Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Is Your Stress Level Too High?

StressThe demands of life can at times be overwhelming, making it nearly impossible to avoid stress. Although brief periods of high stress are a normal part of life, many people endure unhealthy levels of prolonged stress leaving them vulnerable to mood swings, physical symptoms like headaches and stomach discomfort as well as serious disease.

If you have experienced a prolonged period of high stress you may have become habituated to it and therefore consider it normal and even tolerable. In order to avoid becoming accustomed to high levels of stress I recommend that you monitor your stress level on a regular basis. This self-assessment can be done in three steps:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Signs of Overcommitment

OvercommitmentI can’t believe 2018 is over. It seems as though it passed in a flash – especially as the holiday rush seemed to accelerate the end of the year. October through December were a fun, fast-moving blur!

While I was growing up, time seemed to pass by so slowly. Important events such as Christmas and summer vacation took “forever” to arrive. Now, each new year seems to pass by faster than the one before. Can you relate?

I have come to realize that the speed with which time passes is directly proportional to how busy I am. I have also learned that the degree to which I feel impatient, frustrated, and pressured is related to my level of overcommitment.

When I become overcommitted everything seems to suffer. Instead of doing a great job, I do a mediocre job. Instead of enjoying the task, I resent it. Instead of spending time with my family, I focus on those things that have specific deadlines.

To break free from over committing yourself, practice these three important rules:

Create and maintain a balance of activities in your life.

This means you will engage in reasonable amounts of work, rest, leisure, exercise and learning. There will, of course, be times when the demands of life are greater than at other times, but do your best to maintain a reasonable balance.

Prioritize your activities.

Focus first on the things that are most important, like your faith, family and friends. It’s easy to get caught up in the small stuff that takes your valuable time. Set some time each day to do the important things first.

Practice saying “no”.

I personally find that I respect people more when they kindly, but directly, tell me “no” instead of promising something they can’t deliver. It’s better for everyone if

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Three Simple Tips to Help Balance Your Life

Balance your life“There just isn’t enough of me to go around! It’s our busy season at work and it’s impossible to keep up with my job demands on top of my family responsibilities. It feels like I am headed for a break-down!”

When your life seems out of control and you’ve got endless demands tugging at you from all directions, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, fatigued and just plain stressed! You know you need to do something to preserve your health and your sanity, but what can you do?

Believe it or not, balancing your life does not require massive changes. You don’t have to quit your job, abandon your family and escape to a remote retreat in order to feel peaceful and happy. In fact, true balance is something that starts WITHIN YOU first and foremost, no matter what else is happening in your outer life circumstances. Attitudes, habits and choices will determine the balance you achieve.

Below you’ll find three simple ways to begin building a greater sense of inner peace and harmony.

Quiet time – One of the first things we tend to sacrifice when we’re busy is our personal time. Instead, we devote all of our energy and attention to caring for others, multi-tasking, meeting responsibilities and “being productive.” Over time this depletes our energy and we begin to feel more and more burdened by our responsibilities.

To live a more balanced life, quiet time for yourself is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. You may believe that you don’t have any time available for yourself, but something amazing happens when you consistently MAKE time. You will find yourself feeling happier and more energetic and your focus improves – and you still get plenty done! Just a few minutes spent sitting quietly in prayer, meditation or reading

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What to Do for Stress Overload – Part 2

If you read our previous blog and began implementing some of the first 7 suggestions for ways to reduce your stress, you may already be on your way to feeling more relaxed.  In the first 7 tips we suggested: Get away regularly, develop your favorite hobby, read 15 minutes per day, engage in Expressive Writing, share a belly laugh with someone, use Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and use aromatherapy.

Stress

Here are 7 more tips for getting out from under stress overload.

8.  Engage in breathing exercises. The more stressed you are, the more rapid your breathing will be. In a genuine “fight of flight” situation, the stress hormone cortisol is intended to help the body respond with fast escape or self-defense. But when no burst of activity burns off the hormones, they can cause serious health problems over time. Regularly practice inhaling for about 4 seconds – taking in enough air to lift the chest and abdomen – hold your breath for 7 seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat 10 times. This simple exercise has been shown to lower cortisol levels in the blood, almost instantly reducing stress and anxiety.

