High Stress Jobs May Not Be As Unhealthy as You Think

High demand jobs can certainly cause stress, which can eventually lead to poor health, chronic illness, and even early death. A new study, however, reveals how the concept of “control” may improve your health, even in a high-stress position.

Organizational Behavior

According to the results of a seven-year study, health and mortality are not necessarily linked to a high-demand job. It’s the level of control the employee has (or even perceives she has) that shifts the pendulum.

A worker experiences greater stress and unhappiness when a manager assumes all control. People (employees) want to feel they are part of their activity; they can’t thrive in an environment when someone else makes all the decisions for them.

The Study’s Findings

The researchers at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business discovered some interesting results from their study. They found that those in high-stress jobs with little or no control die younger than those who have some or a lot of control.

“A lot of control” doesn’t mean not having a boss or anyone to be accountable to. It means something as simple as, for example, making your own schedule. Being part of how to set goals and accomplish tasks in the workplace is part of having control. These types of freedoms on the job are empowering to workers.

Good Stress

In fact, a useful and positive observed result was that those in high-demand positions, who also had high-control, actually flourished. Erik Gonzales Mule was the study’s lead author. He suggested that having more control can motivate workers and can breed better health. Mule points out an example: “…having pressure to work fast and use intense concentration, may result in feelings of accomplishment and mastery.”

The study included 2,400 people (half men/half women) and tracked their health for over seven years. Those in high-demand jobs with low control fared the worst. Those in high-stress positions but with high control decreased their chances of earlier death by 34%.

Job Satisfaction

How we perceive our work and workplace definitely affects our overall well-being. If we’re unhappy for the largest portion of our day, behaviors may emerge to mask the bad feelings. This can result in poor diet or overeating, alcohol or drug abuse, etc. Or, the stress can lead to depression, high blood pressure, etc.

So, perhaps it’s not literally “the job.” Maybe it’s how we are allowed to do our job. Having more control can lend to employee feelings of empowerment. Morale at work can be boosted. Instead of seeing work as “hard”, when given the freedom to participate, the work can then be seen as challenging or an opportunity to problem-solve. Those are far more positive outlooks and approaches to doing one’s job.

Personal Stress Management

When you’re at work and finding yourself too stressed out, you can always take a moment for some deep breaths, a quick walk (even around the desk), or a break outdoors. But in addition to your honed coping skills, perhaps think about your company, boss, or management. Do you feel you have low control? If so, perhaps some suggestions to human resources could affect positive change for you and your workplace.

After all, feeling good about your work—whether it pays well, is rewarding spiritually, or makes you feel like you are contributing and/or you’re appreciated—any positive feelings will be part of your best health regimen.

 

 

Choosing Assisted Living For A Parent With Dementia

Numerous people have been fortunate to have loving parents who cared for their wellbeing, whilst growing up.  What happens when this role is reversed and the parent needs looking after?  Over 15 million people in the U.S care for their elderly parents each year, with half of that number having a parent who experiences some form of dementia.  What signs are an indication that it is time to seriously consider placing a parent in an assisted living environment?

 

  • The healthcare becomes too much for the caregiver to manage.
  • Home safety has become an issue with hazardous scenarios like: falling, leaving a stove on, and wandering away from the home and getting lost.
  • Planning the move ahead of time would be an ideal situation but for many this is not a reality.  If there is an opportunity to speak with a parent about the potential move to an assisted living home, this would help with the transition.  If the parent suffers from dementia, breaking the news about the move may be emotionally challenging as the parent may not fully understand.

Choosing Assisted Living For A Parent With Dementia

Consider the following steps in helping tell the news:

 

  1. If the parent is in the early stages of dementia and still comprehends, discuss after you have conducted all the assisted living research and be honest.
  2. The parent may listen more if the news comes from a professional like a doctor, nurse, or social worker.

