Working with Someone Who Has HIV or AIDS

Even though improved therapies are helping more and more people with HIV disease live longer and healthier lives, the AIDS epdemic continues to grow. Therefore, chances are increasing that you will be working with a person who has HIV or AIDS. Or perhaps you already work with such a person and wonder if you may be at risk.

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When a Coworker Is Laid Off or Furloughed

In some ways you and your coworkers are like a family. You work together and may also share breaks, btn download orangemeals and social events. When a coworker is laid off, you may feel sad, or you may grieve as if there were a death, divorce or falling out in "the family." Let's look at some of the other reactions you and others in your office may feel when there's a layoff.

"It's Not Fair!"

When an officemate is laid off, it's natural to take the coworker's side in an imagined "dispute" with the company. You may feel that management unfairly singled out this person or has an ax to grind. Sometimes these feelings result in poor work performance by "the survivors."

It's hard to know all the reasons for an employee's dismissal. Chances are that it was a difficult decision for everyone involved. No matter what the reasons for the layoff, you are only going to hurt yourself by letting it affect your work. If, after looking at your performance for some weeks after the layoff, you can honestly say you are still not performing up to par, consider talking the situation over with your supervisor.

"Why Am I Feeling Guilty?"

As a survivor you may feel that you somehow benefited from your coworker's layoff. After all, you are still working. You may even have felt a moment of relief when the other person was laid off instead of you. Of course, if you look closely at the situation, it's easy to see that you are not responsible for the other person's predicament.

Talk over your guilt feelings with an outside friend. When you don't recognize or deal with such feelings, they can cause symptoms of stress or depression.

"What If I'm Next?"

Fear is another reaction to a coworker's layoff. You naturally feel less secure when you realize that you could be next. In times of economic uncertainty, when future layoffs are likely, the stress can be unbearable. If after a layoff you experience symptoms of stress (fatigue, insomnia, appetite changes, poor concentration) get some help. Talk to a counselor, coworker, pastor or trusted friend. Learn some stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or exercise.

Face Your Feelings

The key to dealing with a painful layoff is the same as for any traumatic change or loss: face your reaction honestly, whether it's resentment, anger, guilt or fear, so you can begin the process of acceptance and develop inner peace.

Office Dating

When you consider that most people spend half their waking hours at work, it's not surprising that office dating is as common as it is. But is it a good idea? Before jumping into an office romance, consider these potential concerns.

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Living with Shift Work

When you live with a shift worker, you're a shift worker too. Their schedule interrupts your schedule. When they're up, you're up. When they're driving home late at night, you're up worried in bed. Or on the sofa. Chances are, you could use better quality sleep as much as your shift worker. So what's wrong with losing sleep?

If you and your shift worker don't get enough sleep, it can result in everything from grumpiness to lowered immune systems, and even depression. It can also lead to something very dangerous - drowsy driving. Make sure you and your loved one crash in the right spot.

Research shows that when you're driving under the strain of sleep deprivation, you're not going to react to situations as quickly as when you're rested and alert. The effect is almost like driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. And there isn't a big warning sign that flashes every time you're about to fall asleep. Drowsiness creeps up on you. It's almost impossible to predict when you might doze off. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 100,000 crashes each year are the result of drowsy driving. Some studies reveal that roughly one-quarter of shift workers reported having at least one crash or close call within the last year. So you can see why it's so critical for everyone to get quality sleep. People's lives are at stake. When the shift worker loses sleep, it's a family affair.

It's not easy getting quality sleep when the shift worker in the family is coming home from work in the middle of the night or unwinding from a hard shift at three in the morning. Everybody's day (and night) is disturbed. And the whole household must work its schedule around the shift worker's waking and sleeping hours. Some tips for the whole family to sleep on. It's important that everybody gets the best quality sleep possible. It's also vital to talk on a regular basis about the challenges, frustrations and issues that come with being a shift work family. Here are a few steps that everybody can take to improve their sleep environment.

Keep the room dark. Really dark.

The body has its own natural waking/sleeping clock called the "circadian rhythm." This means a person wants to be active when it's light, and rest when it's dark. Here's what to do to keep everyone, including your shift worker, in the right sleep rhythm. Use black-out or room-darkening shades. They're made to completely eliminate outside light, whether it's the natural light of the sun, or the glow of a street lamp. Also try putting lined curtains over the shades. You'll find them at most home supply centers or department stores.

Fix those light leaks. The smallest amount of outside light can disturb sleep. Cover glow-in-the dark alarm clocks with a hand towel, and switch off your nightlights may help to block out the shaft of light that leaks under the bedroom door by covering the opening with a rolled-up towel.

Wear a sleep mask. It's not just for movie stars anymore. It's ideal for anyone who has trouble sleeping, because it keeps out any outside light - day or night. You'll find sleep masks at most drugstores

Block out the "bad" sounds.

Honking cars. Screaming ambulances. Roaring airplanes. Noisy neighbors. Barking dogs. Trying to sleep soundly in the midst of life's daily and nightly sounds isn't easy. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help the situation.

Use earplugs to block outside noise. Few things are as simple to use or as effective at keeping out sleep-depriving distractions.

Purchase a "white noise" machine. Studies show that shift workers and non-shift workers alike are often lulled to sleep by a steady stream of peaceful sounds, such as ocean waves. White noise machines block out extraneous, not-so-peaceful sounds. You'll find these machines at electronics or department stores.

Put them to sleep with a noisy old fan. An old-fashioned oscillating fan is perfect. The new "whisper-quiet" fans don’t do a very good job of blocking outside noise.

Tune in and fall out. Tune your radio or TV to a channel in between stations - the "shhhh" will block out other noises. Just be sure to turn down the brightness or cover the screen so the light doesn't keep you awake.

Set the temperature.

Be sure to keep the sleeping room at a comfortable temperature - not too hot or too cold. Research shows that setting your thermostat to 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

Set your schedule.

Try to keep a regular sleep schedule - going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends. It may not always be possible, but it's important - for the shift worker and everyone in the house.

Follow these healthy life habits and everybody will sleep better.

The task of getting better sleep is in our control. All it takes is the commitment and desire to live as healthy a life as possible, and the willingness to take a few simple steps.