ARE YOU STRESSED OUT?
by Susan Bowles
Think you might be stressed? Answer yes or no to the following questions to see if your job is creating more anxiety than pleasure.
1. When I stop at a stoplight, I rail at the inconvenience.
If yes: A key sign of undue stress is getting irritated over minor things. “If the smaller situations in life start to bother you more than normal, it’s time to take a look,” says Tim O’Brien, director of the Institute for Stress Management. Realize what you can control, and what you can’t.
2. I’ve locked my keys in the car twice this month. (Or left the house without my wallet or walked out of a restaurant without my purse.)
If yes: “Forgetfulness is a key sign you’re operating under stress,” says Vicki Lachman, author of Stress Management: A Manual for Nurses. Tune in to what your mind is telling you, and don’t shrug off forgetfulness.
3. I used to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. Now I’m having two or three before I can wind down.
If yes: Any increase in drug or alcohol use should raise red flags. Watch for changes in your habits, and listen to what those around you are saying.
4. My friends or family are noticing changes in my behavior.
If yes: Listen to what people outside of work are saying. Sometimes workers cope at work but go home and yell at their family, Lachman says. “They might not connect the symptoms with what’s going on at work.”
5. The day isn’t long enough for me to get all my work done.
If yes: Look at all the tasks you try to squeeze in, and see which you can eliminate.
6. I’ve been sick multiple times this month, and I’ve never had more than a cold before.
If yes: Listen to your body. Stress can make you more susceptible to illness. Be sure you’re eating correctly and making time for exercise. Be sure, too, to get a good night’s sleep.