How to Keep Your Workforce Happy and Productive

mage credit: Pixabay

A happy workforce is a productive workforce, so it is in every company’s best interest to take care of their employees. Keeping your workforce happy can trigger a domino effect throughout the business, creating a culture of happiness, and making for a far more pleasant work environment for everyone. In turn, this can lead to improvements in all areas of your company. Benefits created from maintaining a happy workforce include; better customer service, increased productivity, and employees that are more likely to go the extra mile to help you meet tight deadlines, and complete projects.

Another significant benefit of keeping your employees happy is that your staff are likely to take less time off sick as a result of workplace stress, which is excellent both for your employee’s health and wellbeing and your business. It is likely that happy employees will also equal a higher rate of staff retention, meaning less time and money spent on recruitment and training.

Here are some suggestions on how to keep your employees happy in the workplace:

Provide the Right Tools for the Job

There is nothing more irritating than being given a task to do and then not being able to do it as you don’t have the correct equipment, or it isn’t working as it should. Slow computer systems and machines that are continually breaking down will not only seriously harm productivity, but will also mean frustrated staff. Without the right equipment, your staff is likely to feel undervalued. In short, if you want your team to do a great job, they need the right tools to do it with.

Safety First

As well as providing your staff with the right equipment, you also need to make sure that it is safe to use. Employees using unsafe equipment, or not following the correct safety procedures could cause serious injury to either your employees or member of the public, and be disastrous for your company. Unfortunately, sometimes a culture of cutting corners develops in companies; when a lax attitude towards safety becomes commonplace, the chances of an accident happening are obviously far more likely.

To keep everyone safe, it is essential that you get the equipment checked regularly to ensure it meets safety standards, companies such as Ranger can provide this service. You should also ensure that employees are adequately trained in health and safety procedures and how to use equipment safely.

Treat them Fairly

Treating people fairly to get a better response from them, is, of course, an obvious thing to do. However, it is surprising just how common it is for employers and managers to micromanage their employees and have unrealistic expectations of what they can get done.

Not treating your staff fairly, will have a significant impact on staff morale, and is likely to result in a higher turnover of staff. Making an effort to treat your employees with respect, courtesy, and fairness will mean that they are more likely to work harder for you, and will boost staff morale.

Contributed Post.

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress: CBD Can Help

In our modern, fast-paced world, stress is becoming a very common component in our everyday lives. It has become so common, in fact, that we no longer seem to notice stress until it has compounded into something bigger and has started affecting our health. Stress, or rather, stress hormones (a primary stress hormone like cortisol), are released into the body to trigger our “fight or flight” response. In dire situations, these hormones help elevate our energy supplies, increase the concentration of glucose in our blood, and even help our brain use glucose optimally for quicker decision making. However, long-term activation of the body’s stress system could cause a host of health problems — anxiety, depression, heart disease – to name a few.

Therefore, it is important we learn of ways to relieve ourselves of stress. Below are five simple ways to relieve stress:

1. CBD Oil

You’ve probably heard of CBD quite often this whole year. There is good reason for that. Aside from its uses in alleviating the symptoms of epilepsy, it is also being used as a natural means of reducing anxiety and a great way to relieve stress. This is because all mammals have an endocannabinoid system. This is a network of CBD receptors along our central nervous system. These receptors react to CBD by fixing imbalances, strengthening our immune system, and relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety. So a couple of drops of CBD oil every day might just be a great way to help relieve stress.

2. Meditation

If you are looking for a very cheap way of reducing stress without taking anything, meditation is the way to go. Meditation has been known to help ease stress and anxiety by focusing our attention to emptying our mind and breathing deeply. Not only will this help you relax, but it could also re-energize you to help you face the rest of your day with a bit more calm. If you find yourself stressed by too many meetings or an impending deadline, take a few minutes to center yourself, empty your mind of any thoughts, and breathe.

3. Exercise

Physical activity causes our body to release happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin. To people who have experienced what is called the “runner’s high”, this is actually the rush of endorphins released by your body as a response to running. Endorphins help our body reduce stress by helping our body overcome pain, and regulate our sleep. The stress hormone cortisol actually reduces the production of happy hormones in our body which will lead to more stress for us. Exercising would help build these hormones back up in our system.

4. Reduce caffeine

We all have a caffeine threshold. Caffeine is known to help keep us awake and give us that boost of much-needed energy, especially in the mornings when all we want is to go back to sleep. However, too much caffeine can contribute to anxiety which in turn causes stress. It could also cause heart palpitations, cold sweat, and some digestive upset when you take too much caffeine. So if you find yourself getting anxious after your second or third cup of coffee, it might be a good idea to skip that cup of joe and maybe have something with lower caffeine levels. Perhaps a nice low caffeine tea, or, dare we say, some decaf coffee?

