Unknown Facts How Diet Affects Mental Fatigue & Burnout A Guest Post by Katrina Jane Rice

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When you first think about fatigue, what usually comes to mind is the physical kind. But there is another form of fatigue that potentially wreaks havoc on your thought processes, motivation and overall success – it is called mental fatigue.

Mental fatigue is usually a result of carrying out extensive and difficult cognitive tasks. One good example to mention is studying for the bar exams. If you put your body in this kind of stress day in and day out, you will start to feel a strong case of mental fatigue. They call it burnout.

Karla Ivankovich, professor of psychology at the University of Springfield, Illinois said that a key sign of mental fatigue is the difficulty in initiating and sustaining cognitive performance and voluntary activities.

Typically, mental fatigue is a normal thing. It usually disappears after you take a break from tedious cognitive tasks. But if you do not rest, you potentially jeopardize your efficiency in every task you perform. It means it could feel too difficult to go to the gym, go back to work or even buy some groceries..

According to Ivankovich, mental fatigue affects your motor control and coordination and it is normally expected that mental fatigue can truly impact your optimal performance in every aspect in life.

Your body can only take so much stress until it starts to burn out. 

In serious cases, mental fatigue can become extremely draining that the associated health problems become chronic or irreversible. As per Ivankovich, employing effective coping mechanisms can be helpful to combat mental fatigue, and this starts with living a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet.

Anybody who is experiencing mental fatigue or burnout has surely not followed a healthy eating pattern. If you feel like you are headed down this path, there are a number of dietary reasons behind it. Below are only some of the common causes that you can immediately reverse making changes your diet.

Lack of Magnesium

Magnesium helps support your nervous system.

It can alleviate stress levels by boosting your energy production and improving your quality of sleep. You can help reverse this lack of mineral in your body by eating more nuts, seeds, legumes and tofu. It is also found in whole grains, wheat bran and leafy vegetables.

Lack of Vitamin C

The adrenal gland has a huge responsibility in regulating your stress.

And when you do not get enough vitamin C, it cannot produce the stress hormones, particularly cortisol, your body needs. Cortisol helps regulate your metabolism, control your blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. It also assists memory functions which are vital when you are feeling mentally fatigued.

Increase your vitamin C intake by eating more fruits like oranges, mandarins and kiwis. some vegetables like broccoli and other green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin C too. For most people who do not have the time to eat right, they source their vitamins from dietary supplements.

Lack of Vitamin B

Your adrenal gland has a huge responsibility in regulating stress and it needs vitamin B to maintain its optimal function. The B vitamins are considered to be your friends in helping fight stress and supporting your energy levels. You can get more B vitamins from fish, milk, legumes, whole grains, chicken and red meat.

Too Much Caffeine

Every stressed person probably has a love for caffeine. It stimulates your fight and flight response and helps generate cortisol which gives you that temporary energy boost. But drinking too much caffeine can ultimately contribute to sleeping problems and anxiety.

Reverse this problem by swapping your morning coffee to a decaf tea. Watch out for other caffeine sources like chocolate, sodas, and black tea. Drinking green tea is preferable as it contains lower levels of caffeine but ranks high in antioxidants.

Adding an exercise routine to your lifestyle can also help you relieve mental fatigue and burnout.

Try to lose the fat you have gained from all the stress you just went through. After cutting out the other stressors in your life, get a gym membership or join a fitness club. This will also help your body release endorphins – a “feel good” hormone responsible for that happy feeling you get after every workout session.

The lack of vitamins and minerals is not just the only source of your stress. Though getting that in check will help you reverse mental fatigue, you also need to learn how to delegate your work.

If you are in the position to give away some of your tasks to other, do it for your own sake. If not, find the main source of your mental fatigue, prioritize what needs to be kept and cut out what you can. Know where your limits are so that you can alleviate and prevent mental burnout in the future.

Email Katrina at katrina.earthwell@gmail.com with any questions.

6 Easy Ways To Stay Organized and Productive as a Caregiver A Guest Post by Maggie Drag

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Being a caregiver is arguably one of the most noble professions out there – but it can also take a serious toll on your personal life. Here are 6 work-life balance tips to help you reduce stress, and ultimately make you the best caregiver for not only your clients, but for yourself, too!

