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Stress Awareness Month: Coping with post-covid stress and stress at work 

After a most stressful year under a global pandemic, health and workplace related stress are higher than ever. This Stress Awareness Month re-balance your work and life by learning how you can better manage post-Covid stress and stress at work. 

Stress Awareness Month’s mission

April is Stress Awareness Month and today, April 16, is National Stress Awareness Day. Stress Awareness Month has been held every April, since 1992 and during this annual thirty day period, health care professionals and health promotion experts across the country join forces to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.

Sponsored by The Health Resource Network (HRN), a non-profit health education organization, Stress Awareness Month is a national, cooperative effort to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society.

“Even though we’ve learned a lot about stress in the past twenty years,” says Dr. Morton C. Orman, M.D., Founder and Director of HRN, “we’ve got a long way to go. New information is now available that could help millions of Americans eliminate their suffering.”

Dr. Orman has invited leading health care organizations across the country to develop and disseminate helpful educational materials and other information about stress during the month of April. He is also encouraging stress experts and other health care leaders to conduct public forums, discussion groups, and other informative community events.

Stress Facts

  • Stress contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and other illnesses in many individuals.
  • Stress affects the immune system, which protects us from many serious diseases. Chronic stress can weaken the immune system resulting in more illness such as colds and flus and COVID-19. Other conditions such as heart disease and metabolic syndrome can also develop due to prolonged stress. 
  • Tranquilizers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications account for one fourth of all prescriptions written in the U.S. each year. 
  • Stress can contribute to the development of alcoholism, obesity, suicide, drug addiction, cigarette addiction, and other harmful behaviors.

How to cope with post-Covid stress 

Since the pandemic began, Covid-19 stress and post-covid stress have become one of the major stressors for people across the globe. The CDC has provided some guidelines and resources for coping with Covid related stress below. 

post-Covid stress

Coping with post-Covid stress. Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Recognize the symptoms of stress you may be experiencing

The first step to coping with stress is to recognize that you are stressed. Many people, especially professionals in fast-paced job environments have become accustomed to brushing off signs of stress or have gotten so used to the feeling that they no longer realize what they are feeling is not healthy. As we have mentioned above, prolonged untreated stress can have very serious health consequences, so it’s important to recognize the signs of stress and make a plan to address and manage it. 

Common signs of stress include: 

  • Feeling irritation, anger, or in denial
  • Feeling uncertain, nervous, or anxious
  • Lacking motivation
  • Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or burned out
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Having trouble concentrating

Know the common work-related factors that can add to stress during a pandemic

  • Concern about the risk of being exposed to the virus at work
  • Taking care of personal and family needs while working
  • Managing a different workload
  • Lack of access to the tools and equipment needed to perform your job
  • Feelings that you are not contributing enough to work or guilt about not being on the frontline
  • Uncertainty about the future of your workplace and/or employment
  • Learning new communication tools and dealing with technical difficulties
  • Adapting to a different workspace and/or work schedule

How to cope with post-Covid stress at work 

According to the CDC’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, 29 to 40% of Americans report being “extremely stressed at work.” And this percentage is only getting higher. Below are some helpful tips and coping mechanisms to help you manage your stress after this most stressful year! 

10 Tips for stress management

  1. Re-balance work & life and develop a solid routine

If you’re spending all your time focusing on work and no time for yourself, then you are bound to burnout. Being available around the clock might make you seem like the perfect worker, but it isn’t healthy. We all need time for ourselves, so make sure you schedule in some dates on your calendar for some “me-time” and fun activities. 

Set boundaries in your work and home life and stick to them to avoid potential stress. This means setting aside time for socializing and setting rules for when you will check emails or take phone calls. Establishing a solid routine and schedule will also help to balance work and life and eliminate stressors. 

  1. Exercise regularly

You’ve probably heard it about a million times, but exercise truly does make you feel better. Regular exercise balances the nervous system and increases blood circulation, helping to flush out stress hormones. You don’t need an elaborate fitness routine either, even just a short walk will make a difference. Eleven minutes a day is all you need to start to see changes. 

