Introduction – Read the Wellbeing in Business Series intro here.
1 – Putting yourself first – Read the Wellbeing in Business Series post 1 here – Each morning is a promise – by Aneta Idczak
2 – Mindfulness – Read the Wellbeing in Business Series post 2 here – Mindfulness for stress management – by Amanda Pratt
3 – Improving sleep – Read the Wellbeing in Business Series post 3 here – 3 tips to make your nightmares become sweet dreams – by Bev Roberts
4 – Alleviating Stress – Read the Wellbeing in Business Series post 4 here – Stress Awareness and 3 activities to alleviate stress – by Rachel John
Procrastination leads to peckishness. And vice versa. Working from home takes an awful lot of self-discipline, organisation, dedication, passion and drive. It has its advantages and its disadvantages. On the plus side you’re in the comfort of your own home, you can work in your slippers and there’s no sleazy boss demanding those ‘figures on my desk by 5’. On the downside, the kitchen is always there. With its biscuit tin, and the kids’ sweets and the out-of-reach chocolate. Whispering at you, flirting with you, begging you to pay it just a little visit to nosh something naughty.
And when your creative juices are somewhat parched, and you just can’t muster up the desire to fill out that tax return, then what do you do? You succumb. Yes you do. You succumb to that tantalising temptation of the hidden Toblerone and you stand there in your slippers and you eat the bloody lot.
Then what happens? You feel sick and bloated and guilty for the rest of the day, and the tax return still doesn’t get done. Now, I’m not saying that a little Toblerone isn’t called for every once in a while, but if you are using chocolate, or other sweet treats, to get you through the day on a regular basis then you’re really not doing yourself any favours in terms of energy levels, concentration (not mention waistline), and, in turn, productivity.
Working from home can indeed be hard from a food perspective, which is why you might want to do a little advance planning of your meals and snacks so that your cupboards are stocked with the kinds of foods that are going to eliminate those energy dips and sugar cravings.
Here are my 5 top health and nutrition tips for increasing your energy and concentration levels if you do work from home:
1. Always have a good, balanced breakfast:
Starting the day with a protein and complex carbohydrate-rich breakfast sets your metabolism for the rest of the day, and helps to avoid the blood sugar crashes and associated cravings later on. Some great examples include:
- Sugar-free (not ‘low-fat’) nutty (not fruity!) granola or muesli with full-fat natural yoghurt and some fresh berries
- Porridge with whole, organic milk or milk-alternative (eg. hazelnut, almond, oat, coconut) with goji berries, ground flaxseeds (full of omega 3s for brain health) and plenty of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds)
- Scrambled/poached eggs and smoked salmon on toasted soda bread or rye bread
2. Limit your caffeine intake:
Tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks (Coke, Diet Coke, Energy drinks etc) create a massive spike in your blood sugar which comes crashing down almost immediately leading to low energy and reduced concentration. Never drink them on an empty stomach, and try to have some protein if you are having a caffeinated drink. Don’t be tempted to switch to decaf as the chemicals used to remove the caffeine are equally harmful. Try herbal teas (I love Pukka teas), green tea or lemon in hot water which is very cleansing.
3. Keep a good stock of healthy snacks:
If you have a selection of balanced snacks available to you, try eating these before reaching for the biccies, as they might take the edge off that craving and stop you succumbing to the sugar. Try the following combinations:
- Oatcakes with houmous or nut butter (almond, hazelnut, cashew)
- Rye crackers with smoked mackerel dip
- Berries and almonds
- Full-fat natural yoghurt with peaches and pistachios
- Apple slices dipped in almond butter
- Crudités with houmous or tzatziki
- A hard-boiled egg (these can boiled up in advance and kept in the fridge) and some cherry tomatoes
4. Take a lunch break:
It can be all too easy when you’re at home to grab yourself a sandwich and head straight back to the laptop to carry on working. It is really important to step away from the computer for a while and give yourself a well-deserved break. Eating in front of a screen does not allow your food to digest properly and can lead to bloating later on. Go into another room, and chew your meal thoroughly. Remember to always include protein with your lunch so as to minimise that classic 3pm slump. Omega 3-rich oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines or herring can all be bought cooked and are easy to add to a salad, or include some houmous, avocado, eggs or beans/legumes/quinoa (also easy to buy ready-prepared) with a nice soup or salad.
5. Drink plenty of water:
One of the biggest reasons for lack of concentration is dehydration. This can be compounded with too much tea and coffee which has a diuretic effect. Fill up a 1 or 1.5L glass bottle or jug with filtered water at the beginning of each day and make sure you finish it. You can include your herbal teas to your overall water consumption. If you are finding plain water a bit boring you can squeeze some fresh lemon or lime into it, or even add in some mint leaves and cucumber slices for beautifully refreshing, cleansing and detoxifying drink.
Try out some of these tactics and see if you have a more productive day!
Lauren also runs The Secret Kitchen Club, a membership site that includes nutritionally balanced meals and recipes and Lauren’s support so that you can achieve vibrant, happy health.
‘Kick it to the Curb’ will help you curb your uncontrollable snacking habit with practical tips and advice on what’s driving your cravings, what to eat to avoid the constant snacking and how to identify real hunger vs emotional hunger.
Sign up here for immediate access -> bit.ly/kickcurb