How to not
freak out about
going back to work...
At any time of life, going back to work after a summer holiday or mini break is tough. But going back to work after months of working from home, only getting dressed from the waist up (Zoom life), a daily quarantini at 5pm and zero pressure to go for post-work drinks and be endlessly social, is a whole other ball game.
For many of us the anxiety brought on by Corona virus has been an extra layer of stress and pressure added on top of our daily lives these past few months, and now that some of us are starting to think about going back into the office, how do we go about calming down those nerves of “will I get infected?” “will I cope?” “I’m going to be so exhausted from the commuting.”
We spoke to Functional Nutritional Therapist and breath work coach, Grace Kingswell, about some key ways to lighten the load.
1. Plan your meals, don’t leave it up to chance
Nutrient dense food is the first thing to go out of the window when we’re tired, anxious or stressed. When the brain senses that we’re in our fight or flight, stressed zone, it calls out for quick sources of energy - namely sugar! It’s actually not your fault that you crave simple carbohydrates when you’re tired or overworked (an almond croissant with your morning coffee for example), it’s an adaptive physiological process to a real-life stressor. But if you can tap into that understanding, and arm yourself with the knowledge that actually what you need in a non-life threatening but still stressful situation, is nutrient dense food that’s abundant in colour and variety, then you can start to make sensitive choices that will help you to thrive - not deplete you of resources.
The easiest way to do this is to be prepared - not leave your meals up to chance. Make time in the evening to throw together a lunch box from that evening’s leftovers, take a couple of snacks to work (nuts seed, fruit etc) and give yourself the time in the morning to have a protein based breakfast (eggs and avocado with some green veg for example). Setting yourself up this way for the day will drastically increase your nutrient intake. Then, even if you do slip and have a chocolate muffin at 3pm at least you’ve eaten some really good food throughout the space of the day as well!
Cook once, eat twice!
2. Prioritise Sleep
I know that health professionals are always banging on about sleep, but it’s absolutely not something you can go without. Sleep is the number one way that you can support your immune system, and your immune system is your only defence against catching a virus. So if going back to work fills you with dread from the standpoint of having to be around people all of a sudden, then do your immune system a favour and get a solid 8 hours a night. Most of our repair and regeneration processes happen overnight, and the liver (which helps you take out the trash from the day’s exploits) is most active at about 2am-3am. A great way to boost the detoxifying potential and health-giving benefits of sleep is to make sure that your bedroom environment is as conducive to getting a good night’s rest as possible. This means lots of houseplants to filter the air (google NASA’s list of the best air purifying plants), complete darkness, no phones, and turn the WiFi off!
3. Practice Breath work.
In this day and age it’s simply not enough to try and just “switch off,” and most of the time with my patient population I’m needing to give really specific exercises and rituals that they can use to really help them chill out and tap into their parasympathetic (PNS) state of deep rest. Usually I do this via breathwork, as specific types of breath have been shown to activate the PNS and help adapt the human stress response to cope with more demanding situations on a daily basis.
Try to find 3 points throughout the day (ideally morning, once at work, and at night when you’re at home) to spend 5 minutes breathing consciously in and out through your nose (nasal breathing helps us drop in to this PNS state much more effectively than mouth breathing), making the exhale longer than the inhale. For example breathe in for 4, hold at the top briefly, then breathe out for a gentle count of 6 or 8. Repeat for 5 minutes.
Going back to work is the perfect time to get your health in order! Take the pressure off your system with a nutritious juice cleanse. We've all been over-indulging during lockdown, so why not try our Sugar Detox Cleanse? aimed at specifically balancing blood sugar levels with key functional ingredients.
4. Turn the nerves into excitement!
Humans have evolved to live in communities with other humans - we thrive off intimate connection to others, a sense of being valued in our communities and the act of physical touch. Now, whilst physical touch is still off limits, going back to work is an opportunity to satisfy that primal part of our brain again that needs the reinforcement and confidence we get from working in a team. Adjusting to working from home, the onslaught of Zoom calls and cryptic What’s App messages (I still find it so hard to gauge people’s tone via message), has been a bit of an upheaval - so try to turn your anxiety about returning to work into constructive thought patterns surrounding how great it’s going to be to thrive and do well in your job and your team again. Activating that reward centre in the brain boosts serotonin levels and makes us feel happy and calm.
"I loved the fact that they were in glass bottles and numbered. The order and contents of each juice really fitted in well with my day and each one tasted so good. Having the almond milk one at the end of the day was super before bed time, such a treat! The shots were an added boost too. I did three days and never felt hungry or tired. I did shift work and exercised throughout. I am left feeling really energised and positive. I've already re-ordered and looking forward to doing it again. "
- Michelle A, Signature Cleanse