Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day . . . work hard but play (and laugh) harder

Reprint from 2010 It’s Labor Day 2010.

United States

Labor Day Parade, Union Square, New York, 1882
Main article: Labor Day
Labor Day is a United States federal holiday that falls on the first Monday of September.[5] It is customarily viewed as the end of the summer, especially of the vacation season;[6] many schools open for the year in the week after Labor Day.[7] The United States also adopted the tradition of not wearing white after Labor Day.[citation needed][clarification needed] This is the time when the Navy switches from their white uniforms to their Navy blue uniforms
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.  To read more about the history of Labor Day here is a good link.
A day of celebration for workers is upon us, and that got me to thinking about today’s workforce.  I know I have had various jobs and then a long time career in the stressed-lady business world.  I know how hard people work and the stress workers are under.  Workers are constantly under pressure to produce, reports to be made, presentations to be given, numbers to achieve.  It is tough and many times it’s a dog-eat-dog workplace.  Yikes.  It’s no wonder we are a stressed out society.  After we “clock out” at the workplace, if you are a woman, wife, mother, your 2nd job begins.  We are suffering from both physical and mental fatigue.  
We’ve heard that stress will kill you.  That’s absolutely true.  We’ve all had the bosses from the depth’s of Hades, and as business owners, we'll, that’s a story unto it’s self. I have suffered headaches, back, shoulder and neck aches.  I know people that have suffered Irritable bowel syndrome from job stress.  One guy I know personally suffered a heart attack while on the jobsite. 
So what are the signs that you are suffering from over-stress?  There are many signs of stress overload – both physical and mental.
Common Physical Signs
  • Headache
  • Excessive Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal Changes
  • Change in Focus or Concentration
  • Sexual Changes – both increased or deceased desire
  • Sleep disturbances
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Hands Shaking
  • Anxiety
  • Heart Palpitations
Common Mental Signs
  • Irritability
  • Change in eating habits – eating more or eating less
  • Harsh Temperament
  • Increase in smoking
  • Increase of alcohol consumption
  • Isolation
  • Compulsive Behavior like shopping or taking physical risks
  • Difficulty in Communication
Then their are soBad_Dreamme common indicators that often go overlooked
•  Weird, unpleasant dreams. When stressed, people sleep lighter and wake up more often, which disrupts the sleep process and allows negative dreams to hang around all night. When your mind gets overloaded with anxiety and doesn't know how to process it, a bad dream can be its way to work through the stressful experience so it becomes less threatening.
• An achy, sore mouth or jaw.  This can be a sign of teeth grinding, which some people do in their sleep when they’re experiencing a lot of stress. I know I am guilty of this when I am stressed out, as many people are.  Your dentist can make a mouth guard just for this.  I have one and, unfortunately, need to use it every night. On top of that, tension weakens your immune system which allows bacteria in your mouth to grow and eventually cause gum irritation and inflammation.
• Headaches hanging around even on the weekends. When stress levels suddenly drop, it often triggers a headache or even a migraine. When you spend your week stressed out and suddenly relax as the weekend comes, that headache could be telling you that something isn’t right with your stress levels and can help pinpoint what it is that’s stressing you out. 
• Severe period cramps. A study out of Harvard found that women under high levels of stress are 50% more likely to have severe menstrual cramps than those who are relaxed and report low stress levels.
And, of course, the most important issue related to stress in MY Business is how stress affects the skin.  Though stress has been known to trigger or aggravate existing skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, warts, cold sores, and blisters, it most commonly causes three specific skin reactions: hives, itching, and acne along with the appearance of aging skin.
Allergies are the most common cause of hives, but stress has been known to make hives appear as well. My BFF, Jenny has called me more than once in a panic saying, “I’m broken out in hives!” During times of stress, histamines are released into the bloodstream, which can cause hives or small bumps to appear on the skin. In some cases, the hives will not be noticeable, but the skin will be very itchy. Usually, an antihistamine or a soothing lotion will help.   If you know you are prone to this, I suggest keeping Benadryl handy.
Though these reactions are common, most people who are under stress will find themselves afflicted with acne. Stress releases certain chemicals within the body that stimulate sebaceous (oil) glands. The excess sebum tends to clog pores and irritate skin, causing acne to form.
During times of stress, the flow of blood is directed to areas of the body that are considered vital for responding to the stress that we are under. At the same old women mask time, blood is withdrawn from areas that are considered non-essential, such as, unfortunately, your skin. Bear in mind that the skin is the largest organ of your body and one of the most sensitive areas, as well. During times of stress, the skin is constantly being starved of both blood and oxygen, which causes the skin to take on a dull and lifeless appearance resulting in tired, old, ageing looking skin.
In addition to changing the skin’s natural appearance, continuous stress can increase cortisone secretion, which suppresses our immune system. Once the skin’s defense is lowered, it becomes extremely susceptible to irritation from outside pollutants.
Since stress also affects more than just our immune system, it may impact the body’s ability to properly digest food (the GI problems in our list above). This can impact the health of the skin, as well as the health of the entire body. When food is not properly digested, the nutrients are not absorbed as they should be, allowing undigested impurities to remain and accumulate in the body.
So what’s a sane person to do to tackle all this stress in our normal lives?  Learn to laugh at yourself. You'll overcome so many problems in life and you'll deal with stress so much more easily if you can develop a sense of humor.  A sense of humor is essential for handling the stresses of life. The ability to find something funny in times of tension and stress is an essential key to dealing with difficult situations.  Yeah, I know.  Sometimes that is easier said than done.  Sometimes you just need a cry, scream, kick or punch something.  Well, go ahead!  Do it!  Just not to someone.  I gave my son a hammer one time and told him to go whack a tree outside till he felt better.  Poor tree! 
I’ve written before on personal wellness and about how therapeutic a facial with massage can be.  That one hour can seriously help with the symptoms of your stress.  Just by getting the oxygen and blood pumping back into your face, neck and shoulders can be a huge relief to your skin and overall well being.  The massage with properly applied acupressure can be amazing to a stress out individual.
thank-you Tomorrow, when you go back to work think back to this blog.  Remember to laugh loud and often. Keep your stress in check by the simple act of counting to ten before you reply to someone.  Keep your voice low – just right above whisper level.  Breathe in . .  . breathe out.  Deep and slow.  Each breath pulling your stomach into your spine.  In through your nose.  Slowly release through your mouth.  Then . . . make your appointment with me!  Really, I can help!
Here’s to all the millions of people that keep our lives moving – the folks we rarely see and if we do, even more rarely show appreciation.  Our postal workers, the garbage people, the utility workers.  Thank you.  And to those who’s path we cross daily, you keep our world turning.  To you, whatever your job.  I appreciate you.  God Bless each American Worker and here’s to putting more  people back to work real soon!
My thoughts this Labor Day . . . just another day in my life!

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