by Kristine Coblitz
We’ve all experienced it…the sweaty palms, the accelerated heartbeat, the fierce headache, the knot in the stomach. They are all symptoms of job-related stress, and if taken to extreme, it can be a killer more deadly than any mystery novel villain.
I say this from experience.
I spent over seven years working as the managing editor of a technical trade journal. Upset stomach? Yep. Irritability? Yep. Panic attacks? Yeah, I had them, too. When I scored 14 out of 16 on an online stress quiz, my suspicions were confirmed. I was suffering from burn-out and needed a change. Big time. Putting my health first, I packed the few personal belongings out of my office and bolted. I'm now working from home as a freelance technical writer and editor.
According to a 2000 survey on stress in the workplace, 14% of the respondents admitted to having the urge to strike a co-worker. Scary stuff, huh? And here we writers thought motives for murder were limited to love, revenge, and greed. Not anymore. It seems we may have to add job-related stress to the list now.
As part of my recovery, I’ve studied and researched the causes, symptoms, and effects of stress, as well as the remedies for dealing with it. The Internet is loaded with articles and practical advice, but I’d like to share the “Top 5” tips that worked for me and invite you all to add to the list.
(1) Be realistic about limitations. Once I got my priorities in line, I was able to focus.
(2) Set boundaries. Know when to say “no” and don’t back down. This is important!
(3) Get enough sleep. Do you suffer from insomnia like I do? There are many excellent CDs out there to help you drift to dreamland.
(4) Eat right and exercise. Okay, I’ll be honest. Exercise hasn’t exactly made it to the top of my priority list yet, but I'm trying.
(5) Pamper yourself. Make the effort to do something special for yourself every day. A hot bath and chocolate treats do the trick for me. Oh yeah, and so does watching this.
Now it’s your turn. How do you cope with stress?