Stress Management For Dummies
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Job-related stress is a major factor in your health and well-being. Getting to your job in reasonable condition is half the battle. By the time you open your office door (if you have one), you don’t want to feel as if you’ve already fought (and probably lost) several minor skirmishes. Get a leg up on your work stress. Hit the ground running. Start your day the night before. Here’s how:

  • Go to bed. Not getting enough sleep the night before can be a real stress producer. Your stress threshold is lowered. You’re more irritable and find it much harder to concentrate. People and situations that normally wouldn’t get to you, now do. Arriving at work tired is a guarantee that this isn’t going to be one of your better stress days.

  • Get up a tad earlier. Getting out of bed even a few minutes earlier in the morning can give you enough of a safety net so that you don’t find yourself rushing, looking for something at the last minute, and racing out the door with a powdered donut in your hand. Don’t add to your stress by running late.

  • Eat breakfast. To manage your stress, getting off on the right nutritional foot is important. When you wake up in the morning, as many as 11 or 12 hours have passed since you last ate. Your body needs to refuel. You may feel fine skipping breakfast, but studies show that people who don’t eat a reasonable breakfast more often report feelings of fatigue and more stress later in the day.

  • Work out before you shower. If you can manage it, getting some physical exercise before your workday starts can put you ahead of the game. Hitting the stationary bike, working the stair climber, or even walking briskly around the block can throw you into gear and get you ready for your day.

    Studies show that even short periods of exercise can speed up your heart rate, increase the amount of oxygen to your brain, and release endorphins, which can exert a calming effect. You’re ready for anything your job might throw at you.

  • Check your schedule. When you get to the office, spend the first part of your morning organizing your day. Knowing that you’re in control of what will get done reduces any uncertainty and anxiety. An important part of this is becoming more organized and managing your time effectively.

Generally, most people feel that Monday is the most stressful day of the week. Studies show that you’re more likely to have a stroke or heart attack on Monday morning than at any other time during the week.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Allen Elkin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the director of The Stress Management & Counseling Center in New York City. Nationally known for his expertise in the field of stress and emotional disorders, he has appeared frequently on Today, Good Morning America, and Good Day New York.

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