Welcome to Gypsy Wednesday! Every Wednesday, I strive to highlight all the juicy morsels related to travel and beyond.
The reality of our world is we all have to provide for ourselves and our families. Which means a vocation. But, have you considered how your thrust upon profession could be affecting your health?
I didn’t – never dawned on me that stress or misery could ultimately destroy the one aspect I needed the most: vitality.
Now that I have oodles of free time, Dr. Phil is part of my daytime TV routine. Criticize my TV choices later, just listen. This particular Dr. Phil featured the top three mistakes we don’t know we’re making, and how those mistakes can have an unforeseen impact. Your present circumstances call for retaining a job that gives you stomach knots. I guarantee whatever currently looms is peanuts compared to future damage.
1. Do what you have to do, not what you love. Time and again, I constantly took whatever worked for my pocketbook, not calculating the psychological wear and tear it had on me. The only description of my former self is beaten down. I started believing my capabilities stretched to faxing or answering emails promptly. Now I know better. If doing your hearts desire yields more pleasure than profit, do it somewhere else.
2. Plan for a lifestyle, not a life. The central mantra of the developed world is quantity over quality. Material comforts are not on trial here, but ask yourself why you want more than your fair share? Could be a compulsive shopping problem or a deep emptiness. Even worse, trying to keep steady with the Joneses is the definition of stress. My tip? Build a self first, then assess your lifestyle. You may discover that “stuff” doesn’t smother you, but adds to who you are already.
3. Work shouldn’t be art or play. Somehow we shoot from our magical childhoods into drudgery. Work becomes that thing you MUST do. Imagination or sensation is left to ten year olds. No wonder parents are consistently fascinated with seeing the world through their children’s eyes. Finding artistic beauty in work will lead to lowered stress, and higher fulfillment. And don’t assume I allude to writing or painting. Even mathematicians see creativity in a complicated equation. Work should be joyous, not painful.
I know, you’re rolling your eyes. Haven’t I preached this crap before? And how does this affect health?
I had lunch with one of my besties recently and during the hour she recounted all the reasons why her husband hated his job. No surprise there, but she brought up an interesting article about adrenal glands.
See, adrenal glands are those two small glands at the top of your kidneys. Composed of the adrenal cortex and the adrenal medulla, these glands secrete hormones that help regulate many aspects of the body. However, it is the adrenal medulla, or the inner part of the adrenal glands that help regulate stress.
The adrenal glands are designed to regulate how much epinephrine or norepinephrine is being pumped into your bloodstream. When humans are under duress our instinct is to “fight” or “flight”, a natural biological reaction enabling us to withstand physical impact or dash rabbit like from a dangerous situation.
What cubicle offenders miss are the signals of extreme stress – the kind that won’t balance. It’s critical mass.
- Susceptible to sickness.
You might conclude it’s just a busy work day and that explains the fatigue. Think again. You might feel down, but divert focus by shopping for new clothes or electronics. Reassess.
I’ve Fallen and Can’t Get Up!
Norepinephrine is a powerful natural vasoconstrictor. A vasoconstrictor causes the veins in the body to become more narrow. This increases the workload on the heart to pump blood through your body. It also results in high blood pressure often seen in people experiencing stressful situations.
It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots, high blood pressure leaves a person vulnerable to a stroke or heart attack. I sound like an anti-drug PSA, but don’t end up there. Traveling to an exciting foreign land is far more beneficial than traveling down a road of illness.
Besides the physical ramifications, staying in a terrible situation – job or not – takes a toll on your self-esteem. We want to insist we’re above the politics or dissatisfaction at work, but that’s false. Humans emote, and the longer we stay, the further we absorb that environment, which leads to bouts of depression and hopelessness. In that state of despair, we start to think ourselves into a corner. Instead of possibilities, we cower and cling, not realizing we have choices. You do have them!
Many people ask how I’m doing since the lay off. Fantastic! My entire being has experienced intense changes, almost akin to the adolescent variety.
- I sleep longer and deeper. I use to be perpetually exhausted.
- I’m alert and rested.
- My stomach experienced pain or digestive problems during the past 5 months of my job. No more. No gurgles or trips to the loo doubled over.
- My right shoulder was frozen for over 3 months – last month it actually readjusted itself into the correct position.
- Any overall tension in my neck and shoulders – gone. A past nickname for that area of my body – ‘spare tire’.
- The constant scratchy throat I nursed – suddenly disappeared.
- I feel strong and confident. Bloody, utterly peaceful.
- I can walk up stairs and not wheeze.
- Past injuries are steadily healing.
- Stress level? Reasonable.
Change. A heady word, one that causes ripples of panic. Don’t feel isolated. Find inspiration from others. I can’t boast credit for this article. Spunky Girl Monologues aka, Pamela MacNaughtan just discovered acutely how stress infiltrated her life. Take her cue to rethink how you want your life to play out. Don’t wait for a health scare to knock on your door.
Photos: rustybrick and Chealion