All Articles Tagged "stress"

We Believe It: Study Says Workplace Stress Can Be As Deadly As Secondhand Smoke

September 9th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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People have been saying for some time now to try and get a grip at work. Yeah, someone might test you and catch a professional beat down (side note: If you discover ways to do this without getting arrested or fired, come find me), but this isn’t the kind of stress researchers are focusing on. A new study coming from folks at Stanford University and the Harvard Business School has shocking revelations about workplace stress — including how deadly it can be.

Focusing on a series of common stressors that include schedules and hours, benefits and job demand — along with a cross-examination of other studies (oh yeah, they’re serious) — experts have determined the more stress an employee has, the worse off their health is. Well, um, obviously that’s nothing new for us as we know the perfect mix of stupid and deadlines can result in an ulcer. What’s worth a mention, however, is that most health outcomes are similar to those who suffer from secondhand smoke.

Did I mention death is one of them?

Hold the phones and take a message…what?! You mean to tell me being stressed on the job can lead to a headache and death? Obviously the deadly part isn’t common, but feel free to forward the study to your boss — along with a request to use a few personal days to reflect…with a glass of wine, some really good takeout and a DVR full of shows you need to watch.

All jokes aside, this study reiterates something most of us have known for years: Too much job stress can send you to an early grave, or at the very least, cause a ton of health problems. The fact that those with crazy high work demands are 35 percent more likely to develop a medical condition is some pretty scary stuff. Failure to give workplace stress the proper attention it deserves can not only lead to an imbalanced work-life situation, but also disease and poor mental health.

Hopefully companies and employers will take a look at studies like these findings and reconsider the current practices they have in place. Too many people are skipping out on much needed vacation out of fear of losing their job (this study also points out lack of employment security can increase your chances of poor health by 50 percent), or try their best to work unrealistic deadlines. There comes a point when something has to give, and hopefully for you, it’s not your health.

I know it’s easier said than done, but professionals who are working around the clock might want to rethink their hustle. Yes, there are bills that need to be paid, but running yourself in the ground is proving to be more and more detrimental to your health. The last thing any loved one needs is for you to be shut up in a hospital somewhere (or worse) because of workplace stress. This is one of the reasons I left my freelancing lifestyle for a full-time position (ironically, a freelancing gig I was working turned into a great opportunity that allowed me to stop being a one woman circus). Of course it’s no foolproof way of protecting myself against stress (it’s bound to happen), but luckily, I found a company that does its best to reduce job stress for the sake of productivity.

Remember, there’s only one life you can live and one version of you.

Related Does the Stress Justify the Paycheck? Signs You Work in a Toxic Workplace

Mommy Blues: It’s Ok To Say “I Need Help”

August 25th, 2015 - By Allyson Leak
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It’s 6:00 a.m. and after I’ve gotten a few hours of sleep, one of my twin toddlers starts stirring. Like a lightening bolt, I get up and scurry to the kitchen to prepare their morning smoothie before they are both fully awake. With one eye open I blend the smoothie, put the tater tots in the toaster oven, and fill two sippy cups with water. Then I feed them, change diapers, brush teeth, get tons of hugs and kisses, comb hair and set up playtime. After about an hour of playtime (in which I play referee because of the constant fighting), I then prepare two sandwiches with snacks. Then we go to a playground or have some kind of outing. After that, it’s naptime and during naptime I start to prepare their dinner and clean up the house. They wake up from their nap, eat, play, give more hugs and kisses, watch cartoons and it’s almost time for bed and time to do it all over again.

Now, lets be clear here, this is not about complaining because I love being a mother and adore my children because I fully commit my mind, body and soul to raising twin toddlers 24/7. But I think it’s safe to say that I deserve a break for an hour or two once a week.

I once had an issue asking for a little help because society has a tendency to make us think that if you’re a mom you are just supposed to have it all together. It’s thought that asking for help or having the mommy blues is a sign of weakness as a mother. Well, now I know that’s not true…this is not an easy job and it’s ok to say it.

 

Stop Worrying About What Others Think

You and only you know that your break away from your kids is not an attempt to escape to a beach and put your feet up, it’s merely the desire to feel like a human being with your own thoughts for an hour or two. One way to help you feel more comfortable that you are not alone is to find stories online of moms who tell their crazy, funny kid stories. A good laugh once a day will help you lighten up and realize that all moms go through the same things whether they want to admit it or not.

