Could these five things be holding you back at work?

Is your career not quite where you’d like to to be? And if so, could one of these five things be holding you back?

You’re a career woman, a go-getter, a born achiever. From a young age you’ve always known what you’ve wanted out of your life and career. And you’ve not been afraid to put in the hard work to get to where you want to be.

Ever since you were a kid you wowed teachers, parents and eventually employers with your work ethic, determination, single-mindedness and passion.

With every stepping stone you surpassed, every hurdle that you overcame and every accomplishment you achieved, you grew in confidence and experience. But now, it seems, you’re losing momentum.

As your days grow longer and more intense and your responsibilities grow more various, you can’t help feeling as though you keep hitting stumbling blocks inside your head.

Facts, figures, dates and names don’t come to you as freely as they used to. Sometimes, in fact, you find that it’s all you can do to get to the end of a sentence. The energy with which you used to attack every challenge appears to be dwindling and the sharp edge that you used to bring to your working day has dulled.

If this sounds familiar at all, don’t worry – you can get it back. You just have to identify the things that could be holding you back in your work and your extra curricular activities. Then you can take appropriate action.

Unfortunately, willpower alone won’t propel you to the top of the career ladder. You’re only human, and you need to acknowledge your limitations. Could one of these five things be holding you from being all that you can be at work? 

1) Your eating habits?

Your body is a machine. And no machine can function when it isn’t properly fuelled. Notice here that we said your eating habits and not your diet. Of course, your diet can influence your cognitive performance.

There are numerous foods that are known to increase brain power and cognitive function. Most of us know that oily fish is a much-revered “brain food”, but fewer are aware of the brain-boosting benefits of leafy greens like spinach and kale, walnuts and berries. 

Moreover, it’s important to remember the importance of what you eat and when you eat to keep your blood sugar stable and your appetite under control. There’s no greater obstacle to concentration than low blood sugar.

If your diet is composed mostly of refined carbohydrates you can expect your blood sugar to peak and dip throughout the day. And heading for the sugary, salty and fatty treats in the breakroom vending machine will only exacerbate this.

Make sure you keep some healthy snacks in your desk drawer and ensure that your carbs are complex where possible and supplemented with healthy fats and protein to stabilize your blood sugar, keep your appetite under control and prevent cravings.

2) Your love of coffee?

Nope, sorry this is not a typo. But we know what you’re thinking. Your morning coffee gives you a welcome jolt of caffeine, sharpens your mind and helps to give you the mental clarity you need to get through the day. How could you ever get by without it? 

While it’s true that the first coffee of the day gives you a caffeine boost (not to mention a measure of psychological comfort), when you find yourself stumbling from espresso to espresso throughout the day, you may find that all that coffee is actually making your drowsier rather than sharper and more productive.

That’s because the caffeine in your coffee blocks the neurotransmitter adenosine. This is responsible for dictating your sleep cycles. So when you drink your coffee the jolt of caffeine stops your brain from feeling the effects of the adenosine, but your body is still producing more of it.

As such, when that initial jolt wears off, you can find yourself feeling surprisingly sluggish and sleepy until you stumble into the break room to pour yourself another cup of joe.

So unless you want to be chugging coffee every minute of your working day (for which your teeth will not thank you), you need to moderate your consumption of the black stuff.

Try substituting some of your coffees with green tea which can not only improve focus, it can also relieve stress and reduce cravings.

3) Your lack of sleep?

You have an extremely fast paced lifestyle. You work hard, you play hard, and when you turn in for the night, you often find that you’re too wired to nod off at a reasonable hour. So what do you do? You pick up your phone and scroll through your social feeds or perhaps turn on the TV.

However, all that blue light from your devices will actually block your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it even harder to drift off. 

A lack of sleep will leave you feeling fuzzy and fatigued throughout the day, meaning that you’ll be less cognitively sharp than you would be had you gotten your forty winks. 

It’s important to find the cause of your insomnia and act appropriately to avoid feeling exhausted before your working day has even begun. There are all kinds of herbal and plant-based remedies that can be very effective in helping you to drift off to sleep naturally including these CBD gummies for sleep.

Even something as simple as a hot bath an hour before you go to bed can be effective in helping you sleep. It reduces your internal temperature and prevents you from overheating through the night. 

4) Your sedentary lifestyle?

If the realities of your job keep you deskbound throughout the day, this can also be part of the problem. When you don’t move around throughout the day, it’s essential that you get to the gym after work or at least take a brisk walk on your lunch break.

Physical exercise is known to improve concentration and memory while also reducing the stress that can cause disruption to logical thought patterns. Speaking of which…

5) Your stress?

Finally, a little stress can actually be good for us. It can sharpen our minds and shake us out of complacency. But when we allow it to get on top of us, stress can metastisize into anxiety. And anxiety can be crippling to the logical mind, shrivel confidence and hold you back in your daily duties and even your career.

It’s important to take steps to manage your stress from mindfulness meditation to regular trips to the gym. 

Once you know what’s holding you back in your work and career you can remove the barriers and achieve your dreams!

Photo by Caleb George