Wish it was easier to balance your CEO work life? Men’s Health Awareness Week (12th – 18th June) could be just the thing to boost your motivation and keep a closer eye on your health while handling your work/life balance. This week CEO Today benefits from expert advice on ways to improve your health and overall wellbeing.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Dr Marilyn Glenville, Leading UK Nutritionist (www.marilynglenville.com) recommends: “Always remember that just as important as having breakfast itself, it’s also vital to choose healthy breakfast options such as wholegrain cereals like porridge, organic ‘live’ natural dairy products like yogurt, organic eggs and fruit. Sugar-laden cereals will cause your blood sugar to rise sharply and drop quite quickly, making you feel more hungry quickly – you need something that will sustain you and keep you feeling fuller longer.”
Budge the Belly Fat
If you’re looking to alleviate some of your belly fat—which, for men, is the default place for the body to store it and can lead to fat crowding around vital organs like the liver and pancreas—Glenville has some small lifestyle changes you can make to help: “Try to keep your blood sugar levels and energy levels stable by eating something every three hours. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a snack mid-morning and one mid-afternoon, with no longer than three hours between. Try not to eat carbohydrates after 6pm.” Nutritionist Cassandra Barns adds: “For all of us – and particularly those concerned about weight gain – I’d suggest we need to do more than just take the odd break from the screen. Making sure that we spend time with friends in the real world is essential – don’t neglect your real relationships with others in favour of your online connections. When we’re more fulfilled, we’re less likely to comfort eat.”
Dr Glenville continues to explain: “Exercise or physical activity has never been more important. If you have fat around the middle of your body then exercise must become one of your priorities.” To keep yourself active, you can try to fit in a 30-minute session in your lunch break, or head to the gym before work by getting up an hour earlier than usual. Another great method is cycling to work to increase your fitness levels, boost your physical and mental health, and beat the peak-hour commute!
A small change with your daily lunch can have a larger impact than you might expect, as Nutritionist and Fitness Instructor, Cassandra Barns explains: “Making your own lunch gives you full control over what you eat and how much of each food group you consume. Meal prepping on a Sunday can ensure you have healthy, nutritious lunches available to take with you to work. By already knowing what you’re going to eat for lunch it eliminates the factor of spontaneity.” A good rule to go by when packing your lunch for the day is to make your carbs the size of your clenched fist and your protein the size of the palm of your hand.
Take Breaks From Your Desk
Taking a break from sitting to stretch your legs, walking a part of the way to work, taking a brief walk around the office (perhaps while taking a call) or simply taking a 10-minute walk outside on your lunch break can combat stress effectively while keeping yourself moving and active. Cassandra suggests: “Exercise is a great stress reliever. Take a brisk walk to stimulate anti-anxiety effects, this helps to clear your thoughts and feel more relaxed upon returning to the office.”
Replace Your Americano for a Green Tea
As Cassandra explains, green tea is a great option for healthily boosting mood: “It contains some caffeine, which gives you a bit of a lift, but also contains the amino acid theanine. Theanine which can have a relaxing effect and may help to relieve anxiety and mental stress, potentially by increasing your levels of serotonin, dopamine (responsible for reward and pleasure), and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA, which has a relaxant effect).”
Take Control of your Stress
With an estimate that in the UK, 1 in 8 men are diagnosed with a mental illness, its becoming more of a commonplace topic to discuss despite the taboo surrounding it. As such, Dr Glenville reminds us: “If you feel the symptoms of stress coming on, learn to get your priorities right. There is nothing in your life right now more important than your health. Learn to say no if you feel that you have taken on too much. Being assertive is invigorating and empowering. It also helps to make lists of what is or is not a priority and to tackle the priority tasks first. This will help give you a sense of control over your life.”
Maija Kivelä, Yoga instructor at holistic wellness boutique Maître of Thyme (www.maitreofthyme.com) explains the benefits that yoga classes can have for both the body and the mind. “Yoga works on strength, flexibility, balance, agility, endurance, core and overall strength. Yoga also calms the nervous system, reveals the body’s habits and brings you back into your body, into yourself.”
If you’re still struggling to manage your levels of stress, Cassandra recommends adding a natural supplement: “Phytocannabinoids are natural substances found in the hemp plant, most of which are non-psychoactive. Research has suggested that some phytocannabinoids can have benefits for our health including anti-anxiety, calming effects. For this reason, a supplement containing natural phytocannabinoids such as the brand new Natures Plus HempCeutix Complete Capsules (£39.95, www.naturesplus.co.uk) could have benefits for calming our nervous system and helping prevent burnout.”
Feeling under the weather? Because of higher levels of oestrogen, women can have stronger immune systems according to a study published by Harvard University. You might just have a case of Man Flu! As a boost for your struggling immune system when you’re feeling under the weather, Francesca Cappozzo, Nutritionist at Maître of Thyme (www.maitreofthyme.com) suggests taking Echinacea. “Echinacea is most commonly used as a herbal immunostimulant. You can get Echinacea root and make a herbal tea or a herbal tincture to prevent flu symptoms and the common cold. It appears to increase red blood cell count and reduce the length of illness.”
Have more sex
For this topic, Dr Glenville explains: “Sex can help to relieve tension, burn calories and help you go off to sleep faster. Sex begins in the head; your body’s physical reaction follows. A key part of starting that sexual idea with your partner is setting the mood and romantic music can help, as can low lighting, a candlelit bath, or your favourite romantic or raunchy film.”
Get enough sleep
Nothing compares to a good night of sleep: 7 – 8 hours each night is the best method for combatting fatigue, as well as sticking to a regular schedule with a routine for winding down before bed. Reading a book and avoiding electronic devices one hour before getting to sleep is the best solution for pre-bedtime relaxation!