5. Socialize

Spending time with friends and family is a great stress reliever. No matter how introverted and socially averse you are, there is always someone you prefer spending your time with. And for those of us who are extroverted, being with people is an energizing experience. Laughing and having an enjoyable time with the people you love will help you relax more, and forget about your woes. In women, spending time with family and children helps in releasing oxytocin, a natural stress reliever.

No matter your station in life, stress is unavoidable. Keeping these five tips in mind will help you in managing or maybe even relieving stress. And in turn will help you enjoy life more, avoid health issues, and even develop a healthier relationship with yourself and with your social circle.

Contributed Post. Article originally posted on

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂

3 Things That You Need To Be More Mindful Of In Life

In life, whether you realize it or not, you often live on autopilot. And it’s for this very reason that you may find that you don’t actually realize that you’re doing it. However, this can be quite dangerous. Because there are always going to be those things that prove to be a little risky in life. And these are the things that you ought to be a little more mindful of. But what are they? Let’s take a look.

Lifestyle Choices

First of all, we have your lifestyle choices. It’s easy to feel as if health problems come your way because they’re programmed to. But that may not be the case. Sometimes, the lifestyle choices we make with regards to food, exercise, and toxins, can contribute. So this is something to be more mindful of.


As a step on from, we have carelessness. Again, it’s easy to live on the conveyer belt and not overly think about our actions. Yet when we’re careless and not thinking, we’re at outmost vulnerable and at risk of harm. So it’s important to be alert and have your whits about you.

Everyday Hazards

And finally, there are those things in life that we’ve come to see as normal, yet can be very dangerous indeed. Like driving! There are so many risks and fatalities with driving, as you can see in the infographic below, that it’s important not to forget about this! So you need to be more knowledgeable on the risks and statistics, so that you’re not putting yourself or others at risk.

Infographic Design By car accident statistics

Contributed Post.

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂

Entrepreneurs: You Don’t Have To Do Everything

Entrepreneurs who have decided to quit their jobs to become their own boss tend to share a common story. They grew bored of their workplace.

For young parents, it’s often a matter of flexibility. Some companies fail to offer flexible working hours, which can impact on the relationship of families with young children and babies. As a result, launching a home-based business often feels like the best option to make a living while caring for the kids.

For others, the cumulation of frustrations drives them to quit. Whether it’s a bad boss or an unpleasant colleague, more and more individuals decide to take matters in their own hands and create a safe and welcoming job for themselves.

Regardless of the reason behind your independent career, you are likely to find yourself battling with the challenges of your solitary position. Indeed, when you launch a solo-business, you need to be smart to make it work. You can’t only focus on your expertise. You need to establish the necessary process to run your business as effectively as any other company. Ultimately, your clients expect the same level of professionalism and reliability than they would from bigger firms. While you might be tempted to spread your work across multiple fields, you should stay away from multitasking. Indeed, you’re unlikely to have the necessary skills to manage multiple business processes. Besides, you will soon run out of time if you try to do everything! Instead, you need to find effective alternatives.

The Internet is a dangerous place; you shouldn’t go alone there

If digital plays a role in your business activities – whether you’re using online storage options or interacting with your customers online –, you need to consider the safety of your IT solutions. As surprising as it might sound, many independent entrepreneurs put their business at risk by failing to introduce online safety measures. More often than not, the idea is that hackers and other cyber attacks are more likely to target large corporates. In reality, while big firms can be the victim of a hacking attack, cybercriminals prefer small businesses. Indeed, the absence of adequate protection makes them an easy target. Admittedly, it would be foolish to expect you to become an IT expert on top of your other skills. Therefore, it’s a good idea to entrust your digital protection to a specialist, either by using a software tool that does all the hard work for you or by finding an IT security consultant.

Find an IT consultant

Wait, how much tax do I owe you?

Preparing your taxes is never easy. But when you manage a business, there are many regulations, exceptions, and calculations that you may not be aware of. It’s not uncommon for small businesses to over- or underpay their taxes as a result of miscalculations or lack of knowledge. The worst thing that can happen is to get in trouble with the tax collecting organization, which is never a good thing for a small business. Instead, you should find professional expertise that you can trust in your day-to-day activities. Solo-entrepreneurs on a tight budget tend to prefer using cloud accounting software tools that let them keep track of their budget, invoices, and other financial transactions and duties in real time. Alternatively, if you don’t have any time to dedicate to the matter, you should let an accountant manage your books and your taxes.

Google Analytics is free, but I still don’t get anything from it

Collecting customer data is an essential part of your business growth. For solo-entrepreneurs, the abundance of free and cost-effective tools offer a strategic advantage, whether you need to check your web visits on Google Analytics or your keyword rank. Unfortunately, while data are easy to access, analyzing them a lot more challenging. Countless amateurs waste precious hours reviewing Analytics dashboards without being able to find pertinent information. In fact, the situation is so dire that Google decided to provide free support sessions to entrepreneurs via the Digital Garage initiative. But, the truth is that unless you’ve got time to invest in learning a new skill, one-to-one Analytics sessions are not going to be helpful. Instead, a dedicated consultant who can provide regular data reports and highlight threats and opportunities can be the best solution to encourage you to grow your business.

