Seven Steps to Reduce Stress in the Workplace

Seven Steps to Reduce Stress in the Workplace

 

Numerous studies show that stress in the workplace is the major source of stress for American adults. And stress levels continue to escalate over time. Increased levels of job stress, as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands, have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and other disorders. So much so, that in New York, Los Angeles, and other municipalities, any police officer who suffers a coronary event on or off the job is assumed to have a work related injury.

Main Causes of of Stress in the Workplace

A January 2016 survey based on 834 respondents from CareerCast found 62 percent of workers rate their jobs as stressful.

The most common factors influencing stress levels on the job included:

  • Unpredictability—26 percent
  • Workplace environment—21 percent
  • Deadlines—20 percent
  • Safety of others—16 percent

The least common factors influencing stress levels on the job included:

  • Length of work day/week—seven percent
  • Personal well-being in danger—five percent
  • Potential for promotion—three percent
  • Travel—one percent

Unpredictability in the workplace includes factors such as the flow of responsibility changing from day-to-day with new tasks added or changed at random intervals or changing expectations for the worker.

Physical Impacts of Stress in the Workplace

Historically our human response to stress were an adaptation for addressing natural threats. Even today, the stress response can be an asset for raising levels of performance during certain times.

However, if stress becomes chronic, it can create physical or psychological damage. Some of the physical damage that occurs from chronic stress includes:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Effect on the immune system
  • Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Over- and under-eating
  • Diabetes
  • Pain
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Sexual and reproductive dysfunction
  • Poor memory, concentration, and learning

Six Steps to Manage Stress in the Workplace

  • Track your stressors:Journal for a week. Identify situations that create the most stress and your responses to the stressors. A journal can help you identify triggers and your responses to them.
  • Develop healthy responses.When stressors surface, don’t run out for a burger. Create a list of healthy options: Exercise, yoga, or any form of physical activity is beneficial. Set aside time for the things that bring you pleasure. Get enough good-quality sleep.
  • Establish boundaries.Establish some work-life boundaries for yourself. That can be as simple as not checking email from home in the evening.
  • Take time to recharge.Disconnect from time to time. Take those vacation days. That helps you get back to work feeling rejuvenated.
  • Learn how to relax.Meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness can help melt away stress—give them a try.
  • Get some support.Accepting help from trusted friends and family members can improve your ability to manage stress.

It is easy to “indulge” in stress in the workplace at times because it grants you permission to have that extra cocktail and bacon cheese fries.

It is much more difficult to implement strategies for fighting stress in the workplace. But remember, stress and stress management are directly related to personal well-being. You are not the only one affected by workplace stress, so is your family, friends, and co-workers.

Never is this more apparent than when and if you were diagnosed with a significant stress-related disease.

Image Credit: Shutterstock




Three Steps to Beat Diabetes

Three Steps to Beat Diabetes

It’s official: We have a worldwide crisis on our hands. Type 2 diabetes has become so prevalent around the world, it was the focus of this year’s World Health Day. With the proliferation of obesity, poor eating habits, and physical inactivity around the world, how will we reverse this crisis and begin to beat diabetes?

Here are three steps everyone can take to avoid developing this disease.

Get Plenty of Exercise

Exercise can help you beat diabetes in a number of ways. It can help you lose weight, it’s good for your heart, and moving around can lower your blood sugar. All of these things (especially keeping those extra pounds off) can help you steer clear of diabetes.

No matter where you are health-wise, it’s critical to get up and get moving. Just be sure to stay hydrated, and if you have been inactive for a while, check with your doctor to see if any activity should be avoided.

Get Plenty of Rest

Sleep is also a major key to beat diabetes. Lack of sleep can disrupt blood sugar levels, not to mention make you feel sleepy and hungry throughout the day. It’s a lousy cycle to get caught up in.

Sleep apnea is another huge concern that can exacerbate diabetes symptoms. Nearly half of all people with type 2 diabetes will be affected by this dangerous disorder (which causes pauses in breathing throughout the night), so it’s not something to ignore.

Make sure you get your rest!

Watch What You Put in Your Body

This is the big one we all struggle with. Cigarettes. Sugar. Salt. Alcohol. Soda. Little Debbie snack cakes. Let alone, alcohol, cigarettes, and Little Debbie snack cakes at one sitting…

We all have vices, and we all put stuff into our bodies we probably shouldn’t. The good news is there are delicious, healthier alternatives to just about everything we consume—except for cigarettes, which should be thrown into the nearest trash bin or flaming chasm at your earliest convenience.

The bottom line is that in order to beat diabetes, it takes a commitment to eating a healthier diet. A good start is developing a plan to limit sugar intake. Not that all sweetness is bad, necessarily, but it’s easy to go overboard and let sugary snacks raise your blood sugar to dangerously high levels.

If sugar is a problem for you, take steps to break the addiction and find ways to reduce your intake before it’s too late.

Salt is also a huge problem for many of us. We’re surrounded by highly processed, incredibly salty foods. Unfortunately, too much salt increases blood pressure, which raises the risk of heart disease and stroke.

