De- stress

Discussion in 'Working Women' started by prathi, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. prathi

    prathi Bronze IL'ite

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    De- stress!!!!

    Hi friends,

    Getting de-stressed is the talk of the day. How do you do it?

    We all get stressed at one point or the other. Sometimes we get stressed at home and sometimes at work. Many a time we get stressed out trying to manage both. The level may change from person to person and time to time, but stress has always existed as a part of most of our lives.

    Stress at work place can take toll on the quality of work produced by us. Years of research has concluded that stress of a worker at work, is a management issue and has to be dealt effectively by the management. The management has to ensure that minimum stress is caused to the workers by looking into various factors (within the management's reach) that affect the morale and mind-sets of the workers. This is a duty of the management. On a personal level too, we have to strive hard not to get sressed up.

    The stress at home or work directly affects our functioning in the other ward. It is said personal and professional life have to be clearly partitioned. As everything else in the world is, this is also easier said than done.

    I want to know what you all do on a personal level to get de-stressed or prevent from getting stressed out. Your personal experiences and tips will be useful for many working women on this forum.

    Share your experiences in handling stress. You can frame your response on these lines.
    • Main causes for stress. (work/home or both)
    • Consequences as a result of this stress.
    • Steps taken to handle or minimise stress.
    • Success rate and result of the steps taken to de-stress.
    Personal experiences shared here may prove to turn out as a guide for stress management to many. Roll on..
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2006

  2. prathi

    prathi Bronze IL'ite

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    Work-related stress

    Work-related stress can be caused by various events. For example, a person might feel under pressure if the demands of their job (such as hours or responsibilities) are greater than they can comfortably manage. Other sources of work-related stress include conflict with co-workers or bosses, constant change, and threats to job security, such as potential redundancy. In Australia, the total cost of workers compensation claims for stress-related conditions is estimated at over $200 million every year. According to the National Health and Safety Commission, work-related stress accounts for the longest stretches of absenteeism. However, what one person may perceive as stressful, another may view as challenging. Whether or not a person experiences work-related stress depends on the job, the person's psychological make-up, and other factors (such as personal life and general health).

    Some of the symptoms of work-related stress can include:
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to cope
    • A drop in work performance
    • An increase in sick days or absenteeism
    • Sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia
    • Cognitive difficulties, such as a reduced ability to concentrate or make decisions
    • Fatigue
    • Headaches
    • Heart palpitations
    • Gastrointestinal upsets, such as diarrhoea or constipation
    • Increased aggression.
    Possible consequences
    For businesses, work-related stress causes an increase in sick days and absenteeism, a higher turnover of staff and a drop in productivity. Some of the possible consequences of work-related stress for the individual include:
    • Increased susceptibility to workplace accidents
    • Deterioration of personal relationships
    • Ill-health, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease
    • Workplace aggression and violence.
    A range of causes
    Some of the factors that commonly cause work-related stress include:
    • Long hours
    • Heavy workload
    • Changes within the organisation
    • Tight deadlines
    • Changes to duties
    • Job insecurity
    • Lack of autonomy
    • Boring work
    • Insufficient skills for the job
    • Over-supervision
    • Inadequate working environment
    • Lack of proper resources
    • Lack of equipment
    • Few promotional opportunities
    • Harassment
    • Discrimination
    • Poor relationships with colleagues or bosses
    • Crisis incidents, such as an armed hold-up or workplace death.
    Self-help for the individual
    A person suffering from work-related stress can help themselves in a number of ways, including:
    • Think about the changes you need to make at work in order to reduce your stress levels, then take action. Some changes you can manage yourself, while others will need the cooperation of others.
    • Talk over your concerns with your employer or human resources manager.
    • Make sure you are well organised. List your tasks in order of priority. Schedule the most difficult tasks of each day for times when you are fresh, such as first thing in the morning.
    • Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
    • Consider the benefits of regular relaxation. You could try meditation or yoga.
    • Make sure you have enough free time to yourself every week.
    • Don't take out your stress on loved ones. Instead, tell them about your work problems and ask for their support and suggestions.
    • Drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, won't alleviate stress and can cause additional health problems. Avoid excessive drinking and smoking.
    • Seek professional counselling from a psychologist.
    • If work-related stress continues to be a problem, despite your efforts, you may need to consider another job or else a career change. Seek advice from a career counsellor or psychologist.
    Work-related stress is a management issue
    It is important for employers to recognise work-related stress as a significant health and safety issue. A company can and should take steps to ensure that employees are not subjected to unnecessary stress, including:
    • Ensure a safe working environment.
    • Make sure that everyone is properly trained for their job.
    • De-stigmatise work-related stress by openly recognising it as a genuine problem.
    • Discuss issues and grievances with employees, and take appropriate action when possible.
    • Devise a stress management policy in consultation with the employees.
    • Encourage an environment where employees have more say over their duties, promotional prospects and safety.
    • Organise to have a Human Resources Manager.
    • Cut down on the need for overtime by reorganising duties or employing extra staff.
    • Take into account the personal lives of employees and recognise that the demands of home will sometimes clash with the demands of work.
    • Seek advice from health professionals, if necessary.
    Where to get help
    • Your doctor
    • Psychologist
    • Your manager
    • Human resources manager at your workplace
    Things to remember
    • In Australia, the total cost of workers compensation claims for stress-related conditions is estimated at over $200 million every year.
    • Some of the many causes of work-related stress include long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity, and conflicts with co-workers or bosses.
    • Symptoms include a drop in work performance, depression, anxiety and sleeping difficulties.
    • It is important for employers to recognise work-related stress as a significant health and safety issue.
    • A company can and should take steps to ensure that employees are not subjected to unnecessary stress.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2006
  3. prathi