9.  Actively practice your faith and engage in a church community. For many of us, this is a pivotal point in our battle against stress. If you are living your life believing that you must be in charge of, and responsible for, everything and everyone in your sphere of influence, you will be crushed under the load. Being firmly connected to God will allow you to set your burdens down and trust that strength beyond your own can handle what you can’t. Humans are multi-dimensional beings, with body, mind and spirit all requiring nourishment in order to manage stress, and attending services or meetings that build your spiritual strength

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What to Do for Stress Overload

Life is full of stress, and it’s not always bad. If we’re honest, most of us enjoy the adrenaline rush of meeting an unexpected challenge once in awhile, but none of us do well when the stress of heavy workloads, over commitment, family needs and uncontrollable circumstances never lets up.

StressThe reality is, your mental and physical health is at stake if you don’t make it a priority to engage in stress-relieving activities and habits that help you relax.

I have developed a list of 14 things you can do to start now. Today we will talk about the first 7, and then we will cover the other 7 strategies next time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Give it a Rest: The Importance of Taking a Break

When I think about resting, something rather strange occurs. At first, I begin to imagine lounging on the couch, watching golf and (inevitably) falling asleep. But just as I begin to enjoy this image, I am yanked back into reality with the thought that dozing off to a lullaby of polite clapping and hushed announcers is just plain lazy.

Rest

This kind of internal scolding is a culturally-driven, knee-jerk reaction many of us have because we have grown up in an environment that values Type A drive and workaholism. “I do, therefore I am.” We have come to believe that our worth is found in our productivity, and our value to our employers is achieved in tireless, devoted activity with no thought of our own needs.

The good news is that the tide is turning, and workers today are less likely to be plagued by guilt if they grab a quick nap mid-afternoon or take a short walk outside to clear their minds, and some companies actually endorse activities that refresh their employees. This is because research has shown that those physical and mental breaks actually improve productivity.

Ferris Jabr, in his article, “Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime”, sums it up well:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Strategies for Dealing with Burnout – Part 4 of 4

In my previous blogs we talked about the causes and symptoms of burnout, the importance of thinking differently and some ideas to revitalize your life to help break the burnout cycle.

Burnout

In this final blog we will talk about Strategy#3: Recommit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Strategies for Dealing with Burnout – Part 3 of 4

In my last blog I suggested that the first strategy for dealing with burnout is to Refocus. It’s important to move your gaze from the quagmire of stress and over-commitment and gain a new outlook. I urged you to think about how you think and shared some books that have helped me and a lot of others.

Burnout

Today we will talk about Strategy #2: Revitalize.

If you neglect to put gas in your car you will soon find yourself stuck on the side of the road.  The same is true of your body.  If you neglect your legitimate physical needs – sleep, nutrition, and physical activity – you will burn out quickly.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Strategies for Overcoming Burnout – Part 2 of 4

job stress

In my last blog I described some ways to determine if you may be experiencing burnout from your work and stresses. If you’re already struggling it can be difficult to muster up the energy to constructively address the problem when you are exhausted, but things are not likely to change if you don’t.  As overwhelming as it may feel right now, there are strategies you can use to improve your situation and regain control of your life.

Today we will look at Strategy #1: Refocus.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Burnout: How to Recognize if You’re There – Part 1 of 4

“I hate my job because it’s consuming me; I miss my life and I can’t remember what it’s like to feel good.  I wish I could just escape to a deserted island in the middle of nowhere!”  Can you relate?

Burnout

In today’s faced paced, hyper-competitive and tough economic times, a growing number of men and women are experiencing the painful effects of burnout.  According to a CareerBuilding.com report, 77 percent of employees claim they feel burnout related to their jobs.  In another national poll, over half of the respondents reported that they were less productive at work because of job stress.