Call 1300 462 887 Apply Course Enquiry

View all blogs

How stress impacts your mental and physical energy

Written by Anna Doktor | Tuesday, 30 May 2023

healthy living lifestyle stress

Let’s set the record straight. Stress is a biological response which impacts your mental and physical energy.

When you feel stressed, you go into a fight-or-flight-or-freeze response. The main stress hormone, adrenaline, makes you feel energetic and motivated. However, as the adrenaline wears off, you may experience tiredness or even exhaustion, pains, aches, and headaches.

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t remember what you were doing? Or experienced brain fog or light-headedness? Or felt like even a simple task seemed impossible to do?

That was stress talking.

You see, during the stress response, less fresh oxygen is delivered to your brain – and your mental energy takes a hit.

It is hard to be your best when you feel that way. So, here are three simple ways to reduce stress and become productive again.

#1 Move your body

We all know the many benefits of exercising, and we may already use exercise as a stress relief. Hitting the gym or going to a yoga class a few times a week will help you feel calmer and improve your mood. However, to effectively cope with stress, you need to move your body throughout the day too.

The latest research shows that to be productive you need to move every hour or so. It doesn’t need to feel too hard. If you already have a stand-up desk switch between your positions. If you don’t have a stand-up desk, stand up from your chair and do a few stretches.

Or even better, go for a quick walk (going to the bathroom counts!) around the office to not only relieve the stress in your body but to give your brain a quick stress break too.

You will feel more energetic, creative, and motivated to tackle your workload and provide better outcomes.

#2 Set your priorities

You’ve definitely heard about to-do lists, regardless of if you are a big fan of them or not. However, to-do lists have been shown to create more stress than help.

You may feel overwhelmed by the long list of tasks you need to do, inwardly knowing you will never get to the last one! That is why doing a ‘brain dump’ and setting priorities can eliminate stress and set you up for success.

A ‘brain dump’ involves putting everything you need to complete onto a piece of paper (or a Word doc). The idea is to take the stress out of your overwhelmed mind and put it onto paper.

Look through the tasks and pick three to five that are urgent or must happen today. Arrange them in order of importance and allocate time to do them. Look through the rest of the tasks and further prioritise them.

It doesn’t mean you only do three to five things a day! But, by setting priorities, you streamline your focus, become more productive, and get more things done. Without the overwhelm of a to-do list.

#3 Stay hydrated

The bottom line is that dehydration saps your mental and physical energy. When you are trying to make that call or finish writing that report, your mind and body are preoccupied with fighting thirst.

You feel tired, have a headache, and can’t focus on the task at hand. You are more stressed and irritated because you can’t think and perform to the best of your abilities.

Furthermore, drinking water is shown to have calming effects and create feelings of relaxation.

So, how do you stay hydrated? First of all, remember to always have your favourite water bottle or a mug filled with water. Have it handy so it is within your reach, and you don’t fall into the trap of I’ll do it later.

And, to make it stick, make it a habit of drinking a glass of water every time you move your body (strategy #2). This way you do something called habit stacking. You automatically associate getting up with drinking water.

How to bring these tips into the workplace…

Stress is a biological response and to best manage it is to have long-term strategies in place. However, you can incorporate three simple hacks to stay productive and stress-free in the workplace.

You have heard of the benefits of exercising, so extend them into your office. Move your body as often as possible to create physical energy. Do a ‘brain dump’ and prioritise your tasks to avoid the mental overwhelm and feel accomplished at the end of the day.

And don’t let dehydration rob your precious energy. Drink up!

When you lead with energy, not stress, you are more resourceful, productive, and creative. And the results will be seen in your performance.

Interested in mental health and wellness?
Aspire to be the best version of yourself. Discover our range of Mental Health and Wellness short courses.

Anna Doktor

Anna Doktor is a certified Health and Wellness Coach. She’s an advocate for body-mind connection, using food as medicine, and incorporating body movement strategies to overcome daily stressors. Anna has battled depression and burnout so she understands on a personal level how important it is to build optimal health and wellness. Anna has been published in Thrive Global, Elephant Journal, The Burnout Club, Beam Magazine, Sivana East, and writes for the wellness section at Coast2Bay magazine.

Read more by Anna Doktor