If you want to cut down on salt and sugar, and get a head start to beat diabetes, eat plenty of the following:

You Can Beat Diabetes!

It is possible to prevent, manage, and possibly even reverse diabetes, but it requires proactive planning and activity. Are you exercising enough? Are you getting eight hours of sleep? Are you eating right?

If you answered no to any of the above, make a plan to address the area of concern. Your health depends on it.

Image Credit: Shutterstock




World Health Day: Five Common Ailments Around the World

World Health Day: Five Common Ailments Around the World

April 7 is World Health Day, which was created by the World Health Organization to raise awareness about our world’s common ailments and global health crises. We’ve got plenty of those, don’t we?

Despite the dramatic rise in life expectancy in recent decades, and the proliferation of life-saving medicines and technology, there are still plenty of alarming trends to be aware of. Here’s an overview of some common ailments that are of particular concern.

From Maine to Spain to Bahrain, We’ve All Got Back Pain

Who would have thought back pain would be the number one cause of disability worldwide? No matter what country you live in, no matter what your job is, an injury to your back can be devastating. So be sure to protect this critical part of your body. Take steps to strengthen it. Lift with your legs. Mind your posture. Make sure your ergonomics are ship-shape.

Take good care of your back!

An Explosion of Diabetes

Beating diabetes is the focus for this year’s World Health Day—and for good reason. There has been an absolute explosion of diabetes cases around the world, due in large part to increasingly poor eating habits, obesity, and inactivity.

Today is a great day to make a plan to avoid this illness. Managing, beating, and preventing diabetes are all possible.

Heart Disease: One of the World’s Biggest Killers

Heart disease and related cardiovascular ailments are the world’s most lethal killers. The way we eat, smoke, drink—and even sit—are contributing factors to why heart disease takes more lives every year than any other illness.

Depression Is No Joke

It’s estimated that 350 million people struggle with depression. It’s one of the world’s most common ailments. And it’s much more than just a mental health issue. Depression can have a profound economic, educational, and social impact on a community and beyond. It’s not something to be ignored or taken lightly.

There are lots of resources out there to assist those who struggle with depression and other mental health issues, it’s just a matter of taking that first step to get help.

Neither Is Diarrhea

Didn’t think you’d see this word today, did you? Unfortunately, diarrhea is a deadly serious issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Diarrhea kills 2,195 children each day—more than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.”

Whoa.

It’s sad but true, but the lack of sanitation and clean water throughout the developing world makes something as simple and treatable as diarrhea a matter of life and death.

In India alone, diarrhea is responsible for the deaths of 700,000 children every year, and more than 640 million people (roughly twice the entire U.S. population) do not use a toilet.

Common Ailments, Common Cures

Obviously there’s no silver bullet to all the world’s common ailments, illnesses, and issues that cause us so much pain and grief. But there are steps we can take to get a bit healthier each day. Some measure of prevention is within our power.

We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control what we put into our bodies. We can kick the tobacco habit. We can mix in healthier ingredients. We can choose to get up off the sofa and go for a walk.

This World Health Day, we can all do something or make some sort of change to pursue a healthy, long, and prosperous life.

Image Credit: Shutterstock




Fats and Carbs… How Do We Know What Proper Nutrition Is?

Fats and Carbs... How Do We Know What Proper Nutrition Is?

By Howard J. Luks, MD

Why is an orthopedist talking about dietary habits? Because it is important. All I know about nutrition I learned after medical school. Schools do a poor job of educating doctors regarding proper nutrition… and hence, docs do a poor job of counseling patients about the huge impact their diet has on their overall health.

The number one reason we die is cardiac disease – and most of it is preventable.

Since the 1980s we have been barraged with the notion that fat is bad… all fat, period. The food industry took notice, and took advantage. Everything became low-fat, but they substituted carbs for the fat they have removed from the foods. It’s now become clear, and more research proves this every day, that not all carbs are good and not all fats are bad.

Since the low-fat craze began…

  • Obesity rates have skyrocketed
  • The incidence of diabetes is off the charts
  • Systemic inflammation within our body has become the norm

When it comes to fat, animal-based fat is the enemy. There are many different reasons why.

  1. Animal fats will increase your cholesterol level, which increases plaque formation and clogs your arteries
  2. Meats can lead to diabetes
  3. Fat from animals causes an increase in systemic inflammation, which means certain chemicals and cells are circulating around your bloodstream and causing further problems for your arteries and organs
  4. Fat and read meat are metabolized in the liver to different compounds –TMAO being the main culprit. The choline and L-carnitine in meat appears responsible for this. TMAO will worsen the atherosclerotic process.
  5. Saturated fats, or fats found in meat, are a “problem.” Mono-unsaturated fats (think nuts, avocados, olive oil, etc.) do NOT raise your blood cholesterol levels or the levels of inflammation in your blood.

Carbohydrates are now getting a bad rap. Many of them should.

