Stress and Business Travel

I was envious this morning as a patient was telling me about all of the upcoming business trips he had coming up. As someone that works in a business that requires almost no travel, I may have a distorted view of reality of what business travel is all about.

When I asked my patient if he was going to have any fun on his trips, he gave me a look that could be described, at best, as odd. “Kevin, you don’t travel much do you?”, he asked. “It is absolutely miserable, I am twice as stressed out traveling than I am in any meeting.”

That got me thinking. Was it him or is business travel that stressful? Harvard Business Review tells me it is that stressful.

As someone that does not need to travel, I have always questioned if it was really necessary. According to an Oxford Economics survey, the Return on Investment of traveling is between 400% and 2000%

Maybe I should start traveling!

Now as they say, nothing in life is free. The cost of this great ROI is quite often stress on the traveler. The study identified the four most common areas of stress in travelers:

  • Delayed or lost baggage
  • Poor internet connections
  • Medium and long haul economy flights
  • Airport delays or layovers

What all of these issues really create is lost time. As the day to day office work accumulates stress levels rise. An international survey found that some managers, faced with a week or more of emails, would simply delete them all upon returning to the office.

Try a few of these tips to see if you can help yourself out:

  • Always have a go bag packed. You know what you will always need on a trip; phone charger, toiletries, etc… buy extras of everything and leave these in your travel bag
  • For men, a wrinked tie is a bad look…roll it up tight and put it in a toilet paper tube…no wrinkles
  • Beat jet lag with excercise, hydration and sunlight.
  • Download 30-40 emails to your laptop, take the time in flight to answer them … less work waiting for you on return is less stress!

While individuals can find their own ways to destress (hello, chiropractic!), companies can contribute in ways as well.

Ask your company about any of the following and see your stress levels shrink a bit:

  • Allow for work from home day after long trips
  • Paying for a spouse if the trip requires a weekend stay
  • If luggage lost, allow employee to purchase enough of a wardrobe for a day or two
  • Pay for access to business class lounges if you don’t automatically qualify

I think that everyone can agree that stress is very real and when a top executive is not working or is working at less than optimal firms lose money. If we can get everyone on the same page of reducing this stress, everyone will win.

Chiropractic is fantastic at reducing stress in the body. Consider seeing your chiropractor for an adjustment after business travel. Your body will thank you for it!

 

 

 

How Often Do You Say No?

Stop saying YES!
Stop saying YES!

Do you have a hard time saying no?

Do you feel guilty when you say no to the bake sale, spending time with people that you don’t really want to see, buying those girl scout cookies, donating money to charity or any one of the other million things that we get asked in a normal week?

Steve Jobs once said, “It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much.”

Try to do to much…let’s be honest, don’t we all tend to do this at times? Saying no is hard!

Saying yes to everything, however, is exhausting, stressful and actually bad for your body. Trust me I am a doctor!

As I have written here before, stress is related to a whole ton of health issues including but not limited too…heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression and a whole host of others.

Why would we say yes to so many things that we would increase our own stress levels and potentially make ourselves sick?

It’s actually quite simple…we hate confrontation and feel like we would be letting people down if we said no to them…even if we knew it was going to stress us out.

In one of four studies earlier this year in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Dr. Vanessa Bohns and her team had 25 college students ask 108 strangers to vandalize a library book by writing the word “pickle” in ink on one of the pages. While many of the strangers protested, or asked the students to take responsibility for any repercussions, half of the strangers agreed to deface the book—much more than the average of 29% that the students predicted.

According to Dr. Vohns, “Saying “no” feels threatening to our relationships and that feeling of connectedness.” And we worry that saying “no” will change the way the other person views us, and make him or her feel badly.

The sad reality is that saying no is a rejection and no one likes getting rejected. Studies have shown that the negative effect of no is more powerful than the positive effect of a yes.

Some of this also comes from us and how much we perceive the person will judge us or be disappointed in us. The experts say we need to relax a bit here. We think someone is going to judge us much more harshly than they actually do.

Yes, most of it is in our heads.

Now, if we are going to get serious about saying no, let’s discuss a couple of strategies on how to say no more effectively.

  • Say no in a nice understanding tone and don’t be afraid to blame external circumstances.
  • Stick to your guns! No means no…once, twice or a thousand times
  • If someone gets you when you least expect it, do not be afraid to tell them you will get back to them.

