Stress impacts productivity in multiple ways. Fortunately, there are several things you can do counteract any negative effects. Read on to find out how.
Have you ever noticed that being stressed makes it feel impossible to function correctly? You may have trouble sleeping, thinking, eating, staying healthy, and even digesting your food.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a new type of stress for many people. The daily impact of these new stressors can make it hard to stay productive throughout the day.
This article explains what happens to your body when you’re stressed and why you no longer feel like yourself. We’ll also discuss what you can do to start becoming productive again.
What Does Stress Have To Do With Productivity?
Although you might not necessarily be able to see stress, it has a physical impact on both your mind and body, which can make it hard for you to feel energetic enough to be productive.
Research shows that stress can exert several actions on the body that range from homeostasis alterations to life-threatening effects and even death. Additionally, people who live or work in stressful environments may have a higher risk of certain diseases and disorders.
Stress can even cause structural changes to your brain by decreasing its weight, which leads to atrophy. These changes can affect things like your memory and cognition.
According to one study, stress may affect your reception and perception of the things around you, which includes your ability to learn, make decisions, pay attention, and use judgment.
Stress may also activate some physiological systems, including the central neurotransmitter and neuropeptide system, autonomic nervous system, and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.
This can lead to changes in your ability to process data. Activation of these systems may also result in the release of glucocorticosteroids, which can cause long-term cognition and processing effects.
According to one study, stress can activate or change the activity of many endocrine processes that are associated with the adrenal and pituitary glands, hypothalamus, pancreas, ,and gonads, which can throw your hormones out of whack, among other side effects.
Additionally, stress zaps your energy, reduces immune function, puts increased pressure on your heart, affects appetite and gastrointestinal function, and causes depression and anxiety.
Research shows that long-term psychological stress can cause changes in the body and brain, including the activation of the HPA axis and sympathetic nervous system, that lead to major depressive disorder, which may cause reduced motivation, hopelessness, and diminished ability to take pleasure in activities, such as eating, sex, and social interactions.
It may also cause disrupted sleep, difficulty concentrating, and appetite dysfunctions. Additionally, depression is linked to other disorders, including dementia, diabetes, heart disease, pain, epilepsy, IBS, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, and more.
Reduce Stress and Regain Productivity With These Tips
As you can imagine, it’s hard to be productive when your brain and body are not working properly! Depression and lack of energy are debilitating conditions that sabotage your ability to get things done, even when others are counting on you.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to reduce stress and help restore your energy, mood, and concentration levels to help you start feeling like yourself again. Here’s how.
1. Cut out sugar and processed foods.
Much like stress, sugar, and processed foods induce inflammation in the body, which can lead to the physical and mental changes explained above.
When you combine daily stress with an unhealthy diet, it creates a cascade of physiological events that are too big to work against.
During stressful times when you feel your worst, focus on eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, organic meats, nuts, and unprocessed grains. This will help calm the inflammation that drives many stress-induced symptoms.
Here’s a list of foods to avoid:
- Refined sugar
- Packaged snack foods, such as pretzels, crackers, and granola bars
- Breakfast cereals
- Vegetable oils
You can’t run from stress, but it’s OK to take a break from worrying about every little detail when you’ve had enough. Make time to do something you enjoy for at least 30 minutes everyday.
Exercise has scientifically been proven to reduce stress, boost energy, support your immune system, and improve your mood, due to its anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
If that’s not your thing, or if you only enjoy working out a few days of the week (but not everyday), then use the remaining days to listen to music, sketch, practice an instrument, meditate, or read.
During this time, allow yourself to completely disconnect from stressful thoughts and only think about whatever you’re doing at the moment.
3. Take a multivitamin.
Nutritional deficiencies play a large role in energy metabolism and brain health. Your body cannot function at its best (or even at all) if it doesn’t have what it needs to operate at a cellular level.
When you’re stressed, consider taking targeted supplements in addition to cleaning up your diet and avoiding sugary foods. This can help fill in any nutritional gaps that may be responsible for feeling sluggish.
A multivitamin is a good place to start. SolVit® Multi Energy & Immune contains alpha lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, and acetyl L-carnitine to boost energy production.
It also contains micronutrients and phytonutrients from broccoli seed extract, resveratrol, and green tea and more to keep your cells healthy, renew the energy production cycle, and combat fatigue.
4. Focus on brain health.
If you feel your memory slipping or you’re feeling unproductive due to concentration problems, then consider giving your brain and mental health some extra TLC.
Research shows that stress may deplete neurotransmitter levels, which are needed for memory retention, learning, motor control, emotions, sleep and wakefulness, focus, attention, and motivational behavior.
SolCalm™ Balance contains amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to assist with neurotransmitter production, balance stress, maintain a positive outlook, and promote a calm state of focus.
It may also help to take a high-quality omega 3 fatty acid supplement. Research shows that omega 3 fats may help protect your thinking skills, which can make it easier to stay motivated.
You can also add more omega 3’s to your diet by eating wild-caught salmon and other fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.