Ok, am not teasing on a Monday morning with those smileys … that would be so unfair to all of you who are right now struggling through traffic or struggling through the first meeting. But really, are you stressed ? Here are some symptoms to help you self-diagnose –
- Your brow is furrowed with two permanent parallel lines just starting from the tip of your eyebrows. Or/And
- Your forehead is creased.. and they don’t make you look like George Clooney. Or/And
- You are missing the speed breakers and standing on your break pedal and accelerator alternatively.. Or/And
- You are super hungry and there is a plate of cookies and chips in front of you. Or/And
- You forgot to close the fridge door fully and the maid’s phone is busy. Or/And
- Your woke up and looked into the loving bezel of your phone. Or/And
- You swear while driving … and even when your children are around. Or/And
- Your spouse is travelling and you don’t know what homework your child is supposed to complete. Or/And
- You missed your yoga class/Swim/Walk/Run for the 5th time in 5 days. Or/And
- The car breaks down and you walk in late to the leadership meeting…..Or/And
- Everyone is laughing at the joke told by the speaker and you are bolting out of the door as your silent phone rings. Or/And
- You suddenly start crying because “they” don’t appreciate you. Or/And
- You use the words “have to” in almost every sentence. e.g “I have to eat healthy” or “I have to finish making this presentation”. Or/And
- You can’t get rid of the paunch or the extra tyre around your waist, after eating “proteins” only, walking 5 kms and it bothers you.
Enough? or I can go on. If any of these symptoms resonate then chances are the devil called stress got you. I have never known stress for nearly 21 years of my 22.5 years of worklife, not even when we lost everything during our entrepreneurial stint, but the last 1.5 years of my career, the devil called stress got me. And nearly all the above symptoms were displayed by me. At one time, I almost decided not to drive in Bangalore because I was swearing so much that I felt like rinsing my mouth and cleaning my ears after reaching office. I had the phone right next to my pillow, purportedly for the wake-up alarm, but I lovingly looked at it first as soon as I woke up. I “ate” junk after having completely shifted to a healthy way of eating for 5 years before that and gained lots of weight. I aged, I had to dye my hair more frequently … I had deep furrows on my brow. And I hurt Krishnan and mom with my uncontrollable temper.
Today morning when we were out for a walk, I saw my twins all around. One twin was yelling at her little boy because he missed the bus, another twin brother went over the speed breaker without slowing down and was frowning, yet another twin was speaking on the phone and backed the car nearly into the wall, another one was munching on dead bread with laced with the chemical cocktail called cheese and didn’t register us as we tried crossing. The devil called stress got them all … not one of them was smiling, not one of the them registered the cool breeze that made it a beautiful morning.
I left the 9 – 9 rat race on March 31, 2015. I always knew that I won’t work till my retirement age of 60 because there is so much more that I want to do than get cooped up in a board room or a cabin. I am deeply grateful for the salary, perks and learning opportunities that the corporate world gave me and I love the organization and the people I worked with…. but I couldn’t go on. Thats me, but thats not the case for everyone. I understand that. What can you do to beat the devil called “Stress” if you “have to” work ?
First, what is stress ? The best definition I have found is the following quote –
So here are some ways that you can get rid of stress –
- If its work that you don’t care about, but you “have to” work, begin thanking the job everyday for the money it brings you. Every single day wake up and say thank you to that job.
- Find what you are passionate about and make time for it – at work, what cannot be done today can be done tomorrow. Work never ends and the world does not end because you didn’t make that sale or didn’t write that email.
- Get your priorities sorted – children, spouse, parents, family, friends.. these are the folks that truly care about you and will cry when you drop dead. An email won’t cry, your client will send condolences and your organization will offer prayers by standing silently for 2 minutes, but your children, spouse, parents, family and friends will lower you into the Earth or light the pyre and miss you forever. Make time for them at the cost of your work … you will never regret it.
- Ask a friend to click a picture of your stressed out face at work … if you can’t laugh at that, enrol in a laughter club today.
- All the wealth you create cannot bring you health… put health on the top, go for the walk/swim/cycling/run … don’t head to a gym, get outdoors, inhale the fresh polluted air, its better for your lungs than the air-conditioned stale air in the gym and your office. You will inhale enough of that anyway.
That’s it… nothing more. Its easy. From April 1, 2015 to now, I have forgotten how to frown, I even find it difficult to get angry with Arnab :):):)… it took some time to shake off the bad habits, but well, habits are what you repeatedly do, so change what you repeatedly do and you have a new habit.
C’mon Smile – how can you not find that idiot who is pontificating about the market share going down by 1% funny? or the guy who calls his team members on every weekend giving a speech about employee engagement funny? Every minute is a laugh riot – life is non-serious… you are serious and the devil inside you making you serious is stress. Kick the devil out. Happy Monday !