How to be fit at work 

You know how it is – you’ve had a hectic working day with long meetings, or perhaps numerous business trips, constant working in front of your PC monitor – so you haven’t had much time to think consciously about eating well.

Stress in everyday working life and unhealthy eating habits are often reasons for an imbalanced metabolism and consequently for being overweight and ill. 

Conscious nutrition is the key to success. It increases your performance and gives you long-term energy and vitality. 

But what does a good business plan for your health look like –and how can it be efficiently integrated into your hectic daily work routine?

At your best throughout the day – making it work for you

  • Start your day with a nutritious breakfast rich in the right proteins, vegetables and complex carbohydrates AKA follow your Metabolic Balance plan!
  • Avoid short-term “energy boosters” such as coffee, energy drinks and chocolate bars. If you feel you really need a snack, choose wholesome snacks such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and yoghurt.
  • Drink regular pure water to maintain your concentration.
  • During your lunch break, choose a lunch that will supply sustaining rich nutrients and fibre. (Your Metabolic Balance plan can again help you here!). Remember white bread sandwiches, pies, sausage and chips are a recipe for low performance and feeling sluggish throughout the afternoon.
  • Wholemeal breads such as rye bread with cheese, raw vegetables and fruit are ideal for your business trip. They can be prepared without effort and packed safely for transport.
  • Eat your lunch mindfully and not working at your desk. It's ok to take time to nourish yourself and then get back to work. In this way you're far more likely to be productive and ultimately get so much more done! 
  • In our world, it is inevitable that we have some form of stress on a daily basis. So even if stress cannot always be avoided, be gentle with yourself and listen to your body. Frequent low energy, irritability, sleep disorders, nervousness and physical complaints such as dizziness, high blood pressure, stomach and bowel complaints and back pain are warning signs that your stress may be getting too much.
  • Possible ways to achieve more tranquility and balance can be regular walks, reading and taking part in physical activity or sports.
  • Relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation can have wonderful effects to help reduce inner restlessness, tension and anxiety. This is where, during a guided mediation, each muscle is mindfully relaxed in turn. 
  • Regular meditation has proven beneficial effects on stress and whole body health
  • Take a break in the office regularly. Simply walking and standing at an open window can help calm and restore balance. Take a walk during your lunch break. Look for easy ways to get regular exercise when at work such as taking the stairs instead of the lift or doing simple short stretching exercises at your desk.

Well supplied – even on the road

Regular business travellers and commuters regularly spend hours sitting in a car, train or plane. Eating a healthy diet is a real challenge when you’re faced by travel stress like this. The solution? Lunch boxes in which you can take complete meals with you.

You often don’t have enough time for a relaxed meal, and what’s on offer en route can be overpriced and unbalanced. If you're not prepared, it's easy to quickly slip back into old patterns, eat on the go without thinking and revert back to poor quality fast food.

A much better alternative is to provide yourself with fresh and balanced food on your travels! Yes, it takes time and preparation. But feeling good and energised instead of drained and exhausted, makes the extra effort so worthwhile. 

Invest in a attractive lunch box so you can easily take your food with you. For example, the Bento box has a long tradition in Japan. Historians tell us that a thousand years ago, bamboo tubes served as lunchboxes for warriors, field workers and fishermen.

To this day, these practical and elegant Bento boxes allow schoolchildren and business people to enjoy full meals away from home.

Aesthetically-designed and superbly practical – the Japanese lunchbox

  • In the Bento box, you can store different types of food next to each other with the help of removable partitions and inner containers, enabling you to put your meal together individually.
  • There are no limits to creativity – and in many designs there is also space for cutlery at the edge of the box.
  • Bento boxes are available in many different designs.

Important! How to recognise stress.

When you are in the midst of ongoing high stress, it's so easy to become overwhelmed. Often we feel we just have to keep going when what we actually need to do is to take a breath, slow down and look for after ourselves. 

