Are you going through a Mid-life Crisis?

 

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4 Easy Ways to Deal with Stress

Last week, it was reported in the international media that Google’s Main Board Finance Director, 52 year old, CFO Patrick Pichette had announced that he will be giving up his multi-million dollar job in California to spend more time with his family and maybe to go back-packing around the world.

So was this a mid-life-crisis action taken on the spur of the moment or a carefully considered decision made after examining all the priorities, in conjunction with his immediate family and friends?  Was it, possibly, a moment when he saw his world before his eyes and thought of his ‘bucket list’ with all those things not yet experienced, or completed, and then thought that he might be going to run out of time with all those hopes and dreams unfulfilled?

When does it start?

Midlife crisis can happen when someone suddenly thinks they have reached a point halfway through their life and for many, it can come as a complete surprise as they had thought that life was just beginning. They can start to develop anxieties that appear to indicate that everything is going backwards – or at least not moving forwards – both in their career and personal life, and can experience mood-swings or possibly bouts of self-doubt and even depression.

This crisis usually occurs, if at all, between the ages of 35 and 50, and can sometimes last for maybe five or even ten years. The term mid-life crisis was first coined in 1965 where early analysis suggested that it could happen anywhere between the ages of 40 and 60, but it is now shown to start much earlier.

Let us look at some of the signs that could indicate whether or not you could be heading for, or currently experiencing, your own mid-life crisis. Continue reading

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Work Stress: Frequently Asked Questions

Research commissioned by Mind and published today has found that work is
the most stressful factor in people’s lives with one in three people (34 per
cent) saying their work life was either very or quite stressful, more so than
debt or financial problems (30 per cent) or health (17 per cent).

The survey of over 2,000 people found that workplace stress has resulted
in 7 per cent (rising to 10 per cent amongst 18 to 24 year olds) having
suicidal thoughts and one in five people (18 per cent) developing anxiety.

The fact is that:

  • Excessive pressure = stress
  • Anti-stress interventions DO work
  • Resilience is the key to beating stress!

Here are some Questions and Answers to help you better understand work
stress.

Is stress is good for me?

No! Pressure is good for you but stress is not.

What is the difference between pressure and
stress?

Pressure motivates and is within your control and you can usually manage
it. Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure.

What causes stress?

Fundamentally, it is the way that we think about a situation rather than
the situation itself that causes stress. What
is a stress ‘carrier’?

People who exhibit stress-producing behaviour but are unaware of the impact
of their conduct upon others.

What are some of the physical reactions to stress?

Dry mouth, anxiety, rapid breathing, moist palms and dizziness. Go to http://www.showstresswhosboss.co.uk for more information about the signs and symptoms of stress and how to manage them.

What are some of the symptoms of prolonged stress?

Sleep problems, headaches, anger, indigestion.

What are some of the causes of work place stress?

Long working hours, lack of autonomy, excessive expectations, uncertainty,
work under-load / overload

What are some of the effects of work place stress?

Poor performance and productivity, low morale, reduced commitment and
increased absenteeism.

What can the organisation do to manage stress?

Introduce Best Practice with a range of employee wellbeing interventions.

What are the benefits of taking action to manage work stress?

The organisation will benefit from reduced absenteeism, improved staff
morale and increased productivity.

Contact us for more information about how to prevent and/or manage
workplace stress and improve employee wellbeing. Call us for a FREE 15 minute
discussion on +44(0)20 8954 1593 or email us at: info@carolespiersgroup.com for
more information about how we can help you or your organisation.

 

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Stressed? 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Stress in 2011

Find out how to deal with stress

4 Proven Steps to Beat Your Stress!

By Carole Spiers

As a weekly columnist for Gulf News, I have addressed many issues relating to workplace stress.  Many readers have written to me to ask me various questions regarding the best way to manage stress, so I thought it would be a good idea to share some of these with you.

Q:  What is stress?

A:  Stress is the adverse reaction that people have to excess pressure or other types of demands placed on them.  It arises when they perceive that they are unable to cope with those demands

Q:  Is stress good for me?

A:  No.  It is often mistakenly thought that stress is good for people, when in fact, long-term stress is invariably harmful.  A certain amount of pressure can indeed motivate and can therefore be useful, but stress is never so. Continue reading

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Time and Management: Tackle enemies of efficiency

Find out how to deal with stress
4 Proven Steps to Beat Your Stress!

Buy Carole’s New Book here: http://www.showstresswhosboss.co.uk

“Are you good at multi-tasking?”, was the question raised at a business seminar last week. It probably will not surprise you to learn that most of the women in the audience raised their hands, whilst most of the men present, seemed to be unsure as to what the term actually meant!