  1. Eat well and limit alcohol and stimulants

Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine may temporarily relieve stress but have negative health impacts and can make stress worse in the long run. Well-nourished bodies cope better, so be sure to start the day off with a good, nutritious breakfast and avoid processed foods and sugar throughout the day. And don’t forget to stay hydrated! 

You might be interested: Wheatgrass: How you can boost your health while working from home

  1. Surround yourself with supportive people 

Having people you can rely on will help alleviate some of the built-up tension you may be feeling.

Talking face to face with others releases stress hormones that reduce stress. After this past year of lockdowns and social distancing, talking face to face has become scarcer. But remember social distancing is only about physical distance, so you can still meet up with friends and family for a social distant walk or outdoor gathering–just be sure to take the proper safety precautions when meeting. 

  1. Devote time to hobbies and leisure 

Research shows that engaging in activities that bring you pleasure reduces stress by almost half and lowers your heart rate as well. So indulge in your hobbies! Garden, read, listen to a podcast, make some art, binge your favorite show. Don’t be afraid to disconnect for a bit and have some fun. 

  1. Practice meditation techniques 

Relaxation techniques activate a state of restfulness that counterbalances your body’s fight-or-flight hormones. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness all work to calm your anxiety. Start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on being present and enjoying a simple activity — whether that’s a short walk around the park or appreciating a meal at your desk. There are also plenty of meditation apps or videos out there that can help guide you through exercises when you’re feeling particularly stressed. 

  1. Get enough sleep 

Getting less than seven to eight hours of sleep makes your body a bad stress-managing machine. Proper sleep is a crucial ingredient to fighting off stress. If you find that stress keeps you up at night, address the cause and add extra meditation into your day to make up for the lost sleep.

  1. Re-evaluate negative thoughts

When you’ve experienced worry and chronic stress for an extended period of time, your mind may tend to jump to conclusions and read into every situation with a negative lens. For example, if a coworker doesn’t say hi to you first thing in the morning, you might react thinking “they’re mad at me.”

Instead of making automatic judgements, try distancing yourself from your negative thoughts and simply observe.

  1. Take a vacation

Sometimes you just need to get away–even if it’s just a “stay-cation.” With travel restrictions still keeping many of us from sandy beaches and sunshine, taking a vacation may seem like a distant dream. But we all still need breaks from time to time, so embrace the spirit of a vacation and give yourself some time off. Leave your cellphone and laptop at home and just switch off for a few days. The rest and relaxation will help you refocus and improve your outlook.

  1. See a counselor, coach or therapist

When it gets to be too much to handle, don’t be afraid to reach out. When negative thoughts overwhelm your ability to make positive changes, it’s time to seek professional help. Make an appointment with a counselor, coach, or therapist and let them guide you toward managing your stress in positive and healthy ways. 

For additional resources visit CDC.gov

desk exercises

Staying fit while working remotely from home: 10 easy office exercises + tips

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have all had to readjust our ways of life. If you’re one of the many non-essential workers still working remotely from home, then you’ll know first hand the struggles of achieving work-life balance. Fitness is just one of the many areas that have been thrown off balance during this time. With gyms closed and routines disrupted, many have fallen off the fitness-wagon since they can no longer grab that quick yoga class or hop over to the gym after work. Luckily, there are a few easy office exercises you can do each day in under ten minutes that will help you stay fit as you continue working remotely from home. 

office exercises

4 Tips for staying active while working remotely from home

Even if you spend long hours sitting at your desk and glued to your computer during your workday, we can always manage to get some moves in and burn some extra calories. 

office exercises

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Here are a few tips that can help you take advantage of your work activity and use it to your benefit: 

  1. If you spend hours on the phone, walk around the desk while on the conversation. Not only will it help change your posture but it will also energize your conversation. Best phone sales are closed while pacing around the office!
  2. If you need to be at your computer for long hours, buy a desk stepper. They’re compact and will fit right under your desk, allowing you to step away –it may take a little coordination while typing but can be done!  
  3. Another option is to change up your desk setup if possible to a standing desk or swap out your chair for an exercise ball. 
  4. And for those of you who, like me, struggle to pull yourself away from the computer: set your phone alarm every hour and take 3 minutes to stretch and do some of the easy office exercises shown below.

