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Kirsty writes regularly here

Be Resilient In Times Of Change

There is a lot of change happening at the moment. Changes in the private sector, the public sector, schools, retail, just to name a few. During times of change you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed, uncertain, frustrated and unsure of what you can do to cope.

Resilience is a constant belief in you to be well,to be happy, and to be better. Resilience is an inner quality that allows you to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever.

Rather than letting failure or change overcome you, you can find a way to get back up, get back in control, re-invent yourself and your circumstances and use this as an opportunity rather than a misfortune. After experiencing hardship resilient people are able to change course and soldier on.

Psychologists have identified some of the factorsthat make someone resilient, among them –

•           a positive attitude,

•           optimism,

•           the ability to regulate emotions,

•           and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback.

Resilience is the process by which you adapt to changes or crises, like death, tragedy, the loss of a job, or financial problems. Resilience is not a character trait – it can be learned by anyone, but learning it does require time and effort, and the effort you put in is well worth the rewards.

Here are 10 resiliency-building tips:

  1. Get adequate restorative sleep. Poor sleep patterns and stress go hand-in-hand.
  2. Engage in adequate physical exercise daily. Exercise is a major buffer against stress, including stress from depression.
  3. Maintain a healthy diet. You will not feel good about yourself, have enough energy or promote your bodies healing process if you continually eat junk food, or have an unbalanced diet, or eat food that is loaded with preservative, additives and chemicals or have above recommended portion sizes.
  4. Have a loving support system; relationships which convey understanding, respect and interest and are grounded in good listening and establishing safety and basic trust. Quality social support correlates with higher levels of resiliency.
  5. Meet challenges as they occur and avoid procrastination and the stresses that come from it and crises that arise from delays.
  6. Build tolerance for doubt and uncertainty, attempt to stay in the present moment being Mindful, and you are less likely to experience anxieties related to a need for certainty.
  7. Express values, such as responsibility and integrity. This gives you a firm base for change and decisive action.
  8. Work to build high frustration tolerance. High frustration tolerance, cognitive flexibility, and a problem-solving mindset are the corner stones of resilience.
  9. Be an optimist. Make lemonade out of lemons!  This type of sunny disposition with a small dose of realism is the best way to, achieve your goals and meet your commitments, overcome challenges and keep a smile on your face (which of course sets off beneficial health promoting hormones).
  10. Boost resilience by reducing your risk of negative thinking and increase your chances for realistic positive and pro-active thinking.

There are times when we are put off course, dramatically and painfully, to begin again and become more, better and brighter than we were previously.  There are times when we question the method of redirection.  What I know is that greatness is born of adversity, so if there is a grand opportunity in this time of change for you, what could it be?

To get your pack of resilience cards personally designed and created by Kirsty click here

Posted in: Business, Resilience

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What worth do you put on you?

This is one of my favourite ‘thinking’ stories.Isn’t it funny how sometimes a simple metaphor can put things in perspective.  I wanted to share this today to inspire you to feel your worth no matter how ‘crumpled’ and ground down with life you may feel.  As you go into the next year, let go of your limiting perceptions and embrace your true worth and who you are, that is the place of miracles!

A $100 Dollar Bill Author Unknown

“A well known speaker started off his  seminar by holding up a $100 bill.  In the  room of 200, he asked.  “Who would like this $100 bill?”

Hands started going up. He said,  “I am going to give this $100  to one of you –  but first, let me do this.”

He proceeded to crumple the  100 dollar note up. He then asked.  “Who still  wants it?” Still the hands  were up in the air.

“Well,” he replied,  “what if I do this?” He dropped it on  the ground and started to grind it  into the floor with his shoe.  He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.  “Now, who still wants it?” Still the hands  went into the air.

“My friends, you have all learned  a very valuable lesson.  No matter what I  did to the  money, you still wanted it because  it did not decrease in value. It  was  still worth $100.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped , crumpled, and ground into the dirt   by the decisions we make and the circumstances  that come our way.

We feel as  though we are worthless;  but no matter what happened or what will  happen, you will never lose your value.

Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased,  you are still priceless to God and to those who  love you.

The worth of our lives comes, not in  what we do, what we have or who we know,  but by…WHO WE ARE.

You are so special in all the world  there is only one you — don’t ever forget it.

Remember, you may be only one person in  the world, but you may also be the world  to one person.”

