After suffering from severe neck and shoulder pain for almost 3 years, during which I could not move my head, could not sleep properly and could hardly do anything without feeling pain, I am happy to say that I have recovered about 95%. The reason why I said 95% and not 100% is because there is a chance that the pain may relapse if I don’t take care of myself.

By now you must be thinking how did I get myself into this situation?

I hate to admit this, but one of the major reasons was my very own perfectionist attitude. I would have a to-do list for everyday and I would try to finish all the items in that list on the same day. This led me to push myself too much, well beyond my boundaries.

The other reason that aggravated my stress levels was my working hours. I was working for more than 12 hours a day, even on weekends and hardly getting any sleep. To top it off, my project had a client who worked on the principle “kal karey so aaj kar, aaj karey so abb”. (this means ..right now is the best time)

He wanted every task to be done on the same day.

On hindsight, I should have taken timely breaks, allowed my mind to relax by spending time with my family or friends but instead I was burning both ends of the candle. All of this led to a high level of frustration and a chronic neck and shoulder pain.

When I visited the doctor, after hearing my complaint, the first question he asked me was “are you from the IT industry. ” It seemed that many IT people came to see him for such neck/shoulder/wrist illness. It is a hard truth that the IT industry has become synonymous with stress related physical and mental illness. And Unfortunately, we aren’t doing much about it.

For me it had reached a stage where if I didn’t do anything it would eventually lead me to suffer from spondylitis. I had no option but to make efforts to reduce my stress levels.

I was already meditating, but that was not enough. I needed to do much more.

One was – learning to say no. Not at all easy especially in an industry where everything is measured in terms of productivity.

I had to learn to be honest and courageous enough to tell my superiors that there were X number of things on my plate and if new items were added then they needed to be prioritized. Of course, I had to learn to communicate it in an organized manner.

Also, I had to ask for help if need be to accomplish the said goals. Sharing my fears, my challenges with my family or friends without feeling weak also gave me strength and reduced my stress. And most importantly doing things I enjoy doing more often.

I think this has been the biggest life changer.  Either do things that I enjoy doing or try to make things less stressful or enjoyable.

I learned this the hard way, but you still have time.

Catch it early, when the subtle signs of stress arise and Be Proactive.

* Learn to say no

* Prioritize your work

* Ask for help

* Talk to your family and friends, it’s a great stress buster let me tell you

* And most importantly do things you enjoy doing.

For me I have miles to go, but I am glad to say that my stress-less journey has begun. Someone rightly said, “Your greatest wealth in your health. ”

I hope all of this helps you.