Relax and Reduce Your Stress

PRIORITIES IN LIFE: RELAXATION AND STRESS REDUCTION

“The person who doesn’t take time for relaxation will be obliged sooner or later to make time for illness.” John Wanamaker

In our goal oriented, hyper motivated, money making workday we often deny ourselves the much needed periods of relaxation. Like a high powered sports car, we can be very impressive at high speeds but sacrifice distance, efficiency, and physical integrity in the process. Our bodies and minds are designed to work well if they are not overtaxed. Frequent periods of relaxation and stress reduction are important to the longevity of our bodies and minds.

All too often the sacred coffee break is abused rather than maximized. People become focused on the process rather than the desired result of the break. A coffee or lunch break should be used as a time to relax so that you are more effective when you return to work. The relaxation you seek during a break should achieve three things:

l. It should provide distraction and get your mind off the job.

2. It should alleviate tension.

3. It should be short enough not to severely interfere with your workday but long enough to provide you with some benefits.

There is no denying the importance of relaxation, despite its appearing “unproductive.”

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HOW DO YOU PREVENT OR RECOVER FROM BURNOUT?

                You CAN do it! The BEST ways to BEAT BURNOUT!

It s not easy. It requires an intense commitment on your part to change your behavior for the better, and the healthier. It will require the same devotion and willpower as quitting smoking or going on a diet. However, don t try too hard. You may burn out by trying too hard to get better.
The following activities can help prevent you from becoming a burnout victim. They can also aid you in recovering from a burnout you already are experiencing. In following these guidelines, do not try to change too many of your behaviors at once. That will result in a quick case of frustration and a reversion back to your comfortable old behaviors. Attempt one new behavioral change at a time. Do not try an additional new behavior until you have comfortably mastered the previous one. In this way, your new healthy behaviors will last.
1. Limit the number of hours you work. The classic burnout victims work excessively long hours—6 or 7 days per week. Even when they’re home or out socializing, they can’t stop thinking and talking business. They wear themselves down physically and mentally.
Make a firm commitment to cut your daily workload down by one hour per week, each and every week until you re down to 8‑9 hours per day, five days per week. Don t say that’s impossible. It certainly is if you learn how to manage your time better.
2. Set goals—write them down. Most burnout victims work so hard and so long because they get bogged down in too many trivial tasks. Very often the really important jobs, the ones with a high payoff never get done. This lack of task perspective is very often the direct result of not having clearly defined goals in writing.
By knowing what is truly important to you in your life, and by having clearly written goals and action plans, you are better able to differentiate the high payoff tasks from the low payoff tasks. Then, if you spend most or all of your time doing your high priority tasks, you’ll probably accomplish twice as much in half the time.
3. Learn to say “No!” Burnout victims have a difficult time telling people they are not able to do another task. They feel it shatters their omnipotent image. Ironically, taking on too much puts so much pressure on the burnout victims that the overall quality of their work decreases and their superman image suffers anyway. When you feel you have more than enough to keep you busy, politely refuse to take on more.
4. Learn to Delegate. One of the major problems afflicting burnout victims is their inability and unwillingness to delegate tasks to others. They must resist the tendency to do things themselves. Train others, especially your secretary or assistant, to do your routine and low priority tasks. Also delegate the right to make mistakes. That’s how others learn. Give them their space to do things on their own. You should be spending your time on planning and completing your high‑priority tasks.
5. Exercise. One of the most effective ways to relieve tension and stress is through exercise. It not only helps you avoid a burnout episode, it also helps you circumvent many other physical ailments. Workaholics and super achievers complain that they do not have the time to exercise. On the contrary, taking time out of a busy schedule to exercise usually makes you feel less fatigued while you’re working and actually increases your level of awareness and productivity on the job. Force yourself to get at least 200 minutes of physical activity per week spread out over at least five separate days.
6. Break your routines. Don’t follow too rigid a schedule. Too much structure gets you into a rut. In the field of nutrition, the experts recommend rotational dieting. That simply means not eating the same foods all the time and adding variety and flexibility to your eating habits. The same advice holds true for your daily and weekly work schedule. Purposely go out of your way to do some things differently, to do some new things, and to do them at different times.
7. Try to relax. Kick back every so often during each day. Let your mind wander, not thinking about anything in particular, and especially not about business. These are necessary recharge breaks. Take long hot baths at home to relieve tension. You will find that this is an ideal way to relax both your mind and body.
8. Eat lunch AWAY from the office. This is an excellent way to accomplish many of the above suggestions. Walking to and from the restaurant or the park is an excellent source of exercise. Eating lunch outside or in the park is an Ideal way to relax and cleanse your mind. Leaving the office for meals breaks the routine of being in the office all day.
9. Take vacations. Most burnout victims rarely take vacations. They have too much work to do. Even when their spouse forces them to go on a vacation, they load one suitcase with books, reading materials, and work. If the vacation consists of more than three days in the same location, burnout victims start climbing the walls. They’re on a withdrawal from work.
If you react in the above manner, take a series of three‑day vacations throughout the year and discipline yourself not to bring any work with you. Vacation to relax, not simply to work in another environment.
10. Spend more time with your family. I realize not everyone is married nor has a family. Those that do should schedule their family members into their appointment book and respect the entry as they would any other business appointment. Eat at least one meal per day with your family. Try to keep business calls to a minimum at your home. Spend one evening and one‑half day per week doing something with your family as a group (TV watching doesn’t count!). Get to really know the people who are very important to you in your life.
11. Take time for yourself. Get away by yourself intermittently. Spend some time alone getting to know yourself. Meditate. Relax. Read light, enjoyable material. Pursue a hobby that has absolutely nothing to do with your line of work, but is relaxing and enjoyable. Treat yourself—you deserve it.
12. Don’t take life too seriously. Believe it or not, you’re not indispensable. Not to the world. Not to your country. Not even to your company. Everything will go on with or without you. Let up on yourself and others. Yes, you do make a contribution—maybe even a major one. But don’t overestimate your own value and worth. Do what you do and do it well. But, don’t kill yourself in the process, because then you’re of no value to the people and causes for which you were working. Take care of yourself and enjoy all aspects of your life—not just work. Everyone will be the better for it, especially you.

