Managing Stress; Eight Simple Coping Methods to Reduce or Eliminate Work-Related Tension and Stress - Plus a Simple Test: How High Is Your Stress Level?

By Smith, Katherine | Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management, July 1988 | Go to article overview

Managing Stress; Eight Simple Coping Methods to Reduce or Eliminate Work-Related Tension and Stress - Plus a Simple Test: How High Is Your Stress Level?


Smith, Katherine, Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management


Managing stress | The key story for the next issue that's being put to bed is not in, and the paste-up artist is on your back to lay out the final pages. It's the eve of a long holiday weekend, and you're still trying to reach your paper supplier to make sure you've got the paper you need for a major sales promotion piece that must go out within a short time. Your boss, the editor, is having a bad day and is taking it out on you. You know it's not intentional, but it bothers you nonetheless.

Job-related stress in the publishing industry is a fact of life. We are in one of those pressure-packed, thriving environments that draw intelligent, creative workaholics who are constantly under the gun to produce the unique, the special, the unusual. Time is money, and meeting deadlines is key--which means that a team effort is nowhere more important or crucial to success than in publishing.

We often feel that we're asked to do too much, but we generally don't say no because we enjoy the work and the challenge of meeting the demands and deadlines. And we want that promotion we see dangling at the end of our hard work. We work for the payoff, and we'll work hard if we think the payoff will be worth it.

But who or what has to be sacrificed along the way?

For some of us, it's our personal time spent on hobbies or with family. For others it's social life or the opportunity to pursue other interests. Many of us don't take vacations, and consequently lose them at the end of the year. We all want the material comforts of life. And the consequence of our trying to meet societal demands to be "successful" as we view it, or as we think others view it, is a continual stress-building process that often leads to illness or disease.

And stress in ourselves and our employees will add to the cost of doing business.

We contacted 15 major publishing companies by phone to find out if they have programs for stress management. (The 15 were Hearst Publishing, Ziff-Davis, Times Mirror Magazines, CBS Publishing, Penthouse, Good Housekeeping, Inc. Magazine, sunset Publishing, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Reader's Digest, Cahners Publishing, Bill Communications, Inc., Leisure Publications, Inc., McGraw Hill and North American Publishing.) Eleven of these companies are offering their employees stress-reduction or stress-awareness programs on the job. Very often these take the form of lunch-time brown-bag sessions, or after-work programs that give employees a chance to recognize what causes stress in their lives. At these programs, employees are given some tips on controlling stress to prevent it from getting the better of them.

Recognizing stress

Stress is a part of life, but many times the number and types of stresses we have to deal with can feel overwhelming. Most people make the mistake of thinking that stress is caused only by unpleasant things, when actually it can be created by very happy events, too--for example, getting married, having a baby, sending a child off to college, or getting a promotion and moving to a new city.

Because we often can't recognize stress in ourselves, it's important for close friends and family to be able to recognize the signs: difficulty in sleeping; changes in eating habits; increased use of drugs, alcohol or cigarettes; chronic irritability; short-fused anger; increased anxiety; and frequent illness or physical complaints. To get an idea of your stress level, take the simple stress test accompanying this article.

A score of over 26 on the stress test indicates a high level of stress. You need to learn coping mechanisms and develop techniques to reduce and eliminate stress in your life immediately. You can get help from your family doctor, qualified professionals at work, hospitals that offer stress programs, or other health care professionals, and you should attend a stress management and relaxation program. If your publishing company doesn't sponsor one, try local community centers and adult education programs. …

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