In Full Swing: Can CBD Help to Improve Your Productivity?
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has influenced many aspects of our day-to-day lives, including the way we work. Millions of people worldwide transitioned from office work to working from the comfort of their bedrooms, kitchen tables – or wherever is convenient to set their computers up and get the job done.
While the allure of remote working is powerful, it also comes with its challenges. In fact, research shows that employees who spend more days working at home are more likely to experience cognitive stress and greater emotional exhaustion than those who work only on-site.
Now that many of us remain cooped up and working within the boundaries of our homes, it’s easier to find stress in juggling our work and personal lives. Add to that the anxiety and fear brought about by the pandemic, and it’s a recipe for overwhelm. When the line between work and “me” time becomes unclear, it affects our ability to concentrate and focus on what’s important. Sometimes, our responsibilities at home overlap with our professional responsibilities, causing turmoil in our work-life schedules and priorities.
A practical solution to the problem is finding a good middle point to accomplish your daily tasks without compromising your health, sanity, and private life. This might leave you wondering how that's even possible when too many distractions and everyday stresses throw off your performance and motivation.
Know that if you are a struggling work-from-homer who feels intense pressure from time to time, you’re not alone! Several tools are available to help you manage workplace stress and related issues that disrupt your productivity. One of which might be the three-lettered buzzword in the health and wellness space: CBD.
What’s the Deal with CBD?
CBD is making a name for itself, with many people using CBD-infused products for a variety of reasons. Just recently, the scientific community has become increasingly interested in CBD for its promise in boosting productivity levels. That said, it might seem counterintuitive to think that CBD could be beneficial to the work environment since it’s derived from the cannabis plant and a sister to THC.
Luckily, the promising impacts of CBD on the body are more widely accepted than ever. However, before things get even more confusing, allow us to tell a brief story about CBD and how it found its way into our daily lifestyle routines.
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a cannabinoid found in the leaves and flowers of a cannabis plant variety called industrial hemp. It has risen in popularity for its non-intoxicating nature, which is the total opposite of THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is an intoxicating cannabinoid, which causes the psychoactive effect that gets you “high”.
How the body responds to cannabinoids is all down to its endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a regulatory network of endocannabinoids, enzymes and cannabinoid receptors, working together to keep our bodily organs in a healthy and stable state. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC are thought to influence the ECS in very different ways. For instance, THC's mind-altering effects are due to its ability to bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors – the cannabinoid receptors located in the brain.
Unlike THC, CBD has minimal binding affinity for those receptors. Instead, CBD reportedly works in multiple pathways, targeting other cell receptors all over the body to help promote natural balance. Put simply, CBD acts as a warning sign of a sort to let the ECS know it’s time to address any potential imbalances within the body.
Although CBD is relatively new to the world of wellness, there is increasing evidence to support the case for its potential impact on numerous health concerns, from stress and anxiety symptoms to different types of pain. One promising research also suggests that CBD may help improve energy levels and the ability to stay motivated.
To understand how CBD may help increase work performance and efficiency, it’s essential to understand the common sources of stress that many remote workers encounter.
Things That Could Be Ruining Your Productivity
Some days, we wake up in the morning feeling inspired to hit the ground running and complete a pile of work. There are also days when we feel sluggish and less successful, which is normal. At times, it can be tough to get yourself in a working mood. While those unproductive days may seem random, some factors affect your willpower to achieve goals.
Knowing what these factors are helps to reset your focus and get back on track. Once you're more familiar with the things that can disrupt your concentration, it will be easier to form a plan to counteract them and make a difference in how well you function. You see, anything from your lifestyle routines to your habits and other external factors can either put you one step closer to achieving everyday goals or two steps back. Hence, it's important to consider paying attention to your actions and your environment and determine whether these things are detrimental or beneficial to your functioning.