 

Set A Specific Amount Of Time

Ok, so when people suggest that moms need to set a certain day and time for themselves it’s completely unrealistic because when you have kids, random things come up all the time. All that will do is lead to disappointment when you have to keep canceling your “mommy” time. So instead, set an amount of time–like an hour or half an hour–that you want once a week of pure, uninterrupted time.

 

Be Proactive

Have a conversation with your significant other, mother or maybe even a girlfriend you trust letting them know that you really need a break on a weekly basis and ask if they help you out. If no one is available, then maybe you can have your break when your little one goes on a play date over a friend’s house.

 

Change Your Perspective

If you allow your outlook to be negative about not having enough time to yourself, it will consume you. Instead of feeling bad, make the best out of the little breaks you do have. If they take a two hour nap, don’t spend the whole time cleaning up around the house. Instead, make their food and then take an hour to yourself to watch a show, read a book or just be still.

 

Say No!

Yes I said it, learn how to say no. Your mother just called and needs yarn for her knitting group, the school just called and wants to know if you can head up the bake sale again, and your husband says he can’t watch the kids as promised because it’s ‘guys night’ again. The answer to all of these needs to be ‘no.’ And please don’t feel bad about it. You probably do for these people all the time and say yes most of the year, so it’s ok to listen to your inner self and say no just because it’s too much and your sanity is more important.

 

How Moms Can Deal With Debilitating Stress

August 7th, 2015 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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It’s 4:37 a.m. on a Saturday morning and you’re sitting on the toilet, trying to pee. It’s your third attempt in 60 minutes and try as you might, nothing’s coming out. Your bladder feels tight like a balloon filled with water, but somehow your body’s not getting the memo because it just won’t release. Jumping jacks, dancing, nothing has worked so far. Panic is setting in. What if I can’t pee? you ask yourself for the gazillonth time.

Two hours later, you’re lying down on a bed in the emergency room at the hospital. “Your bladder is full,” says the doctor, “This is the only way we can help you pee.” He inserts a catheter into your vagina and your body drifts off into euphoria. Finally. By evening you’re home and peeing has resumed to normal.

Five days later, you’re back at the hospital. This time, peeing doesn’t resume and this catheter becomes your constant companion for the next week. Ever go to the park with your kid with a catheter strapped to your leg? You see specialists, but no one can help. Apparently, it’s one of those fluke things that can happen like running into an elephant on the highway. At one point, you decide to find your own answer and it becomes crystal clear. The problem is stress.

Stress?

Yes, debilitating stress.

Your mom, love her with all your heart, knows stress like she knows her own name. Growing up, there were times when she couldn’t breathe. Times when she, a single mom, was taking care of you and your brother, and going to school full time, walking 45 minutes there and back each day, once in the morning and back again at night. At one point, soars started forming on her scalp, and thick liquid would ooze down her neck. Doctors tried to help, giving her ointments and shampoos, but nothing worked. Finally, it became clear to her too. Stress was eating her alive.

In your case, the answer didn’t come until you did something that should have been done a long time ago, and that was move. Move your body, as in exercise, because the truth is you’d stopped exercising after your second child. The second was move location. You were living in a city that you despised like cockroaches scrambling on a counter when you turn on the light. Everyday was a constant reminder of how much you hated your life. It’s no wonder your body turned on you. How could it function under such circumstances? Once you moved to a city you liked peeing became as natural as water flowing down a stream. Does water ever have an issue flowing down a stream? For your mom, relief came when she decided to settle down, and that meant literally reminding herself to breathe.

So knowing that stress can be ruthless in its ability to cripple us, what are some things we can do to combat it?

You pose the question to Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Isaiah B. Pickens, and he says that first it’s important to notice signs that indicate that we are becoming stressed. “If activities and people that you used to enjoy irritate or anger you, this is a sign of both stress and possibly depression. Constantly feeling a cloud over your head (or in your head) that makes you say more often than not, “I don’t feel like myself,” is usually a sign that stress is becoming overwhelming.” He further adds that the stigma around mental health issues and the push to create super-moms can make many reluctant to admit these difficulties.

When it comes to doing something about it, he advises practicing daily check-ins. “Sometimes our days can move so quickly taking care of children and dealing with our work/home related duties, that we forget to do an inventory for what is stressing us out and how much it is stressing us out. Taking a moment in the morning to meditate or pray, journaling in the evening, or simply having quiets breaks during the day can go a long way to increase our awareness of stressors.”

It’s true because another factor that helped kick your stalled bladder in motion was that you started writing again. Before that, five years went by and you could barely write your name. Perhaps stress is just another name for mess; the messier, the stressier. But somehow knowing that you were able to pull yourself out of it gives you hope. Especially, even now when it starts creeping up on you masked as access weight or even pimples that make you look like you’re going through puberty all over again. At the end of the day, there’s always hope.