I’m not too sure about this strategy

Ah, designing your business strategy is not for the faint-hearted. It takes excellent data knowledge and analytical skills, which, if you haven’t invested in a data collection and interpretation solution, is going to be difficult to achieve. Many entrepreneurs fall in the trap of bad strategy approaches, which force them to accommodate conflicting factors as they occur without giving their business a chance to focus on a long-term goal. At its core, your strategy needs to serve as a response to a market challenge. As a result, you need to know and understand the problem to provide the best-suited response. Working closely with a consultant is a preferable solution.

You may be knowledgeable, but you’re only one person

The truth is that even with the best of will, you can’t tackle all the challenges of your business. Running a business is not a one-person job. You need all the support you can get to be able to stick to your professional goals. Indeed, too many new entrepreneurs get trapped in a situation where they spend the majority of their time managing their business instead of using their expertise to deliver income-generating services. There is no point in learning the skills if the cost of your doing the work in-house is too high. That’s where outsourcing can help you to maintain your market position by freeing up valuable time.

I’m ready to hire someone… but how do I do it?

Are you ready to bring a new employee on board? Hiring your first employee is one of the most difficult things you’ll have to do, especially if you lack recruitment experience. However, mistakes can prove devastating for your reputation and your finances. It’s always a good idea to hire a recruitment specialist for the task.

Know how to recruit

The image of the multitasking and hard-working entrepreneur is, unfortunately, wrong. When you are ready to launch your own business, you need to accept that you can’t manage on your own. Finding consultants to support you and outsourcing specific jobs can help you to build a profitable and sturdy business.

Contributed Post.

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂

Boosting Your Client List When Lead Generation Isn’t Enough

Your cold email trail has run cold, you’re attending every conference and event on this hemisphere, and you’re having great conversations on social media. However, your standard lead generation strategies simply aren’t enough to give you the kind of growth you want to see. Rather than giving up the ghost, here are some ways to build your client list that you might want to consider adding instead.

Photo by jackmac34

Funnel organically

Your entire lead generation and conversion process shouldn’t be interruptive, for one. You shouldn’t always be chasing; you should be waiting for those who might come to you naturally. The best way to do this is to create a brand that attracts the kind of clients you want. Write authoritative, valuable content, make sure your website is professionally appealing, and take whatever opportunities you can to build your brand. From speaking events to guest posts, don’t be afraid to shine the spotlight on yourself.

Leverage your existing clients

It’s time to get over the fear of asking your clients for more than their money alone. They could have several partners or peers in their network that could need your services, they just often fail to think of asking them. Building a referral system and even adding some incentive, such as discounts for existing clients, can be a tremendously strong source of leads. It works even better if you don’t have to ask, but build referrals naturally by leaving the offer open, but by spending more time on building customer satisfaction through support, feedback solicitation, and the like.

Go public

As with organic marketing, there are ways to work with those who are specifically looking for your services. One of the most valuable ways you may have missed is by looking for online tenders. Tenders through public sector bodies are the surest sign of a qualified client, and you don’t have to do the work of nurturing them like other leads. Not every business in every industry can make use of public sector tenders, but it’s worth seeing if it might be an applicable source of future clients. Systemise the application process and it can take a lot less work than grinding through leads naturally.

Chase past failures

What about those leads that showed interest, took a few steps down the funnel, perhaps even had a face-to-face with you but didn’t convert? Some of them may have went for a competing service, but many of them may have shied away simply because they weren’t convinced that they needed your solutions just yet. It may be time to look through the contact book for leads that never converted to pick up on past conversations. Many of them may be in a better position to convert now and you shouldn’t give them time to consider your competitors.

Depending on the type of business you run, finding referrals and looking for public sector tenders may end up becoming your primary source of leads in the future. Don’t just stick to what works for everyone else, find the approach

Contributed Post.

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂

Anxiety and the Endocannabinoid System

Anxiety is a normal coping mechanism; however, in excess, it can be detrimental. More than just a situational response, anxiety disorders are characterized by a persistent and oftentimes irrational dread of everyday situations which can interfere with daily activities.

Forty million U.S. adults are affected by an anxiety-related disorder; however, the prevalence of these disorders should not diminish their impact.

Excessive anxiety is a central symptom of several neuropsychiatric disorders including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Anxiety is a complex disorder that can develop through various factors including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.

Anxiety and Emotional Response

Anxiety is our body’s response to an emotional situation. Biologically, anxiety activates our “fight or flight” response to warn us of potential threats.

During such time, norepinephrine and cortisol flood our system to boost to perception, reflexes, and speed. These chemicals increase the heart rate, blood flow to the muscles, and air flow. With chronic anxiety, the response is never deactivated, and the physical and emotional effects of anxiety remain.

Anxiety and the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an integral role in regulating emotional response.