Over time, excessive demands like chronic stress can have serious implications for your long term health. So what happens in the body? And what are the typical warning signals?

Feeling overwhelmed, frantic, restless, anxious or threatened means that your body is on constant alert. This is an exhausting and health depleting condition.

It is now known stress can influence the development of many diseases in the body such as cancer, heart disease and cognitive decline. If we are constantly under stress, many body systems run at full speed (e.g. your cardiovascular, hormone and nervous systems), while others slow down one by one (intestinal activity). These different responses are triggered by the many stress hormones that are released as part of the stress response.

Typical illnesses associated with stress

Stressed people often suffer from:

  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • cardiovascular diseases (arteriosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure)
  • headaches, back pain and general body pain from tension
  • elevated blood sugar or cholesterol levels leading to metabolic conditions such as diabetes and insulin resistance
  • depression and anxiety
  • and they generally have a weakened immune system, which increases susceptibility to infections and cancer.

It is vital to recognise stress symptoms as warning signals that they are.

Possible signs of stress


  • Negative thoughts such as, “This is all going to go wrong anyway” or “I can’t do this”
  • Constant overwhelm
  • Regular negative comparison with others
  • Poor concentration
  • Forgetfulness
  • ‘Blinker’ effect
  • A feeling of emptiness or feeling numb


  • Frequent tiredness, weakness, feeling faint
  • Inability to switch off, racing mind
  • Feeling less and less rejuvenated by sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness, circulatory problems such as increased blood pressure
  • Stomach and/or intestinal problems
  • Back and/or heartburn pain
  • Sexual dysfunction or poor libido


  • Withdrawal from being social, regular feelings of isolation from those around you
  • No time for yourself or your interests and hobbies
  • No longer taking part in sports, seeing friends or family, taking a break for holidays or a day out
  • Relying heavily of coffee or sweets to keep going
  • Regular alcohol
  • Increased smoking


  • Frequent irritability, bad temper
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of indifference or having little compassion for others
  • Aggression and anger
  • Depression

It can be helpful to differentiate between stress characteristics depending on their levels. Different symptoms often appear at the same time, especially in the case of burnout.

These signs should not be ignored – burnout can lead to weeks and months of an inability to work, so it’s better to take notice of the signs early on and take action.

Targeted stress management – it can make an enormous difference

Unhealthy stress starts in the mind. So how can you change things? What helps? With targeted relaxation methods you can bring balance and satisfaction back into your life.

It's unrealistic to think we can eliminate stress from our lives. So managing stress better is always the best approach.

Remember there are also positive stress occasions where you respond – appropriately – to threats and performance requirements. The difference is, after experiencing positive stress, you’ll always come down to a calm level again.

Just how high your level of negative stress actually is depends greatly on how you assess the situation and your strategies for coping with it. Stress is the result of our interpretation of a situtation and how we then respond to it.

Once we become aware of where the stresses are and what our response to a situation is, we then have an opprtunity to actively influence it and make positive changes.

Even short breaks can have a relaxing effect, e.g. walking, being creative such as drawing or painting, listening to music, playing a musical instrument, reading and physical activity. The only important thing is that you don’t see the hobby as a “task” to be done as well. It's often too easy to turn it into another thing you have to do. This is very common when we’re living in high stress world. 

Be targeted with your relaxation but most of all make it something you actually want to do. 

Our tips – relaxation methods for everyday life

Relaxation exercises have a targeted effect and are easy to use. They help to reduce inner restlessness, tension and fears and to bring about conscious relaxation, step-by-step.

Mindfulness exercises: You are mindful when you are aware of all the things in and around you that have no real value for you. This increases your ability to consciously differentiate yourself from requirements, e.g. to politely say “no” or to postpone a task until later. Mindfulness leads to more self-determination in life and consequently to less stress and feelings of powerlessness.