As we discussed the issue, and even though many of us can, and do, handle more than one task contemporaneously – it soon became apparent from our conversation that the skill of multi-tasking may not be as advantageous as we might think. In fact, when we concentrate on one task at a time, then we tend to be more efficient, more focused and benefit from no interruptions.

Time and Management

Disruptions and disturbance are the enemies of efficiency. Sitting quietly writing when my concentration is broken by my iPhone suddenly ringing or by the beep that signifies the receipt of a text message, both disrupt my train of thought and my focus.  So does the person who interrupts a private conversation to give an unwanted opinion or enters my personal working space, uninvited. 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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Stressed – Because Your Desk is Untidy?

The Essential Guide for Managing Stress

I walked into a client’s office, last week, and she immediately apologised for the mess of her desk.  Papers strewn everywhere, with overflowing box files lying around the floor. Her noticeboard was covered with scraps of paper on top of one another, and post-it
notes stuck onto her monitor screen.

I said there was to need to apologise but I did wonder to myself how she could find anything when her desk was in such disorder, and how efficient was she at running her department. Afterwards, when we sat down for our meeting, it transpired that her life was, in fact, in turmoil, and the state of her desk was a reflection of her personal life.

Of course,  I am not saying that an untidy desk is always indicative of an untidy mind  as I have other clients who also work in what I regard as a ‘mess’ but they know where is
every piece of paper at any one time. Different people work differently. 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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The Death of a Close Friend

Before I could comprehend the enormity of it – he had gone, forever.  At the weekend, he was, as usual, riding his beloved bicycle – then I received a phone call from him on a Wednesday evening to say that he had chest pains and wasn’t feeling well.  Jumping in my car and driving the two miles to his house, I found him lying on the floor, unconscious, from a heart attack. The emergency services were called and they tried resuscitation – but it was too late. He was just 65, and to all intents and purposes, a strong, healthy man, still running his own carpet business. However, in fact he was anything but healthy.

It was so sudden. One moment he was here, and the next, he wasn’t.    He has left behind him a huge void both in my life and in the lives of all his many friends, family and business associates. Two days ago, we attended his funeral. It was for all of us, quite unreal. The fact that someone so full of live, so vibrant a personality – could be taken in the blink of an eye, is something that has caused me profound shock and sadness, and a reminder of the fragility and shortness of life. These days that have followed, I ask myself again and again, whether his untimely death could have been avoided.

Signs and Symptoms

Did he have symptoms beforehand, that he had ignored?  The answer to that question is ‘probably yes’.  He had always been a very fit man who cycled hundreds of miles for charity and had even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain , a few years back. But he had apparently been warned that his cholesterol level was very high and had neglected to take the statins that his doctor had prescribed. About six months ago, he had also been diagnosed as diabetic but had failed to take his medication. Why he had acted that way is inexplicable, except to say that he obviously did not understand the seriousness of his condition, if left untreated.  For some reason, he was in denial. The warning signs had all been there for over a year, but tragically were ignored.

This event, that has so affected me, personally, has made me wonder how many others may be in a similar situation. It is so easy for us to ignore the warnings.  You may not be experiencing chest pains but you may be experiencing other signs of being unwell but refuse to have them properly investigated. Realistically, it is only ourselves who can take responsibility for own lives.  I am not suggesting that every time we have a pain, we should call the doctor.  But we do need to look after our bodies – and our minds – and when we experience unexplained pain, or feel unwell, for longer than a few days, then we should seek professional advice.

As we know, prolonged stress can also be a contributory factor to ill health, and too often we think we can ignore it.  We think that we know best and it will go away.  But often it doesn’t go away and instead it causes us harm. There are occasions when, like high blood sugar or chest pains, it can lead to serious, and sometimes, life-threatening damage to our health. We all sometimes ignore the warning signs in ourselves or maybe in our loved ones, or work colleagues.  It is essential that we all learn to take personal responsibility for our bodies and our health. We need to follow advice and eat less fat, sugar and salt. We need to exercise and not go everywhere by car. We human beings are very good at putting things to one side, ‘I will do it tomorrow’…’another time.’  Well, in some cases, that might be OK, but in others it might be too late.

My friend died because he didn’t fully understand how fragile is life. Living and dying are two sides of the same coin and it is frequently our own actions that determine upon which side that coin falls.

If this strikes a chord with you, please take professional advice.

Key Points

  • We need to appreciate always the fragility of life
  • Unexplained pain or other symptoms need investigation
  • Our own actions can sometimes determine our destiny

[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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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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