Last thing to remember, time is one of the few commodities that you cannot buy. We all get the same amount of seconds, minutes, hours etc. Protect this commodity like the treasure that it is…your life may depend on it.

Is Private College Tuition Stressing You Out?

Statue of John Harvard, founder of Harvard Uni...
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Ask any chiropractor what their client’s biggest problems are and I guarantee you that stress will be in the top two.

Stress can take on many different forms, it could be physical stress (how you sit at your desk), chemical stress (poor diet) or mental stress (what you spend a ton of time worrying about).

If you are a parent of a teenager, how you are going to pay for college is a huge stress for most parents.  Let’s say your daughter wants to go to BU.  For 2010-2011, tuition including housing and a meal plan comes in at a whopping $51,574.  That’s dollars not yen!!!

Now what are you getting for your 50k+ investment per year?  Well certainly a leg up in the job market, right?

Well, maybe not.

In an article in the Wall St. Journal, employment recruiters say that public universities are producing the most prepared and well-rounded prospects for entry-level jobs, with better life skills to fit in to their corporate cultures and prosper.

And prosper…wow!

Now to tell both sides of the story, the article did note that most Harvard type students only dabble in the job market before going back to school to get graduate degrees.

If you compare the cost of a typical private school, 5ok+ with the cost of a typical in state public school, right around 20k, does the cost of private school make sense?

If you believe what the employment recruiters tell you, it may not.

See, now there are 120 thousand less things to worry about, you can thank me later!!

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What Do You Mean You Don’t Take Appointments?

Concord MA Chiropractor
Look close for your appointment time

Imagine you are working and your neck is killing you.  You call my office and make an appointment for 11:00.  Of course at 10:50 one of your customers calls and you run a few minutes late taking care of your business.  You hurry off the phone and set a land speed record getting to the office.  You run it at 11:07, out of breath and apologizing for being late.  Is this anyway to start a visit where I am going to ask you to relax and let me do some work on you?  Of course not!

After a few years of having set appointments I noticed people were coming into the office a few minutes late and were stressed about it.  Now I gotta tell you, stressed out patients are not ready to receive adjustments, they are in a word…stressed. It is no way to to get your spine worked on.

After a couple of years of this, I decided to radically change my office and we took out the appointment book.  Gone are the phone calls if you are running 10 minutes late.  Who isn’t running 10 minutes late from time to time?

In oder to better serve our clients, we now give them times when we are in the office.  If I am in from 8-noon on a Monday, why do I care if you come in at 8:11 or 9:02?

Well Doc, what happens if there are a few people in front of me? The reality is, the initial office procedure, the adjustment, doesn’t take that long.  99% of our patients are seen within 10 minutes.  10 minutes!!  People almost can’t believe it.

Are there times when we are busier than others?  No doubt, but it really seems to work out.  If you have ever seen our office, it is an open environment where people actually, GASP, talk to each other.  As a matter of fact, one of my stated goals is that 2 people who meet in my office will get married.  It hasn’t happened yet, but we are working on it!!!

If you have ever sat in a doctors office stressed that you were 10 minutes late, then they make you wait another 20 minutes, I want you to remember what we are doing here…stress free, little waiting, people having fun, chiropractic.

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Are You Last?

How often do you put yourself last?  Time after time I see a client who is dashing in after soccer, before ballet, and on their way to the grocery store.  Oftentimes they will rush into the office, lay down on the table, get their adjustment, and skip out before I can even say hello, never mind good-bye.   I always wonder, how stressed out must this person be?

As a father of four, with a super human wife, I completely understand how hectic life gets.  I try and help people realize that slowing down is not such a bad thing.  Sitting on ice in my office, while cold, is oftentimes the only part of someones day that is relatively sane.

Making time for yourself is crucial to your health.  Even the finest tuned race cars need down time.  You cannot keep pushing without something breaking down.  Trying turning off the radio while driving, grab a book and a comfy chair, how about a walk at lunch from your office, or how about scheduling that massage you have been putting off.

Your body doesn’t need much, just a couple of minutes a day for itself and you will see the effects for years to come.

PS. Need a massage therapist leave me a comment and I will set you up with a wonderful one, I have been seeing her for a couple of years and she is great.