Holiday recovery: Get back to work with less stress

Holiday recovery: Get back to work with less stress

A lecturer on stress management raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers from the audience ranged from 20 grams to 500 grams.

“The absolute weight doesn’t matter.” replied the lecturer. ”It depends on how long you try to hold it.

“If I hold it for a minute,” he said, “that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

The lecturer continued, “That’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.”

So when you leave work today, put the burden of work down. Don’t carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you’re carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you’ve rested. Life is short. Enjoy it.

Stress is part of life. A certain amount of stress is normal, even useful. Deadlines are stressful for many, but they also motivate people to finish projects and even feel some sense of accomplishment. Sometimes such pressure is effective in fostering teamwork – the notion that we’re all in this together. Team members share the stress and empathize with each other, and feed off each other’s energy.

That’s the upside of stress. But when stress results from overwork, unreasonable demands and impossible expectations, it can affect everything from customer relations to personal problems to health issues. Can anything be worth that?

While your mind may still be on a holiday schedule, you may not feel ready to get back into the groove. Your job (and your boss) won’t wait, though. Here’s how to get past the holiday bustle and New Year’s doldrums:

Review your goals.

Look back at what you accomplished the previous year. What remains to be done? Spend some time setting new objectives for the coming 12 months. This should help you get charged up for the future.

Adjust your energy level.

Log your activities for a few days and identify tasks that waste time and leave you feeling drained. Eliminate what you can, and look for strategies to manage what you’re stuck with.

Set priorities.

Look at what’s most important to get done now. Achieving a fresh goal will improve your spirits and remind you of what you’re good at.

Commit to work/life balance.

Make one of your resolutions to balance the demands of your job and your personal life more equitably. You’ll be less likely to crash after a holiday if you’re not stressed out before it begins.

Get enough sleep.

Lack of sleep diminishes your ability to deal with stress. Seven or eight hours of sleep every night will help you stay calm and patient throughout the day.

Resist the urge to vent.

Expressing your feelings isn’t the same as losing control. Lashing out at others can intensify your sense of frustration, especially if you can’t do anything about the situation. Focus on solving problems without exploding.

Find your stress triggers.

By observing what’s likely to make you nervous, impatient or angry, you’ll be able to head off an ugly incident with your co-workers.


Regular exercise keeps you healthier overall. Start slowly, if you need to. Low-impact exercises such as yoga can help you relax your mind as well as your body.

Recognize the symptoms.

If you’re suffering from warning signs like lingering headaches, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating or stomach problems, you may be hiding from a very real threat to your health. Pay attention to what your body is telling you before stress takes its toll.

And if all else fails, just remember: Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.

This is a great article from one of my Mentors Harvey Mackay
and his Mackay’s Moral is: Don’t let excess stress get in the way of extreme success.

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Life is what you make out of it

Life is what you make out of it

Have you ever heard the saying of:

“What you sign up for in life, and what you get, are two different things.”?

Around this time of the year you always hear stuff about New Year’s resolutions and why they can make such a difference in our lives. But breaking them often makes us feel like failures.

Some days are tougher than others, it’s true. But if you suffer from a general feeling that your life isn’t quite what you had hoped it would be, you may benefit from spending some time thinking about what you need to do differently, no matter what time of year.

Think about what your perfect day would be like. Don’t hold back ideas, even if they seem far-fetched. Then take it a step further: What would your perfect life be like?

When you’ve finished, ask yourself if there is a big gap between how you would like your life to be and how it is. After you have established what seems to be missing from your life, see what you can do, realistically, to take your life just one step closer to your ideals. Don’t just quit your job to travel around the world – unless you have the means – but consider what you need to do to make that possible, if that’s your dream.

Would more education make a difference? Is a career change in the future? Do you need to devote more time to family and friends? Are you doing anything to help others? These are all big changes, and will require serious planning and willingness to make life changes. But if you know what you truly want, and can reasonably accomplish, you will find a way to make it work.

Write your plan or goals down and put them where you can see them often. Remind yourself that you are worth the effort. And if you slide a little, remember that you can start again. These are your plans, not someone else’s.

In the meantime, work with what you have. Expand your experience and enjoy things that are within reach now – not someday when you finally have enough money, which might take a while to accomplish.

Now, instead of making some resolutions that you have little chance of keeping, you can start to make some life changes that will be rewarding every single day.

“There are three constants in life: change, choice and principles,” said my friend, the late management guru Stephen Covey. The third element he mentions is critical to making the best choices about the changes you want to make.

The third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, lived by his “Ten Rules for the Good Life,” a set of guidelines that helped him stay on course. I believe, Jefferson was one of the smartest men who ever lived. His rules may seem very general, but that is the beauty of their message: a simple framework for making broader decisions in everyday life. Here are his rules.

1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.

3. Never spend your money before you have it.

4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will never be dear to you.

5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.

6. Never repent of having eaten too little.

7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.

8. Don’t let the evils that have never happened cost you pain.

9. Always take things by their smooth handle.

10. When angry, count to 10 before you speak; if very angry, count to 100.

Whether you use these rules written more than two centuries ago as a starting point, or define your own, making changes will be easier some days than others. You already know, as Charlie Brown says, that what you sign up for in life and what you get are not always the same. But you have the power to change that. Use it!