This week marked International Stress Awareness Week.
I don’t know a single person who hasn’t struggled with some form of stress or overwhelm in the last 18 months. Although life continues, understandably, many are finding it difficult to deal with the ongoing challenges of day to day life, alongside the continued overwhelm caused by the pandemic.
The lack of freedom in the last 18 months has led to overwork for many, and now, since the pace has picked up again socially, it can feel hard to squeeze everything in!
A general message from recent conversations is that people are struggling to take a break; it’s harder to get away and the boundaries with work and home life are blurred. Unfortunately, continuing without a break or longer periods of rest can lead to stress, overwhelm and eventually, burn out.
Burnout is a condition associated with overwork, where an individual feels like they are facing demands and unachievable goals in all areas of life. It can lead to feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion from all that needs to be done, whist still feeling like you’re not doing enough.
What works to prevent stress and overwhelm is completely individual from person to person, however hopefully some of the tips below will help.
Set realistic goals:
Rather than overloading the to do list with 100 things – consider what is realistic in line with your other commitments. Make a manageable list and prioritise nonnegotiable activities. What’s urgent, what’s important, what can wait? If it can wait – let it.
Be strict with boundaries:
Setting boundaries both with work and with social life is key.
With work, prioritise a cut off point and stick to it! Set an alarm as a reminder. Consider planning a self care activity after work to draw a line under the day.
Socially, try not to sacrifice your own needs for someone else's happiness; we don’t have to give until we have nothing left. Normalise saying no without guilt or an excuse.
We deserve to sleep, rest and take care of ourselves. Often this is the first thing that we remove when we’re busy / burnt out, however regular rest will help us to think more clearly and leave us feeling well equipped to deal with what’s next. What is your ideal restful activity? Add it to the to do list to make you more likely to conform.
A deep inhale through the nose and a long, slow exhale out of the mouth can help to take our nervous system from fight or flight to rest and digest during stressful periods. Even a couple of rounds of breath during a stressful scenario can help to ease the overwhelm.
What we eat affects our mood through our gut-brain axis. If we feed our gut microbes their preferred source of fuel (diverse fibre, mainly found in plants) it can enable calm signals to be sent to the brain. However, if we consistently eat highly processed fast foods which alter the balance of bacteria in the gut, stress signals can be sent to the brain. Messages that come from our microbiome can strongly influence our mental wellbeing.
There is lots of evidence to suggest that the food we eat can play a part in helping to manage our mood. That’s not to say food is a ‘fix’ for overwhelm; many factors which affect this are out of our control. However, if you’re experimenting with a few things in the hope to feel calmer, adapting a more diverse and colourful, fibre rich diet could be a good place to start.
Here at the Garden, our menu is filled with fibre rich, colourful dishes – great fuel for a happy gut. The cold pressed juices and smoothies provide a range of essential vitamins and nutrients, designed to boost your nutrition.
With the above info in mind, my two in house smoothie recommendations would be:
Holy Cacao: Rich in fibre, magnesium and polyphenols – a great mood boosting trio.
Strong: Filled with Omega 3 fatty acids, important contributors to mental wellbeing
Drop by and grab your nutrient packed bottle, or order online for home delivery this week!