Combating stress on the job

Stress is linked to many chronic illnesses and causes accelerated aging. Knowing our stress levels and how they contribute to our health is necessary in order to understand how to achieve optimal vitality.

Some of the most common symptoms we experience from long-standing elevated stress levels include: headaches, depression, fatigue, weight-gain, anxiety and tight/sore muscles.

If you experience any of these symptoms, or would like to prevent them from occurring, here are a few helpful tips on how to fend off the wellness-draining foe we call stress.

Tip 1: Get organized

Being organized allows you to de-clutter your mind and focus your energy toward productivity, rather than managing the to-do list internally in your head.

Know your tasks and get it down on paper. Identify everything you need and where it is located. Prioritize your list: A-list items must get done today, B-list items really should get done today and C-list items are things you want to do, but life will continue if they do not get done right away.

Work on this list two ways. First, start with the most important tasks, tackle them and get them done. This will greatly decrease the pressure and ensure you are not caught behind schedule. Second, knock out the tasks you can get done the fastest. Checking them off will show you how much you have done. Your list will shrink rapidly and become less intimidating.

Tip 2: Choose

a single task

Focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is a great skill to have, but it can also slow you down. Clear your desk of all the things that you don’t need to complete this one task and get it done quickly.

Avoid getting sidetracked. When the urge to get sidetracked toward a minor distraction comes, write down what it is you want to do and do it later. This will allow you to stay committed to completing your task at hand.

Tip 3: Breathe

Under stress, most of us become shallow breathers. Whenever you notice you’re feeling stressed, sit upright or stand and take four deep breaths. Breathe deep into your belly, sides and back. This will invigorate you with oxygen and allow you to better focus and remain productive.

Tip 4: Exercise

Physical movement helps the body adapt and cope with your emotional or work-related stresses. It is not by chance that our school systems work with breaks built into them. Movement also increases memory retention and mental acuity.

Start your day with some sort of activity: walk, run, sport, stretching, yoga. Get up and move if your job leaves you sitting or stagnant for 45 minutes or longer.

This information does not replace medical attention or advice. To best address your personal imbalances and benefit from a better-balanced life, work with a licensed healthcare professional that can assist you in putting together an action plan that best suits your goals and needs.

• Dustin Dillberg L.Ac. PAS owns Pain Free Kaua‘i in Lihu‘e. His clinic specializes in natural healthcare solutions, including stress-relieving acupuncture, Egoscue Method of postural corrective exercise, nutritional plans and lifestyle medicine. For more information, call Pain Free Kaua‘i at 245-0007.

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