What Level Is Your Stress Meter At?

Stress…that 6 letter word that people love adding ‘ed’ to the end (stressed) and then commenting by saying, look at it backwards and it spells desserts. I never got the pun that looking at a word backwards would make my pallet tempted by visualizing delicious desserts and make me feel less stressed?

Managing stress is the number one priority and task that we all try to stay conscious of on a daily basis. It is not good for our health and over time acute stress does and will make you sick, hence the breakdown of the word disease (dis-ease).

Overwhelming schedules and deadlines coupled with unrelentless work demands are the culprits here. The business cliché of “do more with less” seems to be fitting here.

Every week I speak, meet and receive emails from men and women that are trying to get this under control, however, sustaining it is actually their challenge. Stress, in my opinion, is the ultimate test to time management.

It really is ok to say “No, I can’t”. We are not robotic machines that can keep going and going 24/7. We need physical and cognitive breaks throughout the day. It’s important that each day you give some ‘self-care’ to you. Even if it’s 5-10 minutes of sitting quietly (without interruption) to just think about, well, nothing. Work |Life| Balance is the cornerstone of stress.

If you juggle many balls at one time, one is bound to drop at some point. Don’t let it be your ‘health ball’. Many individuals wait to receive the bad news and then reflect on what they could have done differently, that is if the diagnosis or symptom is not terminal. I’ve seen this in my own family and friends. I guess the word workaholic had to derive from somewhere and it truly represents a life out of balance.

As adults, it is in our DNA to help and do our best each and every day. We also have to include ourselves in this daily equation. Many people are ready to help others, however, if you don’t help yourself how can you be good to assist others? A good example of this is when an aircraft is reviewing its safety policies before takeoff. You as the passenger are asked to don your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else, including a child. This is a good analogy because if you are strong and healthy and take care of you first, this gives you the opportunity to help others in any situation.

Given the increase in technology and the 270 million text messages we send daily in Canada, how could we not see this coming? Just because your cell phone dings, beeps, rings or whatever sound you have chosen to be notified, it does not have to be answered 24/7. Some things are meant to wait, others can wait and your work day can be condensed into a “normal” 8 hour day.

I realize not all vocations fall into a day “job”, however, my point here is that most shifts are 8-12 hours for a reason. After work, there is life, your life.

LinkedIn conducted a study in February 2013 in 14 Countries asking what women want at Work. In 2013, 63% wanted to find the right balance between work/home; compared to 10 years ago, 56% of women wanted a higher salary.

We’ve come a long way now haven’t we? Find out who and where you are between family, career, health and friends and truly find the Work| Life| Balance equation that makes you feel good – it may save your life in the end.

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