COVID-19 still dominates the headlines when it comes to events that are happening in our communities. However, we know that other tragedies and setbacks haven’t stopped because of the pandemic. For example, the number of people on their last leg when it comes to staying focused, avoiding burnout, and navigating these troubling times.
Nora Tobin, performance enhancement and executive coach, nutrition specialist, and CEO of Nora’s Naturals Coffee shares with HOLA! USA her top tips for staying focused and avoiding burnout when dealing with difficult times.
Optimizing Circadian Rhythm
- The body‘s internal 24-hour clock outputs specific hormones related to energy, focus, satisfaction, and sleep. Physical and environmental factors can disrupt the circadian rhythm, thereby causing chronic feelings of burnout (above and beyond too much work). By implementing specific techniques to regulate the circadian rhythm, high performers will experience enhanced creativity and deeper sleep.
- Walk in the morning light for 10 minutes without sunglasses
- Lower lights on all screens
- Exercise before 3 pm
- Make room completely dark when sleeping
Balancing Brain Chemistry
- While working from home, we can fall into behavior patterns that do not serve professional output or personal satisfaction. The practices typically drive dopamine production in the brain rather than serotonin. Too much dopamine creates neural patterns of addictive or harmful behavior. The more dopamine production, the more these patterns persist and begin to be imprinted into neural modeling. Incorporate physical and mental strategies that produce more serotonin and less dopamine to reduce loneliness and increase productivity.
- Use the Pomodoro theory- focus on one specific task for 25 minutes intervals. Set a timer and do not shift to Email or Instagram while the timer is on. If you do, restart the timer. It is a great way to get much more done while protecting the mind from the adverse effects of social media stressors.
- Eat healthy fats- our brain is 60% fat and needs to be fueled throughout the day. Incorporate avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, olives, hard cheeses, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, organic eggs
- Adaptogenic herbs such as Mucuna Pruriens and ashwagandha can have a brightening effect on mood. These herbs come from roots and plants and have been used in Central and South America for thousands of years. Add to tea, coffee, or water.
Improving Gut Health
- One of the most significant contributors to happiness comes from the function of our gut flora. About 80% of serotonin is made in the gut. There is a direct connection to the brain from the gut via the vagus nerve. For happiness, immunity, and stress to be balanced, it is essential to incorporate healing practices for the gut.
- Add in pre-biotics-resistant starches such as sweet potatoes, root vegetables, plantains
- Add in probiotics, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt
- Lower stress- when we are stressed, the gut becomes inflamed and can alter the beneficial hormones made in this system, such as serotonin. Aim for 10-minutes of meditation, yoga, or walking without a phone each day.