Staying Cool When the Job Heats Up

Comments (18)

Staying Cool When the Job Heats Up

By: Dale Collie

Jobs are heating up. We're all feeling the pinch of hiring freezes and information overload. Workplace stress is increasing right along with the workload.

Headaches are turning into migraines; back pains are driving us to the chiropractor, and minor irritations are causing tempers to flair.

In addition to our personal reaction to stress, it is taking its toll on the bottom line. Stress is driving up the cost of health care, and we can see a huge impact in things like tardiness, absenteeism, personnel turnover, and accidents. The annual price tag of stress in corporate America is more than $150 billion.

While forecasters tell us we can expect more of the same, we need our jobs, and we need to find ways to control the stressors that are taking a affecting our health and productivity.

Here are 11 ways you can keep your cool and minimize the impact of stress on your life.

Do your own job - When poor the work habits of others create stress, remember why you're there. Pay attention to your own job. You will not be rated on the performance of others, but the boss will note the quality of your work. Stay focused on the job you were hired for, and let management deal with improving the department or the company. Don't get stressed about things that are not your responsibility.

Organization - Regardless of company expectations, you can alleviate a lot of your stress by organizing your work space and getting a firm grasp on the work that must be done. Even if you have to pay for it yourself, get the tools needed to organize your effort, e.g. files, furniture, PDAs, software, and training. Work with your boss to prioritize projects and routine tasks. Only get concerned about unfinished work if the boss gives it a priority. You'll never get everything done, so pick the most important and file everything else in an easy to reach file drawer.

Communication - It's important to maintain your supervisor's comfort level, so meet with them as often as necessary to keep them informed of projects and progress. Give them updates the way they want them (email, memos, briefings, etc.), and persist in getting the feedback that is so important in reducing stress. Use this same strategy with those who give you information or products to do your job and those who depend on what you give them. Good communication is essential for good stress control.

Interruptions - Avoid stressful interruptions by controlling your schedule and your communications. Establish times for meeting with those who want information from you and hold them to it. The more persistent you are, the more organized they will be. Handle phone calls and respond to email during specific times. Develop a list of people and events that disrupt your job and work with each until it is under control.

Family Time - Family situations are among the greatest stressors at work. There's an old axiom that says, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." It's true. Avoid future problems by prioritizing family time on your schedule and stick to it. Get professional help if you're unable to resolve sticky situations.

Exercise - More than 80% of all doctor's visits are stress related. Those who find time to exercise reduce stress, strengthen their immune system, and improve their well being. Do a little research and talk with the experts to find out what fits your needs. Make the exercise part of your work schedule if possible; don't let it cut into family time. Regular exercise can add years to your own life and make you more productive for your employer.

Nutrition - Proper nutrition is a key to stress control. The US Army recognizes proper nutrition as a critical element in controlling stress among combat soldiers, and you must admit, your job is sometimes as stressful as combat. Use the Internet or get information from Human Resources to improve nutrition. You'll have to make some deliberate changes because our eating habits are affected by our culture, the expectations of others, inadequate knowledge about what makes a proper diet. Learn what is needed and make a plan.

Rest - Take charge of your sleep habits in the same way you work on your eating habits. Sleep deprivation is a major stressor by itself, and it adds to the problem with other stressful events. Cut out the late night television. Quit taking work home from the office. Change the pattern of your weekend parties. Get some new friends. Do whatever is necessary to get back on track with seven or eight hours sleep every night. Studies show that twenty minute power naps make us more productive, so use part of your lunch break for nutrition and part for a short nap to control stress. You'll get more done.

Discussion - Tell people what's on your mind. If you can't ignore someone's special talent for bugging you, talk it over with them. There's a good chance they are unaware of the offense, so you don't need to get up tight about it. In a friendly tone of voice, let them know what gets under your skin and be ready to make some concessions yourself. As you now know, their irritating habit is probably magnified by other stressors, so make sure you've done what you can to control stress before challenging anyone.

Education - The more educated you are about your job, the less stressful it becomes. Even if you've been on the job for years, there's always more to learn about the upstream and downstream impact of what you do. Stay up to date with trade journals, books, and other research. Become the expert at what you do and coach others. While some companies do not pay for this type education, your own investment will make you more valuable to your company. What you know is portable - and it looks good on a resume.