Specifically, the ECS supports nerve activity that determines our response to emotional or aversive events.

An Introduction to the ECS

As discussed in a previous blog, the endocannabinoid system is a biological system responsible for maintaining homeostasis. The ECS is composed of endocannabinoids, degradative enzymes, and cannabinoid receptors. Endocannabinoids such as anandamide (“the bliss molecule”) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2AG) are synthesized, or created, by our body on demand in response to an imbalance. They interact with the cannabinoid receptors to direct the body back to proper functioning.

CB1 Receptors and Anxiety

CB1 receptors, which are primarily located on nerve endings, are one of the two major cannabinoid receptors.

Studies have found the activation of the CB1 receptor produces anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects.

When discussing conditioned fear, the effect of CB1 receptor activation is complex; however, CB1 receptor activation can reduce fear and prevent the activation of existing memories from the past. Additionally, CB1 receptor activation protects against the adverse effects of chronic stress, which can lead to anxiety. For this reason, CB1 receptor activation has been studied for anxiolytic drug development.

Endocannabinoids activate the CB1 receptor; therefore, a higher level of endocannabinoids can be beneficial for those with anxiety-related disorders. Additionally, chemicals that inhibit the FAAH enzyme from breaking down anandamide increase endocannabinoid availability and are also being studied for their anxiolytic effects.

Living with Anxiety

There are many ways to manage anxiety; however, less than 40% of those with an anxiety disorder seek treatment. Still today, there is a stigma surrounding mental illness that discourages those struggling from seeking help. We can help end the stigma of mental illness by having open conversations about mental health, encouraging mental health education, and showing compassion to those with a mental illness.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an anxiety disorder, we encourage you to learn more about the disorder and the options for treatment.

Contributed Post. Article originally posted on

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂

Careers For People Who Love Sports

If you’re going to spend your time working at a job, it may as well be related to something that you love, right? Too many people disconnect their passion from their work — they think that a job is something you’re not supposed to enjoy. Of course, it can be that way, but that doesn’t mean that it should be. It’s worthwhile taking the time to find a job you love, and your passion is a good place to start looking. If your passion is sport, then read on, where we outline a few sports-related careers that any fanatic would love to have as their job.


Down the Coaching Route

OK, so there’s every chance that you won’t quite make it as a professional athlete. Even if you were far and away the best athlete in your school, the chances are still tiny! But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be involved with the best of the best. They say that those who can’t do, teach — so teach. There’s much fun and satisfaction to be had in coaching, whether it be working with youngsters trying to find their way or the top-end professionals. Give it a go: you might just find that you find your life’s work.

Keeping Up With Fitness

The great thing about sports is that it covers a wide range of activities. It’s not just professional games; it’s the individual, the gym membership, the quest to be better. If this latter point is one of the reasons why you love sports, then why not look at becoming a personal trainer? You’ll work with people to help them to achieve their fitness goals, whatever they may be. It can be a well-paying gig, but you won’t be in it for the money. The satisfaction of knowing that you helped someone become the best version of themselves will be enough.

Around the Big Games

But of course, it gets no better than the top-end, professional sports. When there’s a big game rolling around, the buzz is intoxicating: this is where people who love the excitement of sports want to be. While it’s unlikely you’ll end up on the field (though becoming an official could be one way…), there are other ways to be involved. One is to make the most of Pay Per Head 24/7 Bookmaking Services, and become a sports betting agent. Another is to become a reporter for the game, either by writing a report or making videos outside the ground.

Behind the Scenes

But let’s say you don’t want to exist on the fringes of the big game, but somewhere in the fire itself. One route is to get involved in the behind the scenes planning and organization. You might not have thought of it, but there’s much that goes into organizing a large game! You could work in logistics, hospitality, security, television, or anything else. So long as you’re to be found somewhere within the stadium on match day, you’re not going to have too many complaints.

Contributed Post.

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂

Pros & Cons Of Having A Fleet Of Vehicles For Your Small Business

Will a fleet of vehicles benefit your business? Source

Are you thinking about getting a fleet of vehicles for your business? If you run any sort of company that involves moving around to different places, then it could definitely benefit you. Delivery companies, service-based businesses – and many more – could all make use of a fleet of vehicles.

But, is this the right decision for you? To help you out, here are the pros and cons:

Pro: Expand your service

The obvious advantage of a fleet is that you can expand your service. You can send out employees to different areas of the country, and the fleet means you can service more people at one time. When you operate on your own – or only use one or two vehicles – then it restricts what you’re capable of. Having a fleet opens up new business opportunities!

Con: Risk of accidents

If you hire a fleet of vehicles, then you also get the risks that come with it. The main one revolves around auto accidents, which are more likely when you have multiple vehicles to manage. The problem is, other people can cause auto accidents which set your business back. As such, a lot of your time is devoted to fleet accident management, so you know what to do if the worst happens. By all means, you might never have to deal with this issue. But, it’s a cause for concern because the risks are greater than if you didn’t have a fleet.

