How Healthy Habits Keep Your Stress Levels Down

I had one of those days today; slept badly, felt a bit grotty, struggled into the office anyway. And of course it’s days like that when the boss seems to be chasing up every little thing, including emails that somehow slipped my mind a week ago (oops).

Suffice to say that by lunchtime, I was feeling more than a little stressed! But three things – that I’ve written about before on The Office Diet – really helped me to get my perspective back.

  1. I went to the gym at lunchtime

    Even if I start a workout feeling anxious, tearful, furious or completely apathetic, I always end relaxed and cheerful. A half-hour’s cardio session leaves me ready to tackle the world again. Many doctors recommend exercise as a way to combat stress and mild depression, and I have to say that it definitely works for me.

    For more on lunchtime exercise, see Squeezing in some activity at lunchtime.

  2. I ate a healthy lunch

    When I get stressed, I either lose my appetite (I wasn’t hungry at all before the gym – but a workout fixed that!) or I want sweets. However, once I’d had a ham sandwich, carrot sticks and an apple, I was energised for the afternoon ahead: I know that if I’d gone for the comfort-food of a king sized chocolate bar, I’d have regretted it once the sugar-surge wore off…

    If you’re stuck for healthy lunch ideas, take a look at:

  3. I cycled home (despite the rain…)

    Having an “active” commute, rather than taking the bus or train, really helps me to separate home and work. If I’ve had the sort of day that leaves my mind buzzing, a twenty-minute spin on the bike calms me down and helps me to relax before I get back to the flat. Even if you have to drive to work, try going for a quick walk when you get home – it’ll help you to banish any lingering work worries.

Coincidentally, Tim Brownson published a great post on stress today: Stress is a myth. As always with Tim’s pieces, it’s an excellent and entertaining read, which might challenge you if you tend to resign yourself to “being stressed” all the time.


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