In talking with organizations and individuals about what behaviors and practices make for a “brain-friendlier” workplace, I include the importance of quality self-care.
What does self-care include? In my view, to enable us to be the best we can be physically, cognitively, and emotionally at work, we need to care for ourselves in the best ways we know how to, addressing:
- sleep hygiene
- what we eat
- what we drink
- the messages we tell ourselves about ourselves
- techniques for reducing anxiety and stress
- practices to increase focus and attention
One of the most popular questions I hear about feeding ourselves to provide frequent, lasting refueling to the brain, is WHAT FOODS ARE BEST FOR MY BRAIN?
While many foods have some redeeming qualities, a review of the research points to the following as a powerhouse list of foods that support brain function. Enjoy working these in to your weekly diet as much as possible:
- oily fish like salmon (the fatty acids are key)
- black currants
- pumpkin seeds
- nuts (esp. walnuts, cashews, almonds)
- leafy greens
- dark chocolate (yea!)
Consider not only how to eat these in your main meals, but just as importantly, how to make them into snacks (perhaps salmon doesn’t make the ideal snack, but how about nuts?) also. Remember to provide yourself (your brain!) sustained, nutrient-rich fuel throughout your workdays to minimize sleepiness, fatigue, moodiness, and distractibility.