Why Address Stress?
Stress and the resultant fatigue can lower your morale and motivation leading to a decrease in career and personal success. Maintaining a healthy physical, mental and spiritual self is tantamount to your success.

What is stress and fatigue?
Stress is a result of the interaction between a person and their environment. Not being able to cope with the demands of ones environment is associated with this negative emotional response. Stress is a complex issue and no two individuals will be affected in the same way.

Fatigue is one of the common outcomes of stress and can have a significant impact on your health. Fatigue is the temporary inability, decrease in ability, or strong disinclination to respond to a situation because of previous over-activity; mental, emotional or physical.

Signs and symptoms of stress and fatigue

Some common personal symptoms include anxiety, depressed states, poor sleep patterns, headaches, fatigue, increased blood pressure, hyperventilation and other symptoms of poor health. Reduced productivity and low achievement levels can also result.

A common symptom of fatigue is a general feeling of weariness. Others include slow thinking, reduced alertness and ability to perform tasks, forgetfulness, lethargy, slowed reaction time, and poor decision-making and communication. These symptoms can lead to a negative impact on your professional and personal interactions.

The Performance Zone
Fatigue and burnout are not simply caused by too much stress. If your life and work made no demands you would be bored and unproductive. A healthy amount of stress can lead to improved performance. Every individual has a unique “performance zone” in which he or she experiences manageable stress that stimulates energy, motivation, decision making, and productivity. Your job is to find your own maximum performance zone.

The Seven Empowering Steps into the Performance Zone
Step 1: Identify Your Symptoms of Stress
Step 2: Identify Your Sources of Stress
Step 3: Identify How You Respond to Your Specific Stressors
Step 4: Set Goals to Respond More Effectively to Your Stressors
Step 5: Motivate Yourself
Step 6: Change Your Thinking
Step 7: Pace and Balance Yourself

Reducing Stress and Fatigue
Once you have identified your symptoms, sources, and responses to stressors, you must set goals to reduce your stress. You might think of setting goals to exercise regularly, cut back on caffeine and sugar, and get more sleep. To motivate yourself think of a healthy reward once you have met one of your goals. For example if you work out three times in a week you can treat yourself to a movie or buy a DVD or book that you have wanted. Because your thinking is so often a contributor to stress you need to look at what thoughts are stressing you out. For example when you get frustrated ask yourself, “how important is this really? Is it worth my health and piece of mind?” the answer is most certainly “no” so don’t sweat the small stuff. Step 7 into the performance zone is “Pace and Balance Yourself”.

Tips to help you balance and pace yourself through a busy day

· Pay attention to peak energy times and schedule more difficult tasks then.
· Try alternating between pleasant and more difficult tasks.
· Drink plenty of water-It gives you energy and removes toxins.
· Do some exercise during the day.
· Go easy on caffeine and sugar-they don’t give lasting energy, in fact they leave you feeling more tired.
· Eat plenty of fruits and nuts, your diet permitting.
· When sitting on hold on the phone improvise stretches like rotating your ankles, wrists and neck.
· Always remember to BREATH-this can clear your mind and give you renewed energy.
· Take a couple of minutes throughout the day to calm your mind. Slow deep breaths are good for this, as is stretching.
· When sitting for long periods give yourself a face massage or do a quick reflexology session by removing your shoes and massaging your feet. This stimulates your organs and brings instant relaxation.
· When using a keyboard improvise hand stretches and a hand massage.
· Take a short walk outside or even around the office.
· When you take lunch practice being mindful. Really use this time to take a break, even a short one. Try eating slowly and really taste your food.
· Choose leisure exercises that balance the unique stressors of your job.
· Take mini-breaks throughout the day. The payoff will be seen in increased mental alertness and increased productivity.

Author's Bio: 

Nicole Cutts, Ph.D. Leading Success Coach Expert specializes in Transforming People and Organizations for Success. Visit her website and sign-up for the FREE innovative and forward-thinking Tips-for-Success newsletter, “Vision for Success.”

Dr. Cutts is the CEO of Cutts Consulting, LLC and its subsidiary, Vision Quest Retreats www.cuttsconsulting.com & www.visionquestretreats.com

For over 10 years Nicole Cutts, Ph.D., licensed Clinical Psychologist, Success Coach, and Organizational Consultant has been inspiring and empowering people to achieve a more balanced and successful lifestyle. Dr. Cutts has consulted with and trained executives, managers, and teams at Fortune 500 Companies, Federal Government Agencies, and Non-Profit Organizations. As a master facilitator and Success Coach, she helps people create an exceptional life by honoring their mind, body, and spirit so they can experience joy, passion, meaning, and ultimate success in their work.

Dr. Cutts is a featured writer on the Walter Kaitz Foundation website and has been a contributing writer for Identity Television, The Next Level, and The Diversity Channel, where she was also the Senior Features Editor. She sits on the D.C. Bar Association Lawyer’s Counseling Committee and the Board of the Student Support Center. She has appeared on BET’s The Center, the BBC, Roland Martin’s, Urban Business Roundtable and various radio programs. She has co-authored and published several articles in scientific and literary journals. Her writings on Corporate Wellness, Success Coaching, and Diversity have appeared on several Chamber of Commerce and business websites.