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4 Ways to Avoid Stress in the City

Waking up at 6AM and then heading off for a long days work in the city can be incredibly exhausting. Particularly with lack of sleep, too many social commitments in the evenings after work, and then having to pull yourself together to get life’s little practicalities done. Looking after your family, taking care of your children, the cooking, laundry, cleaning, getting the groceries done, putting petrol in your car and last but not least - despite being completely and utterly shattered, having some time and energy to spend with your partner!

In the long term this cycle of over-exerting yourself may become a serious form of physical stress on your body, and thus may result in lowered immunity and other health issues. Here are some great ways of helping prevent health issues arising as a result of a hectic lifestyle, and allowing the body to become more resilient to day to day stresses of life.

1) Get Adequate Sleep

Remember every minute before midnight is golden. So get some sleep between the hours of 10 pm – 1 am since research suggests that it is between these times that the body does most of its healing. Also, sleeping less than 8 hours each night may be harmful for wellness, just as much as gorging on junk food or leading a sedentary lifestyle. Chronic lack of sleep is now recognised as a health hazard and has been associated with several health conditions. These include decreased immunity, increased susceptibility to infections, impaired glucose tolerance and decreased morning cortisol (a stress hormone) that may result in unrefreshed sleep after waking, cravings for carbohydrates even when enough calories have been consumed, slow healing and prolonged recovery after a period of illness. So relax and unwind with a cup of herbal tea, such as camomile tea at bedtime.

2) Get Organised

Responsible is the new ‘cool’, give off a chilled vibe by getting organised. Being organised may help reduce stress - in periods of stress various nutrients may be depleted such as the B-Complex group of vitamins, Vitamin C and the mineral Magnesium.  Stress shows on your face, in your eyes, and you can feel it too. So why not take advantage of the weekend and get all your errands done - get your and your children’s clothes prepared for the week ahead, and prepare a healthy homemade lunch for your first day back at work. How about preparing a simple wholemeal tuna and salad sandwich or how about a rice salad prepared with brown rice, vegetables and meat or legumes. Or you can try wholemeal noodles with vegetables and a protein source, such as meat or beans. Bringing a homemade lunch to work could save time going to a restaurant, so take advantage of the extra minutes. Write a to-do list and decide on a deadline for each task, this could help make you more organised and productive. Being more organised and productive may have the effect of reducing anxiety levels about getting tasks done and improve your focus.

3) Eat Well

Whether you’re buying your lunch in your lunch break or making it from home, opt for healthy options. Avoid low fat alternatives, since they often contain additional salt, as well as artificial flavourings and sweeteners which your liver has to then process. Avoid deep fried or creamy foods, instead opt for grilled and poached alternatives with a salad or a vegetable stir fry. Ditch the burgers and panini’s that are often made with refined white bread for a wholemeal egg and cress sandwich or a tuna nicoise salad. On wintery days when you feel like something warm, walk right past the pies section and instead opt for a soup of the day such as a protein based lentil or chicken soup with a simple salad. For the occasional treat of chocolate, eat a single square of dark chocolate which is thought to be high in antioxidants, consisting of at least 70% cocoa solids.

4) Learn To Say No

Who’s birthday is it this time? Oh dear! Another present, cakes, chocolates and then donuts, it never seems to end. Next time, Stop!  Don’t give in to temptation - just take a sip of water or herbal tea, make an early lunch or eat some healthy nibbles from your stash of healthy goodies that you conveniently bought at the weekend, or on the way to work. So what is a healthy stash of nibbles? Stock up on fruit (e.g. apples, pears and berries), vegetables (e.g. baby tomatoes, carrot and celery sticks), hummus, oat or rice cakes, unsalted nuts and seeds, healthy snack bars and herbal teas. Bring healthy snacks to work in tupperware or zip and seal bags. To keep food fresh, store in the office refrigerator or with an ice pack in an insulated lunch bag. If your work involves sitting at the computer, perhaps invest in a USB cup warmer or a USB mini fridge, which could store a few mini tubs of hummus and a portion of vegetable sticks. 

By Salma S. Khan, Nutritionist  

Salma currently treats patients at the Aston clinic and Harley Street.



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