Erickka Sy Savané is a freelance writer and creator of THE BREW, a social commentary blog. Before that she was a model/actress/MTV VJ. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

10 Practical Ways To Financially Plan For Difficult Times Ahead

August 6th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Even the most organized person can stumble in the face of adversity. We all go through life struggles, regardless of how much we make and the success we’ve seen. Sure the magnitude can vary from person to person, but as Martin Lawrence once said, “no one is immune to the trials and tribulations of life.”

Now run and tell that.

While there will be situations when you can’t do anything but endure, when it comes to a financial crisis hopefully you have the opportunity to plan ahead, which can save you more than a sleepless night or two.

Here are some things to consider.

Listen to your intuition. One reason people find themselves in a crisis is because they didn’t heed the warning signs. No matter how much you try to put things off it’s important to listen to the inner voice that tells you take action sooner rather than later. Tidy up your resume and actively begin searching for a new job when you feel your current position is in jeopardy. Don’t put off ’til tomorrow what you need to do today.

Operate in reality. Having faith and keeping hope alive is great, but that doesn’t mean you just throw everything to the wind and do nothing. Deal with the reality of your situation by crossing your fingers for the best but actively preparing for the worst.

Make your budget for the worst case scenario. If you know a financial slump is inevitable, rework your budget so it reflects the worst case scenario. Losing money really hurts, but if you’re able to figure out areas you can cut back to cover essentials, it can make life more manageable. Be honest about what you consider a must-have and things you can bear to part ways with for the time being. Tip: Should you acquire additional or unexpected money, save it.

Put what you can into an emergency savings. Get into the habit of funding your emergency savings. If you don’t have one, put away what you can to help when you’re in the midst of your crisis. Yes, it would’ve been great if you had a healthy amount in your account prior to your pending situation, but for now you need to focus on doing what you can with what you have.

Take care of you while you can. Not having health insurance can suck. Those who have an inkling they’ll be out of work in the near future should consider taking advantage of coverage while they still have it. Visit the doctor. Get your teeth cleaned. Do what you can while you still have access to company resources.

Keep an eye on your debt. Now is the time to speak with companies you owe about options available for people experiencing hardships. The last thing you want to do is wait until you’re in the heat of things to reach out. Look to get your due date and minimum payment reduced, which can make staying on top of your responsibilities easier. Note: You should still try to pay more than the minimum amount due.

Downsize. There’s nothing wrong with selling or trading in some of the things you own — especially if you can get a good deal for them. Whether you trade in your car, host a garage sale, or say no to luxury memberships, downsizing can only work in your favor. Once the money starts to come in, use it to pay future debts and cushion your emergency savings.

Liquidate. If you own any CDs, have cash in a money market account, or any other access to funds — outside of long-term investments like a 401K — the time might come to liquidate.

Find ways to be independent. Now might be the time to try and turn your hobby into a hustle. So long as there’s no significant start-up costs, feel encouraged to offer your services or make a few goods in order to bring in additional income. There’s nothing wrong with the desire to not rely on one stream of money.

Look for lifelines. If you need help, speak up. Reach out to loved ones if you feel things are too much for you to handle. More millennials are moving back in with their parents, which no longer makes it a taboo. Regardless, there’s nothing wrong with saving money and using it to get back on your feet.

Exercise Early, Buy Flights Late: How Changing Your Schedule Can Improve Your Life

July 29th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Want better sex and better coffee? Try changing the time you have both. Reschedule to the best time for everything and your entire life could change.

The Realities of Raising a Toddler and Newborn

June 2nd, 2015 - By Rich
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What did I get myself into?

Sometimes I ask myself this question as I have a 16 month old son and a baby on the way. My husband and I planned to have our children closer together in age, but this will definitely make for a very interesting household — to say the least.

On one hand, I’m kinda thankful our second child is another boy. Given we already have one, it will make things a heck of a lot easier in the sharing and supplies department. Our little guy shot up in height and wasn’t able to wear many of the things I purchased for him. At least this way they’ll get some use, along with other baby-related items we never got around to donating.

Now that we got the pleasantries out the way, let’s get a little real. Raising both a toddler and newborn is going to be very difficult. This is a reality I’ve come to grips with over the course of my pregnancy — and as much as I’ll try my best to plan for two little ones in diapers, there are certain things I just have to take in stride.

