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The Singaporean-Way!

mt elizabeth health plus article
In Singapore, while we don't have to worry too much about food and living conditions, one thing we would agree on is that stress levels are skyrocketing. Year after year, we have news reports telling us what we already know – that we’re stressed ( or perhaps beyond stressed ).

That's not surprising, though.

As products of the Singaporean education system, we have been conditioned to deal with stress. ( Think quarterly exams, never-ending mountain of homework, CCA and so on. ) And it definitely doesn't get easier as we enter the workplace. Long hours, micro-managing bosses, unsatisfactory salaries; all these add to the stress that’s become part and parcel of life ( only we now get to coin it job stress ).

According to Dr Paul Chiam in a Health Plus piece, job stress and long hours can directly affect the heart and subject you to increased risk of heart disease. His article on job stress and heart disease says those who work 61 to 70 hours a week have a 42% higher likelihood of developing coronary heart disease.

Here are things you can do to mitigate the harmful effects of job stress on your heart:

Recognising Stress
Several of us might find it a feat to recognise stress, especially if we were brought up in an environment that promotes stress. It’s almost as if we were born into this stress-centric culture.

Understandably, in a competitive society like Singapore, many of us were brought up by parents who focused on the same academic certificates our government once did. We were forced into the rat race even before we could make decisions for ourselves.

In that sense, perhaps job stress is also a normalcy.

How stressful a job is would depend greatly on your personality, and how well you can deal with it. Some of us may have built immunity to stress or developed a strategic defense against stress. But there are still some of us who fall through the loopholes and break under taxing situations.

Most people find a job stressful when they feel they are not in control.

Let’s say you have a highly demanding job but you’re not in a position to make decisions, even about your own daily tasks. That’d suck, for sure. And that’s exactly what contributes the most to job stress.

Battling Job Stress
More often or not, we lose the battles against job stress. And by losing, I mean we tend to belittle the stress we experience and allow it to escalate to bigger (health) issues.

The office can be a grim place when you’re in a losing battle against job stress. Unfortunately, the battle does not end when you’re out of the workplace. You can’t take your mind off work – focusing on just how helpless and frustrated it makes you feel – and that results in poor sleep at night. Work even haunts you in your sleep!

But it’s not just your sleep that’s compromised. When you’re so engulfed by negative emotions like stress, you lose the motivation to maintain any form of lifestyle.

There’s one end of the spectrum that involves lack of exercise and loss of appetite, and the other end of the spectrum that's all about binge eating and drinking, and possibly smoking as well to help cope with that stress.

Sleep deprivation, in particular, is a common problem we face, especially if odd hours and shift work are part of the job. The lack of sleep tend to lead to high blood pressure and blood sugar levels, ultimately raising the risk of heart disease.

Heart disease is a scary thing, more so when you're young and dreaming of a whole life ahead of you. To think that chance might be snatched from you right in front of your eyes - it's unimaginable.

Clocking in Regular Exercise and Leisure Time
Even in the busiest of times, remember to clock in regular exercise. You know what they say about exercising – it’s not only good for the heart but it also helps take your mind off things.

If that’s a stretch to ask for, substitute 20-30 minutes of workout sessions with short breaks. You know how your colleagues go for 15-minute smoke breaks? You’re entitled to that too, sans the smoking please.

Just as importantly, find something that will help you relax. It could be picking up a new hobby or pursuing a long-time passion ( that’s dormant because work took over ). Whatever it is, do something ( that’s not detrimental to health or illegal ) that’s gonna help you relax. You deserve quality me-time too.

Surely it must be scary to know you’re not in control but there is only so much you can do. It does not help ( anyone ) if you’re so tensed about something that’s beyond you.

In many situations, we cannot reduce the job stress we face. We can, however, help ourselves cope with it. And why shouldn’t we?

Article based on this Health Plus piece by Dr Paul Chiam. Like what you see? Get Beauty, Dining, Recipes, Travel, Health and Wellness reviews right into your mailbox! Subscribe to Luxury Haven by Email and you will never miss a post again!


  1. Nice post! Stress in our economy is definitely inevitable and learning to destress is really important.

  2. It is sad to know that stress is everywhere, may it be job, family, money-related. We cannot run away from it but one must know how to handle it before it destroy your life and health. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Great post, Shirley! Stress can really affect us both mentally and physically. We all need to find ways to cope with it. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. I think it is so important to have time for exercise, it does wonders against stress!

    Have a great day,
    Almost Stylish

  5. Very helpful tips on handling stress. Almost everybody is affected by this problem nowadays.

  6. Yes! Basic needs are met, but it's mental health that's now the concern.

  7. These are some great tips for combatting stress.

  8. great read, thanks for sharing this! I actually used to be so stressed at work so I resigned. haha. My life is so much better now at my new job! :)

    xoxo, rae

  9. I think we're the same way in the US. Thanks for all the excellent tips!!

  10. Good wake-up call for people who are working too much.

  11. Informative.

    Thanks for sharing, Sharon.

    And have a good week ahead. :)

  12. Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Hello Shirley
    Unfortunately stress is something we're living with in every part _f the world !
    Even children are stressing nowadays ...and that's really sad!
    Enjoy your week !

  14. Tell me about stress Shirley. Its a common phenomena throughout the world. Well, we want the best and we want the rest, so, stress does tail us very closely. As much as I want avoid stress, I wish. Sure, we must overcome stress, otherwise, we can't imagine whats's waiting in front of us.

  15. Thanks for the really great post! Have a nice day)

  16. Thanks for the tips, Shirley! I'm glad I tackled mine before it consumed me. Much more relaxed now ;)


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