BURN OUT-Are you there yet?

How about taking this brief quiz and let’s evaluate if you are part of the Burn Out dilemma. Blogs to follow on how to help you if you are! First, take the quiz and let me know your score!

BURN OUT QUIZ
By Dr Tony Alessandra
How prone are you to burnout? Take the accompanying BURN OUT QUIZ to determine your current potential for burnout.
 BURN OUT QUIZ
SA = Strongly Agree = 10 points
A = Agree = 7 points
D = Disagree = 3 points
SD = Strongly Disagree = O points
1. I always seem to feel fatigued throughout the day.
2. I find myself talking less and less in business and social meetings.
3. My memory seems to be deteriorating—I’m forgetting more and more.
4. Even after a good night’s sleep, I still feel tired.
5. I find it very difficult to really relax—my mind always seems to be in full gear thinking about work.
6. At the end of each day, I feel that I’m further behind than when I started the day.
7. I seem to be more irritable and cranky lately. I am not as patient with others. I have a short fuse and blow up easily.
8. I am spending less and less time on physical activities and hobbies—or with my family and friends.
9. I seldom seem to be pleased with what I’ve already accomplished. I feel that I should be accomplishing more.
10. I either operate at full speed ahead or at dead asleep—no middle ground.
SCORING:
0‑15 points—you either don’t do anything or you’ve really got your act together.
16‑50 points—you’re doing well. At this level, you’re highly unlikely to suffer from burnout.
51‑80 points—you’re on thin Ice and just about ready to fall in. You’d better change your lifestyle quickly because burnout is knocking down your door.
86‑100 points— I’m glad I don’t work for you or with you. You are a walking time bomb. If you do not make immediate adjustments in your behavior you may be burned out by the time you finish reading this article.

TIME-Are you managing it well?

Effective and Efficient Time Management
Time is nature’s greatest “force.” Nothing can stop it; nothing can alter it. Unlike the wind, it cannot be felt. Unlike the sun, it cannot be seen. Yet, of all nature’s forces, time has the most profound effect on us.
Time remains constant, but our perception of it changes. When we focus on it, it slows down. When we turn our backs on it, it speeds up. Our illusion makes us think it is something tangible. We arrange it, divide it up, and give some to our friends. Sometimes we feel it is precious, at other times we waste it. We give it the power to heal when we say, “Time heals all wounds.” It can also kill, as when we live stressful lives because we “never have enough time.” On a day‑to‑day basis, nothing is defined and redefined in our minds as much as time. It’s a wonder we can still recognize it!
Herein lies our power. Because things are as we perceive them, we can choose to see time as a manageable commodity and live our lives according to that assumption. This is one of the secrets of successful people ‑ they work at shaping those things that others think are uncontrollable.
EFFICIENT VS. EFFECTIVE
In discussing time management, some people argue, “What we need to be is more efficient with our time!” Other people claim, “Let’s not worry so much about efficiency, let’s be more effective!”
Efficiency means doing things right. Effectiveness means doing the right things. Working efficiently is doing things with the least amount of wasted effort. Efficiency gets you from point A to point B via a straight line. Inefficiency goes in circles. Effectiveness means doing the things that yield results.
Many people, when learning about time management, ask the question, “Which should I work on first, efficiency or effectiveness?”  In theory and practice, the best answer is to improve your effectiveness first. It’s much better to aim your sights at the result than to worry about the process. Too often we get bogged down in the means and lose sight of the end.