Stop the Madness!!!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had conversations with a number of people who are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, pulled in way to many directions.  They are not alone.

A Canadian Health report claims that:

  • More than 50% of all employees take work home
  • 69% check their email from home
  • 59% check voice mail after hours
  • 29% keep their cell phones on day and night.
  • 46% of people feel more stressed out by work, and
  • 44% believed it was having a negative impact on their family life.

One woman believes that SHE has to respond to emails and voice mails after hours, on weekends and on holidays.  Note the emphasis is on the word ‘she’, not ‘has’.  She believes she is the only one capable to take care of business the right way.  If that is truly the case, then she’s doing something wrong.  She’s either hiring the wrong people or she’s not providing her team members with the training and support they need to become valued contributors to the team.  My guess is it’s not the people she has on her team that are the problem.  It’s her need to be seen as indispensable by her customers and her staff.

A friend is so busy trying to be all things at work and at home, that she has no time for herself.  Her sense of obligation and duty is admirable BUT at some point, she HAS to take care of herself or she will not be able to take care of anyone.  Stress overload impacts health.

Last year, I returned home after delivering a stress management session to find out that a friend who was under overwhelming stress, had suffered three heart attacks over the weekend!  Three!!! In one weekend! Thankfully, they were small heart attacks, if there is really such a thing as a small heart attack. He ended up in the hospital, forced to finally rest and care for himself.  Guess what … all those things he absolutely had to do, all the things nobody else but him could do, either got done by someone else or didn’t get done.  Turns out the sky didn’t fall down after all!

Some things to think about:

  1. Chances are you are not nearly as indispensable as you think you are. There is someone who is just as capable as you, perhaps even more capable, of taking care of tasks, duties and responsibilities.  (Hmmmm .. perhaps another reason some people aren’t willing to share?)  By holding on, you are not only stressing yourself out, but you could also be holding someone back from achieving their goals and objectives.
  2. Schedule you time / family time. Put it in your calendar and honor it.  Really.  If you don’t, something or someone else will fill that time.  You time and family time is not wasted time.  It is valuable time that creates memories and opportunities.
  3. There are times when life throws a lot at us at once.  If you can’t get away for an entire day or an entire weekend, block an hour and go for a walk, meditate, spend time with a friend.  Something, anything that gets you away for just a little bit.  This may also be a good time to review all the “stuff” on your plate and asking yourself “What am I holding onto that I can let go … even for a short time?”

When you get on a plane, you are told that “In the unlikely event, the cabin loses pressure, and an air mask drops down, put yours on FIRST.”  If you don’t, you won’t be able to help the person you are with.  That good advice applies to life in general.

Remember … if you take care of others, you must take care of yourself.

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