Pro: Free advertising

When you get your fleet, you can put your brand logo and contact information on them. Essentially, the vehicles now have decals that advertise your business for you. So, whenever your team is driving around, they’re promoting the business for free! It’s a very smart way of finding new customers and growing your business even further.

Fleet management can be an accounting nightmare. Source

Con: Expensive to manage

Unsurprisingly, a fleet of vehicles isn’t cheap to manage. You have the initial cost of hiring the fleet, and then you have the general running costs too. Think about insurance, fuel, and then regular maintenance. All these things add up, and it can be far too expensive for some small businesses. Instead, you might be better off hiring a team and ensuring that they provide their own vehicle. You lose the advertising benefits that a fleet brings, but you cut the costs quite dramatically.

When you start weighing up the pros and cons, you realize that your small business might not be suited to hiring a fleet of vehicles. Likewise, you may feel as though the pros outweigh the cons, and it would be beneficial to have a fleet. Ultimately, it all depends on your company. If you have the money to hire and manage a fleet, then it will definitely bring lots of benefits. You can grow your business and reach more clients, which helps boost your sales figures. Over time, the increased sales can help deal with the management costs – and then some. But, if you don’t have the financial capacity to do so, then it could be better to hold off and wait until you do. Hopefully, this post has given you a deeper look at having a fleet, so you can decide if it’s worth it or not for your small business!

Contributed Post.

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂

Overtraining Syndrome Can Sabotage Performance

Authored by Brady Holmer • March 12, 2019 • 10 min read

It’s two weeks away from marathon race day. Legs should feel fresh, mind should be focused, and fitness should be at an all-time high. This is what you’ve trained for the past several months, never missing a workout. It’s time for all of the hard work, dedication to diet, and mental preparation to pay off.

But things feel off. Nailing goal workouts is difficult. Running similar times requires more effort. Fatigue is chronic despite adequate rest. Muscle soreness lingers.

Taking a week off from training doesn’t help and on race day, a personal record feels impossible. You start the race with little enthusiasm, each of the 26.2 miles spent thinking about the finish line. Rather than running a fast time, the goal becomes simply to finish. The excitement of the race is gone.

These symptoms represent a classic case of “overtraining syndrome” or OTS. OTS is something that many athletes may suffer from but may know little about.

What is Overtraining Syndrome?

Training dedication is important. But if you overtrain, you may not even make it to the start line.

Overtraining and Overtraining Syndrome Defined

Operationally, overtraining is defined as a training imbalance where stress > recovery.1When high levels of physical activity or high-intensity training are paired with inadequate rest and recovery time, performance suffers.

A separate but related condition to overtraining is known as relative energy deficiency syndrome in sport (RED-S). This syndrome results from an imbalance between dietary energy intake and expenditure. RED-S is characterized by loss of general health, proper growth, and reduced sport performance.2 Many physiological functions such as metabolism, menstrual function, bone health, immunity protein synthesis, and cardiovascular health are negatively impacted by RED-S. This syndrome may be an early precursor to full-fledged overtraining syndrome.

Short-term overtraining is reversible with a proper rest period. In overtrained athletes, a rest period of one or two weeks can reverse many symptoms and lead to a performance rebound. This distinguishes overtraining from the more severe overtraining syndrome (OTS).

Overtraining syndrome results when overtraining continues for an extended period of time; some might call it burn out.

Since OTS is more severe than overtraining, recovery time is longer. It may take a rest period of weeks or even months to reverse OTS, maybe because it’s usually coupled with other types of stress: high altitude living, training monotony, suboptimal diet, and academic, occupational, or relationship strain.

Overtraining, or Under Recovery?

For athletes, the concept of overtraining might seem odd. You understand a high training load is needed to adapt and get better (known as “supercompensation”). However, too high of a training load with too little recovery is a poor way to achieve proper gains. Recovery is when the actual training adaptations occur, not during the training session. In fact, sometimes overtraining may not even be evidence of training too much, but recovering too little.

Your Brain and Body on Overtraining

It’s well documented that mental strain can have physical impact. When the mind wears down from overtraining (or stress outside training), it can impact performance negatively.

A woman sprinting, with an illustration of a bran behind her, showing what happens when you overtrain

Negative Mood States are Higher in OTS

The mental side of training and recovery are equally important as the physical. Overtraining can have wide-ranging effects on mental health and motivation, which can negatively impact day-to-day training and performance in competition.

One of the early signs of overtraining might be large emotional swings accompanied by more negative thoughts than normal. Mood changes likely occur due to alterations in endocrine hormones and changes in the nervous system.

Ultramarathoner and HVMN Athlete, Jeff Browning, has been there. He says there are a lot of puzzle pieces to running 100 miles and the mind is a big piece.