You might be interested: Is working remotely a pain? Tips to be more comfortable and productive

10 Easy office exercises to try

Daily exercise not only benefits your overall health, but it also can have a direct impact on your work performance and productivity, with many employees reporting that they feel “more motivated to work” and less stressed on exercise days. 

In the video below, Anna Frank from Yuru walks you through 10 easy office exercises that you can perform each day in under ten minutes.


For all of these exercises there is no or very limited equipment required, and everything you may need can easily be found around the house or office. 

Additionally, there are a multitude of free exercise videos right at your fingertips on YouTube from various creators who make curated videos specifically for those who want a quick at-home workout. You may have even heard of some as many of these workout routines have gone viral during the quarantine such as the popular Chloe Ting 2 Week Shred Challenge

But if you’re not looking for intense workout challenges, no worries! There are plenty of other quick and easy videos for you to try out. My go-to and personal favorite lately is this quick 8-minute arm workout by fitness YouTuber, Holly Dolke. It’s super simple, takes less than 10 minutes, and best of all there’s no equipment needed. Check it out below!

your best age lorraine ladish

Lorraine Ladish addresses fear of aging in Your Best Age

Do you feel you are at your best age? Are you afraid of telling how old you are? Are you scared of the physical changes that come with the aging process? Do you think it is too late to achieve your dreams?

With these challenging questions, Lorraine C. Ladish, autor and founder of Vivafifty.com starts her new book “Tu Mejor Edad – Para tener una vida extraordinaria” (Your Best Age -How to Have an Extraordinary Life). Lorraine, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Viva Fifty, is a bilingual author of 18 books, writer, editor, speaker and social media maven.

 

Lorraine C. Ladish at Hispana Leadership Institute your best age

Lorraine C. Ladish at Hispana Leadership Institute Conference in Dallas, TX

“Women in their thirties want to know what they need to do in order to stay healthy, be in good shape and feel vibrant when they reach their fifties,” Lorraine affirms in the book’s prologue. “When I turned 50 a few years ago, I got a lot of congratulations from my community but also, some comments that didn’t sit so well such as ‘you look great for your age’ or ‘don’t you worry, fifties are the new forties’. I thought them over and found those comments didn’t reflect my reality,” she explains.

Lorraine believes whatever age we are in, that is the best age to live our lives. Her new book covers different aspects of life at thirty, forty, fifty and beyond. The purpose of the book, the author says, is to feel empowered, informed and full of life after you are done with it.

You may be interested:  Lorraine C Ladish new book REACH!, a story of triumph over hard circumstances

“Nobody teaches us how to evolve as we get older and how to enjoy the process of aging. Women should face each decade with enthusiasm instead of fear. I want every woman to know it is possible to feel young and vital regardless of the year you were born in, without thinking the best is behind us,” she affirms.

Your best age started with Vivafifty.com

your best age

Tu Mejor Edad,  Lorraine C Ladish’s new book (Spanish version)

A bilingual community that celebrates being 50+,  Viva Fifty! empowers middle age women to enjoy life and realize their dreams, showing that age is not a barrier to anything they want to accomplish.

“Viva Fifty is the realization of my dream to build a bilingual and multicultural community that celebrates life and the joy that midlife can entail. My hope is that we can inspire and empower one another to thrive in health and happiness. To that end I invite writers, bloggers and readers alike to share their stories and ideas on how to live life to the fullest, because fifty is not the new thirty. Fifty is the new fifty. And life at fifty is grand!,” says Ladish in the introduction to her site.

With weekly articles and posts on subjects and issues that matter to her target audience, Ladish continues to bring to her readership important news, ideas and personal stories that inspire and educate.

