Mother and Baby

Work Life: 7 Smart New Pick-Me-Ups

From starting your day right to beating that mid-afternoon lull, introduce these energy and concentration tricks into your daily routine

You used to be tired at work because you stayed up late to watch that second episode of Criminal Minds. Now, it’s because your baby woke you up at two, three and 5am. Sigh.

Don’t stress – or fall asleep over that admin. Pick yourself up and power through (or just fake it).

1. Eat the perfect breakfast

Kickstart your morning with a good meal – something balanced with a combination of lean protein and complex carbs. Basically, they keep you fuller for longer and maintain energy levels better than carb-based toast and cereal.

So think porridge with almonds or seeds, or poached eggs or salmon with tomatoes and spinach. In reality, the latter’s maybe one for when he’s on nursery run duty.

2. Strike a pose

Take on that hectic afternoon by tweaking your posture.

Research by University of California found adopting a ‘power pose’ or open stance (straight, stretching out with shoulders back, as opposed to curled up or slouched) increases our levels of the assertive hormone testosterone and lowers ones of cortisol, the hormone linked to stress.

3. Talk to concentrate

Improve your focus on that admin task by telling a work friend about your baby pulling your top down in Costa.

A 10-minute friendly conversation boosts the area of our brain responsible for blocking out distraction, according to a University of Michigan study. Trip to the water cooler, anyone?

4. Get a creative boost

If that genius idea just isn’t coming to you, leave your desk and find the nearest, quietest park for a brainstorm.

People did 50% better at a creative task after spending time in nature

In a US study, people did 50% better at a creative task after spending time in nature with anything techy switched off.

So, swap your iPad for a notebook.

5. Drink smart

That cappuccino may save you in the morning, but try not to overdo the caffeine throughout the day. Instead, go for herbal teas to refresh you – they’re also high in healthy antioxidants.

Or try a squeeze of lemon in hot water. Lemon has an alkalising effect, which balances out any acidity in your body and soothes inflammation.

6. Find a tap

Flagging at your desk? Run your wrists under cold water for a few seconds to refresh and wake you up – it’s all about cooling the blood in that area.

Plus, it’s a good trick for those 3am baby wake up calls.

7. Start doodling

Your artistic skills may generally be saved for your toddler, but try them when you’re losing your focus at work, too.

In a study published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, participants did better on a memory and concentration task when they doodled through part of the session. Maybe keep the crayons out of that meeting, though.

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