Did you know you can eat certain foods to help combat burnout? Image by Adobe Stock.
Due to physical distancing and lockdowns changing the way we work, anxiety-invoking media and the pressure of job uncertainty – 2020 is undoubtedly the year of burnout. But what exactly is burnout? How can we recognise we are experiencing burnout and what can we do to combat it?
Burnout is the result of prolonged work-related stress. Sufferers of burnout commonly feel overwhelmed and emotionally and physically exhausted, followed by feelings of cynicism and ineffectiveness leading to their work performance taking a nosedive – more serious effects of burnout can also lead to cardiovascular disease or mental health issues. The easiest way to combat burnout is to simply just take a break, but when taking a break isn’t an option we need to look at how to support ourselves.
Like with any medical or emotional issue the first port of call should always be a visit to your GP. But in the meantime, there are small changes you can make to your lifestyle to help combat burnout such as changing your diet. If you’re anything like me and you’ve had a hard day at work, ordering takeout and having a glass of wine is my go-to, but in fact – consuming healthy foods that are high in essential fibres, minerals and proteins can help to aid a healthy gut which in turn will help to boost immunity and help to produce serotonin. In fact – 90% of the bodies serotonin comes from gut cells, so the act of eating well can do wonders for your state of mind. Here are a few healthy food alternatives to help you combat burnout.
Dark, leafy greens
Dark, leafy vegetables contain high amounts of folic acid, which is a nutrient that helps your body to produce serotonin – which is important to your body for regulating mood, happiness and anxiety. Eating a daily dose of greens such as spinach and kale is a great way to combat low mood.
Fibre is another way to help combat burnout and fruit such as pears, strawberries, avocado (yes, it’s technically a fruit), apples, raspberries and bananas are filled with high levels of fibre, as well as beneficial minerals and proteins.
Replacing white rice and pasta with legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and beans can also help with burnout as these legumes contain minerals, fibre and protein.
Adaptogens are a class of herbs and mushrooms commonly used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine – known to help the human body handle physical and emotional stress. Adaptogens such as St Johns-wort, Indian Ginseng (Ashwagandha) Holy Basil, Lemon Balm and Reishi mushrooms are great supplements because they don’t interfere with the bodies natural processes.
Raw cacao is the best as it contains high levels of magnesium, however, if you can’t stomach raw cacao, then 70% + dark chocolate is your best bet.
Any kind of whole food, such as vegetables and fruits are going to be much better for your body than any processed foods. Instead of picking up a bag of chips, instead, replace it with some carrot sticks and hummus or homemade popcorn.
Eating healthy fats is not only good for our physical health but our mental health too. Omega-3 is known to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. So eating fish such as tuna or salmon or nuts such as walnuts is going to be a good source of healthy fats into your daily diet.