1.) Plan Ahead

If you have multiple clients, or work as a live-in caregiver, keeping track of their favorite foods, interests, and medications may seem like a job in itself. Keeping a daily planner can help! If you’re constantly on your phone, try downloading an app like Fantastical, ReQall and Evernote. They are super easy to use and will allow you to set up alerts and various notifications in case you’d like to be reminded of their doctor appointments, and even your own appointments with your caregiving agency, for example. At the end of the day, keeping on top of your clients’ needs and preferences will save you a lot of stress and in the future.

2.) De-Clutter

From old receipts and grocery lists, you may have trouble remembering which documents belongs to who! Here are some easy ways to help both yourself and your client, and try doing it together and make it fun while you’re at it! First, organize your bills and clients’ bills in a binder for safe-keeping. Next, divide up your coupons into a handy coupon organizer for easy access. Finally, keep track of your own caregiving documents, from contracts, care plans and emergency contacts in a folder. Try organizing each folder by client if you have multiple, and keep a small notepad to jot down any other helpful information.

3.) Think Ahead

As a caregiver, you know that life as you know it may change in a second, whether it be your client’s health, a sudden re-assignment, and not to mention changes in your personal life. First, make sure you have a list of emergency contacts (including your agency) prepared in case you are unable to help your client or need to be relieved at any point. Next, be sure you have a plan set up for a medical emergency based on your client’s health history. Keeping track of their food allergies for one is a simple but critical step to preventing emergencies in the future.

4.) Reconnect with Loved Ones

If you’ve lost touch with a close friend, since you started another assignment, remember this: Caring about your job is one thing, but caring about your relationships is far more important in the long run. Call your distant relative via Facetime – you could even plan a day where you help your client Facetime their grandchildren after you connect with your own family!

You carry a great responsibility as a caregiver, and while your friends and family should understand that you are often very busy, don’t forget to show them some appreciation and keep in touch!

5.) “Me” Time

Being a caregiver takes a lot of work, but it is incredibly rewarding and allows you to build meaningful relationships and touch so many lives. However, as much as you may love your job, don’t forget to carve out some time for yourself each day– even if for only an hour, to do some gardening, watch some old movies, surf the internet, and even go out for a relaxing day at the spa. If you are a live-in caregiver, ask your client if they’d like to join in on the fun! This will help you stay productive and engaged in your assignment in a much more meaningful way.

6.) Take Care of Yourself

As much as you care about your job as a caregiver, don’t forget that the first step to being an amazing caregiver is taking good care of yourself. Keep up with exercise, eat a balanced diet but make sure you’re getting the necessary rest between assignments first and foremost- especially if you work overnight. Sleep allows your body and brain to replenish, not to mention stay alert on important assignments and throughout the day if your client needs extra supervision when taking medications, for example. Losing sleep can ultimately take a serious toll on your health in the long run, so don’t be afraid to ask your agency about rescheduling your assignments or for tips on how to manage your sleep schedule to help you be your best for your clients.

About the author:

Maggie Drag is the owner and founder of a homecare agency located in central Connecticut. With over 27 years of experience in the industry, Maggie shares her knowledge and tips about care at home.  Visit homecare4u.com  to learn more about Maggie Drag.

Nutrition and Meal Planning For the Hurried Caregiver a Guest Post by Breanne Fleat

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A caregiver has a vital responsibility of safeguarding their recipient, be it a family member, a friend or as part of their job. Diet and nutrition are some of the basic needs for people requiring such care, in an effort to keep the body strong and energetic. However, diet and nutrition isn’t just important for them, it’s important for you, the care provider too. With our current lives full of deadlines and schedules we usually don’t have the time to design a reliable meal plan or even stick to conventional eating patterns.

Looking after your own health is vital. Being in tip top condition will not only help you feel more energised but you will be encouraging your care recipients to wake up, shape up, eat up and try to live their healthiest life possible.

