Stressed? When Nothing Seems to Go Right

We all have days when nothing seems to go right and when we are prone to make silly mistakes. However, when bad days turn into bad weeks, it is time to take stock and to reflect on why things are going wrong, seemingly everyday.

Prolonged pressure at work, or at home, can easily turn to stress and ultimately turn any potentially good day into a bad one. Continue reading


Stress Reduction: Summer Activity

When my children were small, I would always look forward to the summer holidays although my friends would often laugh at me.  How could I stand ‘the kids’ being at home all the time and have to entertain them, 24/7?  Fortunately, I had a spacious garden, in which they could play, and we would go to museums, parks, have play-dates with other children and sometimes go away for a week or two. However, during term time one of the biggest stressors to me was the continual looking at my watch to make sure I was on time to do the never-ending ‘school run’.  And so, when the summer arrived, it was a relief not to have to nag the children to do their homework, practice the piano, cello or violin, or rehearse their ‘times-tables’.  So for me, summer was bliss. Continue reading


Stress and Self Destruction

Amy Winehouse, age 27, a popular British singer-songwriter and winner of six Grammy awards, was found dead in her London flat, last week. This was a tragic end to
a brilliant career of a young, talented and popular performer, who had, sadly,
a much troubled private life. She was an example of how a talented individual
with everything to live for, can possess a self-destruct button that inexorably
led to her untimely death.

In fact, we all have the capacity to self-destruct and sometimes under intense
pressure, we can do can just that. Self-destruction can exist in many forms but
essentially it manifests itself in irresponsible behaviour, including
self-abuse by the use of prohibited substances, alcohol, smoking or sometimes over-eating.

When individuals turn to such behaviour as a result of stress or disappointment in
their lives, the long term effects can be devastating, and sometimes, as in the
case of Amy Winehouse, fatal. Driving too often in the fast lane will certainly
give you a quick shot of adrenalin, for a few moments, but it may well also
kill you.  It is at times such as these that one doesn’t think clearly and logically, for if you did, then you would not take such risks.

So next time that you feel like pressing the self-destruct button because you cannot
take any more pressure, think for just a moment about the consequences and first
use these recommended stress interventions. Continue reading


Stressed? Cellphones and Family Holidays

Family holiday

Last week, when walking by the sea, I paused to watch family members on holiday enjoying the summer sunshine. Whilst some small children rushed excitedly from one side of the boating lake to the other, and others were playing in the sand, adults often chatted distractedly into their mobile phones. Cries of ‘Daddy, Daddy!’ or ‘Mummy, Mummy!’ went unanswered as parents’interest was elsewhere and children became unruly as their attempts to attract attention failed. And so I began to wonder what was the point of a family holiday if  parents were so engrossed with their ’hi-tech’ telephones and iPads that they tended to ignore their children.

Technology has its place and it is wonderful to be able to keep in touch with friends and family wherever we are in the world but it occurs to me that the ‘off’ switch on cellphones needs to be used a little more – particularly when on a family holiday. We need to learn to discipline ourselves in the same way as we discipline ourselves in other areas of our life.  Our 24/7 society often requires us to keep in touch with the office even when away but, as with everything else in life, there is a correct time and a place for everything!

That poses the question:  “Is it the business that cannot manage without you or is it that you cannot imagine you are dispensable?”  Either way, boundaries become blurred.  If your boss thinks that you will answer the phone at 10 p.m., then that is exactly what will happen, in which case, you are “setting up a rod for your own back”.  Again, if your office think that they can email or phone you on holiday, anytime they want – then that is exactly what will happen.    Now I am not saying that there won’t be emergencies that have to dealt with but then this is exactly where technology comes into its own. But it is not usually an emergency that keeps you talking into your phone at all hours, is it? Continue reading