At Ultimate Edge Communications, we know a healthy team is a motivated and successful one. That’s why, this September, we are focusing on the things we can do to improve our physical and mental wellbeing at work.
In today’s Wellness Wednesday session, we’ve started the day with some heart-warming Vinyasa yoga.
With a focus on breathing and dynamic movement, Vinyasa is a unique yoga form which encourages self-reflection and mindfulness. No matter how stressful your day may be, a Vinyasa yoga session can not only lift your spirits, but also improve flexibility, protect your spine, build muscle strength and boost your immune system, leaving you feeling at your physical peak and ready to tackle whatever the day throws at you.
Feeling nicely stretched and refreshed, our afternoon features a nutrition and healthy living session focusing on tips and tricks to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and promote overall wellbeing.
We’re already feeling the benefits of our Wellness Wednesday initiatives and look forward to enhancing all these good vibes throughout the month.
To complement our Yoga session, were taking it one step further and learning about the importance of what goes in our mouth.
You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that what you fuel your body with matters. It can affect your mood, productivity, physical and mental wellbeing. By being more aware of what foods and drinks can affect our anxiety levels – and how we can avoid those habits – it can help us to be the best versions of ourselves and achieve more in our day.
Today we learnt that drinking coffee first thing in the morning is one of the worst ways to start the day. We have high levels of cortisol in our bodies early in the morning – that’s the hormone that helps our bodies cope with stress – and caffeine can interfere with cortisol production. Having coffee first thing in the AM increases our tolerance to caffeine as it replaces the natural cortisol-induced boost instead of adding to it. But as the caffeine wears off, it can leave feelings of being jittery, hyper or anxious.
That bouncing knee under the desk. The tapping of the fingers on top of the desk. That strange, uneasy feeling you just can’t shake – but you can’t put your finger on the cause. Sound familiar?
But fear not, fellow javaphiles: It’s not all bad news. Because it turns out drinking coffee at the right times – generally between 9:30am to 11:30am, and 1:30pm to 5:00pm* – can actually have big benefits.
For starters, it can take advantage of the natural dips in cortisol levels. Tick one. But it can also help you feel more energised, burn fat and improve physical performance, while lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. More big ticks.
Here are some other helpful tips for when you’re sipping your late-morning latte:
- Be mindful of your milk choice. Here’s a handy tip sheet for the pros and cons of cow, almond, soy, coconut and rice milks to get you started
- Avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach. It can damage your stomach lining and cause heartburn or indigestion, plus increase anxiety
- Organic is better. Coffee is one of the most heavily-sprayed crops in the world, and the beans can have harmful traces of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers
- Ditch the sugar where possible. This one goes without saying…
- Try to avoid drinking more than 2-3 coffee shots a day. Remember, decaf isn’t completely caffeine-free, and if you’re ordering a large coffee (or a regular long black) you’re already doubling the dose!
Certain foods also play a part in how we feel. While alcohol and caffeine are no-brainers, anxiety can be inflamed by sugary snacks (including artificial sweeteners), oily and salty fried foods, and even aged and cultured foods like cheese and meats.
On the other side of the ledger, there are plenty of foods that can help reduce anxiety. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Magnesium. A natural muscle-relaxer, magnesium can be found in avocado, nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains, leafy greens and bananas. For a healthy breakfast think avocado on wholegrain toast, with a banana on the side.
- Fermented foods like yogurt, tempeh, miso, kimchi, kefir and cottage cheese keep the good bugs flowing. And be sure to feed those little critters with plenty of fibre – so lots of fruits and vegetables! A great, quick office snack idea this spring could be fruit and yoghurt any time of the day.
- Zinc. Found in foods like beef, lamb, oysters, shrimp, scallops, mushrooms, beans and nuts, zinc is essential for DNA synthesis, immune function, metabolism and growth, and can reduce inflammation. Think brown rice with beans, tuna and baby spinach for a healthy afternoon snack.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Commonly found in wild salmon, pecans, flax seeds, walnuts, eggs and sardines, these are essential for a healthy heart; lowering blood pressure and slowing the development of plaque in the arteries. Snacking on nuts throughout the day can be an easy and delicious way to get your fill!
Ultimately, a heathy lifestyle – from food choices to exercise and sleep – leads to a healthy microbiome. And, affecting how we age, our metabolism, body weight, athletic performance, mental state and immune system, our microbiome is arguably the foundation of wellness in the body.
At time when we could all use a little mental and physical health kick (and a little extra defence against illness) what we put in our mouths is more important than ever.
Click here if you’d like to learn more about what UEC is doing to focus on wellbeing this September!
*Careful, drinking coffee after 2-3pm can also disturb your sleep!