 

HOW WILL THEY FEEL

For most of their lives, parents have been independent, so being told they are moving to an assisted living home may cause the following:

  • Feelings of abandonment
  • Upset
  • Fear
  • Lack of control

 

In order to calm their fears, research several care facilities.  Asking or researching the following questions, will ease stress and undeserved guilt to the caregiver:

 

  • Does the home have a special dementia unit?
  • Is it fully staffed seven days a week?
  • Are there medical personal on hand, and if so, how often are they there?
  • Are they Medicare certified and are all staff licensed?
  • Has the home had any lawsuits filed against it (google search)?
  • How large will their personal living space be is there a green area outside?
  • Are personal belongings and or furniture allowed for a home-like feel?
  • Is there an open door policy?
  • Are there planned activities and outings?
  • Will there be a set daily routine and what does it consist of?
  • What safety precautions are in place for dementia sufferers?
  • Is the location close enough for family and friends to visit?
  • Speak with an onsite financial advisor to discuss payment options.

 

ADJUSTMENT

It will take the parent time to adjust to their new environment, and during this period, the caregiver should consider the following steps:

  • Visit occasionally and for short amounts of time until the parent is settled in their new home.
  • Build a relationship with the staff.
  • Parents with dementia will often ask to go home, which can be very upsetting for both parties. Do not try to reason and explain the situation as this can cause agitation and upset for the parent. Try to reassure, comfort and if need be agree and distract.
  • Not only will the parent have to adjust, so will the care giver.

 

The decision to move a parent to an assisted living home is one of the hardest choices a person will make.  Do not feel guilty, instead be positive that an assisted living home may open more opportunities for them to socialize, be kept safe and provide medical assistance if required.  Read further on this subject and more at:  http://getthrive.com/

 

RESOURCES

 

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/going-hospital-tips-dementia-caregivershttps://www.alz.org/care/

http://naswil.org/news/chapter-news/featured/alzheimers-disease-related-dementias-social-works-role-in-helping-individuals-and-families/

https://www.dementiacarecentral.com/financial-assistance/

 

Why You Should Learn to Say NO

Our lives are fast-paced, high-powered, and hot-wired. Blame it on technology, digital demands, or caffeine, but we are forced to put the pedal to the metal every day. But at what point do things get out of control? At what point is our mental health affected?

Read on to learn some ways on how to stay focused, realize when things are out of control, and when and how to just say NO.

The work-life balance is tough—there’s no denying this. And if we aren’t careful, things can spiral out of control very quickly. From managing a job, raising a family, running a business, finding time to exercise, prepare healthy meals, run errands, spending time with friends, family, and loved ones, it’s exhausting…

But life shouldn’t be that way…and it doesn’t have to be.

Sometimes finding the right work and life balance means learning how and when to say no.

Imagine this: You wake up in the morning before the crack of down, you tie your sneakers, plug in your headphones and hit the pavement, you shower, dress, and make your coffee for the day. And before 7am hits, there are four new projects on your plate, 20 new emails after it took you all morning to get through 10, 3 missed calls, and some how you have to find time to prepare that meeting before the afternoon.

You’re exhausted before lunchtime, and the day isn’t even over yet…

After months and months of this routine, not only is it physically and mentally exhausting, but it can also wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. Your sleep patterns can be interrupted, you tend to make poorer diet choices, you begin forgetting things, your quality, productivity, and performance levels suffer, and you just feel…sluggish. And the constant state of tension and stress is pushing you one step further to a mental break down…

If this sounds like you, then it’s time to start saying no.

But if you are like me, then you might find that saying no is hard. You want to help with projects, you want to help clients, you want to help your coworkers and you just want to be successful. But learning when to say no is also crucial to success. Taking on more than what you are physically and mentally capable of doesn’t mean failure, and it doesn’t mean you can’t hack it; it simply means that you are making intelligent choices that are important for productivity, work load, and simply managing others’ expectations.