Volunteer - Helping others has an immediate impact on stress levels. Build in some family time by volunteering as a family once a month. Build rapport with supervisors and co-workers by organizing a once-a-week lunchtime volunteer program. Lead a food or clothing collection for needy employees or families outside your company. Create a support-the-troops letter writing campaign so everyone in the company communicates regularly with GI's away from home. In short, doing something for someone else takes your mind off the stressors that bother you most.

Each of these stress relievers works independently of the others. Find one that's practical for you and put it to work. Friends, family, and co-workers will all notice the changes in you and thank you for making the effort.

For a free article about the top ten workplace stressors and how to tame them, send email to


11 Ways to Keep Your Cool

Do your own job

Get Organized

Communicate with the boss and others

Control interruptions

Schedule Family Time


Eat right

Get 8 hours sleep a night

Let others know what bugs you

Learn new things about your job

Volunteer to help others

Copyright 2005 - Dale Collie

About The Author

Copyright 2005

Dale Collie

You may publish this article electronically or in print f`r`e`e of charge. Feel free to edit for space and audience. Just include my full byline and add a hyperlink for web postings. When you publish, please send a courtesy link or email to


effysbornbackward 06.08.2013. 02:58

What can I pack my boyfriend to help him with his welding job? He works 12 hours outside in the Texas heat. He gets really overheated and I'm worried about his health. What kinds of things can i pack him to bring on the job, obviously water and a lunch but what kinds of things can help him stay cool? He gets headaches and feels light headed a lot. He's never had a job like this so he isn't used to it.


Timmy Ta 15.06.2011. 03:07

Ways to stay cool while working at six Flags? Hey everyone I just got a summer job at Six Flags as a guest screener and it will get to the 100 degree temperatures, so I wanted to get some advice from all of you on how to try to keep cool. My job requires me to be outside most of the time so staying cool is a must. So what are good ways to not die from the heat?

Timmy Ta

Admin 15.06.2011. 03:07

Make sure you always bring lots of water with you too work and keep hydrated! Maybe buy one of those cheap portable mini fans that uses batteries to cool you off, I know they have really cool ones now a days that sprays water. Also, try and dress for the weather. And I'm not sure if you're standing most of the time or sitting, but try and sit instead of stand to keep yourself cool, so maybe bring a stool with you or something. Be creative. Hope I helped!(:


Okay? 28.06.2013. 00:50

Would double fans with ice work as well as a standard air conditioner? It's hot!

I want to make something simple that will help me cool down and conserve electricity. I heard that a fan with something very cold, like a bucket of salted ice, in front of it would do a pretty good job at cooling someone down. I've also read about more elaborate homemade systems that use a metal tube with cold water flowing through it via either a gravity fed or pump fed system. Both of these sound like interesting concepts and work off of the same principles.

I thought I would go the budget route and maybe just get two fans; one fan would have containers of ice in front of it and the other fan would be directly in front of the first fan. I'm assuming that the first fan would blow the cold air that the ice buckets produce into the second fan and the second fan would move the cool air around the room and cool the room even further, but is that how it would work, and would this be as good as an air conditioner? I'm looking for something that will really cool the room down and also work when the power goes out. A battery operated fan that gets really cold is what I'm going for. Do you have any good suggestions?

Again, do you have any suggestions on how to efficiently cool down a room with a few battery powered fans and buckets of ice? Will this work as well as an air conditioner? If not, what will?

I can't use anything like a swamp cooler, because I live in a very humid climate. The heat is wet, and getting wet doesn't always mean staying cool around here. Wet heat is miserable.
It's not that I lack environmental consciousness, but this project is all for me. I just don't want to deal with the air conditioning bills. My house isn't very well insulated.


paul h 19.08.2012. 17:15

What is the most economical way to use our AC while keeping a comfortable temperature? At the moment it is in the 90s outside, so we turn the AC on when we get home and off when we leave for work. Our little condo stays pretty cool so when we get home it is 77 or 78 degrees inside. It takes all night to get down to a cool 74 degrees. so the real question is: Should we leave it on set at 74 or 75, or keep doing what we're doing now? Which uses the least electricity?

paul h

Admin 19.08.2012. 17:15

You are wasting massive amounts of electricity turning your system off then expecting it to cool the house when you get home. Take that to the bank....
If you did not perform a preseason tune up on your system and take good care of it, this is the time of year it shows.

