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Surviving Stress for the Working Woman (or Man)

Stress isn’t always the notorious bogeyman that everyone keeps talking about. In small manageable amounts it does wonders for people. For starters it gets them out of their comfort zones, makes them take on challenges they normally won’t take up or even makes them learn a new skill along the way. In short it might lead to a positive life changing experience which might provide an individual with more professional satisfaction.
Yet constant and ever growing stress at the workplace is something that can have seriously damaging effects on one’s health, family as well as the professional life. A few major signs and symptoms that one comes across when dealing with overwhelming stress at work include:
1. Irritability, depression and feeling of anxiousness
2. Fatigue and concentration problems
3. Disturbed sleep
4. Stomach problems
5. Headaches and muscle stiffness
6. Social withdrawal
7. Substance abuse – nicotine, drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs
Any one of these symptoms (or a combination of these) can be observed with people who deal with a large amount of stress at their workplace. Some of the major factors that cause or augment stress at workplace include the fear of being ‘let go’ or ‘laid off’, constant overtime schedules due to cutting down of staff, pressure to meet targets/expectation and to give optimum level of performances at all times. Following are a few practical methods of getting off the stress bandwagon which can play havoc with health.
Schedule and organize workplace
Create a balanced schedule to avoid burnout. Leaving earlier in the morning for the office and utilizing this time for scheduling tasks can do wonders. Even a duration of 10-15 minutes can help organize things in a better manner. Include regular breaks in daily work routine. Regular breaks throughout the day to take a walk or chat away from your desk or work station for lunch. This helps in recharging the batteries and providing a fresher perspective. Task Prioritization is extremely helpful. Engage in high-priority tasks first. Breaking down tasks is helpful, a large assignment is overwhelming, it becomes more manageable one step at a time, rather than taking on everything at once. Lastly delegation of work is equally important. Projects rely on good teamwork and timely delegation (to the right personnel) is a certified stress killer.
Utilize Personal stress killers
Eat the right food, avoid excessive sugar and junk food. Manage a good sleep cycle (aim for ideally 6-8 hours of sleep). Make time for a good exercise plan (morning or evening), be it a gym routine, yoga, or a brisk walk. Try to bring in 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily schedule.

Plan out family time
As the saying goes, ‘everything is relative but the relatives’. A family has the potential to be the emotional rock of any person struggling with stress. So, keeping your work schedule in mind, plan out weekends and vacations as quality family time. A lot of people slave away for their family to have a good life, but ‘a good life ’is not only the financial comfort that comes from a paycheck, it also includes your affection, attention and support. Quality time spent together as a family can go a long way in reducing stress for you as well as well as your family.

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