One recognised method, for example, is mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), developed by the American molecular biologist Jon Kabat–Zinn. It is based on Buddhist roots, but is also detached from religious faiths. For example, you concentrate on breathing and on individual muscle movements associated with it, such as lifting and lowering the abdominal wall. Meditation also helps you to become more attentive in everyday life.

Autogenous training – during autogenic training, you relax your psyche first (“autogenic”) and consequently your body automatically. A group leader, a CD recording or you yourself in thoughts say formulas and sentences that suggest certain feelings. For instance – “My right arm is heavy” or “My right arm is pleasantly warm”. In this way, you go step-by-step through your whole body. With regular practice, the suggestions reach your unconscious, are converted into nerve impulses of the vegetative nervous system and influence body functions such as heartbeat, respiration, stomach-intestine activity, the blood circulation of muscles & skin and heat balance.

Progressive muscle relaxation – with this method you first relax the body and then the psyche. You go step-by-step through your body and tighten specific muscle parts, hold the tension for a few seconds, let go when you exhale and then let the relaxation take effect for up to 60 seconds.

There are, of course, many other relaxation procedures such as

  • breathing therapy
  • biofeedback
  • Feldenkrais
  • yoga and 
  • qigong

Tips – find out what suits you best – and then incorporate a daily exercise into your everyday life.

Eat delicious and healthy food – especially in the office!

Fast food in front of your monitor –  is this you? During your hectic working day, healthy meals and healthy eating habits are often neglected. What are the alternatives? 

Who hasn’t done this at some time? You read the newspaper or check you messages during breakfast, eat a quick snack while walking or hastily devour lunch in front of your computer – sometimes there is simply no time for a conscious healthy meal in your everyday life.

In the long run, however, such habits can be harmful. Scientists have shown that diet, exercise and stress behaviour signficantly influence each other. How we eat and what we eat therefore has a massive effect on the stressful life of our body – this is why we should get used to healthy nutrition rituals.

Under stress – more nutrient rich foods are needed for the body

When we are under pressure, we often eat foods that are rich in sugar and fat, like fast foods, sandwiches and ready-made meals – and this is just not good! 

Stress results in our bodies having an increased need for essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals – and this need is not met by unhealthy eating choices. That’s why it’s important to supply the body with healthy, nutrient-rich foods, especially at work.

Tips for your day-to-day work:

  • Eat enough polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in rapeseed, walnut, hemp and linseed oil, for example, and also in fatty fish like mackerel, salmon and tuna. Omega-6 fatty acids are found abundantly in vegetable oils such as soya, maize germ, wheat germ and safflower oils.
  • An excellent supply of vitamins B, C and E is also very important. The main vitamin B rich foods include legumes, animal products and cereals. A meal of tasty chicken and lamb’s lettuce as a side dish, for example, would be ideal. Vitamin C is found in fruits such as oranges, strawberries and kiwis, but also in vegetables such as broccoli and paprika. For example, Vitamin E is found in avocado, nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts, dark green leafy vegetables, brown rice, wheat germ, and oils like olive, rapeseed oil and sunflower oil.
  • Alkaline foods maintain the acid-alkaline balance of your body. If it is over-acidified, we feel tired, deflated and have difficulty concentrating. Acidifiers include meat, coffee and fast food. Try including several portions of fruit and vegetables every day. For example, make it a habit to eat a salad with sprouts, shoots and herbs at lunchtime. In contrast to rice and noodles, potatoes are alkali-forming and will satisfy your hunger.
  • Avoid a hectic lunch in front of your monitor, instead, plan enough time for your meals. It’s worth it, because you will work more effectively if you have the time to relax and enjoy.

Within days you’ll quickly notice what a difference healthy nutrition makes in your everyday working life – just try it out!

Fine tuning your performance

Quality of life and performance are closely related. When everyday demands rob us of so much energy that enjoyable activities are no longer fun, that’s a sign that we urgently need to change something. But how can we succeed in this?