“I don’t let negative talk take root. I’ve learned to slay mental dragons by constantly switching to positive speak. That’ll give you an improvement in performance.”Jeff Browning

Overtrained athletes exhibit higher levels of negative moods like tension, depression, anger, fatigue, and confusion. They also have lower levels of positive mood states such as vigor and motivation during training.3 One study observed that in a group of athletes suffering from chronic fatigue, 80% had levels of clinically significant depression.

Overtraining may also cause feelings of edginess with symptoms of insomnia, lack of appetite, restlessness, and sleep disturbances. This may seem counterintuitive, since overtraining is usually associated with chronic fatigue, but it likely results from a “hyper-aroused” state. A constant, high release of stress hormones characterizes sympathetic overactivity; this is one reason an elevated resting heart rate is observed in overtrained athletes.

Neuroendocrine Dysfunction

The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPA) regulates a majority of our body’s hormonal system. As part of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), it helps respond and adapt to challenges by releasing stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline: think “fight or flight.”

Proper coordinated function of the hormonal and nervous system is critical for athletic performance, helping prepare the body for high-intensity exercise and competition by increasing heart rate and blood pressure and releasing catecholamines (hormones produced by the adrenal glands).

Overtraining syndrome causes central nervous system dysfunction; while release of stress hormones might remain high, their ability to cause the proper response in target organs is diminished. Hormones responding to exercise or low blood sugar are rendered ineffective.4,5

This is the “autonomic imbalance” hypothesis of overtraining. Sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system dysfunction and insensitivity to stress hormones results in impaired performance during racing and training.6 Overtrained athletes have a harder time performing. This suggests chronic fatigue can have effects in the brain as well as the body.

High-intensity, high-volume training may also result in reduced cognitive processing speed.7 For sports and race situations requiring decision making and composure, this is dangerous.

Heart Rate Variability as a Biomarker for Overtraining

A popular biomarker for athletes to indicate recovery status, heart rate variability (HRV) might be useful to detect potential overtraining. The applications of HRV are discussed at length in a recent HVMN podcast episode: “What You Can Learn From Heart Rate Variability” ft. Jason Moore.

HRV is a measure of the variability in the time between heartbeats (the beat to beat interval) and reflects autonomic nervous system balance–the balance of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system activity. Increased HRV generally indicates a good balance, whereas a reduced HRV may indicate a shift towards greater sympathetic activity due to chronic stress and overtraining.

Along with an elevated resting heart rate, lower HRV is found in athletes who are overtrained.8 This could indicate nervous system imbalances as a result of overtraining/under recovery. Regardless, the underlying problem is too much stress.

Effects on Mental Health

A daily self assessment of mood and well-being might be able to point out a possibility of overtraining or a path toward OTS. Athletes know their bodies well, and a simple mood check-in might be a quick way to assess recovery status.

Feeling a bit off during a workout? Less motivated to train? Recognizing changes in mental state during training can indicate when to dial back the intensity or take extra recovery time.

How Overtraining Influences Performance

A heads-down training approach is something to be admired, and it’s a way many athletes train in hopes of better performance on race day. But it’s a thin line. Overtraining, and not allowing enough recovery time, can actually impair performance.

Training, Racing, and OTS

While no true biomarkers for overtraining exist, one sure sign of overtraining is “an inability to sustain intense exercise and/or a decrease in sport-specific performance.”9

In other words…you’ll suck on race day.

In the short and long term, a state of overtraining in endurance athletes has been shown to decrease time to fatigue by 27%, reduce power output by 5.4%, and increase trial time by 9.8%10,11–it kills performance measures

Along with reducing performance and work output, overtraining increases the effort required to sustain the same level of intensity: running at the same speed feels harder, lifting a lighter weight seems more difficult.

Athletes report a higher rating of perceived exertion (RPE) for the same workload when they are overtrained versus well-rested.12

While endurance athletes are often the subject of overtraining talk, it is important to realize that no athlete is immune. Overtraining syndrome has been observed in endurance athletes, strength athletes, and elite judo athletes.13,14,15

The Immune System Suffers in Overtrained Athletes

Of all the things athletes want to prevent, arriving at the starting line sick or losing training time due to illness are high on the list.

Overtraining severely impairs immune system function, leading to increased risk of illness and infection.16 Being around group of teammates or training partners in gyms, sporting facilities, and public venues only increases this risk by exposing athletes to more pathogens and infectious bacteria.

Depressed immune function and higher rate of infection are consistent findings in studies of overtrained athletes. In particular, athletes training at high volumes seem especially prone to upper respiratory tract infection (URTI),17 a viral infection of the nose, throat, and airways.

The immune system is less able to fight pathogens during overtraining16 due to a lower number of immune cells fighting bacteria. Even the most elite athletes are at risk. Olympic athletes classified as chronically fatigued are shown to have higher levels of infections leading up to the games,18 a period where they are undergoing strenuous training.

Recovery and nutrition strategies targeted at improving immune function may prevent illness during overtraining. Increasing dietary carbohydrate and intake of certain polyphenols (plant micronutrients) are effective in supporting sport19 performance and anti-viral capacity of athletes.

