Learn to Relax
Stress can be a serious business problem. 8 out of 10 executives in South Africa suffer from stress. Seven out of the 8 deny it. “Stress? Not me mate, I can take as much as you like to give.”
It’s a kind of macho game that some executives play with their colleagues. Little do they know that they are playing a game of Russian Roulette with emotional bullets.
Then there is the manager who says “Stress? I don’t suffer from it – I cause it. When I say “Jump” they say ‘How high?’” I wonder if these managers have considered how much blue collar stress there is in most workplaces and how many days absenteeism there are due to stress related illnesses. Stress is not just a white collar problem.
Let’s look at a simple solution.
The main problem with stress in the workplace today is that there is no let up. We get stressed as soon as we arrive in the office (or in the traffic on the way to work if you live in almost any city in the world) and we maintain a constant plateau of stress throughout the day. This is very bad for you. The trick with stress is to lower that plateau at regular intervals throughout the day.
Take regular breaks
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Lunch Break: How often have you eaten your lunch at your desk? Too many people have lunch but forget to take the break. You do not digest your food properly when you are stressed, so you eat your sandwiches at your computer, answering the phone and rushing to get finished before you have to rush out to see a customer. No wonder you feel uncomfortable all afternoon and no wonder so many business people get ulcers and other nasty stomach problems.
Take a break at lunchtime. Walk out of the office and into the park next-door (if you are lucky) or somewhere peaceful and relax. Forget about work for a while. This does not need to be a long break, even 15 minutes is enough to lower the plateau of stress and that will regenerate you to continue.
Take holidays. I have a friend who proudly told me recently that he was owed 62 days holiday. This is madness! Take all the holidays that you are due when they are due. You need the break. In many companies you are not allowed to carry over holidays from one year to the next and I agree with this rule.
Go away for the weekend. Take your family away camping or something that you find relaxing. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune and it is always well worth the effort.
Take every opportunity to relax during the day and you will certainly lower the chance of suffering from stress.