We should enjoy the weekends, right? Unfortunately, starting about mid-day on Sunday, we start to dread the upcoming work week and it tends to ruin our Sundays, whether we realize it or not. It would be great to have a job you loved enough that you actually get excited about going into work Monday, for most of us that’s not the reality.
One of the biggest issues surrounding Sunday Night is the increase in stress that comes with the thoughts of facing Monday and a new work week. When the body starts to face stress, there are certain physiological changes that occur. Your body releases higher levels of cortisone and adrenaline. With higher levels of hormones in the body, you automatically respond in one of three ways:
1. You feel agitated or angry.
2. You feel withdrawn and depressed.
3. You may withdraw and feel sad, but underneath you also feel agitated.
In order to overcome this stress reaction, the best thing you can do is to consciously put off the dread you start to feel on Sunday. And to do this, we feel that Sunday should become a pamper-yourself day. Pampering helps get your mind off of the upcoming work week and really makes the most of your downtime. As part of pamper-yourself-Sundays, here are a few food items that should be added to your diet.
Load up on Antioxidants
Antioxidants can help make us healthier, but did you know they also make you feel better and more relaxed? There is some evidence that foods higher in antioxidants will help bring about a calm or peaceful feeling. And there’s also evidence that antioxidants can contribute to a more restful sleep.
Foods high in antioxidants include fruits such as blueberries, cherries, strawberries, teas, carrots, and tomatoes.
Eat Magnesium-Rich Foods
Although not well known, most people are chronically magnesium deficient. This is due in no small part to the increase of highly processed foods in the average diet. However, the signs of magnesium deficiency are usually mild enough that most people don’t realize there’s a problem. Signs of a deficiency include poor sleeping patterns, anxiety, depression, fatigue and poor memory. When someone with a magnesium deficiency faces a stressful situation, the stress reactions are magnified.
Foods high in magnesium include: seaweed, dark leafy greens, fish, whole grains, nuts and seeds and bananas.
Add Cocoa Bean
Chocolate is made from the cocoa bean. This bean, though bitter, is roasted before being combined with milk or cream and sugars in order to produce the candy bar we can purchase at the store. The addition of creams and sugars does add quite a bit of calories, but the cocoa bean itself is extremely healthy. Studies have shown people who eat moderate amounts of a lightly processed cocoa bean actually increase the endorphin and serotonin levels in the body. These hormones naturally make someone feel better. When cocoa beans are added to the diet, it’s best to add in moderation.
Foods high in cocoa include cocao nibs and at least any candy with 70% cocoa level.
Multiple studies have shown that an adequate amount of Omega-3’s in the diet not only help alleviate stress, but are useful enough for those who are clinically depressed, anxious or even those diagnosed as bipolar. Although researchers are not exactly sure why this is the case, the current theory is that our cells are made up of Omega-3’s. When we get enough Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet, serotonin – the feel-good hormone – can actually move through the body much more quickly.
Foods high in Omega-3’s include certain fishes like salmon, sardines, caviar, and cod liver oil. Non-fish sources include walnuts, flaxseed, grass-fed beef and edamame.
There is a specific reason many people who are under stress turn to potato crisps, pastas and other high-carb foods. These types of foods give us an immediate reaction and make us feel good for a short period of time. Unfortunately, after our bodies process these foods, we often end up feeling worse than we did before we started eating. The problem is we often turn to highly processed simple carbohydrates found in pastas and breads. We need to look for foods considered complex carbohydrates. They provide the same feeling of relaxation without letting us crash after a period of time.
Foods high in complex carbohydrates include: whole grains, oats, beans, and peas.
As you change your eating habits on Sunday to help reduce any stress you have related to starting the work week on Monday, it’s always best to add in some exercise. And if you can get outside and get some sunshine, you are giving yourself a double benefit. Sunshine and cardio-vascular exercise, such as walking, jogging, running or hiking not only provide a feeling of wellness, but can keep that feeling of relaxation and energy for the entire day.
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