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Health, Job Loss, and Stress Management


Job loss is putting a lot of stress on families and individuals. They need to know stress management works and how they can relive stress in hard emotional times. The New York Times reported recently on a report by Kate Strully, PhD who studied U.S. government health and employment data on 8,125 workers (1999, 2001, 2003). Her research found that workers who lost their jobs were 83% more likely to report new health conditions than people with steady jobs. This was true regardless of age, gender, race, and education. Other factors -- like diet, exercise, and family medical history -- weren't part of the study.

During this recession many are losing jobs due to downsizing, lay-offs, workplaces closing, etc. To help protect your health, it is important to continue to eat as healthy as possible, exercise regularly, and maintain relationships with family and friends.

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Stress management involves controlling and reducing the tension that occurs in stressful situations. Some tips for managing stress include:

* Make an effort to stop negative thoughts. Try to refocus onto the positive. Learn to think positively.
* Plan some fun – a movie, bowling with friends, fishing.
* Take a break. Get enough sleep.
* Begin a physical activity program. Simply going for a walk several times a day can elevate your mood and help keep you healthy. Even better is 20 minutes of aerobic activity three times per week.
* Make sure you eat healthy foods; increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat.
* Don’t increase your alcohol intake. One to two drinks per day or every other day can help relax you without harming your health.
* Don’t give into the temptation to isolate yourself. It can increase your stress. It is important to maintain your social connections.
* Nurture yourself and others. Reach out for help or to give help.
* Learn about and try use a relaxation techniques, such as listening to music, practicing yoga or meditation.
* Take time for personal interests and hobbies.

If these stress management techniques do not work for you, there are professionals, such as licensed social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists, who can help.

New York Times
National Institute of Health