Anything Under the Sun
Friday, June 6, 2008
Unfortunately for us there is no such organization that can provide stress relief with just one call. (I bet even a Genie would not be able to Grant such a wish at a snap of the fingers.)
Why are we stressed out? Sometimes, it could be because we chose to bite into too big a chunk that we are unable to swallow. Yeah, when you want to show off to the new boss how reliable, efficient etc. you are and "volunteer" to do your job and the entire teams' too. You are asking for STRESS!
Sometimes it could be because of good news such as getting married or being pregnant or bad news such as the death of your loved ones etc. Other times it could be beyond your hands such as noisy neighbours or being stuck in a traffic jam etc.
How I would react to stress will be different to how you would react to a similar situation. That's because each of us cope with the situation differently thus we experience stress to different levels of intensity. You might not have noticed it, but come Monday, you have "The world's biggest headache" or you have a loss of appetite. These are just some of the signs that you are under stress.
Your body sends out various physical, mental, behavioural and emotional warning signs of Stress.
Physical Signs of Stress
*Headaches, migraine, stomach aches
*Loss of appetite or overeating
Emotional Signs of Stress
*Anxiety and being bad-tempered
*Excessive worrying, moody
Mental Signs of Stress
*Lack of confidence
Behavioral Signs of Stress
*Acting in a defensive, aggressive or impulsive manner
*Nervous habits (E.g. stammering or biting nails)
*Loss of interest in activities
Now that you know what are Signs to look out for, what are you gonna do about it. NO 1800 number to call or Genie in a bottle remember.
Well, here are some Stress Busting Tips
1. Plan your time well.
Keep a daily planner. Give priority to the most important activities and do them first. Break large demands into small, manageable parts. Work through one task at a time. Decide how much time you need for each job. Be careful not to over-organise. Always leave some room for flexibility and spontaneity.
Planning ahead helps you to complete the task you have prioritised. This allows you to have a sense of achievement for the tasks you have completed.
2. Be realistic about what you can do
Choose your work according to your own abilities and interests. Focus of what you can do and not for the impossible. Set goals that are achievable so you don't become frustrated or discouraged.
3. Spread out the major changes in your life.
Give yourself time to adjust from one change to another. For example, avoid changing jobs, buying a car or a flat all at the same time.
4. Speak to someone about your problems
Seeking help is not a sign of weakness. Sharing your worries and concerns with your spouse, family, friend, supervisor or religious leader helps relieve your emotional burden and provides with you with emotional support. Try joining relevant support groups in your community.
5. Interact with your family and friends
Family and friends are a key component of your life. They provide you with friendship,love and support in times of need. Set aside some time each day to talk and relax together.
6. Learn to like yourself and think positive
Be happy with who you are. Keep a positive attitude and outlook in life. (Remember the glass is always half full instead of half empty) This helps you to accept what you cannot change and make the best of what you have.
Don't be overly concerned about your looks. That Barbie doll look is a myth. So why stress yourself, be happy with who you are. However, if you are concerned about your weight for health issues, then speak to your doctor or nutritionist, who would be able to assess your weight status and give advice on weight management, if necessary.
7. Keep healthy
Keep your body healthy and fit by exercising regularly, eating wisely and getting enough sleep. Engaging in regular physical activity releases endorphins which give you a natural "high". Eating a healthy and balanced diet will provide the recommended level of nutrients needed to boost your immune system.
8. Make some time for yourself
Do something that you really enjoy. Take up a hobby like dancing, painting or a sport. Take a short break when you feel tense or tired. Get up and stretch, or take a short walk. When you return to your work, you can concentrate better.
9. Learn some relaxation techniques
Deep breathing exercises, meditation, message and muscle relaxation techniques help to relieve stress.
10. Be clear about your roles
Know your job scope and what is expected of you. If not, clarify with your supervisor. When working in a team, know each other's roles and responsibilities. Communicate regularly to ensure that the projects are on schedule. Delegate work, where appropriate.
11. Prioritise your work
Plan a timeline for your projects. Start on projects that require immediate attention. Allow an additional 10% of your time for unforeseen circumstances.
12. Be realistic in what you can do.
Start a job only when you can and have time to finish it. Similarly, do not take on new workload when you are up to your neck in work. Learn to say "No" when necessary.
13. Plan your meeting and start on time.
Set the object and agenda for your meeting and request cooperation from team members to be punctual. This helps reduce time wasted discussing irrelevant issues and waiting for everyone to get started. The extra minutes saved can be spent on productive work.
14. Practice "Power" chat
Keep business telephone conversation brief and concise. Don't get into the habit of chatting too long which could affect your work productivity.
15. Counter negative thoughts
Watch out for negative thoughts at work. Stop worrying about how you appear to other people. Focus on your good qualities and accomplishments. Counter negative thoughts with positive affirmations such as "I can do it!". Add helpful reminders to your screen saver, such as, "Take a deep breath," or add a phrase or joke that makes you laugh.
16. Workplace Fitness
Join your workplace health programmes such as exercise classes, stress management courses or quit smoking programme, to keep healthy and fit.
Did I mention PLAN IN ADVANCE
17. Plan your household chores
Spread out the task that need to be done over the week. Avoid doing too many task in one day if you can. Prepare a list for grocery shopping so that you don't miss out on buying items that you need.
18. Plan your vacation
Plan your travel arrangement early and find out more about the place you are visiting (e.g. weather and road conditions, medical facilities, visitor's attractions, safety matters etc.).
Prepare a list of items you need to bring along:
- important documents
- contact details in case of emergency
If you have pets, make arrangement for someone to take care of them, especially if you are away for an extended period of time.
19. Plan for festive periods or gatherings
List the people you would be visiting and plan your time. Write down a gift list and purchase the gifts in advance, if necessary.
If you are organising parties or social gatherings, prepare an invitation list and plan the menu. If necessary, make catering arrangements early.
20. Plan your child care arrangement
Be aware of the facilities, programmes and deadlines for infant/child care/ school arrangements. For working adults with young children, there are infant / child care centres and before and after school care facilities that will help look after your children while you are at work. Find one that suits your need.
21. Recognise the responsibility if you are caring for an elderly
Be aware of the demands when caring for an elderly, especially if they have a medical condition that requires medication and frequent visits to the clinics / rehabilitation centres. Modification to the home environment, e.g. renovations can be made to provide a safer environment for the elderly.
MANAGE STRESS BEFORE IT MANAGES YOU OR ELSE!
Prolonged stress is definitely not good for our body or mind as it exposes our body constantly to the effects of adrenaline and will lead to many health problems:
* Decreased immunity levels, thereby increasing our chances of getting colds and other illnesses
* Worsening of asthmatic conditions
* Increased blood pressure that will increase the risk for stroke and heart attacks and even kidney problems
* Digestive problems like indigestion, constipation or even diarrhoea
* Depression, nervous breakdown or mental illness.
Use Positive Ways to Manage Stress
Don't fall into using negative ways of coping stress. Taking drugs, consuming excessive alcohol, smoke , binging on food will not provide solution but instead cause more problems. These only mask the stress one feels while actual harming us in the long term and possibly causing emotional and financial burden to you and your family.
We would not be able to get rid of stress altogether, but we can manage it at a level that we can handle.
So do make use of the STRESS BUSTERS mentioned above to live an healthier and stress free life.
P.s. As much as I would like to claim credit for all these nuggets of information, I got a booklet about managing stress by the Health Promotion Board, Singapore. As I found the information to be useful, I am sharing this information with you.