When it comes to optimising performance, many of us believe we have to function even faster and more effectively. We at Metabolic Balance have a different definition of peak performance: we believe it means using your own energy balance in a healthy way for the daily tasks you have to perform. If you always put yourself under pressure and ignore your fundamental needs, this will only lead to negative stress, excessive demands and, in the worst scenario, to burnout and ill health.

Healthy performance can only be achieved through pleasant and enjoyable habits, like healthy social interaction, the right physical activity for you and a healthy diet.

Tips for more energy in your everyday life

Create "islands of peace" for yourself: Sometimes just five minutes of consciously letting go is enough to regain your balance during the hectic daily routine. Build your peachful oasis firmly into your everyday routine, e.g. as a meditation, journeys of thought, as a short nap or a walk in nature. When the opportunity arises, you can use specific methods to cope with stress, such as progressive muscle relaxation or autogenic training.

Move around in the fresh air – the combination of movement and oxygen will recharge your depleted batteries. Gentle movement and physical exercises are ideal. A daily walk in the fresh air also balances work and psychological stress. Do you notice how your mood lifts? The more regularly you move outdoors, the less drained you will feel at your desk.

Tip:  Enjoy a walk in the morning and start the day in a great frame of mind!

Eat a healthy diet – the right diet is the basis for health and performance, because it directly affects our brain and our ability to think and concentrate. Being balanced in all you do, can really promote mental fitness.

For example, in the Okinawa region of Japan, there are relatively more centenarians than anywhere else in the world. In addition to their healthy diet, they have a golden rule: “Only eat until your stomach is 80 percent full!” The conclusion? Those who eat consciously and don’t go over the top will be rewarded with more vitality and performance into old age.

Your personal path to a work-life balance

Having a life in balance ensures we can get the best for ourselves and our families at both work and home. And getting the balance doesn’t have to be difficult! 

We are more than our work. Whilst many people love their jobs, unfortunately not everyone can say this so making work the main focus of your life can lead you into the stress and burnout trap.

A healthy balance between work and home life is a fine art that we never stop learning. Sometimes we do need to focus on work more than home and vice versa. But keeping an eye on overall balance is one of the keys to success.

How this can work? 

Take your work-life balance into your own hands in small achieveable steps

  • Check your career goals: What motivates you and what are your goals? Do you want more professional success, social recognition, maybe a higher income? Is it more independence and job satisfaction that motivates you? If you answer these questions honestly, you can then set the right priorities.
  • Take a close look at your current activity: Is your job still the right one? Was it never the right job, or have the circumstances changed? Do you enjoy your work? Meeting your own needs doesn’t have to take place exclusively in your private life. If possible, look for the positive in your work! To drag yourself into the office every morning with negative feelings will create a negative stress for you in the long run. Is there perhaps a training opportunity for you or a job change that would suit you better?
  • Take a break for a few minutes and celebrate your own achievements: Have you completed a task and reached a milestone recently? Then it’s time – and important – to recognise and appreciate your own performance. Sit back and take a deep breath. Think again about the activity you just finished – and then say goodbye to it with a long exhalation. Now you can turn your attention to the next task.
  • Don’t always stay late in your office or workplace on normal working days: Spending the evening relaxing with your family or friends or devoting yourself to other things that you enjoy is an excellent way to bring balance back.
  • Take good care of yourself at work too: A small break at an open window works wonders! And a short walk is great at lunchtime. Stretching exercises are ideal for forgetting your workplace from time to time – and they even work well when you’re sitting down.
  • Enjoy your lunch – best of all without pressure and hustle & bustle. For example, avoid eating mindlessly at your desk in front of your monitor.
  • Take a breath! Stress and overload situations are part of everyday working life, but you can make it much better by saying to yourself, “When this is finished, I’m going to get my balance back!” It’s very important that you implement your relaxation plan immediately after the stressful situation has passed. If it's ongoing then it's even more important to take a breath daily with little destressing habits.