We all know how easy it is to skip meals, grab the first ready meal in the shop or neck back some energy drink because you just don’t have the time or energy. But, the fact is you will either gain excessive weight or completely ruin your metabolism and health from living this way.

Unfortunately, most conventional meals, do, require adequate preparation and cooking times, which may be almost  impossible in your situation. Fortunately, the following tips are here to help you maintain a healthy life, with consideration of your RDI (Recommended Daily Intake):

Nutrition Shortcuts
your aim is to get all the required nutrients in the day, within a tight schedule. This means that your choices have to be easily digestible and assimilated in the body. The issue you have is that foods such as bread, grains and some proteins require the body to be resting, in order to digest suitably and you just don’t have that time.

As much as I recommend eating whole foods where possible, you can get supplement snacks that contain either one or a combination of nutrients. Instead of picking up a chocolate bar and energy drink, why not head to your local health food store and pick up one of these healthier snacks instead? You may even be able to buy them online. Most meal replacement and supplement snacks are filled with nutrients, lots healthier than normal snacks and reduce the need for spending hours in the kitchen, combining meals.

Micro is Important
For a busy caregiver, you rarely have time to rest and recover. Throughout this time your body stands very high chances of catching infections and a strong immune system is needed. This is where micronutrients come in.

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals which help keep your body ticking along as it should.  Minerals such as Magnesium and iron, and Vitamins E and C help to detoxify the body, reducing the intensity of fatigue and lowering your risk of infections.

Quick Micro Tip: Try replacing your morning coffee or energy drink with a multivitamin tablet, or better yet add spinach to your usual breakfast, for a hit of iron and vitamin c then have almonds as a magnesium and vitamin e filled mid-morning snack.
Smoothies and Juices
you only need a couple of minutes to create a vitamin packed smoothie consisting of bananas, avocados, strawberries or even melons. The best thing about them is that you can carry them around with you during the day.

In addition, one glass of fruit juice or smoothie can contain at least 3 of your 5 a day, making it a reliable source of micro and macro nutrients, which you need for coping with the day’s commitments.

You can even include fruits with exceptional benefits such as thorn melons, to boost your immunity, especially when attending to a person with communicable diseases.

Quick Smoothie Tip: Try adding spinach to your smoothies – it may sound strange at first, but it’s practically tasteless, yet filled with loads of nutritional benefits.

Meal Planning
Planning what to eat, when and why is hectic for anyone, let alone a caregiver. Not only do you have to try and plan what you and your family will be eating, but it’s highly likely you will have to plan something entirely different for your recipient.

However it’s important to remember the phrase “prior planning prevents poor performance” and don’t we know it. Planning helps you to eliminating the decision-making process, which, for me, ends up in opting for empty snacks or fast foods.

Quick Planning Tip: Buying raw foods in advance will create a reasonable timetable to help you organise around. Plan your fresh meals for the days post shopping trip and plan tinned or frozen foods in the run up to your next supermarket trip

Cook for Freeze
No matter how busy you are, there is ALWAY a little free time, whether it’s early in the morning, late in the evening or on the weekends. This is the best time for batch cooking.

Some people advocate for a cook one-freeze three concept, where you cook an excess of a particular meal and freeze the remainders (usually another 3 servings) while others will cook one main ingredient as use it for 2 or 3 different meals.

Quick Freezer Food Tip: Make sure you set a reminder to get food out of the freezer to defrost ready for the next day otherwise you’ll be more tempted by grab and go snacks.

Change how you cook
Just because you’re personal time is sparse, shouldn’t mean you have to give up on the things you love. Food is a necessity but it’s also there to be enjoyed. Just because slow cooking sounds time consuming, doesn’t mean it is.  Using a slow cooker is a great way to ensure your meal is thoroughly flavoured and cooked with minimal time or effort.

Don’t let your lack of time take away from the enjoyable experience of cooking and eating.

Quick slow cooker tip: There’s usually a slow cooker version of most meals – got something you particularly love? Look up how to slow cook, you may find you love it even more after.

 

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BIO: Breanne is a writer, blogger and chief editor, at ProteinPromo.com. She is keen on providing readers with nutrition and wellness hints and tips to ensure readers are living their healthiest possible life.