Is your job killing you?

Health and safety reps take care of all the obvious physical risks at work, but one element they can’t help you with is stress. We all need a healthy amount of stress and challenges to keep us on our toes, but it can easily become too much for us and impact on our health.

How you’ll know your work stress is excessive

Excessive stress manifests itself through physical, behavioural and psychological symptoms. Too much stress ultimately impacts on our health and can even kill.

 

Physical symptoms

Does the mere thought of work make your heart thunder in your chest? Are you a bundle of aches and pains at the end of a work day? If you feel tired out all the time, suffer from frequent headaches, have trouble getting to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night with your mind racing, your stress levels at work could be to blame. Tummy upsets, IBS and skin rashes are also signs of workplace stress that you should be alert for.

Psychological symptoms

We don’t like to admit to depression, but if everything seems too much for you and you’re having difficulty maintaining a positive outlook, you may be going into a downward spiral that’s being caused by your workplace stress. Do you have a very short fuse these days? Do you feel anxious all the time? You should be hearing alarm bells warning you that your life is too stressful. If you’re suffering from lack of concentration and have trouble making up your mind what to do in situations you used to cope with easily, you need to take action now.

Behavioural symptoms

Knowing the behavioural symptoms of stress not only helps us to take care of ourselves, it also helps us to understand our stressed out partner or work colleague. Look out for irritability, impatience and sudden mood swings. When people are stressed out, they have trouble relating to others and may seem isolated or uninterested. Tears and temper tantrums might have more to do with stress than they do with sadness or anger.

What can I do about my workplace stress?

If your work stress has become so bad that you’re exhibiting severe symptoms, you need to take emergency action. Visit your family doctor and explain how you reached the conclusion that work stress is affecting your health. Most doctors realise the serious health consequences of stress and will book you off for a much-needed break.

If you don’t want to use up your sick leave, take a holiday instead. You will need at least three weeks off to regain some equilibrium. Remember, this is about your health and your health should be your first priority – but you can’t make rational decisions when you’re in fight or flight mode all the time. You need to find calmness first.

Reflect on your job and what aspects of it are becoming stressful. Sometimes, changing your own approach to work is enough, sometimes a frank chat with your manager is what’s needed. Perhaps you’re just not suited to your job and should consider a complete change.

Before you throw the baby out with the bathwater see if your personal habits are adding to your work stress. Do you take breaks during the work day? Do you eat properly? Are you spending enough time on exercise, rest and relaxation? Formulate a plan of action to eliminate these habits and explain your situation to your family. They will have noticed the changes in you that stress causes and their support and understanding will help you to see the process through.

Middle Age and Feeling Great

When it comes to age, you haven’t clocked a high score yet, but you can feel it all starting to creep up on you. You can’t turn back the clock, but there are a few things you can do to regain some of your vitality and safeguard your health.

Stop smoking

Stop SmokingIf you haven’t done so already, the time has arrived to kick the habit. According to studies, smoking is one of the primary factors that determine how long you’ll live after middle-age. If quitting sounds really difficult, have a word with your doctor. There are medications available that will make you hate smoking so much that you’re bound to quit. There are also several alternative therapies such as hypnosis and acupuncture that have been used successfully to help people to stop smoking.

Lose weight

After smoking, being overweight is the biggest health risk you face. If Lose Weightyou’re overweight or obese, aim to reach a healthy weight through diet and exercise. You may be in a hurry, but don’t rush it. Crash diets do more harm than good and as soon as you stop dieting all the weight plus more comes back. Reduce your portion sizes, avoid processed foods that contain sugar and burn off calories with exercise.

Exercise

ExerciseEven if you aren’t overweight, you’ve probably become more sedentary as the years pass. It’s time to get up and get moving. Remember: if you don’t use it, you lose it! Building your strength and stamina now will help you to remain more active when you are older. What’s more, you’ll feel really good! Don’t even try to work out in the same way that you did when you were younger – at least not at first. A brisk walk every day can work wonders. You can progress to more strenuous exercise as you become fitter.

Get vitamin B12

Vitamin B12

As your body ages, it becomes more difficult to absorb vitamin B12 from foods. Eat fortified foods or take a supplement. If you’re not too squeamish, consider going for vitamin B12 shots. You’ll be amazed at the difference in your energy levels as your body functions more efficiently thanks to this important vitamin.

Drink more water

Drink More WaterDon’t wait until you feel thirsty. As we get older, we don’t feel thirst as easily as we did when we were younger. As a result, we’re more prone to dehydration and its attendant health-risks. Cut down on coffee and alcohol or avoid them altogether, since they increase your risk of dehydration.

Catch up on Calcium

Reduce your chances of osteoporosis and maintain bone density by Calciumeating calcium-rich foods such as dairy products. If you are lactose intolerant, find a good supplement and don’t exceed the recommended dose. You can have too much of a good thing and in this case, too much calcium may cause kidney stones. You’ll need Vitamin D so that your body is able to absorb and use the calcium. If you don’t get outdoors into the sunshine fairly regularly, you may need to use a supplement.

Feast on fruit and veg

Fruit And VegLet’s face it, things are going a bit downhill now that you’ve reached middle age. Do some damage control by ensuring that your body gets healthy vitamins, minerals and fibre from fresh fruit and vegetables. You can safeguard your eyesight, improve the efficiency of your digestive system, reduce cholesterol, balance your blood sugar and boost your immune system – all with the help of delicious fruits and a good variety of yummy vegetables.

Go for a check up

Find out just where you stand in terms of your health and get someCheck Up good advice on healthy living while you’re at it. The best years of your life could be around the corner. It’s up to you to make sure you are in good physical condition so that you can enjoy them!