How To Recover From Stress

Are you an iguana or a border collie?

iguana by the poolRecently my husband and I spent a glorious ten days on vacation in Mexico in celebration of his 50th birthday.  We traveled with five other adults to a resort which caters to scuba divers.  I don’t dive, but Clay is enthusiastic about the sport, as were our fellow travelers. This interaction led to some fascinating insight on stress and relaxation.

When not diving, most of our group spent time lounging by the pool, with the iguanas (yes, actual iguanas).  Being fair skinned, I spent some enjoyable time by the pool, in the shade, reading. I did not, however, have the staying power of the rest of the group.  I needed something else.  My husband, Clay, enjoyed being an iguana for a while, but then also needed to DO something.  We took out the little sailboat, went for walks — coming and going from the pool.  One of our fellow travelers remarked,

“You are always on the go.  When are you going to relax?”

Here’s the thing — we were relaxing.

Clay joked at dinner one evening,

“I’m like a border collie.  If I don’t have something to do, I start chewing on things.”

Funny and true, it is a good description of how he relaxes.  He needs something diverting him from thinking about the things which cause stress.  Staying still provides too much time to think.

Too often we think of relaxation in only one facet – as stillness.  Meditation works for many, but if you are a border collie at heart, it may cause more stress to try to be still.

  • Engaging hobbies are excellent for reducing stress.  My dad, for example, loved woodworking and spent hours in his garage workshop building, sanding, and finishing.  The “busy hands/free mind” essence of these actions can reduce stress for many people.
  • Other people need highly engaging activities to detach from stress.  Racing on an all women’s sailing crew last summer, I saw this in action.  During the race, we are entirely focused on our individual jobs and the task at hand.  Working as a team, chatting on the way back in from the race, all of it reduces stress.

Your way of relaxing might not look the same as it does for your fellow travelers, but that is ok.  Embrace your own style and make time for activities to support stress reduction.

Are you an iguana, a border collie, or something else?

About the Author Eliz Greene

A top female motivation speaker and author Eliz Greene is ridiculously excited about stress. Surviving a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins propelled Eliz on a mission to share her story to inspire other busy people to pay attention to their health. Eliz is dedicated to leading others on a path to lower stress and great success. Her stress management keynote is a great fit for closing a conference. Find out more at www.ElizGreene.com

Eliz Greene Featured on Queen of the Castle Cover

For Heart Month, Queen of the Castle Magazine profiles Eliz and shares the story of surviving a heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins and he mission to inspire women to pay attention to their heart health and manage stress.

Exerpt:

One of the most common effects of stress is added weight around the mid section. The most efficient way to process cortisol out of the body is to sleep but studies show that very few women get enough sleep. And so the cycle of busy and stress continues.

“We eat away at the margins of the day to get stuff done. But yet sleep is the most efficient way to get rid of our stress. We have to be working not just for our family but also for our quality of life that makes it worth it. If we work so much we don’t see our families, we missed it,” says Eliz.queen-of-castle-cover-eliz-greene

“Eight days after they were born Clay and I were holding them together for the first time. That moment is pivotal to me. Even though so much was still chaotic, in that moment, I had absolutely everything I needed. In that bubble of contentment I realized I could survive a lot of craziness…which is helpful now that I have teenage daughters,” she says with a laugh.

Read the entire article

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins. Her down-to-earth strategies to manage stress and improve heart health are used by thousands of busy women all over the world. She is a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker and Women’s Wellness Speaker.  Find out more at www.ElizGreene.com

The Trouble With Busy at Twin Cities Go Red

Join Women’s Wellness Speaker for Go Red For Women in Minneapolis!

Twin Cities Go Red Lunch and Learn

January 13, 2017

Minneapolis Convention Center

  • 9:30 am – Registration, exhibits, health screenings, demonstrations and silent auction
  • 11:30 am – Lunch & Learn program featuring Keynote Speaker Eliz Greene – learn about the real causes of job stress and how we all need to take on the trouble with busy to reduce stress, get more of the important things done, and feel better about all of it.
  • 1:15 pm – Adjourn

Register here by January 3!

