Isn’t it about time you put some time aside for something special?
In today’s non-stop world, the expectations keep getting higher, the time available keeps getting shorter and the pressure keeps mounting up from all sides. Is it any wonder that record numbers of people are missing days off work because of stress related illnesses?
A recent survey in the UK estimated that £26 Billion ($41 Billion) per year is lost due to people calling in sick and quitting their jobs because of workplace stress.
Symptoms such as poor concentration, low motivation and tiredness lead to less productivity, accounting for two-thirds of this cost, according to the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. Their research revealed a quarter of people had quit a job because of an unsupportive manager, while 17 percent have left because of excessive workloads.
So what can you do about this? You can look for complex and expensive answers, but if you think about it – and be honest – when is the last occasion that you actually took some time out to properly re-charge your batteries and re-connect with the things that are really important to you?
My guess it was a long time ago, so here are some ideas you should consider next time you feel your stress levels starting to rise and your blood starting to boil;
1. Reclaim you lunch hour. Simple really, but stand up for your right to take a time out and take your lunch hour. It doesn’t even need to be the full hour, but make sure you get out of the building at least for 30 minutes two or three times per week.
2. Relaxation. Relaxation is important, and even something as simple as breathing exercises are an effective way to manage stress. Breathing exercises are convenient, simple and effective.
3. Exercise. Exercise is really important, not just to keep fit as a distraction from stressful situations and an outlet for frustrations. The body produces endorphins which give you a physical and mental boost. Just tensing and relaxing through exercise will relieve tension and you will feel much more relaxed in minutes. You can join a gym, but a brisk round the park will also be very effective.
4. Take the day off. An unscheduled day off is a great way to chill out and re-connect with the things that are important to you. Do it on a Friday, so you get a long weekend and make it on a day when the maximum number of colleagues are at work to increase the positive effect. It’s always better being off when everyone else is hard at working hard. It’s better if you switch off your Blackberry and phone – tell your boss you are visiting a sick relative to avoid calls from the boss.
5. Treat yourself. It doesn’t have to be big, just reward yourself with a little something special that will give you an immediate lift and release the same good endorphins that a run around the park will do. Don’t spend a small fortune, a huge credit card bill will make you feel worse, just a treat that will give you a big psychological boost.
6. Spend some time with your kids. If you don’t have any children, spend some quality time with your closest family or friends. When is the last time you played football with your son or had a good chat with your mother or father? It costs nothing, and is a great way to put things into perspective.
7. Have a look through some old photos. Guaranteed to bring good memories flooding back and remind you of great times; places you went and people you spent time with.
So if you look back at this list is there anything that is out of the ordinary or absurdly expensive? Is there anything here that would be such a time commitment you would never follow it through? I guess not, so don’t be a casualty of stress, make a commitment to yourself today to do something special. You’ll feel a million times better for it.