Luckily I know of a few other mothers who’ve had children very close in age. While they do warn me of stressful times ahead, in the end, they say it’s all worth it.

“If you can make it through the first few years everything else will fall into place,” notes one of my gym buddies. “They end up taking care of each other.”

Well this is a little refreshing to hear.

The biggest shock to the system is obviously going to be the whole sleep thing. Luckily our toddler has been able to sleep through the night since he was four months or so, but we get to push the reset button with our infant. Any parent of a toddler can attest to how much energy — and rest — you need to keep up with them, especially when they hit the wonderful stage of exploring, not listening to “no” the first time and talking back. Needless to say, it’s going to be a wee bit difficult to do so when we look and feel like extras from The Walking Dead.

I can’t begin to imagine how parents with multiple children balance their time and attention between each. Obviously my newborn is going to need additional eyes and assistance given he won’t be able to communicate for some time. Yet in the same breath, I don’t want to not give my toddler the one-on-one time he deserves.

Another thing I’m not looking forward to is the amount of diapers we’ll need. Sure my oldest will hopefully potty train  with time, but purchasing diapers each month definitely adds to your budget. Thus far I’ve been pretty savvy with buying in bulk online and getting a nice deal. I’ll just have to come to terms with the fact that I need to do it a second time for baby number two. The same goes for their 529 college savings plan.

So little to no nights with rest, two babies vying for your attention and little to no social life. Got it.

All jokes aside, I think it will be fun for them to grow up together. Sure the first year or so of raising a toddler and newborn will be challenging (one will go through the baby motions while the other enters the terrible twos), but it’s nothing too impossible.

I’ll rely on a ton of prayer…and a few glasses of wine.

Your Life Would Be Much Easier If You Chose Peace Over Anxiety

May 29th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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I know what you’re probably thinking, this chick has no idea what I go through on a regular basis.

Guess what? You’re right.

Each of us deal with our own set of circumstances in life that can make things manageable or extremely stressful. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any commonalities that allow us to come together, and hopefully discover new ways to cope.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a worry-rat and with a type A personality. Call it being a Virgo or born with a need to have perfection, but I will run myself into the ground thinking about all the “what if” scenarios that can but don’t always happen. While this can help me with preparation, it does absolutely nothing in the sanity department.

Eventually I discovered that peace was more important and productive to my journey than anxiety.

This concept is easier said than done, especially if you have a long history of stressing yourself out. There will come a point whether in your life or career when you think to yourself, “Just how is worrying about the unknown really helping my situation?” Does playing out an outcome over and over again really put things into action, or does it stop you in your tracks? It can be hard to keep your eyes on the future when you allow fear (false evidence appearing real) to cloud your mind.

There’s something beautiful about the idea of peace that’s so freeing. The dictionary describes it as the “freedom from disturbance.”

That’s pretty powerful.

Think about it: how would your daily hustle be different if you had a “freedom from disturbance”? Sure it won’t change external forces around you, but at least you can make the choice to hold on to inner calm.

I wish I thought about this during my days of working in an office. My what a difference it would’ve made! I can recall times when I loathed going to work. Would I have a good day? Would a project I was working on blow up in my face? Are my co-workers going to act civilized? When it came to holding on to my “freedom from disturbance,” I failed miserably.

Thankfully with age comes progress and maturity. I now see how crucial peace is to my life. In a world full of chaos and negativity, you need something positive to keep you going. That’s not to say I don’t have my bad days, but at least I can acknowledge how hard I work not to allow others or circumstances rob me of my joy. Even when things take a turn for the worse or unexpected, choosing not to be over-anxious allows me to think clearer and impact my circumstances more efficiently.

Stress is real and so is failure. While you might not be able to control every aspect of your life, please realize you do have power over your thoughts and reactions. No matter what you’re going through, if you have breath in your lungs, you have the opportunity to do what’s necessary to change your circumstances. Your life or career isn’t over because of a few setbacks, and if you too choose peace instead of anxiety, you can start removing unnecessary weights from life off your shoulders.

How do you deal with feeling anxious?

When It’s More Than Stress: 7 Symptoms To Be Aware Of

April 24th, 2015 - By Rich
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Is it just me, or does it seem like we blame everything on stress? Sure, stress is the culprit when it comes to many of our challenges in life, but I really can’t agree with stress being the only culprit.

I do agree that our ability to manage the stress in our lives is incredibly important, and mismanaging stress can lead to a host of other issues like overeating, poor sleep, and even changes in mood to name a few. But as women, and especially as moms, we have to remember that what’s going on with our bodies and minds is not always stress-related. Sometimes there are other issues at play.

