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Everyday Energy Zappers

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Everyday Energy Zappers

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Everyday Energy Zappers

Wedding Stress: You're wired 24/7

Staying perpetually connected may help you get ahead on the job, but you just may hit a wall on the home front. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee found that women who frequently take business calls and e-mails at home—whether on the weekends or after work—are more likely to report feeling tired and distracted all day than those who don't. "Being accessible at all times puts you on edge constantly, which causes your body to release a steady supply of stress hormones," says Larry Kubiak, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Tallahassee, Florida.

De-stress Yourself

If you can't unplug after work, at least set aside a block of tech-free time.

If eating dinner with your roommate or fiancé is important, for instance, log off—but make it clear to your co-workers (and yourself) that you'll check messages after 9 p.m. "If you establish a routine, you can relax without feeling worried about missing out on something," says Diane Halpern, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College. Also commit to not checking your BlackBerry, iPhone, or work e-mail one day (or even just for a few hours) every weekend.

Another way to cut down on the time you spend online is to get your in-box under control. One British survey found that people waste up to an hour a day searching through e-mails and switching between tasks because they don't organize their incoming messages. Start deleting notes you don't need, responding immediately to messages you can answer in two minutes or less, and flagging e-mails you plan on addressing later.

Wedding Stress: You listen to everyone's gripes

You're smack in the middle of sending out your save-the-dates when your college roommate calls (yet again!) to whine about her ex. Before you know it, you've lost an hour of precious time—and your desire to do anything wedding-related.

Your drama queen friends do more than run up your cell phone minutes. "They can suck you into a cloud of negative thinking, which triggers your body to pump out extra stress hormones," says Orloff. While you should offer empathy, trying to fix a pal's problems will only create new ones for you.

De-stress Yourself

"Shake a needy friend out of victim mode by saying, 'I'm sorry to hear about this. What do you think you can do to fix it?'" says Albert Bernstein, Ph.D., the author of Emotional Vampires. If nothing else works, Orloff suggests trying this kind but firm intervention: Say, "I have only five minutes to spare because I need to finish addressing these invitations, but how can I help?" Having a time constraint will force your friend to edit her thoughts or find someone else's ear to bend.



Next Page: De-Stress Yourself

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