Getting out of a slump

So much to do, so little time. We are leading increasingly hectic lives. Because of the internet, emails and instant messaging, it has become possible to be contactable and available 24/7. There is no excuse to be unavailable, no opportunity to rest. Like a rubber band that is stretched for too much and too long, we will break if we overwork ourselves. In fact most of us arent even aware of the effects that chronic stress have on our body.

Adrenal fatigue

When we are stressed, the cortisol levels in our body will be elevated. When danger is imminent, our bodies will experience a surge in adrenaline to propel us into action. The adrenals are responsible for the eliciting our “fight-or-flight” response through the regulation of such hormones in our body. Your adrenals are actually triangular shaped glands that sits on top of your kidney.

Adrenal fatigue basically means that the glands are no longer able to function properly because it overworked itself. It is similar to a muscle suffering from a strain because it pushed (or pulled) itself too hard.

The following symptoms would manifest:

Fatigue

Anxiety

Depression

Food Cravings

The very first step to recovery is diet. And the first thing you should eliminate is sugar. Sugar is bad because it wrecks your energy levels — after gulping down a can of Coke you would feel ready to take on the world initially but after a while you just feel like lazing around, playing Candy Crush. Sugar is addictive. Sugar activates the reward center of the brain, makes you feel good. It is very easy become dependent on sugar to feel a sense of well being, instead of improving your self esteem by setting goals and achieving them. Sugar, just like TV and social media, are instant forms of gratification that destroys your motivation to be productive.

Instead of a can of Coke, why not indulge in an orange? Not only is it sweet, it contains high amount of Vitamin C, which helps to manage stress levels. Unlike the sinful snacks and chips, an orange doesn’t cause a spike in sugar levels, with a low glycemic level of 55. This means that your blood sugar level will still remain stable after eating them, and you will not face a sugar crash after that (aka food coma). However, eating too many of them will still destabilize blood sugar levels, leading to fatigue shortly after, so moderation is key!

2nd step to recovery is to ample rest!!!

Studies has shown that our concentration wanes after around 20 minutes of work. It may be impossible to get up every 20 minutes of work as your boss might think you are lazing around, but make it a point to get up from your desk every hour, to rest your eyes and get your blood flowing around your body.

What we choose to do during our break will either make us or break us:

Types of break and their effects:

Playing phone games.

While they might be a good break from studying/working. They are designed to be addictive, and you should be mindful to prevent yourself being sucked into the game. Staring down at such a small screen for too long tires the eyes and neck muscles, leaving you feeling more drained instead of feeling more refreshed for work.

Reading

Light reading is good, something that is light-hearted or perhaps comedy would be good. Stay away from overly simulating genres like horror, and romance. It is difficult to get your head back in the game when you can’t stop those scenes from replaying in your head.

Napping

A 20–30 minute long nap is best to improve focus and short term alertness whilst not interfering with night time sleep.

Exercise

Back in the ways when we hunt for food, there isn’t such a term thing called “exercising”, you jolly well run fast enough to catch your prey or you starve to death. You better to be strong enough to wrestle the man-eating bear or get your head bitten off. Being strong and fit is a necessity. The human brain is too smart for its own good. We domesticate animals, grow crops, build irrigation systems, create reservoirs, create shelter, so much so that it unnecessary to do what we have always be meant to do, lift, run, wrestle, that we have to actively create opportunities to “exercise”. Our bodies are meant to move. Without it, we become lethargic, depressed, demotivated and sick.

Studies have shown that exercising aerobically 3 times a week has been shown to improve concentration. Anaerobic exercise will control stress and anxiety as it prompts the body to release serotonin, known to make you smarter and fitter. You will always feel better after a good and hearty workout, and that is the body producing endorphin, a feel good chemical. Exercise also lowers cortisol, the stress hormone in the body. AND exercise increases testosterone, the male hormone, that makes you highly motivated and ambitious. The benefits of exercising is endless, the simplest way to get yourself back on track is just to start exercising, no matter how short the duration, and how light the effort.

So in short, when you feel that you have overworked yourself, the simplest way to get back on track, is to clean up your diet, rest well, and exercise more!!!

Your body will thank you.