When thinking about which carbs are OK and which aren’t proper nutrition — here are the key issues.

  1. Basically, processed carbs are bad. Think cereals, instant oatmeal, white rice, bread, etc.
  2. If a big food company touched it or cooked it… it’s likely not going to end well
  3. Processed carbs metabolize easily and cause a spike in your blood sugar
  4. A rise in blood sugar triggers your insulin to ramp up (and a high insulin level actually will make you hungrier!)
  5. Your body will lose its sensitivity to insulin
  6. That will predispose you to diabetes, and a host of other problems like systemic inflammation

OK … What are “good” carbs, then?

  1. Good carbohydrates are “complex” carbs
  2. Think plants, nuts, and fruits
  3. Complex carbs take longer for your body to metabolize
  4. They do not result in an insulin rush and do not result in insulin resistance
  5. Think beans, apples, bananas, nuts, carrots, and oatmeal
  6. You want foods with a LOW glycemic index. Those are foods that take a while to metabolize in your gut and do not result in a rush of sugar.
  7. The fiber in fruit binds the sugars … so they do not have same effect as a bowl of cereal (no sugar rush, no cravings)

Proper Nutrition Is Worth It

There is a lot of hype going around, everyone has a diet book. Diets really aren’t necessary – sustainable lifestyle changes are necessary.

Plants, fruits, vegetables and nuts are part of the proper nutrition answer. Avoiding red meats and processed foods is a big part of the answer, too.

It’s not an easy change. But look at all the people around you who would enjoy having you around a bit longer than your current lifestyle will support.

It’s worth it. You’re worth it.

A version of this post originally appeared on howardluksmd.com

Image Source: Pixabay




Six Ways to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Six Ways to Manage Type 2 DiabetesIf you’ve been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Type 2 diabetes is a life-long medical condition where your body does not use insulin properly.

While there is no cure for diabetes, it’s comforting to know that there are several ways to manage type 2 diabetes.

It’s also important to remember that you’re among millions of people who live with type 2 diabetes every day. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of people living with diabetes.

Here, we share six tips to help you manage type 2 diabetes.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels Every Day

It’s easy to want to resist checking your blood sugar levels every day, but regular monitoring is crucial to manage type 2 diabetes.

Many factors can affect your blood glucose including:

  • Food
  • Activity Level
  • Medications
  • Illness
  • Stress

Unless you check your blood sugar regularly, you may not know whether your levels are steady or if they’re too high.

It’s a good idea to ask your doctor how often you need to check your blood sugar as well as what you can do if your readings are abnormal.

Take Diabetes Medication as Directed

Make sure to take your diabetes medication as directed by your doctor.

Diabetes symptoms are silent so if you have forgotten to take your medication you may not notice an immediate repercussion.

Untreated diabetes could potentially lead to heart disease, nerve damage, and other complications.

Therefore, it’s important to take medications or insulin as directed by your physician. If you experience uncomfortable side effects or have questions about your medication or treatment plan, talk with your doctor.

Keep Healthy Eating Habits to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you should reduce your sugar intake, especially refined sugar as well as other forms of simple carbohydrates.

In addition to low-sugar foods, you should also eat a well balanced diet.

Your diet should include low-fat foods. Foods high in sodium, saturated fats, cholesterol, and trans fat can elevate your risk for heart disease and stroke.

This doesn’t mean you have to avoid all fats. Eating foods rich in good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat) can help lower cholesterol levels.

Try to avoid foods such as red meat, processed food, and high fat diary products like cheese.

For example, you can replace the meat on your plate with omega-3 fatty acid-rich cold-water fish like salmon. Olive oil, avocado, and nuts are also good sources of this nutrient.

You can talk to your doctor or nutritionist for more healthy food options to better manage type 2 diabetes.

Exercise

Exercising is also extremely important to manage type 2 diabetes.

Regular exercise can improve blood sugar control as well as your body’s response to insulin.

Studies show that all levels of exercise are beneficial, from moderate-intensity walking to high-intensity resistance training with weights.

Aim for 30 minutes of activity, five days per week. Find something you enjoy doing so that you’ll be motivated to do it on a regularly basis.

Quit Smoking If You’re a Smoker

If you smoke, you should quit immediately.

Smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes, and once you have it, smoking can make problems and complications associated with diabetes even worse.

This is because smoking raises blood-glucose levels, constricts blood vessels, as well as causes inflammation. Smokers can also have an increased risk of:

  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood-vessel damage
  • Foot and leg infections

Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation

If you drink alcohol, only drink in moderation.

Moderate drinking means having between one-half and two alcoholic drinks per day. Studies show moderate drinking can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. It seems to be good for the heart and circulatory system, and can protect against type 2 diabetes and gallstones.

However, for people who already have type 2 diabetes, there are some questions about the benefits of alcohol. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor to understand how alcohol might affect your blood-glucose levels.

Following the above mentioned tips can help manage type 2 diabetes. If you have any questions or concerns, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor and then follow his or her advice.