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Stress

Too much of a good thing is just right.
MAE WEST

Stress is a fact of modern life. If we don't learn to deal with it, it will deal with us. While we cannot often control the things that cause stress, we can control how we deal with stress. Here are some ways:

  1. Don't overreact to things over which you have no control. You can't control turbulance in airplanes, late arrivals by others, or bad behaviour by people's kids. But you can control your reaction to these things. You can drink a glass of wine to calm yourself; you can take deep breaths to regulate your breathing.

  2. Leave the situation. Consider leaving the thing that causes the heart palpitations. Go for a walk, go home, or find a place where you feel some solitude, such as the washroom!

  3. Take a mental break. Carry an eye-guard with you. Close your door and cover your eyes so that you feel you are in total darkness. Picture yourself in a place where you would be relaxed. Picture yourself on a beach, at home watching your favourite TV show, or any other place that feels calm and comfortable.

  4. Take a power nap if you can. A fifteen- or twenty-minute nap will rejuvenate you and charge your batteries, allowing you to cope more effectively with the trials and tribulations around you.

  5. Meditate. Close your eyes and try to create a blank slate in your mind. Consider saying the same word over and over in your mind until you achieve a blank state.

  6. Take a bath or a shower after a tough day. The warm water will relax you. Linger longer than usual. Use herbal oils or aromatherapy products to help soothe and relieve the stress from your body and mind.

  7. Get a massage. A good masseur will not talk to you but will give you a mental break. He will play music or sounds that will enable your mind to relax and wander.

  8. Seek out a confidant. This person will listen without interrupting and will allow you to vent about the things that bother you. He will not offer suggestions either.

  9. Be conscious of tension in your body. At your desk, concentrate on each part of your body and work your way up from the tip of your toes to the top of your head. Relax each muscle one at a time.

  10. Exercise. Do something that makes you feel good and that forces you to clear your mind of the things that bother you.

  11. Put things in perspective. Look at the big picture. Make a mental or physical list of the things you have and for which you should be grateful. Then compare these things with the few things that bother you. You will probably come to the conclusion that you are indeed fortunate.

  12. Think about people who have real problems — people who exist from day to day only. Then compare your lot in life and consider how fortunate you are.

  13. Avoid artificial means of calming down. Ask your doctor or naturopath about herbal medications such as valerian or St. John's Wort, which are designed to calm. Take as directed.

  14. If stress is preventing you from sleeping, consider

    • going to bed later;

    • drinking herbal teas such as chamomile before bed;

    • taking a hot bath to relax;

    • never going to bed upset with people — if you are upset, let the person know how you feel, get it off your chest.

  15. Stop trying so hard. You may be overdoing things if you

    • accept nothing less than perfection;

    • need to make every decision;

    • fail to delegate;

    • don't trust others;

    • find yourself working hard without achieving results;

    • constantly blame others;

    • often get angry;

    • allow your emotions to show inappropriately.


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