Stress Management for the Workaholic on Vacation

    workaholic-needs-stress-management-help.jpgPart 2 of 3

    Do some people really need stress management while on vacation? Consider these statistics:

    • 3%: Suffer from 'leisure sickness' on vacation. Signs include fatigue, muscle pain, nausea and flu-like symptoms.
    • 19%: Have canceled or postponed vacation plans due to work.
    • 56%: Say they are more in need of a vacation than in past years.

    These numbers are from the Wall Street Journal Article, Why Relaxing Is Hard Work. In the article, Bryan E. Robinson, author of "Chained to the Desk, a Guidebook for Workaholics" and professor emeritus at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, says:


    • About one-quarter of the population could be classified as workaholic, though it comes in varying degrees.
    • One version is the workaholic who is physically on vacation but mentally still at work. "He may be playing catch with his daughter, but his mind is somewhere else. And she can probably tell, even though she's only 7," he says.

    So if you might be a workaholic and you're going on vacation, what do you do for stress management? Here are some stress management tips from the WSJ article for the guy who needs to relax but has trouble doing so:

    1. Try something new. Learning something in a new place can be more relaxing and refreshing than trying to do nothing. While it's good to get outside your comfort zone, it's not necessary to explode out of it. "I don't want to go bungee jumping," says Matthew Edlund, a sleep expert in Sarasota, Fla., and author of "The Power of Rest" who says he'd much prefer walking through Berlin or Beijing. "You decide what your level of adventurousness is and do it."
    2. Have a plan, but be flexible. Completely winging it somewhere can be stressful, so have a rough idea of what you're going to do, but be willing to change it. "If you find that you're on a beach and you're bored out of your mind, get up and do something else," says Dr. Edlund.
    3. Get physical. Besides releasing endorphins, exercise also burns off excess adrenaline and cortisol. The "flight" can be on the treadmill, after all. If you haven't been exercising, a vacation can be a good time to start. Even a walk on the beach can be invigorating for a chaise potato. At the other extreme, some people relax by doing marathons or triathlons. But overdoing it be stressful as well.
    4. Build in a buffer. Don't work right up until the moment you leave and head back to work right off the plane. If possible, schedule an extra day off before you depart and another when you come back to dive back in slowly.
    5. Manage expectations. Make sure your colleagues and clients know that you'll be away and checking in only occasionally; tell those back home the kind of matters you want to be bothered about.
    6. Breathe. As New Agey as it sounds, meditating and paced breathing can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which works to balance the surges of adrenaline and cortisol that accompany stress, says Dr. Rosch.
    7. Practice mindfulness: Research suggests that focusing the mind on the present moment can have profound effects. Mostly, it involves observing your surrounds without making judgments. Try observing your own feelings.

    Stress management isn't really that hard -- it just takes a little planning and effort. So which one of these stress management tips could you start using this week? Remember, you don't need to practice stress management just on vacation.

    Read Part 1 Here: Understanding Men - Why Can't Men Relax?

    This is the second article of three on the topic of understanding men. In the next article we'll take a quiz to find out if you might be a workaholic. Sign-up for our blog at the bottom of this page and be sure not to miss any parts of this series.


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