Tag Archives: Health

Motivation Mondays: The Stress Factor

Last week, the world lost a Hollywood icon: James Gandolfini. He passed away suddenly from a heart attack while vacationing in Italy with her son and sister. He was only 51 years old.

Gandolfini was most infamously known as Tony Soprano, the lead mobster from New Jersey, on the hit HBO series The Sopranos. He had other movie roles, most recently the C.I.A. director in Zero Dark Thirty as well as a role on Broadway. He was known as a gentle giant who loved his family, friends and being Italian. As an avid Sopranos fan, I was saddened by his death but it also served as a wake-up call.

gandolfiniGandolfini was a younger man, who wasn’t sick and had plenty of living left to do. Yet, in an instance, he was taken away from his family and friends. Anyone who knew Tony Soprano knew he was a big guy.  As an Italian, he loved his pasta and wine too. His presumed weight problem coupled with the stress of being a Hollywood star unfortunately were a lethal combination. I’ve seen this pairing too often in my own life. My grandfather passed away from a massive heart attack at the age of 47. This past December, my 42 year-old cousin died the same way. All were taken too soon.

Weight is a constant battle for me as well as most of my family members. Actually, weight in general is probably something most of the world struggles with. No one should obsess but everyone should be conscious of their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. Working out regularly and eating healthy helps you maintain a healthy weight. But what about the stress factor?

Stress is almost just as bad as eating poorly and being a couch potato. But, in my opinion, it is not as easy to manage as counting calories or hitting the gym. Stress puts undo pressure on all parts of your body: your muscles tense up, your heart rate increases and digestive problems develop. The longer you let stress affect you, the more prevalent these issues become.

So, here’s the deal: we all need to commit to managing our stress better. A couple of ways to handlestress stress better include:

  • Pinpoint exactly what stresses you out and choose a couple of ways to deal with the problem. Even write them out to glance at when the problem occurs.
  • Close your eyes and take some deeps breathes.
  • Leave your desk and go for a walk.
  • Set boundaries and stick to them.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • LAUGH more 🙂

The death of James Gandolfini should be a reminder to all of us that stress negatively impacts our health regardless of how old we are. Making the changes will be hard but will be totally worth it. Check out the clip below of the gentle giant, Gandolfini on Sesame Street.

Balancing The Growing Pains

“Growing up is never easy. You hold onto things that were; you wonder what’s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be – other days, new days, days to come. The thing is, we didn’t have to hate each other for getting older; we just had to forgive ourselves for growing up.” – The Wonder Years

Like many, I spend this past weekend relaxing and enjoying my Monday off. I headed down the shore with my two of my best friends to dance the night away. We watched the sun come up, slept for a couple of hours then ventured to the beach. Some would say we took it a little too far, but I call it making memories. However, we paid for our fun yesterday at work.

The last year has been filled with so many changes that haven’t been experienced by everyone in my group of friends. A handful of us are employed, commute to work and spend 8+ hours a day in front of a computer. Others are in graduate school; some are living on their own and others are still in school. All of our lives are different. At times, it doesn’t feel like all we do is work and yearn for the good old college days.

havefunOne thing I’ve learned in working during the last six months is that everyone deserves a work-life balance. Too often, you hear that term used with working parents and not with newly employed young adults. One way I’ve gotten a handle on this real-world thing is by making sure I balance everything in my life. The work-life balance is important for young adults because it:

  • Prevents burnout: As new faces in the workplace, most of us are eager to prove ourselves and will take on multiple assignments in order to do so. While this is admirable, it isn’t always realistic. 
  • Helps our friendships: See the quote above! My friends and I had a year of adjustments with misunderstandings about schedules, budgets and attitudes. We are all working so hard we tend to forget about our friendships…and that each of us is struggling with the adjustment. The frustration of opposite schedules and long-distance relationships often proves to be a challenge. BUT, we all are learning to balance and keep one another in check.
  • Improves the quality of our work: This speaks for itself. Working on a project at the 20th hour isn’t good for anyone involved and certainly won’t be your best work.
  • Puts the focus on our well-being: Work is important but so is our health. In college, your health is typically thrown out the window. Being conscious of the work-life balance allows for focusing on balance in all forms like what you’re eating and how often you’re working out.
  • Shows our parents we can do: Mom and Dad need to realize the work-life balance is a real thing now that their babies are adults. They’ll have to adjust too!

The team members I work with often help me achieve a better work-life balance. My friends and family also keep everything in perspective too. This weekend showed me that it is perfectly fine to take a much-needed break and enjoy time with my friends. I plan to focus more on the work-life balance and hope you do too!

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