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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Learn How to Manage Your Anger

How many times do you feel angry but don’t know why?  How often do
you become aggressive and say things you don’t really mean, and then feel upset and guilty afterwards?  Similar events happen to most of us, at some time, and we fail to understand the reasons.

Very often, the answer has to do with excessive pressure that has caused you stress, which has turned to anger as you realise that you appear to have lost control of the situation. Then you take that anger and frustration out on others around you.  Sometimes that may be your family, or if at
work, your colleagues

Low self-esteem, in addition to stress, can also be at the heart of an angry outburst.  You may not identify this factor and it is only when you start to suffer the consequences of that low self-worth that you may start take a close look at the root cause within yourself. Continue reading

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Be Stress Free and Enjoy the Community Spirit

Here in London, we have just experienced our first fall of snow this winter.  It arrived with a vengeance, severely affecting airports and roads.  The day
after, I went outside into the front garden to clear the path from snow and
within half an hour, I had spoken to many of my neighbours all clearing the
snow, like me, many of whom I rarely spoke to from one month to the next.  There we were, all sharing in a joint activity, offering cups of tea and coffee to each other.  Overnight, we had become a community again because we had a common interest.  None of us could get our cars out the driveway, and we were fighting against the weather to try to clear the driveways before the ice arrived overnight. 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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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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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

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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

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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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Learn to Work from Home and How to Deal with Stress

With many people now taking early retirement or being made redundant and starting up their own businesses, now might be good time to look at the challenges of running a business from home.

You may think this is an easy one, not having to put a suit on in the morning, with the bonus of increased productivity with less travelling time. Unfortunately, the fine line between work life and home life soon start to merge and you will need to be highly disciplined in order to succeed.

It is all too easy to play with the children or watch a football match on television and leave a task until tomorrow but this is exactly the time when you need to be self-motivated.

There are many rewards from working from home if you can get it right! So here are some tips to help you along your way.

1. Space demarcation

Keep your office space separate from your home environment. Keep your office ‘off limits’ to your children while you are working so that they understand that a closed door means ‘No Entry!’

2. Time management

Your time must be structured. Have your to-do list right next to you and ensure that you make those calls and keep those appointments. The advantage of working from home is that you can take off a couple of hours in the middle of the day to go to the gym, go to your children’s sports day and then you can catch up at the end of the day.

3. Outsource

You will still need a support team to keep you working efficiently. When you are in an office, this support is often taken for granted: particularly technical and administrative, but when you work from home, it can be much more difficult.

4. Technology

You will need to use technology more and whereas before you could see someone face to face. It may now be better to use video conferencing. And, a remote, personal answering service is far more professional that having an answering machine taking your calls.

5. Interruptions

As soon as you start to work from home, family, friends and neighbours may think you are always available and they need to know that working time must be respected.

Be careful with people who just pop in for a chat. Don’t forget, you need to set the ground rules for those around you, and in time, they will learn to respect your needs.

6. Frame of mind

Know when you are the most productive. If you are a morning person, then choose to do the tasks that need your full concentration early in the day. The important thing is to know when you are at your best and take full advantage of that fact.

7. Network

Because you will be working by yourself, it is vital that you maintain your own peer group to keep you aware of what is happening outside your own home environment. Join networking groups, either during the day or in the evening.

It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming unmotivated at home and sometimes the ideas and the energy from someone else will help raise your energy levels.

8. Take a break

It is also important to make sure you have a daily exercise programme and at least one social break during the week. It maybe a breakfast, lunch or dinner or maybe even a quick coffee.

Keep those brain cells stimulated otherwise your brain can slow down and you will lose your energy and creativity.

Working from home is not for everyone. Some will love the flexibility and others will hate the lack of organisation. If you go down this route, make sure you have the right team in place and have the necessary support.  But it is not right for everyone, so do your homework before you go that route.

Key points

1. Working from home is good for some – not for everyone

2. It needs self-discipline and self motivation

3. You will need to utilise technology to the full

[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 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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