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Back to School, Back to Work

 

The end of Summer marks the start of new beginnings, including a new school year.  Going back-to-school can produce stress to your body that can build up and over time results in not only physical pain, but also impacts your nutritional and emotional well-being.  So whether your headed back to school or back to the office after a well-deserved vacation, it’s important to address your physical, chemical and emotional stressors to make it a successful and productive year!

 

Physical Stress:

The most common physical stress related to the back-to-school season is the backpack dilemma!  This also includes the heavy handbags, purses and computer bags you haul back and forth to work.  A good rule of thumb is to keep your load no more than 15% of your body weight.  Anything heavier can lead to severe back, neck and shoulder pain in addition to headaches and other spinal discomforts.

If you’re having trouble lightening your load, assess what you actually need to bring with you on a daily basis.  Or try dividing your cargo into separate bags to distribute the weight evenly.  You may even want to consider a rolling bag to take the weight off your spine completely.

 

Chemical Stress:

How you fuel your body directly affects your effectiveness and productivity throughout your work or school day.  The office candy bowl and vending machines full of sugar-laden and processed snacks may seem tempting, but that’s not what your body really needs!  Try reaching for snacks that include protein and complex carbohydrates.  Protein also keeps you fuller longer, and complex carbs will give you a boost of energy.

Here are a few easy protein-rich snack suggestions:

  • Two hard-boiled eggs

  • ½ a banana or celery with 2 tablespoons almond butter

  • A handful of mixed nuts like almonds, pistachios and walnuts

  • 1 cup non-GMO edamame

  • Greek yogurt with blueberries

Emotional Stress:

Insufficient sleep can take a substantial toll on work productivity.  Research shows that sleeping less than six hours each night can have physical and emotional ramifications.  Not only is a lack of sleep linked to heart disease and diabetes it also leads to poor work performance, relationship problems and mood disorders such as anger and depression.

Sleep is just as important to your overall health as diet and exercise.  When you get enough good quality sleep you’ll find you’re more alert and effective throughout your work day.  Here are a few tips get your best night’s sleep:

  • Avoid caffeine four to six hours before bed.

  • Avoid alcohol and heavy meals before sleep.

  • Keep a regular exercise routine.

  • Minimize noise, light and excessive hot and cold temperatures where you sleep.

  • Develop a regular bedtime and go to bed at the same time each night.

  • Try to wake up without an alarm clock and/or avoid using the snooze button.

 

 

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