We invest in diaries and notebooks to counter organisational weaknesses, research ergonomic chairs to ensure comfort and back support, and keep little plants on our desks to help filter the air. For all of the ways we engineer our environment to help us be happier and more productive at work, we’ve forgotten one that starts within: our hormones.
Did you know your hormones have a direct effect on aspects of creativity, energy and mood?
“Studies have shown that just before ovulation, your creativity, organisational skills, lateral thinking and productivity are at their best,” explains naturopath, nutritionist and fertility specialist Belinda Kirkpatrick. “So for women with a regular, 28-day cycle, this productive peak is probably around days 10-14.”
If you could hack your hormones, advises Belinda, you could harness your mood and make a noticeable difference to your day-to-day.
“You’ll find with small changes, you’ll start feeling really amazing as you begin to take control of those hormones.”
Here are a few ways you can take control of your hormones to harness a more productive, fulfilling work (and home) life.
Consider your surroundings
“A healthy lifestyle is the first step to healthy hormones,” says Belinda. “Your immediate environment – the food you eat, the products you use, where you sleep – are all part of a delicate ecosystem that can help or hinder your hormones.”
Try and focus on a new area to tackle every week by asking yourself a few questions: how much do I exercise? What quality of sleep am I getting?
“Aim to eat fresh wholefoods that have been minimally processed, drink lots of water, and try to get at least 4-5 cups of vegies into your daily diet.”
In Belinda’s book, there are more than 50 specially developed recipes that help with healthy hormone balancing.
Make small environmental changes
“Try to minimise chemical cleaning products (try making your own), slowly replace make-up and personal care products with low-tox options, keep plants in the home to help filter the air, and minimise pesticide exposure by buying organic or using a good fruit and vegie wash.”
Need some more reasons to convince your boss a jungle vibe is important in the office? Send them this link.
Get good with prep
“For me, it comes down to being prepared so that I have healthy food choices ready to go. My rule is that everything lasts three days in the fridge, so I tend to plan and prep meals for three days in advance. On Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings, I prepare enough snacks to last three days. Examples include: boiled egg; nuts/seeds; trail mix; leftover smoothie; chia puddings; apple with almond spread; hummus and carrot/celery/cucumber sticks; yoghurt with LSA and berries. For lunches, I like to make an extra portion of dinner and pack it for lunch at work the following day. Just act as though an extra person is coming for dinner and serve that portion into your lunchbox and pop into the fridge while you are serving dinner.”
Find your inspiration
Certainly you and your body are the perfect port of call when looking for a reason to take control of your hormones, but is there anyone else that could benefit from your happy, healthy example?
“After being widowed with two babies at 24, my two beautiful children, Miah and Ruby, inspire me to be healthy every day,” Belinda says. “It sounds cliché, but I want to be the best role model for them so that they grow up with the best possible physical and mental health and opportunities. They have been there watching and learning from me and nothing makes me happier than to see them now as teenagers exercising happily, choosing healthy foods… and understanding that it’s all about the balance.”
Healthy Hormones: A practical guide to balancing your hormones by Belinda Kirkpatrick (M. Rep. Med, BHSc (Nat) and Ainsley Johnstone is out now through Murdoch Books.