If you still have trouble saying no, then another way that often helps is being realistic with time frames. For example, if your manager or a team member asks for your help on a project or a friend or family member asks you to plan a sleepover for the kids on an already jammed packed day, then tell them that you are swamped and that you would need at least two weeks to work on their project or plan a different night for a slumber party.

This isn’t entirely saying no, but politely saying, “not right now, how about a different day?” You are being honest, upfront, and managing others’ expectations effectively and even proposing a solution that works for all involved.

Remember, if you focus too much on making everyone else happy, then you are only setting yourself up for failure.

Finally, learning how and when to say no is something that successful people learn how to do. Break away from the mind frame that “no” equals “failure”, and get into the habit of recognizing your own limits, staying focused, and only taking on projects that you can finish in a realistic time frame that works for you.

 

Are Children’s Birthday Parties Out of Control?

For many busy parents children’s birthdays look nothing like they did even a decade ago. As a child, your birthday probably happened at home, surrounded by family and maybe a few friends. You opened a couple presents, blew out the candles, and dug into a cake – homemade by Mom, of course.

Today’s birthdays bear little resemblance to the simple parties of times gone by. Modern children’s parties are action-packed affairs that require weeks (and even months) of planning.

Parents take on a laundry lists of tasks that include everything from shopping, baking, entertaining, preparing, planning, and – ultimately – exhaustion. Parties feature Pinterest-inspired favors and handmade decorations that would put a wedding reception to shame.

Fight for Your Right to Party!

To have a proper party today, you need a theme, color scheme, and personalized décor that complements your child’s age and interests. One family spent $40,000 on a Wizard of Oz-themed birthday party. Another featured 32 floral centerpieces and 300 costumes.

Check out this article on children’s birthday parties published by the Huffington Post.

The situation has become so dire, one family therapist was inspired to gather a few moms and launch a website to raise awareness about excessive children’s birthday parties.

The problem isn’t confined to the United States, either. One study found that parents in Britain spend almost $2 billion on children’s parties each year.

Read more about these studies here.
Fortunately, there are ways to strike a balance between over-the-top and too little fuss.

1. Scale Back on Gifts – A Mom’s Mantra

Everyone says they’re going to do it, but few people stick to their resolve. The truth is, the party is supposed to be for the child, but many end up being forMom and Dad. When a party becomes a status symbol, it’s time to cut back.

If the presents at your house have turned into small mountains, make a conscious effort to scale down. One popular modern mom mantra suggests buying a child just four gifts: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

By reducing presents to just four thoughtful items, you and your child can pause to truly savor the act of opening gifts.

2. Lower Expectations (Must Be This Tall to Ride…)

Many people experience a small bout of depression after the holiday season concludes. As children’s parties become bigger, more extravagant affairs, experts say the same phenomenon is emerging around birthday parties.

Experts speculate that the buildup and subsequent let-down surrounding just one day causes kids to experience a roller coaster of emotions. Consider slowly scaling back birthday celebrations so your child is not overwhelmed.

3. It’s Better to Give Than to Receive…

Turn your child’s birthday into an opportunity to teach him or her about helping others. Instead of accepting gifts from classmates or friends, ask invitees to bring an item of clothing or a book to donate to someone in need.

Other ideas include gathering toiletry items or clothing for domestic violence shelters, or assembling food and other supplies for your local humane society. Most community outreach organizations are always looking for food, clothing, and other items.

Other good ideas include visiting a nursing home to visit with residents and serving in a soup kitchen.

4. Pick One Big Gift (with Your Child’s Help)

As birthdays approach, many parents wander the toy aisles, trying to find gifts their child will love. Instead of wracking your brain for gift ideas, consider allowing your child to select one major gift with your help.

You may wish to shop online so your child can have fun browsing the Internet for ideas. Besides eliminating stress, online shopping can also save money. Many retailers offer exclusive Internet coupons and deals during various times of the year.

A child’s birthday should be a special day, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By managing your child’s expectations and making a few adjustments, you can slow it all down and enjoy a more peaceful celebration with your birthday boy or girl.

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