Here are some of the many factors that kill your productivity, whether at home or work:
A Sedentary Lifestyle
Prolonged sitting or inactivity can decrease energy levels and increase absenteeism from necessary activities, such as work, exercise, and even personal hygiene. In fact, some experts suggest that a sedentary lifestyle can be as detrimental to your health as smoking or drinking habits. Similarly, lack of physical activity can be a risk factor for many different health conditions, including cardiovascular disease due to increased body mass index (BMI) and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
If your job requires a lot of sitting in front of your desktop, make sure to take a couple of breaks to stand up, walk around or do some light stretching. Working out first thing in the morning before going to work is also ideal. Many people think that taking a break is a waste of time, but not giving your brain and body enough time to rest can make you even less functional. Our bodies are not meant to sit for such long periods. We need enough oxygen and movement to become more invigorated and productive. Exercise helps to increase the blood circulation of the brain, thereby raising levels of alertness and productivity.
Sleep Quantity and Quality
Work deadlines or household errands often demand us to stay up late and try to force through the day. A sustained period of sleeplessness significantly affects our ability to function and make decisions, which, in turn, diminishes our willpower to work. The chances are that we’ll wake up feeling groggy and grumpy that we barely manage to tick off even one task or two from our to-do lists.
The likely result is another unproductive day, which means you’ll have to pull an all-nighter to catch up with your workload and other unfinished business. Until it turns into a vicious cycle of sleeplessness during nighttime and sluggishness during the day, make an effort to find the right amount and quality of sleep you need, and stick to it.
Adults are encouraged to sleep at least seven to eight hours daily. A night of adequate restorative sleep can help boost brain function and productivity. It gives your brain enough time to process memories you formed throughout the day and connect them to older ones, combining different pieces of information to help come up with fresh ideas.
It can be tempting to reach for iced coffee or sweet treats to fight the afternoon slump. However, too much sugar has a devastating effect on your energy levels, leaving you even more tired and foggy. Likewise, consuming excessive amounts of caffeine later in the day may reduce your total sleep time, which, in turn, affects your mood, productivity and overall health.
Instead of sugar or caffeine, aim to include filling foods with high proteins, fibres and essential fats in your daily diet. These nutrients will help keep your hunger at bay and make you feel a lot less groggy when the afternoon slump strikes. In addition, make it a habit to drink lots of water every day, as research shows that even mild dehydration may affect mood and brain function.
Your state of health is another factor that influences your productivity. When you feel down or in pain, it can be challenging to do even the simplest tasks or enjoy leisure activities in your free time. Even if you're somehow able to manage working while living with a chronic health issue, the associated symptoms can be a severe burden to you – limiting your ability to function and making your workdays unpleasant.
Maintaining health and overall balance is vital to keep your productivity levels soaring. Some minor changes in your habit, such as exercise, a healthy diet, proper sleep, and other self-care practices, can help promote optimal wellbeing. Be proactive with your health, especially if you know your risk factors. Or, if you're experiencing a severe health crisis while at work, be sure to talk to your manager about it and ask for recommendations. You may wish to take a leave from work and have your condition regularly checked. The most important thing is to put your health first to become fit to work and do your job safely and efficiently.
Whether you work from home or on-site, certain types of distractions can interrupt your focus and productivity. Some distractions at home may include:
- Noise, such as telephone rings, doorbells, or neighbourhood sounds
- Tempting leisure activities like watching television, playing video games or spending time on social media
- Package deliveries
- Non-work-related calls or chats
- Child or petcare
- Visual clutter
- Non-functional workspace
Distractions may include email consumption, visual clutter, micromanagement, early meetings, conversing colleagues, loud typing, and other kinds of background noise in the office.
To help mitigate those distractions and use your time effectively, it’s essential to understand the sources of interference and find ways to stop them. For example, turning your smartphone to silent mode before getting to work can help avoid interrupting calls or notifications. You may also consider using noise-cancelling headphones or listening to some relaxing music while at work. Take turns with your partner or other family members in looking after kids or feeding pets. It’s also essential to create a dedicated workspace at home, so you can set boundaries with family members who might forget that you need silence and space during working hours.