Can Mammograms Predict Heart Disease?

Mammograms are important for BOTH breast and heart health!

We all know mammograms are effective in detecting breast cancer in the early stages. Mammograms may also be able to detect the early stages of heart disease as well. Yet another tool for doctors and women with heart disease risk factors to evaluate treatment needs.

How Could A Mammogram Predict Heart Disease?

The same technology which highlights calcifications, small deposits of minerals in breast tissue which appear as white spots on the x-ray also show calcification in blood vessels.  Calcification in blood vessels is a significant indicator of the hardening of the arteries type of heart disease, called Atherosclerosis.

mammograms are important for both breast and heart health

Don’t panic, however. Finding calcifications on a mammogram probably isn’t a sign of an impending heart attack, but it is and indication that more investigation should be done. Tests such as a treadmill stress test, which monitors your heart during exercise, and blood test should be done to determine the progression of heart disease in your body. Caught early, heart disease can be treated and well managed with lifestyle changes and medication.

If you are at high risk of heart disease ask the radiologist examining your x-rays to pay special attention to possible calcifications in the blood vessels. Having multiple years of exams to look at may be helpful in determining the progress of heart disease or the effectiveness of treatment.

Yet another reason to schedule AND KEEP your mammogram appointment!

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins. Her down-to-earth strategies to manage stress and improve heart health are used by thousands of busy women all over the world. She is a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker and Women’s Wellness Speaker.  Find out more at www.ElizGreene.com

Women’s Wellness Conference Speaker: Grant Regional Health Center

Join Stress Management Speaker Eliz Greene at Women’s Wellness Conference

hosted by Grant Regional Health Center

in Lancaster, WI on Saturday, October 8, 2016

Register at www.GrantRegional.com

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while 7 months pregnant with twins.  For more than a decade she has been on a mission to inspire other busy women to improve heart health so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less.  She is a motivational women’s wellness speaker and author. Her humor and personal stories  illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day.  Her research on job stress and professional women make her a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker

Heart Pain: When To Sound The Alarm

Is the pain heartburn or a heart attack?

How can you tell the difference between a sharp, burning sensation in your chest caused by the pizza you just ate or a sign of something more serious?

Women’s heart attack symptoms can be difficult to diagnose. My heart attack absolutely started out feeling like heart burn. I’ve experienced both severe heartburn and a heart attack and the pain is very similar at the beginning.

heartburn-eyhHere are 7 ways to tell the difference between heartburn and a heart attack:

  1. Did you just eat something which upset your stomach? If your tummy is usually upset 30 to 40 minutes after eating spicy or greasy food, the chances are it is heart burn. But, if you haven’t eaten, or what you ate doesn’t usually cause upset, then it cause for concern.
  2. Does an antacid help? Usually the relief is immediate. If you take an H-2 blocker such as Zantac or Tagamet relief should come in 30 to 40 minutes. If the pain continues or get worse seek medical attention right away.
  3. Do you have pain when swallowing, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite or are you throwing up blood? You may have damage to your esophagus and you should seek immediate medical attention.
  4. Do you have shortness of breath, cold sweat, vomiting, dizziness, or pain or tingling in your arms? It is time to call 911. These are signs you may be having a heart attack.
  5. Did exercise or physical activity bring on the symptoms? This is a big clue to get help right away.
  6. Is the pain stopping you from doing normal activities? Heart burn can be uncomfortable, but pain that distracts you from work or causes you to withdraw from activities should be evaluated by a medical professional quickly.
  7. Do you have risk factors for heart attack? High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high stress, being overweight, being sedentary, and having family members with heart disease are signs you may be more likely to be having a heart attack.

How do you really tell the difference? Go to the doctor. If you even think it might be a heart attack, get help. It is worth a little bit of embarrassment about overreacting to save your life.

Since my heart attack, I’ve been to the emergency room twice with chest pain. Both times I was fairly sure it wasn’t another heart attack, but I wasn’t willing to take the risk of being wrong.

Being told “it’s just heartburn” is a good outcome!

