3/17/2014

TIPS TO REDUCING WORK-RELATED STRESS

Writing articles sure isn’t easy, especially if you want original content and not just copy and paste others' articles. I definitely have not been idle since my last post. From planning my company’s introductory burlesque workshop, building new client relationship, participating in the smaller world charity event and most importantly a fabulous trip to the Caribbean. It has been a good year so far and would be even greater in the months to come. I had started a Know Your Vitamin Series, which I would continue. However, I would deviate a little bit.


When last did you take a holiday? A real holiday! I looked up for a dictionary meaning for holiday and this struck me: a holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work, are suspended or reduced (Wikipedia). Take note of “suspended” or “reduced”. Many of us work ourselves to death and even when we are on our so called holidays, we take work with us. I for example, I usually take breaks once a year, but then I realized that even during the breaks, I was working. The end result is that you return back to work still feeling tired and exhausted. On my last trip to the Caribbean, I decided to leave my laptop at home, I left everything that would remind me of work or tempt me to work and for the first time, in a long time, I had a holiday. I know some people who work round the year, they would even give up their leave days, in exchange for money. Times are tough and, yes you need the extra naira, dollar, pound, etc. but trust me, if you gave up the ghost on the job, your company would find a replacement. 

You may think, “I’m fine, I can handle it” but did you know that some things you might think are normal physical ups and downs are actually due to stress. That headache you always get may be caused by stress. The bad back you think is due to your advanced age? It could be because of stress. If you're constipated or have diarrhea, it might have more to do with stress than anything you've had to eat. Change in sex drive. Someone once shared in my bible study group, how stress had affected his inability to conceive a child with his wife. Your lack of motivation or focus can be due to stress. Anxiety, lethargy, depression, irritability are all effects of acute or temporary stress. Chronic stress over an extended period of time can do as much damage to your body as smoking, not eating right and failing to exercise. While some workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can interfere with your productivity and impact your physical and emotional health.

Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. Long-term stress can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

Below are a few tips on how you can reduce work-related stress:
  • Prioritize and organize your responsibilities: time management, finding a balance between work and family life, social activities and personal pursuits, daily responsibilities and downtime. Sounds easy, but many of us neglect this.
  • Take short breaks in between. I remember some colleagues of mine who never got off their seats the entire day. Get up and stretch your legs.
  • Delegate responsibilities that are delegable.
  • Improving emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage and use your emotions in positive and constructive ways. Managing conflicts, office politics, etc.
  • Plan your leave. I remember my colleagues back then usually took their 30 days leave all at once, I guess it worked for them, but didn’t make sense to me. You may want to spread out your leave to allow you take breaks at the end of each quarter of the year.
  • Take care of yourself: exercise regularly, eat healthy, manage personal relationships, sleep, etc.
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