Many medical issues can mimic the symptoms of stress, and since mothers tend to be juggling a lot anyway, we do run the risk of writing something off as stress-related when we really should be visiting our physician for evaluation and possible testing.

So how do we know when it’s just stress and when it’s something deeper? The truth is, we don’t always know. That’s why we need to seek professional help so we can figure out what’s really going on. In addition to seeking the opinion of a medical professional, we must pay attention to our gut. Don’t ignore that feeling you have that tells you something is just off.  Is it possible your gut is wrong? Sure, it’s possible. Is it likely, though? Not really because no one knows your body as well as you do.

Here are 7 common symptoms that may be more than stress. If these symptoms are present in your life and they have been ongoing (or you just have that funny feeling that something is wrong), please seek medical help. Although I am in no position to offer medical advice, I feel pretty comfortable urging you to get help if you think something may be wrong.

Sleep Issues

It’s not uncommon for people under a great deal of stress to have sleep issues. Insomnia, oversleeping, and unrestful sleep are common complaints. However, if your sleep issues linger, you should consider the possibility that you actually have a sleep disorder or some other medical problem that may be disturbing your normal sleeping pattern.

Weight Gain or Loss  

I am an emotional eater, so I know that being stressed out can lead to indulging a bit too much. But if your eating and exercise habits haven’t changed and you find that you are gaining or losing weight at a rate that’s unusual for you, seek medical attention. Several medical conditions can cause a sudden fluctuation in weight.

Chronic Fatigue

What busy mom isn’t tired? I know I sure am.  And although being extra tired when your stress levels are high is pretty normal, feeling drained and having an overwhelming sense of fatigue may be signs that something deeper is going on. Being exhausted all the time should not be your norm.

Mood Swings

When under a lot of stress it’s normal to get irritated easily or even feel frustrated or anxious. But when your mood swings become very evident to the ones you love, and it starts to impact your relationships, consider the possibility that it’s more than just stress. Could you be suffering from depression? Is it possibly you have an anxiety disorder? Explore all possibilities if you or the people you love feel like something may be wrong.

Upset Stomach

An upset stomach, constipation, nausea, and diarrhea can all be triggered by stress. That said, chronic stomach issues should not be ignored. There are several gastrointestinal conditions that can show these exact same symptoms. If your stomach issues are ongoing you should visit your physician.

Loss of Sexual Desire

What mom hasn’t been just too tired to have sex? But being too tired to have sex sometimes is different from never wanting to have sex because you absolutely have no interest in it at all. If you feel like you have lost your sexual desire, stress may not be the culprit. Talk to your doctor to explore other possibilities.

Frequent Colds & Infections

It is true that chronic stress can lower your immunity and make you susceptible to frequent illness, but lowered immunity can also be a sign that a larger issue is at play. If you are becoming ill far more frequently than you ever have before, consider the possibility that a vitamin deficiency or underlying condition may be causing it and seek medical attention.

 

Martine Foreman is a freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, speaker and coach. To follow her journey as a busy mom, wife, and honest chick from Brooklyn, NY (now living in the burbs), check her out at CandidBelle.

 

Styling Experts Solve Your Biggest Stress-Related Hair Problems

April 21st, 2015 - By LaKrishia Armour
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Does your day sound anything like this?

You rush out of the house without eating breakfast. You work two extra hours because your team is ‘lean.’ You stretch your day so you can make time to socialize after work, eating fried appetizers and throwing back drinks. Or, you might scarf down a cheeseburger in record time before shuffling your kids to their evening activities. Then, you fall into bed without following your nightly hair routine. You wake the next day, rinse and repeat, and the feeling of being overwhelmed builds. Momentary stress creeps up on you and becomes daily stress.

Those seemingly small daily stresses can lead to a feeling of being burned out. Whether self-imposed, situational or even environmental, stress can leave your hair looking crazy (and make you feel even worse).

Two experts share how re-incorporating a little TLC into your busy life can help you recover from the damage that stress causes to your hair.

Pump The Breaks: Ways To Bounce Back When You’re Facing Burnout

April 16th, 2015 - By Taylor Gordon
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Do you feel pressure to always be at the top of your game at home and at work? Have you been feeling absolutely exhausted? Have you noticed it’s getting harder and harder to maintain your workaholic lifestyle?

You’re probably experiencing burnout. The daily grind has a way of doing it to you when you don’t take a second to pump the breaks. Read on to find out ways to bounce back.