You know how it is – you’ve had a hectic working day with long meetings, or perhaps numerous business trips, constant working in front of your PC monitor – so you haven’t had much time to think consciously about a diet.
Stress in everyday working life and unhealthy eating habits are often reasons for an imbalanced metabolism and consequently for overweight and illness.
Conscious nutrition is also a key to success. It increases your performance and gives you long-term energy and vitality.
But what does a good business plan for your health look like –and how can it be efficiently integrated into your hectic daily work routine?
Business travellers and commuters regularly spend hours in a car or train. Eating a healthy diet is a real challenge when you’re faced by travel stress like this. The solution? Lunch boxes in which you can take complete meals with you.
You often don’t have enough time for a relaxed meal, and what’s on offer en route can be overpriced – and unbalanced. So we quickly slip back into old behaviour patterns, eat hectically without thinking about it and fall back on fatty fast food.
A much better alternative – provide yourself with fresh and balanced food on your travels!
For example, the Bento box has a long tradition in Japan. 1,000 years ago, bamboo tubes served as lunchboxes for warriors, field workers and fishermen. To this day, these practical and elegant Bento boxes allow schoolchildren and business people to enjoy full meals away from home.
When you are in a stressful situation, it feels like a solution is not in sight. In the long run, excessive demands like this can make you really ill. What happens in the body? And what are the typical warning signals?
Feeling overwhelmed, over-active, restless, hectic or threatened – in the case of chronic stress, your body is in a state of fight or flight.
It is now a known fact that stress can make people ill. If we are constantly under stress, many body systems run at full speed (e.g. your cardiovascular, hormone and nervous systems), while others slow down one by one (intestinal activity). This is triggered by the many stress hormones that reach the organs via the bloodstream.
Your pschology becomes your biology, your issues go into your tissues.
Stressed people often suffer from:
It is vital to recognize stress symptoms as the warning signals that they are.
It can be helpful to differentiate between stress characteristics depending on their levels. Different symptoms often appear at the same time, especially in the case of the burnout syndrome.
The signs should not be ignored – burnout can lead to weeks and months of an inability to work, so it’s better to react to the signals in good time. What exactly can you do to successfully cope with stress?
Unhealthy stress starts in the head. How do you contribute to this – and what helps? With targeted relaxation methods you can bring balance and satisfaction back into your life.
Keeping stress out of your life isn’t the answer. There are also positive stress occasions where you respond – appropriately – to threats and performance requirements.
The difference is, after experiencing positive stress, you’ll always come down to a calm level again. Just how high your level of negative stress actually is depends greatly on how you assess the situation and your strategies for coping with it. Stress is the result of your mental evaluation.
Once you become aware of how much you contribute to your stress situation, you can actively influence it and make positive changes.
Even short breaks can have a relaxing effect, e.g. walking, making music, dozing, reading and (endurance) sports. The only important thing is that you don’t see the hobby as a “task” to be done as well. We tend to turn everything else into a stress factor in everyday life, especially when we’re running in overstrain mode.
Relaxation procedures come so highly recommended.
Relaxation exercises have a targeted effect and are easy to use. They help to reduce inner restlessness, tension and fears and to bring about conscious relaxation, step-by-step.
Mindfulness exercises: You are mindful when you are aware of all the things in and around you that have no real value for you. This increases your ability to consciously differentiate yourself from requirements, e.g. to politely say “no” or to postpone a task until later. Mindfulness leads to more self-determination in life and consequently to less stress and feelings of powerlessness.
One recognised method, for example, is mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), developed by the American molecular biologist Jon Kabat–Zinn. It is based on Buddhist roots, but is also detached from religious faiths. For example, you concentrate on breathing and on individual muscle movements associated with it, such as lifting and lowering the abdominal wall. Meditation also helps you to become more attentive in everyday life.
Autogenous training – during autogenic training, you relax your psyche first (“autogenic”) and consequently your body automatically. A group leader, a CD recording or you yourself in thoughts say formulas and sentences that suggest certain feelings. For instance – “My right arm is heavy” or “My right arm is pleasantly warm”. In this way, you go step-by-step through your whole body. With regular practice, the suggestions reach your unconscious, are converted into nerve impulses of the vegetative nervous system and influence body functions such as heartbeat, respiration, stomach-intestine activity, the blood circulation of muscles & skin and heat balance.
Progressive muscle relaxation – with this method you first relax the body and then the psyche. You go step-by-step through your body and tighten specific muscle parts, hold the tension for a few seconds, let go when you exhale and then let the relaxation take effect for up to 60 seconds.
There are, of course, many other relaxation procedures such as
Tips – find out what suits you best – and then incorporate a daily exercise into your everyday life.
Fast food in front of your monitor – during your hectic working day, healthy meals and healthy eating habits are often neglected. What are the alternatives?
