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Many people find their eating habits become more erratic under stress and they rely instead on quick fixes such as caffeine and chocolate or even alcohol and cigarettes to get through the day. Choosing instead to eat regularly with fresh, nutritious meals and snacks will support a balanced stress response and maximise energy levels too. Eating well starts with a nutritious breakfast; choose slow release energy foods such as porridge oats and top with fresh fruit and a brain-boosting mix of nuts and seeds for maximum energy and brain-power!
A recent study found that a Mediterranean-style diet (a diet high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.) supplemented with fish oil led to a reduction in depression among participants, which was sustained six months after the intervention.1
Looking for inspiration – @rteoperationtransformation
Boost your nutrient intake
Women have different nutritional needs than men and sometimes you may need to supplement to ensure your body is receiving an adequate supply. Important nutrients include:
- B complex with B6, B12, and folic acid and for energy, mood, sleep, and PMS – Terranova B-Complex
- Vitamin D for healthy bones, teeth, muscles, immunity. Many of the Eskimo-3 products contain vitamin D, with Eskimo-3 Extra containing 20ug vitamin D in each capsule.
- Omega-3, 6, 9 for brain function, hormone regulation and mood – Eskimo Brain 369
- Iron to replenish stores after menstruation, energy, anaemia – Terranova Easy Iron Complex
- Folic acid especially if trying to conceive and during pregnancy
- Magnesium to relax muscles especially if you suffer with cramps during your menstrual cycle, sleep, and after exercise – Mag365
- Probiotics to replenish friendly bacteria and keep your gut healthy.
Plan & Accept Help
With many women working from home, it has become increasingly difficult to separate personal life from work life. For this reason, a schedule may be useful. There is no need to check work emails late at night – you should aim to schedule your work day within the normal hours of business; unless of course, you need the flexibility due to your personal childcare needs.
On Sunday evening, sit down and consider the coming week to schedule important tasks, meetings, deadlines, family appointments, exercise. This will help lay out your schedule for the week ahead based on importance. At the end of each day, write down your to-do list for the following day. This way you can get straight down to business and not waste any time.
If you live in a family setting, remember you are not the only one that can do chores. By assigning chores to others, you can free up time and headspace to focus on other things – BONUS: children/teens are learning life skills which will stand to them for ever more.
Women are very good at putting others’ needs ahead of their own, but we all know that taking care of ourselves can go a long way in our caring for others. Try to incorporate 15-20 minutes of self care daily. This can be simple and inexpensive: draw a warm epsom bath, read a book, meditate, create an at home spa experience, go for a walk, take a nap.
Exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, improve your energy levels and may help to relieve any stress or low mood that you might be feeling. With life increasingly busy, it is important to prioritise exercise by scheduling your workouts for the week ahead. At a minimum, aim for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
Women need a combination of aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, cycling, jogging, running, rowing, dance etc.) and strength training (weights/ dumbbell exercises, bodyweight strength training exercises e.g. plank, lunges, push ups, squats) a couple times a week. While aerobic exercise aids cardiovascular health, strength training helps to strengthen muscles as well as the bones that support the muscles, therefore incorporating strength training into your exercise regime helps prevent injury and stave off bone loss and osteoporosis.
Consider investing in a Fitbit or other smart watch – it really motivates you to move!
Looking for inspiration –
Are your joints holding you back? Check out our blog “8 Tips to Support your Joints!”
Get your ZZZs
A good sleep is vital to overall wellbeing, immunity and mental health. Lack of sleep can affect your general wellbeing and lead to depression, anxiety, lethargy and poor immunity. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can be very calming before bedtime, as can a hot epsom salt bath infused with lavender essential oil. Key nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid are important for restful sleep.
Be positive and de-stress
Try to remain in a positive frame of mind by using mantras, motivational quotes on post-its, or surrounding yourself with friends and family who lift you to greater heights. Keep stress to a minimum by getting enough sleep, exercising daily and using techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, or pilates. Feeling overwhelmed? Try the app Headspace – which will teach you the life-changing skills of meditation and mindfulness in just a few minutes a day.
Looking for inspiration:
Yoga – Breath – A 30 Day Yoga Journey with Adrienne
Gratitude Flash Cards – mome.ie
Be silly, laugh as much as you can and dance as if nobody is watching. While these lockdowns are probably getting very tedious, don’t forget to check in with a friend, organise a zoom party or buddy up with a friend within your 5km to do outdoor activity such as hike, run, cycle or even the very popular sea swim.
Find your Style
It’s amazing how finding your own personal style can boost your confidence and make you feel good! Spend some time decluttering your wardrobe, finding new ways to mix and match items you already own before investing in some new items/ accessories to upgrade your wardrobe and let your confidence soar.
Its really important to visit your GP at least once a year to get bloods checked, blood pressure, physical check up, hormones etc. Women in particular should regularly check their breasts for lumps and keep up to date with their cervical smear checks. Check out:
Dr. Doireann O’Leary: GP & Womens health advocate
New At Home Health Check Up Service: Lets Get Checked
Check out our Blog – “Why Women Need Omega-3!“
1. Parletta, N., Zarnowiecki, D., Cho, J., Wilson, A., Bogomolova, S., Villani, A., Itsiopoulos, C., Niyonsenga, T., Blunden, S., Meyer, B., Segal, L., Baune, B. and O’Dea, K. (2017). A Mediterranean-style dietary intervention supplemented with fish oil improves diet quality and mental health in people with depression: A randomized controlled trial (HELFIMED). Nutritional Neuroscience, pp.1-14.