A female runner with her hands on her head, resting after a difficult training session

Preventing and Treating Overtraining Syndrome

Taking adequate recovery time to bounce back from overtraining presents a major setback, so preventing overtraining should be one of every athlete’s goals.

However, if you’re feeling overtrained or suffering symptoms of OTS, the first step is to immediately reduce training volume. This might involve low-intensity training or active recovery. In some cases, an extreme amount of rest may be necessary to prevent full-fledged overtraining syndrome from developing.

Below are some strategies to optimize recovery, prevent the onset of overtraining syndrome, and treat symptoms if you find yourself in an overtraining rut.

A male cyclists making a turn on the road, showing how to prevent overtraining.

A Well-Planned Training Program is the Key to Success

The best way to prevent overtraining is to stick to a well designed training program. Athletes in all sports tend to overperform on the easy days and underperform on the hard days.20 Don’t make this mistake

Having a coach or a training partner to provide accountability and support throughout training can be helpful here. A support system can also keep you accountable if you need a few days off. Training partners can encourage the need to rest and remind you bigger things are down the road.

The Importance of Getting Enough Zs

The scientific literature is consistent: the body needs sleep. Inadequate sleep negatively affects areas of performance such as memory and attention, injury risk, speed, and endurance.21 Sleep is often sacrificed by athletes in favor of training or other lifestyle demands, such as travel, competition schedules and work.

Overtraining is associated with sleep disturbances.22 Athletes should pay extra attention to sleep time and sleep quality, following some key strategies to enhance sleep hygiene and promote optimal recovery.

Increase sleep duration by getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night (recommended for all adults).

Athletes may need even more sleep due to higher training volumes, as it’s necessary to restore mental and physical functions.

Research indicates that sleep extension improves several measure of performance in athletes.23

Sleep can treat overtraining symptoms too, and is perhaps the best recovery tool available to athletes. Take a few rest days and focus on sleep if you find yourself experiencing training fatigue.

It can help to optimize sleep environment with a cool, dark room, free of electronics and artificial light–all are shown to increase sleep quality. Adding a nutritional supplement such as Yawn from HVMN into to a sleep routine can further promote high-quality sleep. Ingredients like magnesium glycinate, L-glycine, and L-theanine promote sleep and enhance the recovery process in athletes who may need help getting some proper shut-eye.24

Fuel for Success

Optimal performance and recovery require proper fueling at every stage of training. Inadequate carbohydrate and protein intake, in addition to long term negative energy balance, impair recovery and lead to symptoms of overtraining. Even with proper planning, studies show that many athletes fail to meet a sufficient calorie intake to maintain energy balance25 and might suffer from vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.

Protein is vital for tissue restoration, muscle building, immune function, and recovery from hard training sessions. Athletes in training need more protein to support training and recovery needs. Increased protein intake can also prevent unintended loss of weight in the form of lean muscle mass.

Up to 1.7g/kg of bodyweight in protein should be consumed for athletes in a variety of disciplines such as endurance and strength training to prevent muscle breakdown and support immune system function.

Adequate intake of carbohydrates to support training intensity and promote recovery is another important factor in preventing overtraining. While low-carbohydrate diets may have a place in some programs, sufficient intake of carbohydrate to support high-volume and high-intensity training in athletes is recommended.

Studies provide evidence that less adaptation to training occurs in glycogen-depleted endurance athletes, and that symptoms of overtraining can be prevented by a high carbohydrate intake during times of high training load. Athletes consuming a high carbohydrate diet containing 8.5 g/kg of carbohydrate during a period of high training maintained better performance and mood compared to a group consuming a lower carbohydrate diet containing 5.4 g/kg throughout the same training program.26

What if you are feeling overtrained, sluggish, or in a slump? Try to eat yourself out of overtraining by increasing your calorie intake, consuming high-quality protein sources, and eating foods rich in a variety of nutrients. Energy insufficiency is often a cause of overtraining, and giving your body what it needs can get you back to training.

Track Biomarkers

Staying in touch with yourself on a day-to-day basis will let you become aware when things seem off. Take a daily mood assessment before and after training. Is your attitude or willingness to train more negative than usual?

As discussed above, heart rate variability (HRV) tracking can also let you know if you’re overtraining. Getting your blood work done to test for possible endocrine or metabolic imbalances may be a more in-depth but worthwhile assessment of training status.

Could Ketone Esters Help Prevent Overtraining?

Recently, an increasing number of athletes are experimenting with the ketogenic diet and exogenous ketones (such as HVMN Ketone) as tools to enhance endurance sport performance and recovery. Strategic use might help athletes avoid overtraining, but there is still a lot of work to be done to understand their full potential.

Early studies suggest that ketone esters might accelerate muscle replenishment.