Practical exercises for more balance

Work-life balance is achieved with small steps and healthy rituals. Physical exercises are a great way to bring your system back into balance – even in the midst of everyday life. Here are our exercises for inner and outer balance.

Your inner balance will be more easily restored if you show an externally-balanced, erect body to the world. Even the simplest exercises can achieve a better sense of balance. And the best about this? These exercises work without tools and almost anywhere.

The gentle one-leg stand

The perfect exercise for the bus stop! Use the waiting time for a short workout. Repeat the exercise as often as desired.

  • Stand up straight and fix your eyes on a point a few yards away. Both feet are hip-width apart and have solid contact to the ground.
  • Shift the weight to the right leg and tighten the muscles in your buttocks and thighs just a little.
  • Raise your left leg slightly. Keep your big toe on the ground to help with your balance if needed.
  • Hold this position, keeping your focus, for a minute or two before gently replacing your foot down.
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Be careful and keep a chair close at hand or stand by a wall as a support if needed.

The advanced one-leg stand!

This exercise makes you flexible and relaxed, and promotes a good posture and concentration. The best time to practice is in the morning and/or evening.

  • Stand up straight.
  • Place the toes and ball of your left foot on the instep of your right foot. The heel of the left foot points upwards. Do not support the heel on the shinbone.
  • Bring your fingertips together in front of your chest or place your hands on each other as if in prayer.
  • Now slowly stretch your arms upwards in front of your face. First place your wrists on your head and then move your arms into the vertical position. Pull them up as high as you can without getting any tweaks of pain.
  • Try to maintain your balance in this position for about one minute. Breathe in and out deeply and calmly through your nose.
  • When you feel safe, close your eyes briefly.
  • Now repeat this exercise with the other leg. Do it three times with each leg. In between repeats, loosen your leg muscles and relax.

Purpose instead of burnout – how does that work?

Stress, too much work or too little: many people find their work unsatisfactory. Of course, there’s no such thing as the perfect job – but when we feel increasingly burnt out and burdened under our heavy load, it’s time for the crucial question: “Are we (still) in the right job?”

Maybe this sounds familiar ... We do something that fulfils us inside. We are motivated because we’re doing something valuable. We’re good at it, and it gives us pleasure. And the amazing thing is, we don’t feel any undue effort doing it. On the contrary, we develop the strongest inner strengths, creativity and commitment. That’s a calling, a vocation. On the other hand, we feel completely different if we don’t want to do a particular task at all.

Even if we drive ourselves with sentences like “Pull yourself together” or “Everybody’s got to go through this”, in the end we feel exhausted and empty.

Being able to use your talents

As thinking and feeling people, it's natural and healthy to develop our skills and be creative. Ideally, we can bring our natural personalities with all our talents and abilities in our work. However, for many of us, this is simply not possible.

Not being fulfilled can also be accompanied by limitations in other areas of life. For example, those who decide to work freelance may have to put up with financial uncertainties. Anyone who decides on a dream job away from home must leave their familiar world behind.

What makes you feel good?

The good news is, you don’t have to turn your life upside down to get the feeling that you have a “purpose”.

  • A meaningful task does not always have to be something big or something that changes the world. Many people draw great satisfaction from inspiring recreational activities. When we pander to our creative sides – whether at work or practising a hobby – we recharge our batteries.
  • Sometimes it’s enough for us to develop our talent in one part of our job – but maybe there’s an opportunity to expand this area of responsibility? At your workplace, how could you develop in a direction where your talents are needed more? Is there any further education or training that could help you?
  • Breaks and time-outs promote creativity. It’s no wonder that good ideas often come about on walks or in the shower or when our minds are relaxed. Powering through the day leads to tunnel vision and reduces creative solutions. Take a deep breath several times a day to take a break. For example, our exercises for more balance will help you to ground yourself.
  • Integrate sensuousness into your everyday life. For example, healthy, lovingly-prepared meals can work wonders. What tastes good to you? What actually does you good? What culinary delights are waiting for you to discover them?

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