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24/7 Philosophy Is Creating Epidemic of Weary Workers


Tullier says values "provide the overall framework for how we lead our lives; they provide a broad set of boundaries and rules for living that keep us feeling fulfilled, stimulated, and connected. But our priorities are the guidelines we use for everyday survival. They keep food on the table, help us meet our day-to-day obligations to others."

When what "[we] must do on a given day doesn't mesh with our overall life values, we feel guilty and stressed leading to a sense of exhaustion," Tullier says. In her work, Tullier helps clients understand "how their values and priorities must differ at times and how a balanced life can never be achieved only using values-based time management. Day-to-day priorities must be factored into the equation. When this is done right, guilt and stress are reduced dramatically and one feels much more in balance."

Or if that doesn't work, Hyrum Smith tells WebMD that one can just write "your own constitution. Write down what really matters to you." Smith believes so much in this idea that 18 years ago he invented an easy way to write this personal constitution: the Franklin Planner. The planner is named for Smith's inspiration, Benjamin Franklin.

"Today there are more choices, more options for people, so that makes it even more important to know what really matters most to you," says Smith.

Smith says he has now switched to the digital version of the planner but says that it is still "bringing calm into my life."

Does the prospect of penning a constitution or life plan see too daunting? Not to worry, says Julian Ford, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. He tells WebMD that one can tackle hyper exhaustion with a "30-second to one-and-a-half-minute stress break. Just stop everything. Take a deep breath and ask this question: 'What is most important about what I am doing right now?'"

This brief break, says Ford, is "extremely refreshing because it allows one to refocus the mind." Ford says that he recommends taking stress breaks several times a day.

The signs of hyper exhaustion extend beyond yawns and blank stares, say the experts. One of the most common symptoms is anger, often accompanied by profanity.

But if stress has you resorting to expletives, Jim O'Connor, president of Cuss Control, has a solution: an attitude adjustment. "What makes us swear so much is anger, frustration, and irritation, but we can change all of that with a change in attitude," he tells WebMD. O'Connor, who runs a public relations agency in a Chicago suburb, says that when he adjusted his own attitude he found life a lot less stressful and less tiring.

His approach is pretty simple. "I was using a certain four-letter word way too much. When I realized this I made a conscious effort to change. I started substituting 'forget it' or 'fix it' instead of the nasty F word. It works"

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