Your best bet is leaving your thermostat at one setting and LEAVING IT. You see,.. when you leave and turn it off, your place (walls/ceiling/floor, furnishings) absorb heat & humidity. Add to that a hot attic and heat generating electronics (anything with a transformer, fridge, etc) and your system has to overcome that heat load every single day you turn it off.

When you leave it on at a reasonable level it keeps the all those things dehumidified. The first job of an air conditioner is to take out moisture,... THEN it can cool.

Example: I live in north Texas. My thermostat is set (& stays) on 68F. Its been 100+ lately and for a couple of months (its a little cooler now)
I take immaculate care of my a/c system.

My last power bill was $89. 'nuff said.


Terese 20.09.2011. 00:08

What heating and air system currently available is the most energy efficient? What Heating and cooling systems are currently the most energy efficient?


Admin 20.09.2011. 00:08

Most unit on the market have a high SEER rating.There are good ones and not so good ones. I would stay away from goodman units. They are cheap units, but low SEER ratings.American Standard which is the cheaper version of Rheems is a good one.It all depends on what you want to pay for one. Rheems and Carrier comes with all the bells and whistles,but you'll pay for them.I like to keep the units fairly simple.In other words,one that does a good job of cooling,and heating if it's a heat pump and don't cost a arm and a leg to run.


Mandy 09.05.2013. 18:49

How do i cool my body heat? I'm a 15 year old girl and i have a really bad sweat and over-heating problem.
Walking to school everyday works up my heat and then i can feel the sweat against my shirt and it feels horrible. Obviously i use deodorant every day in the morning but it does absolutely no help. Because of my sweat i get underarm sweat patches and that makes me very self-conscious.
I'm aware it could be to do with puberty problems but i really want to manage my over-heating before i sweat.


Admin 09.05.2013. 18:49

Cleveland 05/09/13

Bath Tub,..or, Shower,.?! Get in the Tub,.! Go through the motion of a regular bath,.! Turn the
hot water to WARM,.?!! Then,.toward cooler,.'en, cooler,.?! Until you're in mostly cold water,.!
Stay for as long as you like,.?!! If no bathtub,.Do the Shower thing,.Go through the same
moves,..!? Until you have mostly cold water,..?

Many years ago,.I did this move when I need to go to the daytime job,.en, wanted a wake up,.?!!
Man 'O' man,.did I get a wake up,.?!!

Eliasis Yahwehei ( The Main Man )


DynoBox 08.02.2008. 17:58

How do I thrive in the Phoenix summer heat? I may accept a job in Phoenix, but I am coming from one of the most temperate locations on earth where the daily highs are between 60 - 75 degrees ALL year.

What are some things you long-time residents have learned over the years for having a good life during the hot months?

What are smart things to do with the home, the car, planning your day, dressing, etc?


Admin 08.02.2008. 17:58

Stay indoors during the summer months. Plan any outdoor activities for early morning or late evening. Make sure you have water with you at all times.

It's really not that bad. Most festival and stuff are in the cooler months, so for the hottest months (June, July, and August) there are not a lot os outdoor stuff going on. There's plenty to do indoors, though. Baseball, basketball, hockey.

You'll learn that finding a parking spot close to the entrance is not as important as finding one under some shade.

Whenever you can drive up to Sedona or Flagstaff for the weekend. It is really nice up there, not too far of a drive, and it's usually cooler there.

Good Luck!


corry 07.03.2013. 15:06

There was a weird kind of burning, electrical smell this morning in my house. I went to turn on the heat and? ITurned on the heat and it wouldnt work. It started working about 10 minutes later and the smell has gone away. Not sure is this all related to the heat, furnace. Or is there something electrical going on to? The smell is gone and the heat is working now? The belt is getting old. and we've known that it might be going, but if the belt stopped working for awhile, would it still be working now? Help? My friend says see if it does it again. Or should i just call a heating specialist?


Admin 07.03.2013. 15:06

The last thing you want to be is without heat. But we don't know that is where the smell came from. Likely it may have something to do with the heat but without being there to inspect it there's no way we can tell you what's wrong.

I've not heard of a heater with a fan belt, but I suppose if it's a big unit - maybe. I don't know. Still, the electrical smell - usually that's what happens when something burns out. I just burned out my amplifier two days ago and had that smell. Unfortunately it's terminal. The amplifier got too hot and burned out.

