Cope with work stress before its too late

You take care of your company and you take care of your family, but do you take care of yourself?

In order to be effective and productive in both your work and personal life, it’s important to feel happy, healthy and balanced.

In the midst of meetings, deadlines and a full inbox, it can be tempting to work long hours and find extra time by cutting into your sleep hours.

Do that enough times, it can lead to negative consequences.

Some of the effects of poor self care can include lack of energy, poor mood, illness, aging faster and even a shorter lifespan.

According to the American Psychological Association, American Institute of Stress based in New York, the annual costs to employers for stress related health care and missed work is $300 billion and 30 percent of people say they are “always” or “often” under stress at work.

The physical, emotional and financial costs of poor self care are high.

Feeling busy and dealing with stress in our lives isn’t going to go away any time soon, but we can take control of our health and mental well being by embracing self care.

To do that, you need to strive to incorporate all four of the following strategies every day.

Slow down. “There’s no correlation between how long you sit at your desk and what you accomplish,” Kenneth Ziegler. I agree. It’s common for people to want to look busy, sound busy and feel busy to feel like they’ve accomplished something each day. But sometimes looking busy actually comes from many unnecessary tasks or time wasters. Telling someone that you are crazy busy may be an indicator that you are not using your time wisely.

It’s OK to slow down from time to time. Sometimes our best ideas and solutions to problems come when we slow down and allow ourselves to sit back to mull something over. Some of my best ideas come when I am outside during a walk or run when my brain isn’t so bogged down.

Sleep. We all know how important sleep is, but it seems to be one of the easiest places to carve out some extra time. How much sleep should you get? According to the Better Sleep Council, the average person needs seven to eight hours a night, but it differs for every person. Some people may need as much as 10 hours a night and others need much less. If you sleep longer on the weekends than during the week, you probably aren’t getting the sleep you need every night.

Some of the many benefits that can come with enough shut eye can be increased energy, better mood, increased productivity, improved immune system function and improved heart health. All good things.

Exercise. Yet another activity that we all know is good for us but we may consider it one of the easiest tasks to cut out to save time. But, cutting out exercise may mean cutting out some valuable benefits that could greatly improve your physical and mental health. Some of the benefits that come with exercise can be weight control, improved mood, a boost in energy, promotion of sleep and it can combat disease too. Not only that, exercise can be fun if you find the right activities. I am enjoying a variety of exercises to keep things interesting through walking, running, kayaking, hiking and recently participating in a mud run.

As you can see, exercise and proper sleep go hand in hand.

Humor. Do you know someone that you can give you the giggles? It’s amazing how great you feel after laughing together. Make sure you find some time to laugh every day by watching a funny movie, a clip on YouTube or calling your funniest friend.

If you need an extra dose of motivation to help you strive for balance and self care, then I’d encourage you to read, “Chasing Daylight,” by Eugene O’Kelly. It’s about an executive diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer who wrote a guide book on how to die. It’s a book that will leave you with a greater perspective on the importance of achieving a work life balance.

Monika Kristofferson is a professional organizer and productivity consultant who owns Efficient Organization NW in Lake Stevens. Reach her at 425-220-8905 or monika@efficientorganizationnw.com.

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