Just Say No!

Job stress is thought to cost American businesses more than $250 billion annually due to absences, illness, poor performance and turnover. Anxiety, hypertension, heart attacks and personality disorders have all been linked to workplace stressors, and increasingly so as record numbers of Americans try to avoid the unemployment line. So what is a stressed out subordinate or superior to do? Well, for starters, learn to say no. Don’t ever take on more than you can handle or you’ll end up looking (and feeling) worse than if you had just refused the additional workload. As in any relationship, communication with your co-workers is key. If you can’t do it, don’t. If you don’t understand something, ask. If you’re scared to put your foot down, you’re probably not in that healthy of a work environment. It may be time to start looking elsewhere.

Wardrobe Wars
Q: I’m an account executive for an advertising agency. I just landed the job right out of college. Although I have professional attire that gets me through the work week, my boss says that my shirts are faded, my pants ill-fitting and my sport coats are unfashionable. The problem is that I don’t come from a wealthy family and I don’t make enough money right now to splurge on new clothes. I have a hard enough time making ends meet! What should I do?!

A:You’ll find that in life everyone’s priorities are different. To some, clothing is more important than paying the bills. Your boss is noticing things that you may not. I wouldn’t take it personal. I’d try to focus on closing deals and demonstrating your fullest potential. If you have noticed that your clothing is faded, try and allocate a small budget to buy some new clothes. You can find clothes that you can double up for work and for special occasions. There are lots of bargains out there so don’t worry about overspending. It’s truly important to look presentable. Your appearance makes that first impression, but more important is the handshake or personal touch you give your clients. People may compliment you on what you are wearing and you may even feel good. When you put all that together — well-dressed, confident, intelligent and productive at work — no matter what your ultra-anal boss says or does, it won’t ruin your day!

Lisette N. Beraja of Beraja Counseling Center is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Parent Coordinator with more than 10 years of experience working with families and young professionals. If you have a question you’d like answered in a future edition, email it to [email protected] or [email protected]. Due to high volume, we will not be able to respond to all submissions. All names will be withheld to ensure the privacy of our readers.

Stress-Free Bites
Add these tasty stress-busters to your diet to calm your brain and boost your immune system while your body enjoys some much-needed downtime. Keep in mind that for added benefit, you should stick to just one serving in each sitting.

Hearty Carbs
Not only do these age-old comfort foods regulate your blood sugar, they also bring back some great childhood memories! Healthy options include whole-wheat bread and traditional oatmeal flakes.




Leafy Greens
If stress headaches and fatigue have you despising your every waking hour, make sure to add raw spinach to your morning, noon and night to improve your magnesium levels throughout the day.




Almond Power
Just a fist-full of almonds a day will not only keep the doctor away, it will also help boost your body’s defenses against illnesses and most importantly, stress-causing hormones.