Pain?Dizziness? You could be suffering from the case of "stress".

Disclaimer:This post is solely for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose,treat,prevent,or cure any disease or illnesses you may have. The information is based on personal experience,opinion,and some of my clinical training. Always consult with a physician for any medical advice.

Here in America,we work really hard. We are one of the most hardworking countries in the world. Our work week consists of 40+ hours a week with little vacation time. There are no such things as "siestas" like in some countries in South America and Europe where citizens take a nap and shut down businesses for an hour or two. We eat on the go and make rash decisions on what to eat that most likely consists of a sugary donut or a tall cappuccino. We work in the wee hours and sometimes even take work home with us. Our commutes are long,spending 2-3 hours a day stuck in traffic. And exercise? Who has the strength and energy to work-out after a long day at the office? The lifestyle here is definitely fast-paced,especially when one lives in a big city like Chicago.

You probably sometimes experience headaches,backaches,or something of the sort. Could you be simply suffering from "stress?"  These ailments can sometimes trigger in your body that sends a signal to "slow down" and "chill out!". 

This is what I believe happens to me from time to time. I woke up this morning with some "dizziness" but thought to myself it could be nothing,so I proceeded to get ready for work. As I was on my way to leave the city to go to work in the suburbs,my dizziness continued to worsen as I started to lose focus on my driving. To be on the safe side,I pulled into the nearest gas station and called my boss to tell her that I wasn't going to come in to work today. I have to admit I have been under a lot of stress lately,especially at work since my co-worker is on maternity leave and I picked up a lot of her work.

I am the type that hates calling off work-this was the first time in three years that I did. But I was given a really good advice not too long ago(ok by my mother,who has been in the same job for 35 years!): sometimes calling off work or giving yourself "a mental health day" is actually good for you. We are not robots,and sometimes these "aches" and "pains" can just be due to the fact that you have a lot on your plate going on,and your body needs to relax sometimes so that it can refuel and be able to continue to function as normal as possible.

My job as a Medical Social Worker runs a high risk of "burnout",so I take this advice to heart. Save up a few PTO's here and there and every 4-6 weeks,take a day or two off just to relax and refuel so you can jump back into your work again. Sometimes it is not realistic to take 1-3 weeks off,but even a two to four day weekend can help your body re-energize so you can take on demanding tasks at work.

And of course you have heard the other advice over and over again:staying hydrated,exercising at least three times a week,and eating healthy are other components of coping with stress. Getting enough sleep and taking some days off here and there to rejuvenate your body are definitely components of relieving stress as well.

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