Stress Relief: Wear a smile every day…

According to the lyrics of a popular song, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you, and as I listen to the words being sung on a YouTube video clip, it really brings a smile to my face. However, it also goes on to say “cry and you cry alone!” And that, I’m afraid, is also a truism.

A smile can be a great energy booster both for the giver and the receiver, so why don’t we all smile more often? You may say that you don’t always feel like smiling or that you’re not in the mood, and that may well be the case but just think of the effect of your mood has on those with whom you meet, your spouse, your colleague or your child. Continue reading

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International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women’s Power

Today, is International Women’s Day, and in looking at their website, it is interesting to see so many international events taking place, ranging from large, national conferences to small informal ‘get-togethers’.  However, the message is the same which in the words of Jude Kelly, Artistic Director is: “To celebrate the formidable power of women to make change happen, to remind us of our history, to draw attention to injustice and to enjoy each other’s company as we set out to achieve a fairer world”.

Tales from South Africa

This made me think about all the special women that I have met over the past year.  I visit South Africa at least once a year and there I work with women who are budding entrepreneurs.  These are women who have not usually received a formal education, but still want to create and grow their own businesses so that they can send their children to school, so that they can be independent and not have to sit on street corners, begging for money.  I have met women who are so completely focused in their endeavours that it puts many of us to shame.  They have a strength and determination of which many of us can only dream.  They have
no cars or large houses but their township homes in which I stay are spotlessly clean and tidy and I can only stand back in amazement at their resilience and fortitude.  Many of these women are single and don’t have the support of a man in the home and yet they survive in bringing up their children.  However, what they do lack are the marketing skills to promote their small businesses and this is what I offer to them through my 1:1 coaching programmes.  Some of the skills are specific such as helping them to write their own business cards and business plans, but other skills are those that come from encouragement and motivation. Continue reading

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Stressed? When a Headache Becomes a Heart Attack!

'Show Stress Who's Boss!' provides tools and strategies that will show you how to deawl with stress.
Discover 4 Easy Ways to Beat Stress Today!

New Book Out This Week:  Buy it here:  http://www.showstresswhosboss.co.uk

Two weeks ago, it was the UK’s World Mental Health Day and despite the considerable publicity that is given to mental heath on this day, and also throughout the year, the topic is still, too often, a taboo subject.    We know from medical professionals that those suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues need to seek help as soon as possible before permanent damage is allowed to occur and that any delay in diagnosis and treatment, due to social stigma regarding the subject, needs to be avoided.

So this being Mental Health Day, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to look at some basic myths and misconceptions about one cause of mental health problems, stress. Continue reading

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Relieve Stress in Your Retirement

Buy Carole Spiers new book ‘Show Stress Who’s Boss”.
Preferential Rate, Prior to Launch £10.00 [List price £15.00]  + P & P
Secure this offer & register your interest  to Anita: info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk

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I appreciate that for many readers the thought of retirement may seem a very long way into the future.  However, it comes to us alleventually and for that new chapter in one’s life to be successful, it requires careful planning for the transition from work to leisure.

Contrary to what you may imagine, retirement can be one of the busiest and most exciting times of your life – a period to look forward to.  It means having time to breathe and doing what you want every day; it’s about starting something new; giving back to the community using the skills and knowledge you have gained over the years and
generally adjusting the pace of your life to a less structured day with fewer
commitments and deadlines.

Years ago, the traditional idea of retirement invoked images of elderly people with
walking sticks being helped across the road!  But today, retirement is nothing like that! Retirement can mean learning a new skill, writing a book, starting a new business, doing voluntary work, travelling, or mentoring young people.  An exciting new world that is full of endless possibilities. Continue reading

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Stressed? The Stress of ‘Letting Go’ of Children When They Go to School

One of my clients is the family of Mark and Clare Turner. They are very excited because their son Darren, who is nearly five year old, has just left kindergarten and is due to embark on a new chapter of his life by going to school full time. But, at the same time, they are also nervous because this will be the first time that they will be ‘letting go’ of their first child. The reality is that this is big step for both parents and youngster. Clare told me that a part of her is relieved because she will have more time for herself and her other children. However, on the other side, they are both sad because they know that they won’t have so much control over Darren when he will now have other influences in his life around him with his new teachers and peer group. They feel that their ‘special time’ with him will, in future, be somewhat different and not be quite the same as the first years when they were his ‘whole world’. Continue reading

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Stress Reduction: Beating the Holiday Blues

With the summer in Europe nearly over as we approach September,  it is time to think about getting ourselves back into our working routine of facing the early morning traffic jams and the school run.

Life takes on a different, more relaxed pace during the summer with the stress of having to watch the clock 24/7, being put on hold for a while.    However, when we now return to the office, we need to change gear and make the necessary adjustments to work mode.  Emails, work deadlines, meetings, and efficiency once again become the order of the day.

