The New Year is underway don't fall into old habits and let stress get on top of you at work. Jennifer Pinkerton outlines the winning formula for calm and clarity.
1. Be organised
Make time in your day for planning. Know what you have ahead of you, and set a strategy for getting there. One idea is to block out 30 minutes at the end of your day to plan your next, or spend an hour on Friday afternoon planning for your week ahead. Allow at least an hour's "buffer" each day of unscheduled time to cater for the unexpected.
2. Plan recreation and exercise time
Create a timetable that allows time for recreation, exercise and plenty of sleep. Again, it can help to think a week ahead and note in your diary, Microsoft Outlook calendar or BlackBerry device how you plan to exercise each day. The US Department of Health and Human Services now recommends between 2.5-3 hours each week it's a lot, so you need to be forward-thinking.
3. Morning munchies
"Eat breakfast. This is critical for giving you the energy reserves you need to power through the day," says naturopath and Blackmores director of education, Pam Stone. Aim to get a serve of protein in your first meal of the day, such as a boiled egg or a small tub of natural yoghurt this will help curb your appetite during the day, and help keep you focused (instead of making 20 trips to the staff fridge or local café).
A recent study led by Dr Heather Leidy and published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2008 found consuming protein in the morning makes you feel fuller throughout the day (so an added bonus could be that you lose weight, too). Other great protein sources include chickpeas, skinned turkey or chicken, and low-fat milk.
4. Assess your nutrient intake
The body has increased requirements for vitamins (especially the B group) and minerals during periods of increased stress.
"Nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B5, zinc and magnesium are important for supporting adrenal function. Folic acid, inositol and vitamin B6, are involved in the manufacture and action of mood-enhancing hormones such as serotonin," says naturopath Melinda Hutchinson-Taylor.
"Increasing foods in your diet which are high in tryptophan (the precursor to serotonin in the body) like turkey, tofu and soy-based products, sunflower and pumpkin seeds (which are great for snacks) is also a wise move," she adds.
5. Curb your coffee
Despite caffeine providing you with a short-term energy hit it is best to limit or avoid it. If it's something you just can't live without, "One a day won't do you much harm," says naturopath Siobhan Jordan.
Although many look to coffee to improve concentration levels at work, in some cases caffeine can exacerbate anxiety and rob you of sleep, says Jordan.
Instead, go natural. "Blackmores' Korean ginseng enhances stamina and endurance and also helps to reduce fatigue. It helps to enhance concentration and improves stress response. Also for memory and cognitive function, try herbs like ginkgo or brahmi," advises Hutchinson Taylor.