Control stress before it controls you! | Sunday Observer

Control stress before it controls you!

Today, job related stress is causing a major work-life imbalance in society. Stress is part and parcel of life; although we have no escape from such stress, it adds meaning to life. In fact, the good kind of stress helps us to be alert, get things done, meet deadlines and to be innovate. But, it becomes distress when we start to work too hard for too long, without a good break.

Many of us are guilty of not striking a balanced lifestyle. It is hardly worth working ourselves to the bone and in the end allowing stress to take its toll on us, our health and relationships.

One life

We have only one life and we should live it to the full, not allow society to dictate terms that affect our work-life balance. Unfortunately, our occupational culture demands peak performance and creativity all the time. But, this is humanly impossible. Can we be creative all the time? No! Most people are creative and highly productive only for a few hours every day. So, working overtime and late hours is not the answer. However, working intelligently can help us as we handle our creativity wisely to achieve a better work-life balance.

A sense of perfectionism can exert a lot of pressure on us and the people around us. Many people suffer from a micro management syndrome that pushes them to see things done perfectly. There are occasions when we have to execute our roles and responsibilities flawlessly, otherwise, the consequences could be disastrous. But, the journey of life does not require that we be perfect in everything all the time. Let us stop being idealists and learn to enjoy life as we go along. Go easy on yourself and others. Listen to the sound of nature, breathe in the fresh air and be nice to yourself.

Connect with life

Connect with people outside the office environment. We should reach out to friends, families and neighbourhood communities who can help us de-stress and connect with life. Recreational activities can also help release positive energy into our pressurized circumstances.

Learn to rest

Even if we truly enjoy our work, we should deliberately take time off to do things that help us relax. Sports, religious activities or even going on vacations can help relieve stress. We de-stress when we cease from striving on our own, take our eyes away from pressurizing circumstances and start to focus on different things that we truly enjoy and what really matter to us.

Scientific research points out that when we rest; our brain takes on the role of a natural pharmacy and releases into our bodies substances that help in the healing and recovery process. With rest comes a peace that transcends understanding. It uplifts the soul! It is in such tranquil moments of life that some of the outstanding breakthrough ideas have been downloaded into human minds.

Manage stress

The secret is in managing stress so that it does not rule over us. Look out for signs that indicate that you need to take time off. Find your rhythm and break away every now and then from routine jobs and tasks that cause stress. Deliberately, do things that you really enjoy, to take you away from the stressful environment. These activities will help you unwind on a daily basis and keep your stress levels on constant check.

The next time you feel stressed out, put into practice some of these principles. Stop micro managing. Take time off to be alone. Set aside time for thinking, reflecting and prioritizing. Go on a vacation. Soak in the presence of nature, sing songs and learn to dance to the rhythm of your heart. Take a walk, visit a museum and go to the theatre. Do things that make you really alive, like spending time with your family or playing a game that you love and enjoy. Connect with people outside your office circle who could be of help. Meditate and visualize on all the positive things that have happened in your life. Identify areas of life that you value most and explore how you can make the most of them.

As you do these things, you will experience stress loosening its hold on you. In its place you will have a sense of peace flooding your soul. You will be amazed to see hope rising within and be able see your circumstances from a positive angle. This is the difference between working hard and working smart!

(The writer is an HRD practitioner)