The holiday season is rapidly approaching again and with it comes the yearly tradition of increased stress. The workday seems to get longer, even though the days are technically shorter. Just trying to figure out the logic behind that can cause enough stress to make you stand on your desk at work and scream like a bad set of brakes.
Unfortunately, as the holiday season gets closer, the stresses compound. Traffic gets heavier. The traffic lights seem to stay red longer, taunting you like a schoolyard bully. Will you get home in time to see It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown this year? If not, is it available on DVD? Relatives are coming to town, which means you have to reintroduce yourself to that upright vacuum cleaner that has been functioning as a coat rack since last holiday season.
If all of these issues were not enough, there are the work-related stresses bugging you more than an unemployed stepbrother-in-law in need of start up capital for his latest get-rich scheme. The telephone seems to ring more, and you are convinced that it may even be ringing louder. The volume of work increases. You catch yourself answering your home telephone, “Employer Business name this is (insert your name). How can I help you?” However, when the person on the other end of your home telephone turns out to be a client from work with a question about a work related issue, you know it is time to do something about the increased stress level.
Before your stress ball begins to look like a raisin from the constant stress induced squeezing, give some of these stress-reducing tips a try:
*Laugh. It’s one of the healthiest antidotes to stress. When we laugh, or even smile, blood flow to the brain is increased, endorphins (painkilling hormones that give us a sense of well-being) are released, and levels of stress hormones drop.
Socialize. Don’t be a loner. Isolation has been tied to failure to cope adequately with stress, heightened vulnerability to illness, and even premature death.
Get Rid of Anger. It is the single most damaging stress-related personality trait that precedes a heart attack.
Be Decisive. Indecision prevents you from taking action, causing a loss of a sense of control and thus intensifying stress.
Be Assertive. Stand up for your decisions. Express your feelings, and disagree with others when you feel differently. Give as well as accept compliments.
Get Some Sleep. Lack of adequate sleep can make you moody, angry, and more vulnerable to illness and the daily stressors that stalk you.
Reward Yourself. Go to the movies, or browse in a bookstore. Those who reward themselves by engaging in something pleasurable realize a boost in the disease fighting quality of their immune systems for several days.
Slow Down. Try moving, talking, and behaving in a relaxed, slower manner. For instance, drive ten miles per hour slower; pause at the table before you eat; take an after-work shower; let the phone ring a few times before answering.
Take Up a Hobby. If you pursue a hobby you genuinely like, you’re apt to get so absorbed in it that you don’t notice time passing. You’ll forget stress and reach a level of total relaxation.
Eat Right. What you eat can promote or relieve stress and help or hinder the body in how it handles the physical stress response. Take time out for meals, eating at regular times, avoiding sugars and fats. Try foods low in fat and protein and high in complex carbohydrates for a calming effect. Look for food that enhances alertness.
Exercise. Squeeze something (such as a squishy ball); do an aerobic activity; take a walk; or swim.
Relax. Breathe deeply. Visualize something pleasurable; meditate; concentrate on present, tangible situations; inhale aromatic oils; listen to soothing music.
Hopefully, by employing some of these methods you will be able to deal with stress and prepare for other stress related events, such as tax day. It’s getting closer too. The Happy Belated Tax Return and Happy IRS Audit greeting cards are already in stores. If the thought of this makes you want to climb on your desk and scream, just follow the tips above and you can prevent this from happening.
*Source: Stress: 63 Ways to Relieve Tension and Stay Healthy, Charles B. Inlander