Workaholics – your brain is your prized possession. Sure you think you rock it on the golf course, but you REALLY pride yourself on your accomplishments and how hard you work. You think relaxation is for the weak. Friends and family don’t know how you operate on such little sleep.
Workaholics and the effects of STRESS
Business owners believe in multi-tasking and being able to “tough through” daunting challenges; but stress reduction is not a luxury.
No one gets a badge of honor for not taking care of him or herself.
Chronic stress literally kills brain cells. The same way a smoker hurts his lungs and an alcoholic hurts his liver, a workaholic hurts his brain. We don’t want THAT happening, do we?
Here’s the scoop
When you are stressed out, a bunch of oxygen-rich blood moves faster than usual to your brain and muscles, just in case you need to “fight” or “flee.” This is a good thing. But constant stress overloads the body with adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones that are intended for “emergency use only.”
You know the YIPES you get right before that five-foot putt for all the skins? Imagine if your body acted like that all the time! Your poor system doesn’t know you’re jerkin’ his gerkin’ — once again — and this awesome survival system is not meant to be activated all the time.
Adrenaline causes your senses become super-awesome, your memory is sharp, and you can handle pain like mo fo! This is very important activity in your body! It prepares you to fight what you’re facing or run away from it. Your body shuts down other less important functions that you don’t need, such as reproduction, growth, and immune systems.
Who needs those if you’re fighting off a charging tiger or running away from a blazing fire?
Also, you might be lacking in the “adult after-hours” activities, (ifyaknowwhatimean) because your body reduces blood flow to your skin. But so what? You’ve got angry tigers to fight off. And that crazy fire!
Your stress response can be too much of a good thing. If your cortisol levels are raised for weeks it can damage and kill your brain cells. Repeating yourself? Losing memory, like which hole you lost your wedge? Poor concentration, like in the middle of your backswing? Repeating yourself?
High stress raises your blood pressure, and you are more likely have a heart attack or stroke, AND make you crave fatty fat fat foods!
Alright, you self-proclaimed “workaholics”. Here’s the good news … not all stress is bad.
A little bit o’ stress releases norepinephrine, which is needed for making new memories and puts you in a good mood. It helps you think creatively and your problems feel more like exciting challenges, which helps your noggin develop new connections.
Stress management is the KEY. Not stress elimination It’s all about balance.
How can you tell if you just love your work, or you really ARE a workaholic?
Bryan E. Robinson, PhD, author of Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them says “The preoccupation with work is really at the core of what workaholism is. I always say that the difference between someone who’s a true workaholic and someone who’s just a hard worker is that the workaholic is on the ski slopes dreaming about being back at work, and the hard worker is in the office dreaming about being on the ski slope.”
So you are probably thinking “Golly Heather, thank you for depressing me with all that information because I don’t have time to take a vacation and de-stress.” WHOE. Hold on Cowboy. You may not care that you are a disappointment in the sack, or that you’re getting a belly, have bags under your eyes, or that you are a bitch to hang out with, but you want your brain to be a rock star, right? You want to get that next promotion at work, right?
Okay, sit back in your chair, relax your shoulders, relax your jaw muscles, take a few slow, deep breaths and be smart about this.
Healthy ways of coping with stress include the following
(It only takes about 20 min a day to benefit.)
• Go for a short walk. (without looking at your cell phone)
• Workout and sweat. (even for a short time)
• Play with your dog. (or whatever you have)
• Get a massage. (my favorite!)
• Watch a comedy.
• Regularly take 3 really deep breaths.
• Limit the time around people who stress you out.
• Delegate items on your to-do list.
Everyone has his or her own way of taking stress out of their lives. Heck, some golfers do Thai-Chi on the tee box to relax and to kick-start that fluid motion.
I’d love to hear about other techniques that work for you—email me.
cura ut valeas (google it)
- Heather Karr, LMT