Just turn on the news and you'll be hearing about the latest company down-sizing, right-sizing, slow down, re-organizing, down economy or as the financial advisers say, “economic winter.” What about you? With all this bad news and the demand of work, you may be burned out –possibly physically and mentally exhausted. With constant worry, increased responsibilities and more work - life becomes frantic. Our minds become heavy with fatigue and dizziness. This is enough not only to make you feel tired, but make you sick…really sick.
The connection between your perception of stress and your body's ability to fight off disease is so strong; some experts think stress can be "deadly". So you're right, your job is “killing you” and now we can prove it! Feel better?
Stress can be different things to different people. For most of us stress is commonly caused by a feeling of too much work, too little time, financial loss, and feeling out of control all of which contribute to thoughts which can make you feel depressed. Everyone suffers from stress at some point in his or her life, but the real challenge is to overcome and defeat the stress developing inside you, and not let it kill you.
Stress is connected to chronic ailments such as back pain, headaches, and fatigue. Chronic diseases such as the flu, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, GERD just to name a few, are all impacted by long-term stress.
This is what stress feels like when it's developing inside you:
Anxiety - Gives you a feeling of nervousness often causing tension, like the fear something serious is going to happen. A feeling if impending doom. Anxiety over time can cause headaches, muscle stiffness, upset stomach, eating disorders, and constipation or diarrhea.
Fatigue - A feeling of extreme physical or emotional tiredness. This is the “sick and tired” feeling and “too tired” to get things done. Extreme fatigue can cause mental fog, preoccupation, sleepiness, a feeling of not being “100 percent”.
Depression – Mild depression is a mental or emotional mindset of perpetual hopelessness and unhappiness. When feeling depressed it’s hard to get up in the morning, trouble sleeping or too much sleeping, muscle and joint pain, headaches, fatigue, sadness, lethargy, feelings of worthlessness, a loss of interest in work and social activities.Helpguide.org has great information on understanding depression.
Stress - Stress impacts your ability to work too. When you are stressed, you may be less productive, more accident prone, make more mistakes, get sick, or miss work. Remember the last time you worried about that big project? Your head was pounding, back aching, and then developed a cold due to all the stress? Well here are six tips you can implement in your life to reduce stress and consequently, avoid those sick days. Check out this stress calculator to rate your stress level.
In fact depression which is an extreme form of stress and fatigue including work - life imbalance significantly impacts your health, your employees health and the health of your company. When considering a worksite wellness or corporate wellness program for your employees be sure to address this issue.
6 Tips to Reduce Stress and Live Better
1. Modify your work pattern.
Take breaks, volunteer more and reduce the hours you work.
2. Change what you're thinking.
Change your attitude by adding exercise such as meditation or yoga. Evaluate what concerns you, ask for the help of your co-workers, and seek medical attention.
3. Eat right.
If bad foods give bad health, then good food gives good health. Simple! Good nutrition is vital for your mind and body. Stay away from fatty foods and fast foods; instead try to eat whole foods in their natural form: fresh, raw, and organic whenever possible. To maintain good health, avoid sugar, salt and processed foods. Take whole food supplements which are medically approved, clinically researched, and are healthy for the body. Seek the help of a health coach, dietitian or other medical professional. We recommend Juice Plus+ Whole Food.
4. Add an activity.
Money can buy fat, but can't burn it. The minimum recommended amount is 30 minutes a day. Start by increasing your time walking. Exercise makes the body secrete the natural painkillers, endorphins; and also makes you feel better. Increasing your activity helps keep you healthy and increases your body’s ability to combat diseases.Check out American Heart Association worksite START program.
5. Get proper sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation says when you sleep, your body heals itself. Lack of sleep not only decreases concentration at work, it also reduces the ‘coping ability’ of your body and lowers immune function.
6. Find someone to talk to.
People who hold in their feelings are at higher risk of developing more ailments and diseases. Find someone you can trust to share your feelings with; perhaps a co-worker, family member, friend or therapist. When you share how you're feeling with someone else, you create the opportunity to feel less alone. You become more connected to others around you, consequently, becoming less stressed.
Cindy Cohen RN, Wellness Consultant