We’re nearly all the way through a very different year, and many of us have had to shift our way of life.
2020 has forced us to adapt to a “new normal” — and while we all know it will not be forever, for now we live in an era where social distancing has reigned supreme. These changes are commonplace in virtually every aspect of life, especially in the workplace. For some, that has meant adapting to working remotely. Many of us have settled into this new way of living, with home offices, email, and video conferences leading the way as some of the top tools to use during this very different stretch of time.
Although this new way of working presents many unexpected opportunities to catch up on sleep, you might find yourself feeling more fatigued than when you commuted to the actual office five days a week.
The lack of structure, limited amount of social interaction, and stagnant sources of inspiration are factors that could cause you to burn out over the course of quarantine. Positive feedback, in-person meetings, and simple pep-talks have become difficult to carry out, so it is easy to understand why you might be running on fumes — even from the comfort of your own home.
That’s why it is important to support your mental and physical health with vitamins and minerals, a healthy diet, quick activities, and even some key botanicals — especially during this unprecedented era of working from home. With this in mind, let’s review some of the top nutrients and activities that can support your health and help you avoid feeling burnt out.
The Schisandra berry has served a purpose in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. This legendary berry has built up quite the reputation throughout its rich history, and its continued relevance in society is a testament to just how powerful this berry really is.
An adaptogen, Schisandra is used to reduce mental and physical stress, promote energy and endurance, decrease fatigued, and increase physical performance. Adaptogens must possess multiple benefits when it comes to health, so it is clear as to why Schisandra falls into this category.
The versatility of Schisandra has undergone multiple clinical tests over the years. Nutrients, a peer reviewed human nutrition journal, published a 2019 study that credited Schisandra with having the ability to improve physical endurance and cognitive and behavioral functions. Both of these functions are important when it comes to working from home.
Although Schisandra does bring benefits that can play a vital role in helping you power through your busy workday, it isn’t normally found in food sources. Often referred to as Wu Wei Zi, or “five-flavored berry,” this prized berry is known to taste sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent all at the same time! With this in mind, the best way to consume Schisandra is through supplements, especially formulas that pair it with other adaptogens such as Ashwagandha and Rhodiola.
Let’s face it — without the presence of technology, working from home in an effective manner would be impossible. Computers, cell phones, and tablets keep us connected, especially when you find yourself working from home for an extended period of time. However, these screens strain our eyes, and with the continued dependence on technology while working from home, we need to protect our eyes as much as we can.
That’s where Lutein comes into to play! This nutrient is most commonly associated with healthy eyes and vision — two key areas to support during work hours. Proper eye support is a great way to help support your eye health and limit the dreaded “burnt out” feeling.
A large body of evidence shows that Lutein contains multiple benefits, especially when it comes to eye health. A carotenoid, Lutein is an antioxidant that contains anti-inflammatory properties, according to the 2018 study, “The Effect of Lutein on Eye and Extra-Eye Health.” The study continued to relay a positive message regarding Lutein, as it considers the carotenoid to be a powerful antioxidant that has beneficial effects on eye heath and cognitive function.
Lutein also plays a key role in protecting your eyes from harmful blue light waves that are produced by screens and LED light bulbs. This part of the light spectrum disrupts our sleep patterns and can even cause mental and mood fatigue. Lutein has become the go-to nutrient for counteracting the effects of blue light. After all, who wants to work all day at home and then not be able to sleep because their eyes and brain are wired from all of the blue light they have absorbed?
The next ingredient to consider while working from home is Calcium. This mineral is vital to our health due to the role it plays in vascular contraction, nerve transmission, and more. Although we require less than 1% the total amount of Calcium in our body to support these vital functions, the remaining 99% is stored in bones and teeth, according to the National Institute of Health. Therefore, Calcium intake is important to support bone structure and function. After all, it is the most abundant mineral in the body. And while it is important to support your health to avoid mental burnout, it is equally as important to take care of your physical health as well.
As we age, our bones break down at a faster rate than the rate at which they form. As a result, we experience bone loss, which could result in health issues over time. And since our bones undergo constant remolding, the need for Calcium is quite prevalent.
With this in mind, you may be wondering how Calcium relates to working from home. Well, the reason is simple. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), our bodies need an appropriate amount of Calcium to support bone health, enable our muscles to contract, and even play a role in helping our heart continue to beat.
In order to maintain proper posture, we must have strength in our spine, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Calcium helps strengthen and maintain bone health –including your spine – so be sure to consume the appropriate amount of Calcium each day! And as always, we recommend seeking the professional opinion of your doctor for more information about keeping your calcium in proper balance, especially with Magnesium and Vitamin D.
