Managing Workplace Stress - Improving the Potential Mitigating Factors

Many elements of our day-to-day lives can influence our ability to handle the stressors of the workplace.

The Food and Stress Relationship

The relationship between the food we eat and the stress we experience is quite a substantial one. We don’t always consider that when we are stressed, the food that we put into our mouths can have a substantial effect on our mood, and our ability to deal with the stressor continually.

Small, regular meals throughout the day.

  • It is important to have small, regular meals throughout the day to maintain blood sugar levels. When we are very busy or under stress it can be easy to forget to eat regularly throughout the day – however it is vital as this will sustain you. If you are prone to forgetting, schedule time into your diary to ensure that you eat your lunch and have two snacks throughout the day. Keeping health snacks such as a piece of fruit or nuts in your bag or on your desk may also make this easier.

Wide variety of healthy fats, vegetables, fruit, meat and carbohydrates.

  • Make sure you are covering all of those important food groups!

Avoid high sugar, low soluble-fibre carbohydrates such as junk foods and refined grains.

  • These foods can heighten the energy and mood highs and lows caused by the stress hormones

  • A stressed brain is in dire need of continual sugar as fuel, as well as salt and processed fats – whilst this may make us feel better initially, it can then lead to a mood and energy drop, as well as increased cravings later.

The above-mentioned are intended to be only a guide. We all respond to things differently, so the key is to find a balance and way of doing things that works for you!

The Impact of Stimulants

When you are feeling stressed, it can be a habit to reach for a coffee or have a red bull to gain a pick me up. However, this may further spike your adrenal and cortisol levels – leaving you feeling even more frazzled and stressed.

Caffeine can alter your sleep patterns, and can also speed up your heartbeat, potentially making you feel more stressed.

  • Why not swap your coffee, red bull or cola for a non-caffeinated herbal tea?

  • Avoid these products after 6 pm as this will help you feel more relaxed when you go to sleep.

Sleep and Stress - The Potentially Vicious Cycle

Sleep is another daily factor that can have substantial impacts on our ability to handle stress. During sleep the body rests, repairs, rebuilds, grows and heals itself, and stressors and tensions accumulated throughout the day are ideally released.

Irregular and disturbed sleep hampers concentration and decreases energy levels, in turn affecting effectiveness at work and increasing stress. It can often be a viscous cycle where stress can cause sleeping problems, and sleep deprivation can in turn increase feelings of stress and tension.

Additional Resources

beyondblue - Sleeping Well

beyondblue has a detailed information page on the importance of sleep on mental health. This includes information on improving your sleep, and overcoming long-term sleeping problems.

Sleep Time - Alarm Clock

Sleep Time uses the sensitive accelerometer in your Android device to detect movements during the night. Our advanced algorithm determines your phase of sleep, and sets off the alarm at the perfect moment. This ensures that you never wake up from a deep sleep feeling groggy or tired.


f.lux is a free download that warms up your computer display at night, to match your indoor lighting, to ensure that the blue light emitted by your computer or phone is not keeping you up late.

Relax Melodies

Relax Melodies combines sounds, melodies, guided meditation and brainwave beats to help you unwind and ease into sleep.

White Noise

White Noise includes ambient sounds of the environment that will help you relax during the day and sleep great at night.

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