By Amber Walsh, Holistic Nutritionist
Busy season is upon us and while most accountants at this time of year tend to eat, sleep, dream and breathe tax, it is important to be mindful and conscious of fueling our bodies with adequate nutrition.
The Walsh King team is committed to a positive company culture – and that includes a focus on staying healthy during the busy tax season.
By making our health a priority, it ensures we have enough energy to keep us working throughout the days and evenings, and that we stay sharp and effective as we focus on delivering excellence to our clients.
Please check out the Top 10 Walsh King tips to stay nourished, energized and healthy during tax season.
There is a reason people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast fuels your body and your brain after a night of fasting. When you don’t eat breakfast, you are basically running on empty. By eating breakfast, you improve cognitive function by enhancing concentration and memory, while decreasing stress levels sometimes caused by imbalanced blood sugar levels. Breakfast also allows us to make better choices throughout the rest of the day. Research findings also suggest a strong correlation between regular breakfast eating and weight maintenance.
Snack Throughout the Day
Eating small meals or snacks throughout the day will avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes, which will ultimately keep you focused and motivated. Instead of reaching for pastries, sweets or salty snacks, try to choose a snack that you know will make you feel energized and nourished longer.
Fruit paired with a handful of nuts, yogurt with trail mix, nuts/seeds, vegetables and whole grain crackers with hummus are excellent options.
Smoothies tend to provide the most bang for your buck as you include all the vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables, plus the fiber of those foods to keep you satisfied until your next meal.
Snack Instead Coffee
The 3 p.m. slump many people experience is often a blood sugar crash or imbalance. When feelings of sluggishness are supplemented with caffeine, it can cause our blood sugar levels to rise and then fall again – further perpetuating the cycle of feeling temporarily energized and drained again.
Try replacing your afternoon coffee with a piece of fruit, a smoothie or one of the snacks mentioned above.
Reach for green tea, matcha or yerba mate as these teas will provide the same stimulus without the crash. An added bonus – they also provide powerful antioxidants to keep you healthy and youthful.
When you are thirsty, you are already well past dehydrated. Often, when you are hungry, you are really experiencing thirst instead.
Your daily total should reach about 3 litres or 8 to 12 cups of water. Monitor your daily water consumption by being mindful of what your water bottle and/or glass holds by volume. Staying hydrated will keep you feeling energized and the mind sharp.
Avoid Sugary Drinks
Drinks such as pop and juice contain added sugar. Instead, introduce smoothies that energize and fill you up. Cold-pressed juices made with fresh vegetables and fruit are another option. They are packed full of vitamins and minerals to keep you buzzing through April.
You can flavour water with lemons, limes, cucumber, mint or berries. Herbal tea is also a great substitution for something flavoured and comforting without the caffeine. If you want something fizzy, try boosting your water with a soda stream or try a glass of a fermented, low sugar beverage such as kombucha.
Reduce Processed, Refined and Packaged Foods
Some snacks claim to be healthy, even if they are in a package. Read nutrition and ingredient labels and see what the first 5 ingredients are. Added sugars are ingredients such as cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, barley malt syrup, honey, agave or molasses.
If you don’t know what certain ingredients in a product are, it may be best to avoid them. If you see high amounts of sugar in each serving, it may be in your best interest to satisfy that sweet tooth with a more natural sugar from fruits or vegetables.
Keep Lunch Light
When we eat a heavy lunch that consists of simple or refined carbohydrates (white carbs), all our energy is used to help our bodies digest and metabolize the meal – causing you to feel tired or sluggish after eating. This doesn’t mean you have to eat salad every day for lunch. Instead, eat your favourite lunch meal but make substitutions for more vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates, such as whole or sprouted grains.
Fill Up on Immune Boosting Foods
Eat plenty of foods rich with vitamin C, such as citrus, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, kiwis, strawberries, mango, and papaya. Garlic, ginger, turmeric and onions pack a powerful punch of anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Fermented foods such as yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi will help build your good bacteria to fight off potentially harmful, non-beneficial bacteria or bugs.
Set Aside One Hour Each Week for Meal Prep
The last thing most accountants want to do is spend their short amount of time off cooking. You can meal prep like a pro by making a big batch of a meal on Sunday evening and eating that as leftovers when you have late evenings throughout the week.
Another trick is to pick two or three of your favourite vegetables you want to eat for the week, wash, cut and store in a container in the fridge with some paper towel to absorb moisture which can then be easily added to a quick meal.
You can also pre-cook your favourite carbohydrate for the week. Whether it is brown rice, quinoa, millet or roasted sweet potatoes, you can store it in the fridge for a quick and easy addition to any meal.
Take advantage of using grocery delivery or pick-up services that many grocery stores offer through online shopping. This can help save time and energy spent at the grocery store.
Look into having someone else do the work for you. There are many meal prep services available in which you are provided with healthy and nourishing ingredients that are pre-chopped and measured with instructions to create a balanced meal. These can also serve as leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day as these services usually include more than one serving.
Get Adequate Sleep and Exercise and Stay Positive
Poor sleep can affect memory, attention, judgement and mood. Sleep can reduce stress levels, allow us to recharge and help us avoid making mistakes. Aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night and power off electronic devices and screens 1 hour before bed.
Even though tax season imposes long hours sitting at a desk, it is important to remember to move and get exercise throughout the day. Exercise relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better and boosts overall mood. Get outside for some fresh air and a walk as a morning break, during lunch hour and in the afternoon, if you are feeling sluggish.
Having a positive attitude at work helps us accomplish tasks fast and in a more efficient manner, making tax season a more enjoyable and quick moving time of year, which is gone before we know it.
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