    prathi Bronze IL'ite

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    Breathing to reduce stress

    The primary role of breathing is gas exchange: our cells need oxygen and their waste product, carbon dioxide, needs to be expelled. Breathing is an automatic body function, controlled by the respiratory centre of the brain. However, we can also deliberately change our rate of breathing.

    Different healing systems, from different cultures, have long realised the healing benefits of the breath, including yoga, Tai Chi and some forms of meditation. Many holistic practitioners believe that the breath is the link between the physical body and the ethereal mind, and that spiritual insight is possible through conscious breathing.

    Regardless of the philosophy, scientific studies have shown that correct breathing can help manage stress and stress-related conditions by soothing the autonomic nervous system.

    A range of disorders
    The use of controlled breathing as a means of promoting relaxation can help manage a range of disorders, including:

    • Anxiety
    • Asthma
    • Chronic fatigue syndrome
    • Chronic pain
    • High blood pressure
    • Insomnia
    • Panic attacks
    • Some skin conditions, such as eczema
    • Stress.
    How we breathe
    To stay inflated, the lungs rely on a vacuum inside the chest. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle slung underneath the lungs. When we breathe, the diaphragm contracts and relaxes. This change in pressure means that air is 'sucked' into the lungs on inhalation and 'pushed' out of the lungs on exhalation.

    The intercostal muscles between the ribs help to change the internal pressure by lifting and relaxing the ribcage in rhythm with the diaphragm. Flexing the diaphragm requires the use of the lower abdominals. If your abdomen gently moves in and out while you breathe, then you are breathing correctly.

    Breathing and stress
    The brain sets the breathing rate according to carbon dioxide levels, rather than oxygen levels. When a person is under stress, their breathing pattern changes. Typically, an anxious person takes small, shallow breaths, using their shoulders rather than their diaphragm to move air in and out of their lungs. This style of breathing empties too much carbon dioxide out of the blood and upsets the body's balance of gases. Shallow over-breathing - or hyperventilation - can prolong feelings of anxiety by exacerbating physical symptoms of stress, including:

    • Chest tightness
    • Constant fatigue
    • Faintness and lightheadedness
    • Feelings of panic
    • Headaches
    • Heart palpitations
    • Insomnia
    • Muscular aches, twitches or stiffness
    • Tingling, numb and cold hands and face.
    The relaxation response
    When a person is relaxed, their breathing is nasal, slow, even and gentle. Deliberately mimicking a relaxed breathing pattern seems to calm the autonomic nervous system, which governs involuntary bodily functions. Physiological changes can include:

    • Lowered blood pressure and heart rate
    • Reduced amounts of stress hormones
    • Reduced lactic acid build-up in muscle tissue
    • Balanced levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood
    • Improved immune system functioning
    • Increased physical energy
    • Feelings of calm and wellbeing.
    Abdominal breathing
    There are different breathing techniques to bring about relaxation. In essence, the general aim is to shift from upper chest breathing to abdominal breathing. You will need a quiet, relaxed environment where you won't be disturbed for 10 to 20 minutes. Set an alarm if you don't want to lose track of time.

    Sit comfortably and raise your ribcage to expand your chest. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Take notice of how your upper chest and abdomen are moving while you breath. Concentrate on your breath and try to breathe in and out gently through the nose. Your upper chest and stomach should be still, allowing the diaphragm to work more efficiently with your abdomen and less with your chest.

    With each breath, allow any tension in your body to slip away. Once you are breathing slowly and with your abdominals, sit quietly and enjoy the sensation of physical relaxation.

    Special considerations
    Some people find that concentrating on their breath actually provokes panic and hyperventilation. If this is the case, look for another way to relax.

    Where to get help

    • Your doctor
    • Stress management specialist, such as psychologist
    • Buteyko Practitioner.
    Things to remember

    • Shallow, upper chest breathing is part of the typical stress response.
    • The stress response can be switched off by consciously breathing with the diaphragm.
    Abdominal breathing plugs into the autonomic nervous system and encourages it to relax, bringing about a range of health benefits.

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