How to avoid burnout
Wonder Woman is no longer a fictional superhero, she is what most women are expected to be every day – the perfect mother who brings in the cash, the perfect homemaker with the stellar career. You need only live a short while with one foot on the career ladder and the other vacuuming the stairs, before you feel the strain.
Happiness in life is all about balance, but with urgent needs constantly competing for your attention, finding that balance – and contentment for yourself within it – can be very tough. And it is isn’t just about the work/life balance, it is also about juggling the needs of those around you, trying to be the perfect support as wife or girlfriend, sister or daughter.
According to an article in `The Times’ online: “Research into the pressures on working women shows that 4 in 10 of us believe we are on the brink of burnout.” This is a real issue. If we are to survive in this modern world, we need to start looking after ourselves, and fast.
I have interviewed a naturopathic advisor and mindfulness coach – who has experienced burnout first hand. In a series of blogs I will be talking about ways you can help strengthen yourself physically and mentally, so you are better able to cope with the stresses and demands of everyday life – and where, if necessary, you need to re-assess your life choices to protect your health.
Burnout is something which can be avoided. Self-improvement has no age limits, so whether you are 20 or 60 these tips will apply.
The first is nutrition. Fuelling your body with the right nutrients is essential.
Here are some key survival tips
1. Stabilise blood sugar
Better control of your blood sugar level, ensuring a steady release of sugar (glucose) to your system, can help improve mood, mental clarity and energy, and can encourage weight loss without dieting. So, where possible:
- Have 3 main meals a day. Combine all the food groups in each meal – carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vegetables.
- For breakfast, add nuts, seeds or a natural protein powder to your cereal, any nut butter to your toast, or have peas or spinach with your eggs for a more rounded, healthy start to the day.
- Eat healthy snacks that combine protein and carbohydrate for slow energy release e.g. rice cakes with almond butter, or carrot and hummus . Avoid refined sugar at all costs. It may give you a temporary hit, but the ensuing low blood sugar can leave you feeling tired and depleted.
- Avoid too much fruit. This is high in fructose which can adversely affect blood sugar, digestion, energy and mood. If you do have fruit, have a protein, like roasted nuts or cheese, alongside it.
2. Make vegetables 50% of your diet
The ideal diet is:
- 25% complex carbohydrate (rice, quinoa, wholemeal bread / pasta)
- 25% protein and fats (meats, nuts, pulses, lentils, cheeses)
- 50% vegetables (40% non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach, 10% starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and parsnips)
3. Lose potato, gain nutrients
Potatoes contain virtually no vitamins or minerals and turn to starch (sugar) when digested. Swapping them for sweet potatoes or other root vegetables like carrot, swede or squash, can instantly improve your diet.
4. Go organic
Where possible, buy organic, particularly for fruit, vegetables, chicken, pork and beef, and always wash salad well. The more pesticides and antibiotics in your food, the harder your body will have to work to `detox’ them.
Do you feel you need to reassess your choices to avoid burnout? Don’t wait. Contact us.
5. Avoid `low fat’, refined sugar is the real enemy
Despite popular belief, `low fat’ is not necessarily the way to be healthy. Your body needs good fat to function well. The fat is often replaced with worse ingredients in `low fat’ products, so a healthier approach could be to eat good quality, full-fat products, but in smaller amounts.
`Good’ fats, like the `Omega’s’, are found in organic meats, eggs, nuts, fish, natural yoghurts and oils like olive, coconut and flaxseed. These help improve blood sugar levels – giving energy for longer – and can also aid digestion, boost your immunity and improve mood.
6. Improve digestion
Poor health often starts with poor nutrient absorption. Help alleviate IBS and other digestive issues, and ensure you absorb as many nutrients as possible from your food by practising good eating habits:
- chew properly and eat slowly in a calm atmosphere
- relax for 5 minutes before and 10 minutes after eating
7. Boost your natural probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your intestines and regulate the PH of your gut flora. Having too few can play a part in a whole host of symptoms such as bad digestion, low energy and immunity, yeast infections like Candida, and skin conditions such as eczema, so:
- Eat probiotic-rich foods like `live culture’ yoghurts or Kefir
- Eat `prebiotic’ foods like brown rice, onion, leeks, sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar. Prebiotics provide food in the gut for the good bacteria, so eating these helps them flourish.
8. Keep hydrated with good quality water
- Drink filtered or mineral water where possible, or hydrating drinks such as Rooibos or herbal teas. The ideal is 1.5 to 2 litres daily.
- Black tea and caffeinated drinks are diuretics if drunk in large amounts, so you could lose more fluids than they supply. Try to limit these to 2-3 cups a day.
- Avoid drinking tea with, or immediately after, meals as the Tannins it contains can inhibit nutrient absorption.
9. Take a good quality multi-vitamin supplement every day
Over-farming and pollutants have left much of the soil we grow our food in depleted of vitamins and minerals, so while you may be eating all the right foods, they may not be supplying you with the nutrients you need. Extra vitamin supplements can help bridge the gap.
Our next blogs will tackle how to de-stress and be `mindful’ each day, your approach to life and exercise, and finally detoxification.
With common sense and care burnout is avoidable.
For more information on the advice given here visit: www.nutritional-balancing.co.uk or www.hairmineralanalysis.co.uk