Stress in Isolation
Solitude can be a double-edged sword to those who work from home alone. It influences many areas of work, including drive, performance, productivity, memory retention and more. In a 2017 study, lonely workers reported being less engaged with work and five times more likely to miss work deadlines due to increased stress levels. While some stress symptoms are normal, too much of them can lead to anxiety, depression or suicide.
Unless you enjoy working in silence, there are several ways to help yourself combat stress amidst isolation. These include getting enough sleep, eating a diet full of heart-healthy foods and performing mindful and physical activities. In addition, reconnecting with nature by walking at the park or bike riding – while following strict COVID-19 health protocols – helps to lower your stress levels.
You may also catch up with your loved ones over the phone during your free time to make you feel virtually surrounded whenever loneliness hits. Remember, help is always available, so don’t hesitate to reach out to a health care professional if stress interferes with your daily performance and overall quality of life.
Why CBD Might Be Beneficial for Boosting Productivity
CBD may go a long way in helping improve your productivity, whether you're clocking in at work or pursuing your favourite after-work hobbies. It has a wide range of potential benefits, all of which may impact your productivity levels. Need more convincing? Here are a few reasons why including CBD in your daily wellness routine may be beneficial for boosting productivity and maintaining overall wellness.
CBD May Help Impact Motivational Dysfunction
One of the most intriguing potential abilities of CBD is to interact with a variety of cell receptors in the body. A recent study suggests that CBD may influence the 5-HT1A receptor – a subtype of the serotonin receptor – which is responsible for regulating signs of motivational dysfunction. This health condition affects a person's ability to get things started and sustain the effort to complete specific tasks.
With many of us lacking motivation from time to time and experiencing monotonous work days, extra help may be essential. That’s where CBD comes in! Supplementing with CBD oil or any CBD product of choice can be an excellent place to start if you’re in dire need of a motivational boost.
CBD May Help Enhance Cognitive Performance
Scientists are still uncovering the possible neurological benefits of CBD. Although research on this topic is still in its infancy, some studies suggest that CBD may help influence several cognitive processes – ranging from memory to creativity and motivation. Hence, adding CBD to your daily diet may be a safe, natural solution to help support your cognitive performance whenever you feel mentally tired or experience a mid-workday mental block, where your brain reaches a barrier in accessing creativity or a particular skill.
CBD May Help Influence Stress Levels
Apart from potentially benefiting specific brain functions, CBD may have a soothing effect on the mind. Scientifically speaking, CBD is thought to bind with the cell receptors that help produce serotonin, a happiness hormone known to control mood and stress levels. This means that CBD may be helpful to combat everyday stressors, including the added stresses of remote working. The result of a better mood is an absolute increase in productivity levels.
CBD May Help Support Immunity
Our immune system is composed of cells and organs that work together to fend off viruses, infections, and other harmful agents that affect our overall wellness and function. Hence, a well-balanced immune system is a crucial element when it comes to keeping your brain and bodily functions running at peak levels.
A study suggests that CBD may contain natural anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for immune health. Although it should not substitute healthy lifestyle habits and other traditional supplements, CBD may be a potent addition to your wellness regimens.
CBD May Help Lessen Pain Symptoms
Chronic pain is a common productivity barrier. Even acute pain conditions, such as back pain or wrist pain from prolonged computer work, can make it difficult to focus and perform other physical activities. Many people use CBD to help relieve different types of pain – particularly those that are inflammation-related.
Research suggests that CBD may have a significant impact on the production of anandamides within the body. Anandamides are endocannabinoids that help control physical pain perceptions by blocking the communication between immune cells and receptors. Thus, taking CBD to help manage various pain symptoms might be ideal for improving your life and work quality.
The Bottom Line
Now more than ever, keeping optimal health your top priority is critically essential. Take note that you can never satisfy the secondary desires in life, such as accomplishing work deadlines or seeking promotions, unless your basic health demands are met first. In short, the healthier you are, the more productive you'll be!
While necessary lifestyle habits and proper nutrition are vital factors of supplementing a healthy mind and body, making CBD an essential part of daily routines may offer some additional support everyone needs in these trying times.