Learn to live more, work smarter

EXHAUSTED, stressed and unmotivated? You are not alone. When the demands at work exceed our capacity, we default into a survival mode, as if we are in immediate danger, burning out from the high levels of circulating stress hormones. It is unsustainable. So where have we gone so wrong? And is there anything we can do?

1. Get stressed

Paradoxically, stress is not the enemy. It is the key to growth. Most stress is actually good for you. For a muscle to grow, it must experience stress; as happens when you pump weights. It is during the post-exertion rest phase that muscle grows. What applies to the physical body applies equally to the brain. The problem is that when you push too hard for too long, it tips you over the edge into damaging and destructive stress.

2. When leaving work...leave work

Although it is much easier said than done, know when to stop! Your time outside of work should be spent on you and the people you care about. Much research demonstrates that there may be up to a 60% increase in the risk for heart disease for people regularly working more than 10 hours a day.

3. Manage energy rather than time

Energy is the fundamental currency of high performance and yet we misuse it badly. We eat highly processed foods. We don't exercise enough. We drink too much coffee and far too much alcohol which plays havoc with our sleep, our moods and our performance. Not much positive comes from putting in extra time without ensuring high quality energy.

4. Respect your body clock

Although managers expect their employees to be at their best at all hours, it's an unrealistic expectation. You have a well-defined internal clock that shapes your energy levels throughout the day, called the circadian rhythm. This facilitates the release of different hormones and enzymes at specific points through the day. There are peaks of naturally high energy and troughs of low energy and it is impossible to fight this innate human natural rhythm. Take breaks. .

5. Interval training

Exercise is essential. A training schedule that combines cardio training (such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming or cycling) as well as strength and flexibility training is ideal. In recent years HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training has been shown to significantly enhance work performance and energy sustainability.

Dr Linda Friedland is a doctor, best-selling author and mother of five. Visit http://www.lindafriedland.com.

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