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Always Get Sick After A Stressful Period? Science Says It’s Normal But Preventable

Always Get Sick After A Stressful Period? Science Says It’s Normal But Preventable

The final deadline is looming, the due date is soon! All the pressure is on you as you carefully analyze the work submission while trying to keep the peace in family blues at home. And then it eases by,  you make it! The deadline is over! The crammed headspace is released. And time for an escapade into a breath of relaxation. Just as you lay back and ease down by the poolside planning to make the booking for a retreat beach getaway, you get sick! You sit back and ponder, are you just unlucky? Surely it is known that stress makes you sick ,but how can you fall apart when the stressful job is done! What did you do so wrong now, You passed the tests. Made the deadline? Did the duties?

Luck has very little to do with it. It is called a post-stress condition, where the body’s defenses to ward off inflammation or infections after a stressful event phases out. Just after a strenuous project of any sort that heightens stress levels like, training for a marathon, a final exam, or working on completing a proposal, and just as you have successfully reached the end of the challenging tunnel reaching the limelight you suddenly fall sick!

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The Let Down Effect ClockWork

Marc Schoen, from the UCLA School of Medicine author of, When Relaxation is Hazardous to Your Health, calls this phase the ‘letdown’ reaction. Prostaglandins are released together with stress hormones leading to heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and migraines. What happens is the immune system is on alert and is set to fight. Now when stress starts to subside, the immune system goes on a retreat as well, leaving the body vulnerable to the effects of prostaglandins . Schoen’s states: “Don’t go from 100 miles and hour to a screeching halt.” Instead of launching straight onto the couch or next to the pool, schedule an exercise routine. A few minutes at different intervals during the day is sufficient to keep the immune system boosted. Schoen recommends brain stimulation as well, like crossword puzzles and card games. After this, you may unwind without effects of a crash landing.

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    The best way to avoid this ‘letdown’ phase is preventing strain. When you are under stress pace yourself,get enough sleep,exercise, and eat a healthy diet. Make time for relaxation like rhythmic breathing, meditation and decompress.If you feel that you lack time to adopt healthier habits, this problem has an immediate solution in sixty seconds. Yes, sixty seconds!

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    A study in the American College of Cardiology revealed that sitting for more four hours a day will leave you prone to sickness. If the main reason for not adopting healthier habits is because there is enough time, consider that problem solved in sixty seconds. Take minute walk intervals. Every step counts toward the ten thousand recommended per day.

    According to Dr Nieca Goldberg from the Joan H Tisch Centre for Women’s Health at New Yor University Medical center, when you have stressful episodes there is a need to take breaks and not get engage continuously. Even if you happen to be under extreme stress at work thirty seconds focusing on breathing exercises in between meetings will decompress the stress and avoid your body system to a force shut down keeping your immune system in check.

    Balance physical and mental stimulation in the correct intensity. Physical stimulation like brisk walks or taking the stairway a few times a day will assist. Mental stimulation in the form of mathematical problems. computer games, crossword puzzles  or chess are a critical window according to Schoen and you will emerge feeling refreshed and not down n out!

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    Nena Tenacity

    Screenwriter ∕ Filmmaker

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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