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while 7 months pregnant with twins.  For more than a decade she has been on a mission to inspire other busy women to improve heart health so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less.  She is a motivational women’s wellness speaker and author. Her humor and personal stories  illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day.  Her research on job stress and professional women make her a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker

 

Is Work Life Balance A Myth?

Initial Results From The Study On Job Stress

We’ve all heard work life balance is the key to stress management, but is it true?  Our study on job stress shows some interesting results.

Work life balance is based on a few assumptions:

  • The binary push and pull relationship between work and home is the main reason for women’s job stress
  • Women are the only ones who experience this issue
  • Women without children at home are less stressed

Is that true?

According to the more than 1000 people who participated in our study, no.

  • Men and women reported an equal amount of job stress
  • Fewer than 10% of the women with children at home reported caring for children (or any other work life issue) as the top cause of job stress
  • The results were exactly the same for men with children at home
  • Across the board the pace and pressure of work, an uncertain future, and the environment at work far outweighed work life issues as causes of stress.

So, what does that mean?

Work Life balance doesnt work

We are focusing on the wrong problem when trying to manage stress!

Pace and pressure at work (and other issues relating to being busy) were the leading causes of stress for more than 50 percent of the people in the study.

We don’t have an issue with balance. We have Trouble With Busy!

Which means traditional stress management and employee wellness programs are trying to solve the wrong problem!

Study results indicate improving the stress environment at work involves organizational factors as well as personal factors.

Many of the respondents indicated adjusting productivity expectations in the face of change or lack of staff would reduce stress. Others, especially nurses and lawyers, didn’t expect the stress environment to change, but rather accepted the pace and pressure as part of the nature of their work.

So if the pressure isn’t going to change, what then?

Rather than looking at stress as a binary, push and pull system between work and life, we need to be looking at what I call an ecosystem of stress.  Everything we do interacts with everything else.  Some things give us pleasure and add energy to the system.  Other things draw energy out of the system.  Just acknowledging the sheer number of things you pay attention to can reduce stress.  Yes, it’s a lot.  You have a good reason to feel overwhelmed. If that isn’t going to change, then the key to managing the stress ecosystem is to feed energy and resources back into the system and manage other drains.

For example, by supporting our physical health, we can feed resources back into the system. When I work with high performers, sleep is always an issue. Good quality sleep is one of the best ways to manage stress, but also one of the most difficult to protect.  We often eat away at the margins of our day to get more done.  Staying up later and getting up earlier may seem like the right thing to do, but over time lack of sleep allows the stress hormone, cortisol, to build up in the body. High cortisol levels result in:

  • increased fatigue
  • headaches
  • back aches
  • anxiety
  • digestive distress
  • depression
  • decreased sex drive
  • impaired immune system
  • increase risk of heart attack and stroke

Protecting your sleep can make a huge difference in how you feel and feed energy back into your stress ecosystem.

But, how do you make time for sleep?

By looking at stress as a system, it is easier to pick out priorities, such as sleep, and find opportunities to eliminate or reduce drains on the system.  Yes, this is easier said than done.  Managing your stress system requires hard decisions about what you will allow to be in that system, and there lies the issue.

There isn’t a magic formula to balance out your world, but it is possible to step back, assess your system, and make choices about what you allow in that system.  Being aware of what is draining your energy and resources, and actively feeding energy and resources back in is the key.

ELiz has been delighted to offer a new program The Trouble With Busy providing insights and tools to manage your stress ecosystem.  The most exciting part of the new program is using the research data and being able to provide specific data on stress environment of the individual organization. The next phase of research examining stress within organizations and interventions for improvement is in process now.  Those results will be reported in the future.

Until then, let’s let go of the idea of balance and start addressing the Trouble With Busy!

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while 7 months pregnant with twins.  For more than a decade she has been on a mission to inspire other busy women to improve heart health so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less.  She is a motivational women’s wellness speaker and author. Her humor and personal stories  illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day.  Her research on job stress and professional women make her a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker

UWM Women’s Leadership Conference

iStock_000019139109_DoubleToday I have the great honor to be surrounded by 500 impressive women leaders in the Milwaukee area at a conference hosted by the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Continuing Education.

