key to stress reduction is integrating time in your day to reduce your stress level. Here’s how to beat back the stress of five at-work scenarios by getting active.
Methods to reduce stress:
- Exercise during lunch. The break will not only reduce your stress, but it will also help you be more productive because you will better able to focus on work when you return. I usually walk or go to a spin class during lunch. Yoga is a great form of exercise for relaxation.
- Take 5-10 on the hour. Take a few minutes away from the email every day. You will be more productive if you do this. I walk up and down the stairs at work or do 60 seconds of push-ups or sit-ups.
- Avoid the junk food. Stop grazing the break room and candy bowls for snacks to reduce your stress. Empty calories in excess are not good for weight loss. If you must snack, eat jerky, fruit, veggies, or cheese crisps. Eating right can be key to reducing your stress.
- Stay Hydrated. Drink water every hour. Hydration will also encourage or remind you to leave your desk periodically to visit the bathroom. Dehydration can be confused for hunger by the brain.
Watch the caffeine. Caffeine can dehydrate you and increase your stress levels. Small amounts of caffeine can help with weight loss, but larger amounts are counter-productive.
- Go home. Maintain a healthy work schedule. You will find the hours you spend at work more productive. Burning the midnight oil may be needed on occasion, but you should keep it very limited.
- Get enough sleep. Chronic insomnia will reduce your ability to respond to stress and allow you to recover from the stress you have already been exposed.
- Seek Support from Friends and Family. Support and spending time talking about what stressors you have can help you find solutions and reduce your stress.
- Take Five. Take five minutes to sit int eh quiet and meditate. Meditation is research proven to reduce stress.
- Get a hobby. Hobbies can make you forget your worries. Forgetting the stress from work when you are at home will help.
The bottom line: Stress can be good in small amounts, but too much can make you fat and sick. Reduce your exposure, and you will feel better and be more productive.