We are at the beginning of the flu season and you know the drill: wash your hands frequently, cough into your elbow, clean surfaces, get a flu shot…stay healthy. In the workplace, illness affects more than the one feeling sick because you are faced with staying home or spreading germs. It’s a tough call, because we are surrounded by invisible invaders bringing illness all the time.
Stress is known to weaken our ability to fight those invaders. I am a huge believer in this. The minute I feel overworked or overwhelmed, my throat starts hurting. Since we spend most of our time at work, stress in the workplace can be a huge factor in whether or not we get sick. Keeping the stress down will help us stay healthy. Question is, how do we do that?
- You can only control what you are able to choose. You might not have a choice about where your desk is, but you do have a choice about keeping it clean. Air quality is usually beyond your control, but you might be able to have a plant that helps purify it, and you certainly can take walks outside. Grouchy co-workers might dump on you, but you could use that to look for ways to make things better.
- Decide now what the holidays will look like, and be realistic about what you do and why you do it. Don’t plan for “perfection.” Plan for flexible family time and let the mishaps become stories you will laugh about next year. What holiday work commitments will be expected? Do you know how to handle gift giving in the corporate world? It might seem early to talk about it, but you will have less stress if you know what to do.
Remember that stress is not bad in small doses. It’s like exercise for your soul in a lot of ways. The problems come when stress is accumulated upon stress and doesn’t stop. Figuring out how to keep that stress an occasional workout will keep YOU healthy and at work.