Rahul, a young professional working with one of the leading MNCs leads a very hectic life. His mobile and laptop always by his side, working hours spill over to the weekend. Meetings, product launches, business targets, travel has taken a toll. Add to this, unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise and little time for any form of recreation.
Do you relate to Rahul? His case is not an isolated one. Working long hours can be challenging with tough deadlines to meet. Rahul also has a loving family for which he has very little time left. How does one really cope? This is the saga of the rising middle class syndrome in India. But now let’s get a perspective.
India’s burgeoning economy: Ambitious Professionals
India is poised to be one of the most powerful economies in the years to come. Our country boasts of harnessing the youngest employable people in the world. This demographic dividend sure has its own adverse repercussions. India is a developing country, with an ambitious rising middle class focusing on skill and education. Today, there are a plethora of professional opportunities which are demanding and challenging at the same time. The journey to scale new heights is not an easy one and brings in its own share of issues. One of them being ‘stress’ and one has to take charge before it is too late.
Early Signs of Stress at the workplace
The Cigna 360 Well-being Study unveiled in May 2016 conducted over 10 cities in India with over 3000 respondents revealed that 62% of working Indians are stressed. The stress levels are higher in certain sectors such as the retail sector. The survey further revealed that women were clearly more stressed than men. Typically the working hours exceed 50 hours a week. Over half of employees (62%) based on the above survey display some physical and psychological symptoms of stress.
Stress is body’s natural reaction to any kind of demand that disrupts routine life. Stress can go on for hours, days and even months. Stress is akin to a warning signal and sets in a physical and emotional alarm.
One can be alert with the following symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Emotive symptoms e.g cannot remember when happy
- Irritability at the work place
Employees today are feeling less energetic, irritable, losing sleep and this has a negative impact on their personal health. Organizations are also witnessing a dip in productivity and efficiency.
Stress can be good but in small dozes
Studies have shown that not at all stress is bad. Remember exam stress before a paper you found tough. The stress drove you to study harder and the hard work actually paid off. You passed with flying colors. This is one way of looking at stress in a different light. So even at the workplace, taking stress before a review meeting is actually good stress. If the review goes well, you may earn your promotion. Stress that is left unchecked or poorly managed is known to contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even suicide. So be aware, take action before it’s too late.
One does not have to live a stressed life but instead devise ways to combat it. Here are a few steps, one can take:
Strive for a ‘Blended work – life’: We all work in a glocalized work environment. Indians firms going global, pressure to deliver thus the concept of work -life balance is a myth. So let’s not chase something that does not exist. Instead apply the ‘Blended Life Approach’. Leverage technology such that work does not suffer and deadlines are met but at the same time one can be accessible for their loved ones and have a personal life.
Invest in Exercise: Investing in one’s physical health brings in huge dividends. Workplace is very demanding and one has to be physically fit and mentally sharp to have a successful career. At Cigna TTK, we don’t just help people stay healthy; we also celebrate good health. Cigna TTK is the official health insurance partner of some of the most prominent marathons in the country including the Standard Chartered Marathon in Mumbai. In addition, we celebrate ‘Yoga Day’, through various consumer and employee engagement programmes. Such endeavors foster well-being, positivity and health.
Be frugal with time: As clichéd as it may sound, time management is an art that has to be well mastered. Learn to prioritize and have a task list that can help not only enhance productivity but can reduce the number of unproductive hours. Use the phone to create reminders and monitor yourself to see the progress made with each passing day. If work is planned well and implemented then why would one stress. In fact, if time is spent wisely, one can easily plan for a vacation that truly helps rejuvenate.
Appreciate and Motivate: Organizations today are working towards creating a culture of ‘rewards and recognition’. This is important as employees who work hard, create value and contribute to the growth of the company should not only be acknowledged but be rewarded. Stress has no room for employees who are appreciated and therefore motivated.
Up your intellectual quotient: Companies today invest in a slew of alternatives for their employees to enhance their skills and knowledge. In fact online learning has changed the way people learn; on –the-go, anytime anywhere. Very good online learning platforms such as www.coursera.org ,www.khanacademy.org have proved to very beneficial. Coveted academic institutions like IIMs, ISB offer short duration residential courses. For example, organizations encourage their employees to take ‘Advance Management Programs’ at prestigious schools such as Harvard Business School, INSEAD, Stanford amongst others. These courses are very good platforms to stimulate and challenge your intellect with like -minded people. So keep learning and keep the stress at bay.
Giving helps: Hectic lives and the pursuit to accomplish professional excellence, sometime selfishness takes over. We often forget to count our blessings. ‘Giving’ in the form of ‘time’ to teach a poor child, planting trees in your area or simply playing with the under privileged can be a therapeutic experience. Organizations today are going the extra mile to make a difference to the world in various ways such as teaching, hygiene, sanitation, environment amongst others. Giving helps, try it! To contribute towards society we at Cigna TTK have launched our CSR initiative called ‘Jeevan’. In span of 2 months of the committee formation, we have been successfully able to drive 12 programs across country.
So, embark on a new journey, look inwards, make a lifestyle change and live stress free.