Men at Work

Men's Health, Stress | May 13, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

men, work stress

Men at Work

Stress, anxiety, depression and even burn-out are not uncommon in a working male. Some work long hours and feel an overwhelming responsibility to provide for their family. Being time poor and stressed can often lead to poor dietary and lifestyle choices which further deplete the body and increases the risk of many preventable diseases. Does this sound like you or someone you know? …then read on to gain some invaluable tools to put you back in the driver’s seat and live your best life.

work stressWork stress leads to anxiety and depression

In a recent French study, 4717 workers were interviewed and assessed on their psychosocial work factors which included psychological demands, decision latitude, social support, reward, emotional demands, different forms of conflict, job insecurity and work-life balance.

They found that low reward and job insecurity predicted major depressive disorder, whereas psychological and emotional demands, were predictive of generalized anxiety disorder.

 

Unhealthy diet and lifestyle behaviours

Using data from a large Australian cohort of middle-aged and older adults, lifestyle and behavioural risk factors were found to be responsible for a large proportion of disease burden and shortened life-span. Unhealthy risk factors included smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity (including prolonged sitting) and unhealthy sleep patterns. According to the researchers the combination of physical inactivity, prolonged sitting and/or long sleep duration with smoking and high alcohol intake had the strongest associations with decreased life expectancy.

So, what can be done?

The following suggestions can help get you the relief you’ve been looking for. Healthy diet, exercise, supplements and tips for effective stress management can help reduce the impact of stress on your body and mind.

work managementManaging stress at work

Being organised, writing lists and communicating well with other team members can help you feel on top of everything. However, if you find yourself in a stressful situation, whenever possible try to take a break by removing yourself from the event.

You could use this time to make a tea, go for a quick walk or close your eyes and work on slowing down your breathing for five minutes.

It is important to discuss your concerns with your superior so that you can identify some stressors in your job and brainstorm strategies to help effectively manage them. Some solutions could include clarifying what’s expected of you, getting necessary resources and support from colleges or making your job more challenging or meaningful.

Get your body moving

Exercise is associated with improved brain function, by decreasing stress hormones and improving circulation.

stress excerciseAerobic activities, or anything that gets your heart rate up, has been found to be the most beneficial. This includes swimming, jogging, walking, cycling or even a team sport.

If you are in a sedentary position in an office job find opportunities to get your body moving throughout the day by walking to work, taking the stairs instead of the lift and using your lunch break to take a walk outdoors.

In addition to exercise, relaxation is important to allow the body to wind down, preventing the effects of chronic stress such as burn-out.

Healthy eating to reduce stress

What you consume fuels your body. Eating a healthy diet helps to maintain healthy brain and nervous system function as well as healthy neurotransmitter production. Getting all the nutrients you need can help you resist and manage stress in a healthy way. Avoid processed, deep-fried foods which are high in fat, sugar and salt. Eating these foods can make you feel sluggish mentally and physically but they also increase your risk of many preventable diseases. Try packing your own lunches or opt for healthier takeaway’s such as sushi with brown rice and vegetable rice paper rolls or a chicken salad without the creamy dressing.

healthy eatingDaily healthy eating can be as simple as this:

  • Drink at least eight glasses of filtered water
  • Enjoy a minimum of three cups of vegetables
  • Include protein rich foods in every meal (nuts, seeds, lean meat, low-fat dairy, beans and lentils)
  • Eat two pieces of fresh fruit daily
  • Limit serves of grains or starchy vegetables to one or two small serves each day. Make sure they are wholemeal.
  • Be sure to eat a handful of nuts and seeds and up to two tablespoons of healthy oil such as olive, coconut, avocado or flaxseed oil.

Foods to avoid

There are certain foods and substances to exclude or reduce in the diet as they can amplify your physical response to stress. These include:

  • Caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks, soft-drinks and coffee. Green and black tea contain caffeine, but provide other health benefits so one or two cups of these are ok as a substitute to coffee.
  • Alcoholic beverages such as wine, spirits and beer. Drink alcohol in moderation and limit consumption to 2 standard drinks per day.
  • Avoid sources of refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, sugar and biscuits.
  • Refrain from cigarette smoking.

Nutrients to get you through the day

For some males, taking nutrients for anxiety or stress support may help with their resistance and coping mechanisms. Specific nutrient that may help. 

fish oil brain fuctionOmega-3 essential fatty acid may help in memory, cognitive function and a healthy mood. It also has other benefits in reducing inflammation and can be beneficial for heart health and joint pain.
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Magnesium can help by relaxing the mind and the muscles. This important mineral can help to increase energy in the body, reduce muscle cramps/spasms, reduce anxiety levels, promote a good night’s sleep and reduce high blood pressure.
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B vitamins are a good of nutrients that when taken together can help to support energy production, a healthy nervous system and brain function.
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Happy herbs

Herbal medicine can also be helpful for males experiencing a wide-variety of issues. For general anxiety, carminative and mild-sedative herbs can help to promote calm and clarity. These can include passionflower, chamomile, magnolia, rhodiola and American ginseng. The stress from a hard day’s work can also result in insomnia and can also be the case for night shift-workers. In this case, kava, zizyphus or sour cherry can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. If depression has set in St John’s wort, is the best herb in this category to help with mild, moderate or even severe depression.
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Don’t be stressed any longer, look at what you eat, ask for help and take some simple supplements to get your health back on track.
 

References

Niedhammer I, et al. Occupational factors and subsequent major depressive and generalized anxiety disorders in the prospective French national SIP study. BMC Public Health. 2015 Feb 28;15:200

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25886598

Ding D, et al. Traditional and emerging lifestyle risk behaviours and all-cause mortality in middle-aged and older adults: evidence from a large population-based Australian Cohort. PLoS Med. 2015 Dec 8;12(12):e1001917

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26645683

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/work-stress.aspx

Stier-Jarmer M, et al. The effectiveness of a stress reduction and burnout prevention program. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2016 Nov 18;113(46):781-788

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5169162/

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