In today’s fast-paced world, high-achieving individuals will almost certainly experience stress at one point or another.
Those who work in high-stakes professions, such as CEOs, lawyers and surgeons, are continually subjected to long hours, demanding workloads and having to deal with high-pressure situations, putting them at increased risk of burnout.
While such conditions are part and parcel of the job, living with the consequences should not be treated as inevitable.
There are plenty of lifestyle changes that you can make, which can help lower stress levels in the long run and prevent burnout. One is to ensure that you have a balanced diet in your everyday life.
The importance of eating well
Proper nutrition can play a significant role in reducing stress and preventing burnout.
Consuming a balanced diet that is rich in nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats can provide energy, focus and overall health benefits.
Research has shown that certain nutrients can help reduce stress levels, too. For instance, omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon, nuts, seeds, and chia seeds can help lower cortisol levels, the so-called stress hormone.
Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, strawberries and bell peppers, can also reduce inflammation and regulate cortisol levels, thus protecting the body against stress.
Other stress-reducing nutrients include zinc and magnesium, found in nuts, seeds, whole grains and leafy greens.
Consuming a nutritionally balanced diet will also stabilise blood sugar levels, thereby helping to prevent mood swings.
A balanced diet will also provide the body with all the necessary vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed to maintain overall health, making managing stress easier and preventing burnout.
Take on plenty of fluids too
Proper hydration is also vital in reducing stress levels. Dehydration can also cause an increase in cortisol, but also tiredness, headaches and decreased physical and mental performance – all of which can contribute to heightened stress levels.
It’s, therefore, important to drink enough water throughout the day to keep the body fuelled and regulated. On average, men should drink 3.7 litres of fluids per day, while women should drink 2.7 litres. This includes water, as well as other drinks such as tea and coffee.
What this doesn’t include are drinks like fizzy pop and alcohol, which can actually dehydrate you and therefore increase stress levels.
Incorporating fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as watermelon and cucumbers, into your diet can also contribute to overall hydration levels.
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“No time to eat well”
For many successful people, it can already feel overwhelming simply trying to juggle all their work commitments. As a result, meal planning often ends up being the lowest priority.
However, the benefits of consistent healthy nutrition habits cannot be overstated, especially for those struggling to keep burnout at bay.
The first step in making meal planning more manageable is identifying a few healthy recipes that can be rotated throughout the week. Investing a few hours on weekends to prep meals for the week ahead can also save time during the week. By preparing meals ahead of time, busy individuals can avoid relying on unhealthy processed or fast-food options.
However, if you’re really struggling to maintain a balanced diet, seeking the help of a registered dietician or nutrition specialist could be the solution you’re looking for.
Dieticians can help you create a meal plan that aligns with your dietary preferences and lifestyle, ensuring you consume a balanced diet supporting overall health and wellness.
Some experts may even be able to identify food intolerances and sensitivities which could be contributing to your stress.
Combined with a meal delivery or meal prep service, the stress and time constraints of meal planning and preparation can be alleviated entirely. Ultimately, if it results in lower stress, and better balance and productivity, this could prove to be an excellent long-term investment.
Just one piece in the puzzle
That said, proper nutrition is just one piece of the puzzle. In addition to eating a balanced diet, incorporating other healthy lifestyle strategies is essential.
One important factor is good sleep hygiene. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep a night and establish a relaxing pre-sleep routine to help ease into a stress-free, restful sleep.
Regular exercise is also crucial. Exercise releases endorphins, which help to elevate mood and reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Engaging in physical activity at least three times a week can also improve overall physical health, which will have a positive impact on mental health as well.
Self-care techniques such as relaxation exercises, hobbies and engaging in activities that promote joy and fulfilment can also significantly reduce feelings of burnout and stress. Some examples of relaxation exercises include deep breathing, meditation and yoga.
Engaging in fulfilling hobbies like crafting, gardening or playing music can also provide a much-needed respite from the demands of work and life.
By incorporating these healthy lifestyle strategies into daily routines, individuals can better manage stress, improve their overall well-being, and prevent the negative consequences of chronic stress.
Find better balance at White River Manor
At White River Manor, our multidisciplinary team understands the unique strains experienced by high-achieving individuals. They have extensive experience helping clients find the mental, emotional and spiritual balance they’ve been missing.
We offer intensive 7, 10, 14 and 21-day Wellness Programs that are entirely tailored to the unique needs of executives.
Through various therapies, including mindfulness, we can help get to the root causes of your stress and help you identify and replace your harmful habits and coping mechanisms – especially around food, exercise, sleep and rest – with healthier ones.
Our centre, in the heart of South Africa, is the perfect place to do this. You can switch off and unwind in complete luxury and begin implementing your new lifestyle changes with the help of our team of dieticians, personal trainers and on-site chefs.
Our wellness retreats are a perfect opportunity to get back in shape and start looking after your body correctly. Not only do we have a fully-equipped private gym, but we also offer a wide range of adventure activities to get the blood pumping too.
To find out more about our programs and how we can help you manage stress and prevent burnout, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.