Are you STRESSED out?!
“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
Everyone has stressed out days, right? Work, study, kids, responsibilities… argh. But there are some simple things you can do that, done regularly, will make a massive difference. Take hold! Don’t sit around waiting and hoping for things to change.
This information from the Victoria government website at http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Work-related_stress
Work-related stress is a growing problem around the world that affects not only the health and well-being of employees, but also the productivity of organisations.
Work-related stress has many causes, including long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity, the threat of job loss or redundancy, and conflicts with other workers or bosses. Symptoms of work-related stress may include depression, anxiety, a drop in work performance, feelings of being overwhelmed, fatigue, headaches and an increase in sick days or absenteeism. Companies and employers should recognise work-related stress as a significant health and safety issue.
I’m sorry? Companies and employers should recognise it? Well yes they should, but I say we ALL should recognise it and play our part in improving the lives of our colleagues and ourselves. Companies and employers are not for the most part, people, and whilst their policies are important, they are only as good as the people administering them, and they’ll only be as effective as the combined efforts of everyone in the organisation.
That’s a bit like a population that keeps demanding the government to provide more services, and better services, then be shocked when taxes rise and demand the government do something about it. But that’s a whole other post.
Back to the topic. Our environment today is faster paced than it has ever been, with technology and communications changing so fast that if you’re not constantly upskilling you’re already out of date.
In the office environment, the constant flood of emails and other electronic media alone is exhausting. For people working in technical, production or service provision areas, the plethora of policy, legislation, technology changes, global competition, rapid market change… the list is endless. And you’re constantly told you have to be more efficient or someone else will do it better.
But in my experience makes the difference are two key things:
- Our own attitudes and perspectives
- The people around you
1 can be controlled and changed with a little practice and 2 is also more manageable than people realise.
Here are some of the things that work
- Keep it in perspective. If you live in Australia or another first world country like I do, seriously, many of us need to get better at this. Australia is one of the richest and safest countries in the world. Why then are we becoming one of the most stressed out?
- Turn off the TV and other other media. If you take notice, a lot of media is negative, negative, negative. A break from the news will do you good.
- Look after your body. How often have you heard “I’ve had a shi* day, I’m going to go home and have a few drinks”. Sure, I’ve done it too, but alcohol does awful things to your body, reduces rem sleep, and makes you feel worse the next day.. then you have another crap day, and around we go. Also … alcohol is a depressant, if you’re feeling down a lot, you should not be drinking alcohol regularly. Period. Also, if you’re putting crap food in your body all day every day… don’t be taking it out on your colleagues or your family that you feel awful all the time.
- Try feel-good alternatives – to both get over a bad day or celebrate a good one. Book yourself a massage, a haircut, a show or some indulgent treat instead of spending your money on something that’s bad for you and makes you feel worse later. Go to a movie, take the dog for a walk, rent a comedy film, it could be anything – you could even make a list of stuff you love ready for just such an occasion, and tailored perfectly to your own tastes
- Take your holidays. I know people who are so wedded to their jobs, or so much saving up their leave for a rainy day, they are completely strung out and have lost all perspective (see # 1!). Take your leave, get rest, and do something you love. Don’t spend your whole holiday looking after everyone else. If you’re a boss, do yourself and everyone else a favour – make your bloody staff to take their holidays and have a good time doing it J
- Have some fun at work. We all know this can make an enormous difference, and “fun” to be well intentioned and reasonably universal. You probably won’t feel better if there’s harassment claims going around the office.
- Start a gratitude journal. Oh I know it’s wanky and new age but it works. If you start focusing on things you are grateful for, you’ll find more and more, and start feeling a lot better, then the cycle perpetuates. Nobody has to know about it, lock it in a cupboard or a password protected file somewhere but five minutes spent every day on this activity will have most people feeling heaps better within a couple of weeks.
- Notice nice things about people. This is easy with people you like, or are neutral about. But they will notice that you take the time to notice, particularly if you make the occasional comment. It’s tougher with people you don’t like, but if you can find one thing to like about them… notice how different it feels to think of that, than when you are noticing all the things you hate. “If I want to be loved as I am, I have to love others as they are” Louise Hay
- Let of the stuff you can’t change. Simple 😉 Also, everyone’s entitled to a bad day… moods change, feelings change, just let tomorrow be better
10. Honour your own achievements. This may be easier to do if you start by noticing other people’s first, even if they are totally anonymous to you. Be grateful to the people who built the roads you drive on, the car you’re in, or the building you live in. To the guy who made your coffee, cleaned your office. You see how this works? No matter what you do, chances are you’re providing a service to the community. Be proud of the service you offer, and have some thanks for those provided by others. Understand that the fabric of our life is only possible through what we all do.
11. Be nice to your boss. We all want our bosses to make us feel better and show gratitude for the work we do. Do you return the favour? By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day. Robert Frost
12. Give yourself a break. You don’t have to be perfect all the time, there will always be more work than you can do, you are not responsible for other people’s decisions, lives, circumstances, you don’t have to fix everything for everybody. Look after yourself first!
13. Do the basics. Eat, drink (water), sleep, exercise
14. Tell a new story – yes that situation or person may drive you crazy, but you’re better off distracting yourself and focusing on something else than going on and on about it. Have your two minute vent if you need to then move on.
15. Spend time doing things you enjoy. Listen to music, chat with a positive friend (stay away from those negative people!) spend time in nature, with animals, play sport, practice your art, read a book. Make a list of things you enjoy doing and do them!
Think happiness and business don’t go together? Think again, check out this article from Forbes – Happiness Is A Choice http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemaddock/2013/06/04/happiness-is-a-choice/