Who hasn’t done this at some time? You read the newspaper during breakfast, eat a quick snack while walking or hastily devour lunch in front of your monitor – sometimes there is simply no time for a consciously healthy meal in your everyday life.
In the long run, however, such habits can be harmful. Scientists have shown that diet, exercise and stress behaviour influence each other. How we eat and what we eat therefore has a massive effect on the stressful life of our body – this is why we should get used to healthy nutrition rituals.
When we have to act quickly, we often eat foods that are rich in sugar and fat, like fast foods, sandwiches and ready-made meals – and this is not good.
Stress means that our bodies have an increased need for vital substances such as vitamins and minerals – and this need remains unsatisfied by unhealthy eating behaviour. That’s why it’s important to supply the body with healthy, vital and mineral-rich foods, especially at work.
Tips for your day-to-day work:
You’ll quickly notice what a difference healthy nutrition makes in everyday working life – just try it out!
Quality of life and performance are closely related. When everyday demands rob us of so much energy that enjoyable activities are no longer fun, that’s a sign that we urgently need to change something. But how can we succeed in this?
When it comes to optimising performance, many of us believe we have to function even faster and more effectively. We at Metabolic Balance have a different definition of efficiency: for us, it means using your own energy balance in a healthy way for the daily tasks you have to perform. If, on the other hand, you put yourself under pressure and ignore your needs, this will only lead to negative stress, excessive demands and, in the worst scenario, to burnout.
Healthy performance can be achieved above all through pleasant and enjoyable things, like recreation, exercise and a healthy diet.
Create peace islands for yourself: Sometimes just five minutes of consciously letting go is enough to regain your balance during the hectic daily routine. Build these oases firmly into your everyday structure, e.g. as meditation, journeys of thought, as a short nap or a walk in nature. If you have an hour or more to spare, you can use specific methods to cope with stress, such as progressive muscle relaxation or autogenic training.
Move around in the fresh air – the combination of movement and oxygen will recharge your empty batteries. Light endurance sports are ideal. A daily walk in the fresh air also balances work and psychological stress. Do you notice how your mood brightens? The more regularly you move outdoors, the less drained you will feel.
Tip: Enjoy a walk in the morning and start the day in a good mood!
Eat a healthy diet – the right diet is the basis for health and performance, because it directly affects our brain and our ability to think and concentrate. Being moderate in all you do can really promote mental fitness.
For example, in the Okinawa region of Japan, there are relatively more centenarians than anywhere else in the world. In addition to their healthy diet, they have a golden rule: “Only eat until your stomach is 80 percent full!” The conclusion? Those who eat consciously and don’t always go over the top will be rewarded with more vitality and performance into old age.
Leading a life in balance ensures satisfaction both at work and in your private life. And getting the balance isn’t difficult at all!
We are more than our work. Nevertheless, our job gives us a lot. Some realise their talents and visions through their profession and many draw self-esteem from their work – and of course the job secures our existence, because it brings us the money we need to live.
However, making work the 100 % focus of your life can lead you into the stress and burnout trap. A healthy balance between work and private life is a fine art – even if your employer doesn’t offer advantages like flexible working hours, child care and health courses.
Take your work-life balance into your own hands in small steps
Work-life balance is achieved with small steps and healthy rituals. Physical exercises are a great way to bring your system back into balance – even in the midst of everyday life. Here are our exercises for inner and outer balance.
Your inner balance will be more easily restored if you show an externally-balanced body to the world. Even the simplest exercises can achieve a better sense of balance. And the best about this? These exercises work without equipment and almost anywhere.
The perfect exercise for the bus stop! Use the waiting time for a short workout. Repeat the exercise as often as desired.
This exercise makes you flexible and relaxed, and promotes a good posture and concentration. The best time to practice is in the morning and/or evening.
Stress, too much work or too little: many people find their work unsatisfactory. Of course, there’s no such thing as the perfect job – but when we feel increasingly burnt out and burdened under our heavy load, it’s time for the crucial question: “Are we (still) in the right job?”
Maybe this sounds familiar ... We do something that fulfils us inside. We are motivated because we’re doing something valuable. We’re good at it, and it gives us pleasure. And the amazing thing is, we don’t feel any undue effort doing it. On the contrary, we develop the strongest inner strengths, creativity and commitment. That’s a calling, a vocation. On the other hand, we feel completely different if we don’t want to do a particular task at all.
Even if we push ourselves with sentences like “Pull yourself together” or “Everybody’s got to go through this”, in the end we feel exhausted and empty.
All of us have creative talents. Ideally, we can use our personality with all our talents and abilities in our profession. However, for many of us, this is simply not possible.
This can also be accompanied by limitations in other areas of life. For example, those who decide to work freelance to fulfil themselves job-wise may have to put up with financial uncertainties. Anyone who decides on a dream job abroad must leave their familiar surroundings behind.
The good news is, you don’t have to turn your life upside down to get the feeling that you have a “purpose”.
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