Did you know spending time with other amazing women can lower your stress and reduce your risk of heart disease by 30%?

That is just one tip from our session today.

Were you in the Juggling Stress Program today?  Please leave a comment below and share your “I will because”

You can find the Job Stress Study Survey here: http://elizgreene.com/job-stress-study/

Could Job Stress Be The New Smoking?

Could stress at work be the new smoking?

Job Stress SurveyAfter working with women to improve heart health and manage stress for more than a decade, I discovered there isn’t enough data about the specifics of the job stress environment and how it impacts men and women differently.

This led me to embark on a multiphase research project to explore this important topic.

Research suggests the stress environment in the work place could be as dangerous as second-hand smoke. In fact, the United Nations’ International Labor Organization calls chronic job stress a global epidemic.  How risky is job stress, really? We all know stress is a risk factor for heart disease and other illnesses. According to several studies, if your job is highly demanding and you have little control over how you do that job, your risk of heart attack and stroke increases by nearly one-third.  For women, the risk increases by 40 percent. In addition to being a significant risk factor for disease, job stress decreases productivity and creativity and increases health care costs, absenteeism, and hinders employee retention.

That is the bad news.

The good news is, like smoking, job stress is something we can control.   No, you may not be able to change how you do your job, but you can control your reaction to the situation and offset the stress with healthy habits. Removing exposure to second-hand smoke has decrease the incidence of heart disease by 30%.  What would be the impact of better managing the stress environment of work?

The study is currently in the first phase, collecting data about job stress.  A broad base of responses from all ages, genders, and job categories is needed.

How can you help?

Please take three minutes to complete this simple survey about job stress.

Click here to take the Job Stress Survey

The larger the sample of respondents, the more significant the results will be.  No personally identifying information is collected.
The second phase will explore job stress in specific companies and associations. We are looking for organizations to partner with us on the study as well as companies who have created positive work environments to use as case studies. Several health care organizations and associations have already joined the study.  We are seeking companies in varied industries to increase the validity of the study. These organizations will receive detailed reports about their unique job stress environment and there is no cost to participate. If you know of a company or association that would be a great fit for the study, please fill out the contact form here.

The third phase will examine the effectiveness of stress environment interventions in organizations.

The initial results of the study have been fascinating and I’m looking forward to sharing the results and working to create healthy stress environments at work.

Eliz Greene is a heart health journalist and motivational wellness speaker specializing in serving women in business. Her humor and personal stories of recovering from a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day. Her Heart of Wellness Video Program is making a difference in employee health around the country:

“I went into this thinking how inconvenient it would be to find a few minutes a day to watch these videos. After all, I’m sure most of us have heard these topics before by other wellness programs or even our doctors. However, once I started, I came to appreciate the approach. The calm and relaxing way the topic was relayed, actually helped me process the information better. Reminding me “I Will Because” kept me focused on my purpose. The best part, my blood pressure has improved!” City of Bryan, Texas Employee

Click here to start your own path to the Heart of Wellness today!

10 Simple Ways To Decrease Your Risk Of Heart Attack

Heart Month Tips on CBS58

Eliz Greene was the guest on CBS58 today at 4:30.
CBS 58

Download a copy of the 10 Simple Ways To Decrease Your Risk Of Heart Disease ebook by clicking the image below:

10-simple-ways-ebook

Did you see the interview? Please leave a comment or question.

Eliz Greene is a heart health journalist and motivational wellness speaker specializing in serving women in business. Her humor and personal stories of recovering from a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day. Her Heart of Wellness Video Program is making a difference in employee health around the country:

“I went into this thinking how inconvenient it would be to find a few minutes a day to watch these videos. After all, I’m sure most of us have heard these topics before by other wellness programs or even our doctors. However, once I started, I came to appreciate the approach. The calm and relaxing way the topic was relayed, actually helped me process the information better. Reminding me “I Will Because” kept me focused on my purpose. The best part, my blood pressure has improved!” City of Bryan, Texas Employee

Click here to start your own path to the Heart of Wellness today!