But the summer holiday can also be used as a time of reflection, both for yourself and for all those members of your team.  It could be the right time to make some really important changes in how you deal with work and family responsibilities – in other words, your work-life balance. Continue reading

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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

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Treat Birthdays as Time Markers says Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers

I shared a birthday this week with Britain’s often outspoken husband of the Queen, Prince Phillip, who turned 90 this week. Even at this advanced age, he is still active and working hard within his role in the royal family, although he used this opportunity to announce his intention to cut back his official duties. In any event, I am sure he celebrated his birthday with friends and family, as I did mine.

For children, birthdays can be exciting times of presents, family outings, sweets and chocolate but as we get older, each birthday becomes just another number for many of us.  As a consequence, many people ignore them, but I always celebrate them as it gives
me an excuse to be together with my friends and family, at least for this one day a year.   It also gives an opportunity to mark another milestone in our lives and to reflect upon what we have managed to achieve over the past year.

Reflecting on the year

A year can be seen as a considerable length of time but in reality, for many of us it is a period that goes by so very quickly.  We start the year with New Year resolutions and good intentions – some of which get achieved and others get forgotten very
quickly.  I believe that although we may have good intentions – and have a long to-do list – we often convince ourselves that
many of the items are unrealistic.  But were they, or was it just that we failed to make them a priority?  It’s very easy to persuade ourselves that it doesn’t matter.  But maybe it does.

For example, what happened to that book you wanted to write?  Is it still sitting in draft format on your computer or have you managed to get the first chapter down onto paper?  As we all know, we need to make things happen for otherwise they just remain dreams.

If you look around at successful people, the movers and shakers are those who are positive, who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and who make things happen – either for themselves or for others.

However, in order to make them happen, you need to take positive action!  We all dream of success but how many of us actual expend our energy and drive in following through upon our intentions?  This is a matter of attitude and mindset and age is just one related factor.   There are many others, such as apathy, indifference, plain laziness, sometimes sickness, stress or possibly marital or domestic difficulties.  All these are factors that determine our mindset towards the goals and desires for improvement in our lives.

We all have choices and wishes and we all have 365 days every year in which to do something about them, albeit that developing and achieving our wishes are influenced by the prevailing circumstances, at our home or at work.

Birthdays then, can be times of reflection and questioning of oneself.  If you are not driving yourself hard enough, then ask yourself the question “why not?”  If stress in your life is wearing you down, then take action to find out how to avoid it.  The human body is fragile, as we well know, but it also can be strongly resilient.  But it will only be so if psychologically and physiologically you are in good shape, and confident.  Only then will your aims, your goals and making your dreams come true, become reality.

You may say that this not an easy call, and it is of course true that sometimes you may need external help to help you meet the challenges on your journey – to build your confidence and strengthen your resolve.  That could be a professional coach, a friend,
a peer group member, or maybe your partner.

Whoever it is in your life, the most important factor is to find the right person or people who can motivate and inspire you. Everyone needs a support group to become part of their team, in order to get through life’s challenges and achieve success.  And afterwards, you can then become part of someone else’s support team to help them achieve what you have achieved!

Key Points

  • Birthdays remind us of years going past, fast
  • You need to be in good shape, mentally and physically, to succeed
  • You may need a support group of a friend and/or a professional

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about work stress, stress management training. Get instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

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Mother Nature as a Stress Reliever

As an avid gardener, I listened very carefully when I heard that Headley Court, the UK’s armed forces’ dedicated rehabilitation centre, is offering gardening therapy to their patients – servicemen and women – who are trying to heal wounds gained in combat and to rejoin their units as quickly as possible, albeit sometimes in a different role.

Headley Court is situated close to Epsom and is set in 85 acres of magnificent landscaped gardens adjacent to the National Trust parkland.

Many of the young soldiers at Headley Court are coming to terms with severe physical injuries, whilst others are recovering from the mental trauma of the battlefield.  Most are still highly motivated and feel frustrated about being unable to do the job for which they trained so hard and having to leave their comrades behind on the frontline.

The staff at Headley Court endeavour to empathise with each soldier and to focus their treatment on getting service personnel fit again for operational duty or, in the case of the severely injured, preparing them for life outside of the armed forces.

This made me think about those soldiers who may have lost a limb, and will never be on active service again. They will have a huge adjustment to make in their personal lives and a new career to carve out as best they can.

Those of us who have to move jobs, for whatever reason, will certainly appreciate how challenging a change of job can be.  But how much more difficult must it be to come to terms with a serious psychological or physiological problem, at the same time.

Soldiers are never trained to deal with this type of personal loss – but only how to manage situations in a military environment, where danger is endemic.  Therefore, when the reality of personal injury hits a soldier, particularly when that injury is permanent, the ensuing shock, denial and anger that may follow is invariably a major challenge.

For those who will never return to their chosen profession of being a soldier, it will be a time of serious reassessment, valuing what they still actually have in terms of personal strengths and physical assets, and turning over a page in their individual book of life. For a soldier who has committed their lives to the armed forces, it may be a challenge.

