STRESS: More than Just Structural

Insights_ConstrucHat.gifAs an electrical professional, we are no different than many others when it comes to stress; we deal with deadlines, commitments, financials, and other tasks associated with managing the business. Stress is our body's normal reaction to events that pull us in different directions. The effect of stress in our daily lives is sometimes quite visible but then again often it is not. Stress can be healthy but just like anything, too much can be unhealthy. Your mood, productivity, concentration, and general over-all health concerns are just a few negative results for someone under a lot of stress. For the electrical professional, stress has other possible safety impacts as things may become more complicated, especially for those who may find themselves working in and around energized equipment.

Managing Stress

It would be foolish for me to go down the road of stress avoidance; for many of us it’s a fact of life. The key here is to manage stress to healthy levels. Everyone is different when it comes to dealing with stressful situations; some thrive on it while others may have very low tolerances for it. You have to understand where your threshold is and manage around it. As an example, having to work in a cluttered space causes stress for some. Whether that space is your office, your garage, or a job site where you quite possibly may be working on energized equipment, if your work space causes you stress, by all means get it in order.

Because stress is unavoidable, we need to manage it. We can be successful through taking control, identifying stressful situations, and acting appropriately. This is easier said than done. The following five steps may be helpful to get you started on your journey to manage the stress in your life:

  1. Build Your Support Network – This is a net-work of individuals you can rely on for advice or simply to be an ear for venting, and could range from personal to professional.
  2. Control – This is more than just being in control,it’s a level of confidence. Confidence in yourself and your ability to recognize and deal with stressful situations.
  3. Emotions – Some are better at this than others.Controlling your emotions is very important when managing stress levels. Bring your emotions into balance.
  4. Knowledge/Preparation – I do not meanabout your job. It’s about recognizing stressful situations, dealing with them, and managing your expectations.
  5. Attitude and Outlook – I could argue that ifyou did the previous four steps, attitude and outlook come along for the ride. A healthy sense of humor and optimistic outlook are important.

Recognizing Symptoms of Stress

Insights_HealthStress.gifWhen we haven’t managed our stress well, symptoms usually show up in one form or another. The following are some general symptoms, but keep in mind that your reaction to stress may be different than others:

  • Memory loss/forgetfulness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Questionable judgment
  • Pessimism
  • Constant worry
  • Irritability
  • A feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Depression
  • Over or under eating
  • Isolation
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Nervous habits
  • Aches and pains
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Always being sick

These are just a few symptoms; a quick look at a medical reference or conversation with your doctor could uncover much more. Stress may not be healthy for your heart and pre-conditions could complicate the effects of stress. As you read the list of possible symptoms and think about the work you perform