If you have an overly demanding job or dislike what you do for a living, getting through each day can be a struggle. Even if you consider yourself an optimistic person, work might leave you feeling sad or blue. We can’t always immediately change an undesirable work situation, but you can take steps to beat the blues at work.
1. Start the day with a cup of Joe
Coffee doesn’t only provide a burst of energy; it reduces depression and anxiety in some people. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals people who “drink coffee may have a lower risk of depression,” and it only takes about 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day. Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences believe the antioxidants in coffee are responsible for better moods.
2. Don’t be afraid of carbs
Some people avoid carbs if they’re watching their weight. But if you want to beat the blues at work and remain upbeat and optimistic, eating more carbs at lunch might help (bread, pasta, etc.) A second study from the Archives of Internal Medicine found “people who followed a very low carb diet for a year, which allowed only 20 to 40 mg of carbohydrates daily, experienced more anxiety and depression than those on a higher carb diet.” This is because carbohydrates help promote the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood.
3. Pack Omega-3 rich leftovers for lunch
Lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to depression and anxiety. To keep yourself calm and happier throughout the day, prepare foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (pasture-fed meats, dairy, wild rice, tuna and salmon) and bring these for lunch. These foods help regulate dopamine and serotonin, which are both neurotransmitters that regulate mood.
4. Keep a dish of chocolates on your desk
A candy dish on your desk might be too much temptation, especially if you’re trying to control your sugar intake. But there’s a link between dark chocolate and better moods. “Stressed out people who ate 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate daily for two weeks had lower levels of stress hormones,” says a study conducted at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland. You don’t have to go crazy, but if you feel the blues coming on, eating a piece of chocolate might regulate your mood.
5. Snack on blueberries
If you need a mid-morning or a mid-afternoon snack, don’t hit the vending machine and binge on chips or cookies. Sugar might lift your mood, but it’s temporary. It’s time to rethink your comfort foods. As a matter of fact, berries, (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries) have high levels of antioxidants and these, are excellent choices for fighting depression and anxiety. Pack berries in your lunch bag and avoid snacking on junk food when you’re feeling emotionally drained at work.
We can’t change the nature of our jobs, but we can change how we respond to stress and everyday demands. Sometimes, beating the blues at work is a matter of changing how we eat.