I know that the Paralympic Games will be run alongside the Olympics, in 2012, and will offer athletes with a physical disability the opportunity to compete and strive for equal treatment in the highly competitive arena of sport. For the soldier who is now an amputee, who has had to learn how to walk again with a prosthetic limb, this is exactly the kind of challenge they will need, both mentally and physically, to support their rehabilitation.

When I read of Headley Court, I wonder how and where does gardening fit in with other therapies.  I believe that to plant a seed and see it grow is not only highly satisfying but it also gives a sense of achievement and purpose.  Enjoying the beauty of a flower, a shrub or a tree can help to relieve so much stress in life.  Being able to focus on something else, other than their injuries, can not only aid a soldier’s recovery but also takes them into another world of peace and tranquility. A world of nature in which there is always new life and renewal.

I am very fortunate to have a garden where I can see a majestic willow tree at the bottom of my garden; large conifers that sweep upwards to a height of over 20 meters and give me privacy and quiet. During Spring and Summer, I spend many hours planting, watering and watching new life grow as seedlings become plants.    There is nothing more perfect for me, on a sunny day, to listen to my favourite music playing in the background and working in my garden.

Very often, being close to nature in a garden, may well help injured soldiers achieve a new sense of purpose and to appreciate what they still have, and not to focus on what they have lost, and which gives them that most valuable of personal assets – hope.

Key Points

  • Physical or mental injury is challenging
  • Mother Nature can serve to relieve stress
  • Hope, is our most valuable personal asset

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training. Get instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

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The Key to Success: Plan for a Stress-free Retirement

As retirement becomes a new chapter in your life, it is important to approach that lifetime change in a positive way.  One issue that many people fail to consider when planning for their retirement, is the potential stress that can come from a fundamental lifestyle change coupled with an often new environment.

For many, the necessary change of role and identity will be a welcome departure from maybe 40 years of work, but for others, it is the beginning of the experience of financial worries plus the challenge of filling one’s day in a way that brings satisfaction, not boredom. Adjustments to lifestyle will be inevitable as both you and your immediate family learn to adjust to different roles than before.

The vision of not having to go to the office everyday but instead just a lazy day, can seem attractive initially but that soon palls and your brain will need a new challenge to prevent it atrophying!    The skill is to treat your new-found freedom as the start of another phase in your life – an exciting and challenging one in which you have greater control over what you do and where you go.

 The Key to Success

Retirement can bring with it an amazing new journey.  Getting down to writing that book you have always dreamed of, taking up singing lesions, upgrading your computer skills, opening up a new fun business can all form part of this new chapter and of course travelling to those far distant places you have always meant to explore.

There is so much to see and do and that can be part of the problem.  And in some ways that alone can contribute to stress, after finishing full-time work.

Change of Attitude and Mindset

During the years you were working, you had to conform to various rules and time-tables. But now you have no timetable other than your own and that is why you need to be self-motivated and disciplined.  It is all too easy to stay in bed late and watch TV, then wonder what indeed you have achieved during your day.

Moving Home

For many, moving home in order to downsize, becomes a priority.  The children are now in university or working themselves and the existing home is too large.  Wherever you decide to live, life will be different; friends from work may be lost, but new ones gained dependent on your new social activities.

Personal Relationships

There will inevitably be changes in your personal relationships.  No longer do you need to get to the office at 7.30 a.m. every morning – instead you can take an easy breakfast and talk to your husband, or wife. Of course, this in itself poses problems, for a wife who is not used to having her husband at home all day, it can be stressful for both, unless there is some domestic structure in place.  Probably, a schedule should be agreed as to domestic responsibilities, including shopping etc and also financial matters such as the payment of bills and other expenses.

Returning to Work

I see retirement as an exciting opportunity to live life to the full with extra leisure time for hobbies and holidays, and the opportunity to explore personal interests or adult education.  Quite often there is a wish to return to part-time working or you might consider doing some voluntary work and that certainly would ensure you maintain contact with a peer group and meet new friends.  It would also give you a new focus which is often difficult after one retires.

Keeping Healthy

This is your retirement after having worked hard all your life and this is time to really enjoy the rest of the journey.  There will be changes and adjustments along the way – but if you plan properly, look after your health, keep fit and keep interested in the world around you – it can be the most rewarding period of your life. If, however, you fail to do any of these, then retirement can become boring and stressful. And that is a recipe for depression, diabetes, hypertension and a short life expectancy. It’s all up to you. There are choices.

Key Points

  • Maintain a positive attitude and mindset
  • Be disciplined and build a new domestic structure
  • Create goals and objectives and be accountable for them
  • Meet new people and colleagues
  • Get a hobby that you really enjoy
  • Write that book as part of your legacy!
  • Have a lifestyle plan that is financially viable
  • Keep your mind active – mental agility keeps you young.

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed?  See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  or check-out our latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training, instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L  and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Connect with Carole on LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/f2onIA 

 A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields.    Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations.  Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling.  Don’t miss this unique event.  Book your place in our audience now!  www.globalwomansummit.org   

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