REAL WORK: TOO STRESSED TO STOP?

! Are you constantly tired and irritable?

! Do you drop other activities because of work?

! Overworking is not only one of the causes of burn-out; it can also be a way of avoiding having to deal with the stress it causes.

! Do you think you have too much work to do to take a holiday?

! Are you reluctant to make social appointments in case you have to cancel at the last minute?

! Do you have imaginary conversations with people concerning work while lying in bed at 4am? Not being able to "let go" at the end of the day means your overload level has reached danger level.

! Deal with the warning signs. Don't get fanatical about what you can't change.

! Your in-tray will never be empty - accept this.

! Take all your annual leave. If you can't take a fortnight, take a short break to tide you over. Dr Lilley recommends taking a whole month off if possible. "Less than that and your colleagues tend to save work up for your return."

! Is your job worth your life? Would you rather do something else?

! Admit to stress when it affects you. Be nice to others who are stressed.

Compiled with the help of neurologist Dr Pat Martin.

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