For example, athletes who added beta-hydroxybutyrate or BHB (the ketone ester present in HVMN Ketone) to a post-workout meal, set themselves up for enhanced muscle protein synthesis, indicated by increased signaling of the growth regulator mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1).27

Another possible application for ketone esters is to help the body store carbohydrate in the muscles as glycogen. Replenishment of muscle glycogen was accelerated following ketone ester supplementation when coupled with in IV infusion of glucose.28 The jury is still out here, as another research group didn’t see the same effect on glycogen when the ketone ester was taken with a post-workout shake.27 Because of the powerful effect of ketones on the body, it’s certainly likely that adding ketone drinks to regular nutrition could boost muscle recovery.

Overtraining is a Delicate Balance

Like rain clouds in the distance, overtraining threatens any athlete in a hard training block. Dedication and overuse is a thin, looming line that many athletes don’t realize they cross until it’s too late. For many athletes, it’s probably easier to push harder than pull back.

But perspective is necessary. If you’re worried about overtraining, speak to a coach or friend and hold yourself accountable to get necessary recovery time. Learn to listen to your body for whispers of overtraining. It’s a complex scenario involving mental health, nervous system function, and physical symptoms that decrease performance in the short and long term.

Importantly–don’t beat yourself up about it. A black hole of overtraining can be a dark and lonely place, so getting help is one of the best ways to treat OTS. Be patient, recover properly, know it’s a process and take the necessary steps to try and prevent overtraining before it’s too late.

Contributed Post.

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂

You Are Not Alone: Empty Nest Syndrome Is Common. Here’s How to Cope.

Posted by Silvernest Team on May 9, 2019 11:24:51 AM


Image credit: Rebecca Siegel on Flickr

Well, here you are: The last kiddo has left home and you’re feeling pretty blue. Maybe you’re worrying all the time. You’re probably a little lonesome (or a lot). You may feel like it, but you are not alone.

The Empty Nest Is Actually Full—of Emotions

According to, empty nesters may experience insomnia, anxiety and/or panic—as well as feelings of extreme grief, isolation/loneliness, guilt and purposelessness. They may even lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Psychology Today notes that “…parents often struggle with a profound sense of loss, not just because they miss their child, but because their very identities have been significantly impacted.” In other words, if your parenting role has changed so dramatically, who are you?

In two-parent families, empty nest syndrome is at least a team experience—one partner can offer support and empathy when the other is struggling. For divorced, widowed or single parents, however, there may unfortunately be an even greater sense of isolation and loneliness.

If you are struggling with empty nest syndrome, the good news is you are not alone. Most parents experience at least some of these feelings in varying degrees. Here are five suggestions for coping with empty nest syndrome and finding your groove again.

Five Ways to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome

1. Participate in Activities That Include Others.

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, we all need friends. If you’re already involved in a community group, don’t stop now! If you’ve been too busy, go ahead and sign up for those art classes, start a band, look into university extension programs, or join a new class at the gym. The excitement and energy of taking up a new hobby or learning something new is a real balm for feelings of loss, and being around other people can help stave off social isolation.

See real Silvernest stories

2. Find New Ways to Feel Valued and Needed.

One of the rewards of parenting is the feeling of being important to another person. While nothing will ever replace the love between a parent and child, you can find some fulfillment in helping others. Look for a volunteer organization that aligns with your values and sign up! Offer to read books at a nearby school, or hold babies in the NICU at your local hospital. Sign up to work at a local food bank or community garden. Or use your skills to help others—knit blankets for hospital patients, teach home repair skills… the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

3. Embrace a New Adventure.

If your time and budget allow it, why not enjoy all that traveling you put off during the busy parenting years? Some empty nesters even decide to sell their homes and travel full-time! While that might not be the right choice for you, having a trip to plan and look forward to (and then enjoy) can be very therapeutic.

4. Embark On an Encore Career.

If you’ve reached retirement age, becoming an empty nester might inspire you to re-enter the working worldEncore careers can take on many forms — a coaching or consultative role in your former industry, professionalizing one of your skills (such as giving art lessons), or even joining the staff at a nonprofit. These “second-act” jobs can be a great way to recharge your spirits, stay engaged and extend your retirement income.

5. Discover the Benefits of Homesharing.

Sometimes an empty nest means you’ve got unused space in your home. Homesharing offers a wonderful way to put that space to work and have some company around the house. In homesharing, your renter (or “housemate” pays rent or does household chores (or a combination of the two) in exchange for living space.

Some homeowners find housemates by asking around among friends and neighbors, or by advertising in the community, online or on social media. Silvernest uses unique roommate-matching technology and other tools to make homesharing simple and worry-free. We’ve helped build happy homesharing agreements between people of similar ages or across generations.

There’s Hope Ahead.

Those “empty nest” feelings are normal and natural. While you’ll always miss having your kids around, the most intense emotions usually ease with time. However, if you find yourself too depressed or anxious to fully participate in your life as you once did, please seek out professional support. A trained therapist or, if need be, psychiatrist can help you work your way through this transition to a brighter future.

Contributed Post.

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