Tips to Help You Feel Better, Live Better: Part 2

In our series of how to feel better, we carry on from Part 1 by looking at more ways things in your life may be impacting negatively on your life and as such, have you battling inner demons as well as everyday life.

Sometimes, the expression, “can’t see the wood for the trees” can perfectly sum up what it is that’s proving to be the hindrance that is stopping people reaching their full potential.

How many of these apply to you?

1. An Untidy Desk/Office

You know exactly where everything is. Extra paper for the printer is under that box of blank dvd cases. The dirty coffee cup may have been there for 8 days, but you’ll get to that in a minute. All the receipts and invoices may look messy in the shoe box on a shelf, but you know exactly what’s in it and where it is. The plant may need water as it looks a bit brown, but it’s ok.

You may be doing more damage to your subconscious than you realize. If your desk or office is cluttered, your inability to focus at the matter in hand limits your brain’s ability to process information and work at its optimum. When you are done with a file, put it back where it belongs. It might take 30 seconds longer, but then it’s done.  When everything is in order, clear, neat, tidy, it will improve the mood and in turn make you feel more relaxed.

Look at the difference in coming to work where everything is in disarray and chaos, and contrast that with a clean slate. Don’t underestimate the power of a tidy workplace.

2. Coffee Is Good, But Don’t Lean on It

Coffee is not bad per se. In fact, it’s shown that having 1-3 cups in the morning can give you that little extra boost to kick start the day. Coffee is to your workday what the running push start is to tobogganing. A little at the beginning is good, but try to do it all the time and you’re setting yourself up for failure.

The caffeine can and will disrupt your sleep cycle if it becomes too involved in your life. Caffeine blocks adenosine, which is the by-product of active cells that makes you want to sleep as it accumulates in the body. A study that was published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that by drinking coffee 6 hours before going to bed will adversely affect the quality of your sleep. So, ideally, the best course of action is to drink coffee only in the morning.  Eliminate taking in caffeine around 11AM and you’ll be set.

3. Drinking Water

Being only slightly dehydrated can affect your energy level. Even as little as 2% of normal fluid loss can affect your performance throughout the day. Being dehydrated causes you to to suffer a reduction in blood volume. This makes the blood thicker and as such, makes your heart have to pump harder than it would otherwise need to. This in turn reduces the speed at which oxygen and nutrients you need reach your muscles and organs. If your body is under undue stress, it will manifest itself in other ways; headaches, for example. Drinking water regularly throughout the day can fend all of this off.

As a general rule of thumb, in order to calculate how much water you need to drink just take your weight in pounds, halve that figure and drink that amount in ounces each day. Obviously, depending on activity level adjustments to this formula would be necessary but this is a good overall base. If you’re highly active – and you should be, you are a Spartan after all – bump the amount up.

If a machine has oil to lubricate it to keep it working effectively, consider your body as the machine and water as your oil.

4. Stop Trying to be Perfect

In every aspect of your life, there will be flaws. Accept them and embrace them. You should absolutely take pride in your work and do it to the best of your ability, but do not let it consume you.  If you set yourself to impossibly high standards, they will never be achieved and as such, you will never appreciate what the end result is. If there is no satisfaction in what you are doing, then what is the point in doing it?
Living a life whether at work or play that is unfulfilled will leave you in a constant state of frustration which leads to stress.

This also goes for demanding the same high standards of others. Realistic targets done in a time frame that is also plausible will reap far better rewards in terms of fulfillment and well-being. If you aim to do 10 units of something and do it, then that’s good. If you manage 12, then it’s a bonus. Working longer hours or striving and reaching for something that will never enrich your life will cause a detrimental effect to your mind frame. Drop that unattainable, unrealistic goal like a hot brick and feel the weight lift off your shoulders.

5. Drinking Alcohol Before Bedtime

Aren’t we all guilty of doing this? There’s even a term for it: “nightcap.”

It may be news to many of us that having a tipple in the evening can easily slap us in the face as opposed to help us. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system in its initial stages, which produces a sedative effect, but in the long run, it can drastically affect sleep patterns and sleep maintenance. What it also does is create a “bounce back” effect as its metabolized and this creates a sudden surge in adrenaline. It’s for this reason that you’re likely to be woken easily during the night, have trouble getting back to sleep and ultimately, having a lousy morning due to the lack of sleep. How to combat this? Try to avoid alcohol at least three hours before going to bed.

Join us next week for the last part of the series.