Stress-relief in a stressful economy - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Stress-relief in a stressful economy


MADISON (WKOW)--Many people these days are either looking for a job or worried that they'll soon have to be looking for a job.

The Great Recession has created a stressed America, but there are ways to cope. 

Doctors at Dean Health System say stress can take many forms: high blood pressure, heart burn, chest pain, headaches or insomnia.

Philip Bain, MD of Dean's Internal Medicine Department has this advice:

  1. Don’t disregard your symptoms.  All too often, high achievers write-off their chest pain, headaches and insomnia to stress. Downplaying chest pain and missing the early signs of a heart attack could be dangerous.
  2. Listen to your body.  If you are constantly feeling tight muscles in your neck or a burning in your stomach, maybe you need to slow down and reprioritize.
  3. Listen to others. Maybe your spouse or your best friend or your co-worker is right.  Maybe you do need a break. Especially under stressful conditions, you can’t do it alone.
  4. Be good to yourself!  Eat right/don’t skip meals, get a good night’s rest and find time to unwind. Taking a 30-minute walk to unwind can make you far more productive when you return and allow you to be more focused.
  5. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that self-medicating will help.  Having a drink or two or three may seem like it helps you relax, but the temporary relief can quickly give way to drinking too much or relying on alcohol to calm you down.
  6. Pills aren’t the answer either.  Anxiety meds and sleeping tablets, like alcohol, sometimes can lead to long-term problems like addiction and impairment more quickly than you may realize. Stress in the workplace is rarely a short-term issue and relying on temporary measures can be disastrous.
  7. Learn to relax. Consider methods to enhance your ability to focus such as meditation, mindfulness and yoga. They can help you learn to monotask—to focus on just one thing--rather than to multitask.
  8. Exercise.  The natural pain chemical, endorphins, that are released during exercise can lift your spirits and make you feel better. Find ways to stir in some form of physical activity every day: park in the last row, take the stairs, bike to work one day per week or pick a lunch spot that you can walk to. It all adds up.
  9. Just say no!  Successful people generally say yes as a knee-jerk response. Learn to say no. Practice it, perfect it and use it. You have your limits.
  10. Get some help. Most high achievers got where they did by going it alone. They aren’t used to asking for help. Stress management is hard work, too. A good place to start is your primary care physician or family doctor.


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