4. Brain-Boosting Snacks
In order to complete tasks and knock out work-related assignments, your brain must be working properly. And that’s why it’s vital that you take a quick break for a nutritional brain-boost.
Harvard Medical School identified five food sources that contain nutrients linked to better brainpower. Each type of food is right on par with a healthy dietary pattern that contains fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and more. This prestigious institution acknowledged that the best brain foods are the same ones that support your heart and blood vessels as well.
With that in mind, let’s examine the top five foods linked to better brainpower:
- Green, Leafy Vegetables: Kale, spinach, broccoli, and collards are among the top veggies to support your brain. Each food is rich in nutrients such as Vitamin K, Lutein, Folate, and Beta Carotene. Harvard alluded to research that suggested these foods may help slow decline in cognitive function. Simply put, make sure you eat plenty of greens!
- Fatty Fish: You may already know this, but fatty fish are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy unsaturated fats have been associated with promoting cognitive function, eye health, and even helping keep your mood bright.
- Berries: Research shows that flavonoids, the natural pigments responsible for giving berries their vibrant color, help improve memory. In 2012, Harvard University researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital concluded that women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries on a weekly basis delayed memory decline by up to two and a half years.
- Tea and Coffee: While this next brain booster isn’t considered a food, it does, however, remain a constant in the workplace. As a result, the caffeine found in both tea and coffee could bring more to the table besides a short-term jolt of energy. In fact, Harvard Medical School alluded to this 2014 study published in The Journal of Nutrition for further confirmation. Participants in this study saw better results on mental tests than those who did not consume as much caffeine.
- Walnuts: According to this 2015 study from UCLA, higher walnut consumption improved cognitive test scores. Similar to fatty fish, walnuts are high in Omega-3 fatty acid that lower blood pressure and protect arteries, which are both good for the heart and brain. (Note: While fish oil contains the Omega-3 acids known as EPA and DHA, Walnuts contain ALA – which the body can use to produce EPA and DHA.)
Switching gears, we now turn our attention to activities. Granted, we understand the busy nature of your work schedule, and it may not always be easy to designate enough time to carry out certain activities. That said, the pair of activities we will discuss require limited amounts of time — without sacrificing any of the benefits that come with either one.
Natalie Nevins, a certified Yoga instructor, once said, “the purpose of Yoga is to build strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body.” On the surface, Yoga might appear to be just another way of taking a quick mental break to clear the mind, but Nevins’ quote holds a deeper meaning.
She explained how one of the top priorities of Yoga is to examine how your lifestyle and environment impact your health. For many of us, work dominates a large part of our lives, so it is important to establish a healthy mindset and identify what might cause you to feel burned out. In this case, your continued effort to work from home and make things seem as normal as possible might be causing you to feel more burned out than usual. If you’re looking to clear your head and hit the reset button, why not give Yoga a go?
Dr. Nevins explained that Yoga could provide multiple physical and mental benefits on the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) website. Among these benefits are improved respiration, energy, and vitality, improved cardiovascular and circulatory health, mental clarity and calmness, and reduced stress patterns.
6. Stair Climbing
The final way to avoid burnout while working from home is by utilizing your stairs. While this last idea may seem unorthodox, the action of walking up and down your stairs could support your health in order to avoid burning out while working from home.
One of the greatest benefits of walking up and down your stairs is convenience. No gym membership is required, nor equipment needed. Stairs are easily accessible and aren’t too time consuming, making this activity more than qualified for our list. However, as convenient as this activity may be, that is just the cherry on top when it comes to using the stairs.
Multiple studies have confirmed the health benefits of climbing stairs. According to Duke University, stair climbing can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, increase leg power, and build and maintain bones, muscles, and joints. Duke University singled out the idea of increasing leg power, stating how this activity might be important in reducing the risk of injury and falls by the elderly.
One 2019 study published in the journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism uncovered that just a few minutes of stair climbing in short intervals could improve cardiovascular health and found that peak oxygen intake was higher after the trial.
You see, climbing stairs could boost your health and help take your mind off work to avoid burning out. It is an easy way to support multiple areas of your health and is an uber-convenient activity to participate in during your workday.
Although many of us are stuck at home, this doesn’t mean we’re not as busy as usual. In fact, you might find yourself even more productive at work than, say, a normal day at the office. As a result, you could burn out sooner than you’d like. This is why it is important to support your health with the right nutrients and simple activities to avoid that inevitable burned out feeling.