Most importantly, she says, “I promise we’ll do our best to make you feel at home and help you enrich your life, and to give YOU a voice.”

Ladish was previously Editor-in-Chief of Mamiverse.com, the award-winning online hub for Latina moms. She has contributed to People en Español, La Palma of The Palm Beach Post, NBC Latino, Babycenter and Redbook, and was the managing editor of VOXXI Mujer, an online news site for English-speaking Hispanics. She lives in Sarasota, FL with her quirky blended family.

Sun rising

Shift Type A personality blues into positive thinking (video)

Sun rising

Are you a Type-A personality adrenaline addict? Or you get frustrated when things don’t go your way and you cannot control or turn them around? In so many words, I am describing myself, a very hard-working workaholic border type-A personality. I love to beat myself up for never doing enough in any given situation, work, family or the world. I can be my best fan when life events go my way but my very worst enemy when they don’t.

Deborah Deras, a charismatic and engaging inspirational speaker who has herself experienced the hardships of this path, has gracefully shared this post with LIBizus. She recommends some tips for those days when you are feeling down that really will help you bounce back to your true, peaceful, loving and serene nature.

1) Let go of negative thoughts
Einstein says, “You can’t solve a problem from the consciousness that created it.” So you can’t think your way into positive thinking. I go to Hot Yoga which is literally the only way I can still my mind, quiet my body, release toxic emotions and unite me with my divinity. What practice do you have for this?

2) Finish incomplete issues
Anything you have on your TO DO list that is not done takes up space in your mind. It is like a hard drive that gets filled up with no more memory. Here are some options: do it, delete it or delegate it. Ignoring it will only make it worse and create stress in your mind whether you are aware of it or not.

3) Clear up resentments

Make a list of people who upset you. It doesn’t matter if they deserve to be punished, the fact is when we are upset at others we cut the love off from ourselves. Write a letter and forgive them. Send it to yourself until you are ready to edit and send to them.

4) Be grateful
I downloaded an APP called, igratitude to help me remember to be grateful for the big and small things. An attitude of gratitude instantly shifts our vibration and attracts more good. I also started writing and mailing, Thank you cards with a goal of two per week. This also helps me get in the habit of being appreciative.

5) Be compassionate with yourself
As recovering adrenaline addict-Type A plus personalities, we are very hard on ourselves. We don’t have the procrastination issue but the perfectionism one is insidious. Be kind to yourself. If it is a habit to beat yourself up, practice contrary action and cut yourself some slack. Practice saying, loving affirmations to yourself about yourself. i.e. “It is ok, sweetie. You will do better next time. You did your best.”

Getting out of a downward spiral is not easy nor does it happen overnight. It takes a diligent intention to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. When you practice the 5 steps above it will illuminate the darkness a lot sooner and allow you to focus on the task at hand being a beneficial presence in the world.

Deborah Deras, inspirational speaker

Deborah Deras, inspirational speaker

Deborah Deras, M.S. C.R.C., ALSP, is a charismatic and engaging inspirational speaker, author, and social media marketing consultant. She is known as one of the top ten Latina speakers in the nation.

With over 15 years of experience speaking to audiences around the globe, she is a highly sought after speaker.

Her book, Confessions of an Adrenaline Addict: How to Achieve more with less effort, has contains powerful strategies to increase productivity and to thrive in the workplace. She also is the creator of Meditation for Success giving busy professional the tools to be more effective, productive and innovative.

Deborah is always on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. You can download her APP to connect with her. It is accessible on your Android and IPhone. Keyword: DeborahDeras. 

She resides in sunny Santa Monica, California but her second home is Miami, Florida.

Stress Management Keynote Speaker/Spokesperson

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Developing good personal and professional habits can help us go through tough times with less stress and more productivity. Maybe we need to make decisions about our lives or careers, or simply be motivated at staying on track. Those are times when tension and pressure mount.

An influential Latina, Dr. Maria Hernandez, PhD, co-founder of Latinhttp://latinavida.org/aVIDA™,  shared four of her best habits that help her stay on top of her best game. Read more