The only thing I can think of might be the control transformer. I'll post a picture for you in a few seconds, but that's basically what tells the heater when to come on. There's a 24 volt transformer that is wired to the thermostat, then back to the furnace where it turns on the gas valve. It's that simple. When the fire box gets hot enough the fan is supposed to come on and stay on until the fire box cools back down AFTER the gas valve has shut off.

But if it's working now chances are it might not later on tonight when you really need it. Regardless of whether it's the transformer or a problem on the control board - I'd recommend having a professional check things out. If he says everything is fine - insist he find something wrong. No, really! If he leaves because he can't find the problem he's still going to charge you for the visit. So make him do his job. My neighbor had a similar problem and the technician didn't find anything wrong so he charged them for the visit and left. Later that night their heat went out. I had to go over and bypass some stuff to make the heater run until they could get the technician back out.

Being they're elderly it was easy for them to be taken advantage of. So when the guy arrived I went over and pushed him to find the problem. Turned out the problem was a bad control board. You couldn't see the problem unless you took the board out of the heater. Sure enough it had to be replaced. I insisted he NOT charge them for the second visit, only for the parts for the repair. He was arguing with me until I called his office and spoke to his boss. A quick phone call from him and the tech was hard at work fixing the furnace without any further charge. Not even for the control board.

Don't be a dote. Insist they do a thorough job. Obviously there is something going on, like a bad control transformer.

Anyway, here's the promised picture:

Hope this helps.

'av'a g'day mate.



blueyolei 03.12.2006. 04:47

I get hot easily, how can I stay cool throughout the day? I always get really hot easily. Not the comfortable kind of heat the one thats annoying and makes you irritated. I cant wear thick clothing or more than one layer because of this. Is there anyway for me to stay cool when wearing layers? Also are there any "Cold Packs" on the market?


Admin 03.12.2006. 04:47

Well, one of the first rules for cooling down is to increase surface area in relation to mass. In otherwords, if you're overweight at all, get in shape. That is, by far, the most effective thing. (Also, when you're in shape, body does a better job at heat regulation, as the heart is healthier and can pump warm blood easier when needed, and cooling down happens more often naturally.)

After that, clothing does make a difference. If you want to be cooler outside, generally something baggy that kind of shades your body but doesn't sit close to it. (Ever seen those old arabian outfits in the old movies where they're almost completely covered yet out in the desert? You think, "I'd be so hot wearing all that..." actually, they're clothes help keep them cool.) As old-school as it is, a thin cloak will do wonders to cool you down in hot weather when used right. Basically plan to have something that keeps light form touching you, baggy to where it doesn't touch you much, and has lots of areas for air to escape.

Also, to cool down, where very light colors. White or something reflective. This will bounce light and heat away from you. (And if you insist on wearing something layers, have the inside layer black, and outside white. Then the black absorbs your heat, transfers to the white side, and actually sucks a little heat out of you.


Tim 09.07.2007. 20:10

What is the best way to circulate air from a window air conditioner to multiple rooms in the house? I have a window air conditioner (8000btu) which does a great job of cooling my living room, unfortunately, the cooler air stays in just the living room, so the bedroom is still hot. I have 2 fans to help move the air. I also have a ceiling fan in the bedroom, but, it seems the bedroom is always FAR warmer than the living room. I'm wondering the best way to position the fans to get maximum cooling effect in the bedroom.

The living room is essentially a square -- on one side of the square - in the middle - is the window with the AC.. oppisite the AC is the hallway which leads to the bedroom.

Would I be better off putting a fan at the entrance to the hallway blowing the air out of the living room, and down the hallway? or put it in the center of the living room, and blow the air towards the hallway? Or should I blow the hot air out of the bedroom, to the livingroom? Should I put the fans up high? or close to the ground? Should I turn off the ceiling fan in the bedroom?



Admin 09.07.2007. 20:10

Well, cold air falls and heat rises, so definately keep the fans on the floor. Place one fairly close to the air cond. on a chair and position toward the hall. Then put another one from the end of the hall pointed into your room. And I would put yet another in the doorway of your room pointed to the bed. Nix the fan in the bedroom window, it's too hot and it will only let out the cool air from your a/c. :)


Write a comment

* = required field





* Yes No