Are you Heading for Burnout? OR The Anti-Burnout Plan
You can’t afford time off work, so what can you do to make sure you stay well?
Your Food Mantra: Fuel Up Regularly
‘I often see clients who say they’re too busy to eat all day because they’ve got too much to do,’ says nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik. ‘So they end up eating a lot late at night, after they get home.’ But low blood sugar, she says, equals less productivity, so her first piece of advice is: Never skip meals. ‘For breakfast, eat a large portabello mushroom with poached egg, wilted spinach or kale and a generous pinch of mineral rich salt. Or make a smoothie with: half a banana, ¼ avocado, a handful of blueberries, a cup of unsweetened almond milk or full fat milk, a scoop of protein powder and a scoop of superfood powder. For a work lunch, some choices are better than others: a Pret a Manger protein pot plus a soup works, or Leon has a good range.’
To prep for evening meals, she tells clients to batch cook stews, casseroles or soups at the weekend, or always make double portions, and freeze them. ‘Take it out in the morning, and there will be a fantastic, nutritious meal waiting for you when you get home,’ she says.
Your Exercise Mantra: Go Fast, Go Hard
If you’re time-poor and tempted to skip exercise, don’t. Pilates expert Hollie Grant says that less really can be more. ‘Save time by doing short workouts where you really pack it in. You don’t need kit, or much space to do HIIT (high-intensity interval training) so you can do it anywhere, even in a hotel room, in under 20 minutes.’
The principle of HIIT is alternating a super hard burst of activity with slowing down or resting. It’s been proven that doing HIIT – even for a few minutes – helps increase metabolism and fat burning for the rest of the day.
Hollie’s quick and basic workout: Warm up, then do 30 burpees, 30 jumping jacks, 30 seconds of sprinting on the spot, and take three minutes rest. Repeat anywhere from three to five times, then cool down.
But what if you've only got two minutes? Use a resistance band. ‘You can mimic the movements you do on gym machines,’ says Hollie, ‘for example, bicep curls while standing on the band and holding the ends.’
Your Office Mantra: Take Brain Breaks
See your work wellbeing as an extension of your own personal wellbeing, says meditation teacher Emma Mills. That means bringing wellness to work.
‘Don’t feel guilty about breaks detracting from your hours spent on the business,’ says Emma. ‘You should go for a walk, have a proper lunch break, read a magazine or book, meditate at your desk, even take a nap. The work you do comes from you and if you’re not in good shape, what is the work going to look like?’
That said, the idea of meditation at work may seem a) impossible and b) strange. But it doesn’t have to be. ‘Even if you’re in a big open plan office, just put in your headphones and people will give you a bit of space. Put on a song that moves you and be present for the whole song, noticing the riffs and harmonies and how it makes you feel – my favourite is Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles. That’s a kind of meditation. Or go for a walk, turning it into meditation by concentrating on how your feet touch the ground.’
Your nutrition mantra: Make every bite count
If it’s too fiddly to make a smoothie at work – sadly, most offices don’t have blenders – you can still get a boost of vitamins and added energy in the afternoon, say raw confectioners The HARDIHOOD. ‘We just started making ourselves superfood shots – basically, just water with added superfood powder. It’s a really quick hydrating pick me up, and easy to make on the go; just shake wheatgrass, spirulina or acai powder with water in a jar or bottle with a lid. Add a big squeeze of lemon or lime to make it taste more refreshing.’