Professional Women and Insomnia

insomniaDo you have trouble falling asleep? Staying asleep? Going back to sleep? If you’ve ever discussed your insomnia with friends and noticed that most of them are women, it’s not a coincidence: Unfortunately, women are more likely than men to face insomnia for several reasons: hormonal fluctuations due to menstrual cycles (and then menopause), discomfort from pregnancy, and medical conditions that are more common in women, such as depression and anxiety, fibromyalgia, and restless leg syndrome. (Is it also because women bear more emotional labor and more often act as the default parent? I’m no doctor, but I feel like this must play a part…) If you’re dealing with insomnia, what have you tried that’s worked, and what hasn’t? How long have you been struggling?

This infographic from the National Sleep Foundation shares the basics of insomnia: it involves difficulty falling asleep, returning to sleep, or staying asleep; affects about 40 million Americans every year; and is considered chronic insomnia when it happens at least three nights a week for at least three months. (Acute insomnia commonly occurs because of temporary stress and usually goes away without treatment.) According to the Mayo Clinic, causes of insomnia include stress and anxiety; medical conditions (such as chronic pain and overactive thyroid); life changes (such as travel or altered work shifts); bad sleep habits (such as using your bed for things other than sleep and sex); certain medications (such as some antidepressants and antihistamines); caffeine, smoking, or alcohol; and eating too much before going to bed.

Besides following helpful sleep habits and improving your overall health — as these tips from the Mayo Clinic and WebMD detail — you can also try these home remedies for insomnia:   [Read more…]

6 Things to Have on Hand When You’re Sick at Work

6 Things to Have on Hand When You're Sick at WorkWe all know we shouldn’t go to work when we’re sick. But whether you’re a presidential candidate or have a more typical career, most of us do it anyway. (Note: Here I’m referring to the average Corporette reader with full-time benefits; the millions of Americans without paid sick leave don’t have much choice about whether to stay home and rest.) Maybe you have a conference or special event to attend, a big scheduled presentation to give, or a meeting to lead, and you just can’t avoid being sick at work. We haven’t talked about tips for going to work while ill in quite a while, so we thought it was time to revisit. (Disclaimer: Of course, please don’t take this post as medical advice.)

In the past we’ve also talked about shaking hands when you’re sick, what to do when you think you’re coming down with a cold and ways to get over a coldhow to deal with many medical appointments, and how to explain an embarrassing illness.

First of all, here’s some information from an actual doctor on determining whether you’re too sick for the office. But if you need to go in no matter what, here are six things that can help you handle being sick at work (besides the age-old advice our mothers have given us since we were kids):

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Energy Foods for Work

Energy Foods for Work | CorporetteLet’s face it, ladies: no one wants to get hangry at work — and long workdays are only made worse by sugar crashes.  So a working woman’s gotta eat smart during the workdayBut what are the best foods to maintain your energy during a long day at work? Which are YOUR favorites to keep your mind and body fueled properly?  

Good strategies to follow for maintaining your energy at work are eating frequently (no skipping meals!) to keep your blood sugar at the proper level, choosing protein-rich foods and complex carbohydrates, and drinking enough water. Wise choices include nuts and nut butters, eggs, yogurt, oatmeal and other whole grains, fruits and veggies, and high-protein salads. In general below, we’ll focus on choices that are healthier than grabbing some chips from the vending machine or chocolate from the communal candy jar; eating a lot of fat and/or sugar will actually make you more tired in the long run — but if you have any high-energy favorites from the vending machine or local bodega, we’d love to hear em!

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Lunch Workouts: How to Fit Them Into Your Workday

Lunch Workouts: How to Fit Them Into Your Day | CorporetteLunch workouts: are you able to fit them into your workday? What are your best tips and tricks for exercising during your lunch break? I’ve blogged before about some of the quickest workouts you can do at work, as well as some of the best workout DVDs you can even do in an office — but we haven’t talked about this in far too long, so let’s discuss.

Lift weights. Cardio is great for getting out anxiety, but strength training plays an important part in burning calories, setting your metabolism, and keeping your body and bones strong — and a plus for weights is that you don’t necessarily sweat a ton while doing them, making for an ideal midday workout. Another option if weights aren’t your thing: look for a studio class like barre, yoga (not bikram!) or Pilates.

Make it easy to freshen up. Get over the idea that you need a full shower — dry shampoo and baby wipes can go a long way after lunch workouts. Here a few things to try instead of a real shower, depending on how sweaty you get and what’s important to you to clean:

  • If you really want your body clean, but are OK with dry shampoo on your hair: wear a shower cap so your hair stays dry in the shower.
  • If you’re okay with just wiping down your body with baby wipes (or post-workout wipes like these) but want your face clean: wash your face.
  • If you have bangs (or other parts of your hair) that look horrible after the gym, consider just washing them, either in the sink or shower, and leaving the rest of your hair tucked into a shower cap.

Move your “lunch” break. When I worked in an office, I often worked until 8 PM or even 10 PM. Work permitting, I found that a great time to go to the gym was 4:00 or later. You can come back to the office just as your support staff is leaving and meetings are winding down, which means you can switch from weekday clothes to to evening/weekend workwear, i.e., comfy clothes. Know your office, but I think wet hair in a bun or clip would be more accepted at most offices after 5PM than right after lunch.

Keep it simple. If you’re trying to move more or start a fitness regimen, remember that exercising doesn’t always have to mean a SoulCycle class or CrossFit session — going for a 20-minute walk at lunch or a coffee break is a great way to get started with lunch workouts.

Ladies, how do you fit exercise into your workday? Are you a fan of workouts in the mornings, evenings, or afternoons? How do you commit to lunch workouts?


“I’m Exhausted” — How to Investigate When You Have No Energy (An Open Thread)

exhausted-no-energySomething I hear more and more these days is that people are exhausted and have no energy.  You can say what you want about information overload, device mania, etc — to say nothing for those of us with small kids, where it’s generally accepted that exhaustion is par for the course — but the fact is that for some people, there are actually things that medicine can do to help.  But even when you admit to yourself that it’s time to seek help, there are a million different routes to go down — and for friends I’ve seen seek help, it seems like doctors often need to be convinced there’s a medically-related problem. I thought it might be helpful to have a discussion for those of you who’ve gone down the huge topic that is energy and exhaustion — what did you research, what tests did you take, what doctors did you see?  Did you find resolution? How did you function at work and in life in the meantime?

For example, I know any of these could be possible answers to a constant exhaustion: [Read more…]

Career Hiccups

career-hiccupsI’ve gotten a few requests lately to address “career hiccups” — how to deal with failing the bar, being awkward with coworkers, making a huge mistake — and I think this is a great question. So: let’s discuss.

For my $.02, I think that YOU are the biggest hurdle to get over after a career hiccup. You can say the right thing in the moment and after the fact, and coworkers either accept you or they don’t — but until you forgive yourself you’ll never be at the top of your game again. I remember a time in my career when I started a list of all the screw-ups I’d made, slight or otherwise. As in, an Excel spreadsheet (because that’s how I roll). And you can sit there and say, objectively, “Kat, that is crazy,” but in the moment it made perfect sense to me. Let’s remember everything I ever did wrong, in a sort-able chart! (Let’s just say this idea didn’t work out for the best.)

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