Stress Expert: Long Weekends Aren't Enough

It is September 1991: Have you taken your vacation yet?

If you are like bankers in many parts of the country, the answer may very well range from no, to sort of, to just barely.

Keeping in Touch

As the industry navigates through one of its most harrowing times, executives are grabbing long weekends, taking more work with them, and keeping in touch with the office via phone and fax.

"It's a mistake to think that a weekend is the same as 10 days away" since it usually takes two to four days just to unwind, said Dr. Howard Glazer, president of New York-based Corporate Psychological Servicesand a specialist in the treatment of stress disorders.

Dr. Glazer compared such use of long weekends to a circuit breaker that is used to keep overworked equipment from burning out.

Hard on the Circuits

In the short run, the machine keeps running, but over time there is a long-term degradation of the circuitry.

Weekends are for small pick-me-ups; longer breaks are more likely to be true cures.

While recognizing that today's banker may not be able to take the cure, Dr. Glazer recommended that a vacation be planned with an aim toward maximizing its benefits.

Observe how stress has taken its toll, imagine what would fill that void, and schedule activities accordingly, he suggested.

Benefit in Contrast

Desk-bound, sedentary workers may benefit from a week of white-water rafting, while executives who sprint from one bank branch to another might feel revived after lounging at a seaside spa.

As for keeping in touch with the office, the doctor said that's fine.

Better to stay in touch and keep one's mind at rest than be anxious about what's happening on the battlefront.

"I myself am a classic type-A obsessive personality," Dr. Glazer said.

"Calling into the office every few days gives me that umbilical connection and keeps me from being distracted and worried."

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