Posted in: Business, Resilience

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Understanding and Overcoming Workplace Stress

Workplace stress complaints are becoming more common.  The effects of enduring stress at work may result in:-

  • Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
  • Boredom and a loss of interest in work
  • Problems sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering things
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Illness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of energy
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope

In workplaces where stress is an issue there are higher rates of absenteeism and staff turnover, reduced productivity, increased customer dissatisfaction and increased health compensation claims.

Common workplace stressors (however, not limited to):-

  • How secure you feel in your job
  • Your workload is too much or there is constant distractions
  • You have no say in your workload, the work you are asked to do or there is confusion over priorities, deadlines or standards
  • Your job does not offer you flexibility and you cannot balance work and home life
  • Your work is boring or not stimulating you
  • You have too little or too much contact with people while doing your job
  • Your job negatively impacts your physical health or there is the threat of physical danger
  • You don’t have supportive relationships with co-workers, supervisors and/or clients.  You may feel the victim of bullying, intimidation or inappropriate ‘humour’
  • You don’t have a clear understanding of what is expected of you. There is minimum praise, feedback and positive conversations about areas of improvement
  • Any changes are not communicated effectively and encouragingly
  • There are no or little opportunities and support for training, learning and career development

The causes of stress can be many and varied and each person will experience and deal with stressful situations differently.  The key is to acknowledge that unless you take action this will adversely impact your productivity, relationships, health and wellbeing.

Tips for dealing with, managing and reducing stress:-

  • Take care of yourself so that you are more resilient and stress resistant.
    • Be mindful of eating to promote your health, strength and energy.
    • Drink enough water each day to keep hydrated.
    • Exercise regularly, even a short walk in a park at lunch time will be of benefit.
    • Get enough quality sleep, so that you can recover from the pressures of the day and feel more energised each morning.
    • Have a relaxation practise where you can relax your whole body and release any tension in your muscles.
    • Take time during your day to take some deep breaths.  Shallow breathing tells your body it is stressed where as deep breathing sends the message that you are calm.
  • Be organised and focused to minimise overwhelm.
    • Have a diary and lists of priorities.
    • Don’t over commit yourself or attempt to multi task.
    • Include regular breaks/downtime. This time is important; it does not take away from your productivity, you will find this time increases your output at work and in your personal life.
    • If you are unable to complete a task, ask for help, delegate or approach your supervisor or client and suggest another way to get task completed.  Don’t leave it till it is too late.
    • Take the ‘elephant beetle’ approach – if you are feeling a task is unpleasant or concerning you, get it out of the way first thing.  Minimise procrastination.
  • Cultivate and encourage a good relationship with yourself and others.
    • Recognise your stressors and your emotions.  The trick to managing stress is identifying triggers before they have a chance to affect your results.
    • Have a positive attitude and laugh regularly, a sure fire way to reduce the pressure build up.
    • Share your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust.  Keep specific rather than generalise about the issues and situations you find challenging.
    • If you are unsure, ask. If you think you have missed something, clarify.  If you need help…. Ask.
    • Notice and give praise for good work performance, to yourself and others in your workplace.  There are always opportunities to recognise a job well done.
    • If you would like opportunities for professional development, actively seek workplace policy on this.  If there is none, find out if one could be developed, and point out the benefit to the business and yourself.
    • Be a part of social interaction in the workplace.  Keep it appropriate and positive.
  • Be clear on the values and direction of your workplace and how working there benefits you.  There is a reason you are there, focus on that rather than the things that get you down.

Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Business, Resilience

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Quick tips for Balancing work/home life for parents.

The concerns, pressures and just plain overwhelm that seem to go hand in hand with working parent’s lives will affect your whole being.  It affects how you feel, how you behave and has the potential to create very real physical symptoms.

At first these feelings may be just vague and unsettling, and you may find yourself saying “I just need to get used to the new routine and handing over the kids to someone else, then I’ll be OK”.

However, what happens if you don’t address the real issues and solutions, and when the appropriate time has passed and you are not coping with the ‘new routine’, the kids aren’t coping with the new situation, does that leave you feeling guilty or like you can’t get it right; or worse you are a failure?

So let’s get real about it now.  Being a working parent creates stress triggers at some point in our day to day lives. Some of us are more vulnerable to these stressors than others, but even those who become stressed easily can learn to manage it well.  It is the stress that is the problem not being a working parent.

OK, so what can you do to manage the stress and feel better?

  • Keep an eye on pressures and deadlines and make a commitment to taking time out when you need it.
  • Learn a variety of relaxation techniques. Physical relaxation methods and meditation techniques really do help.
  • Look after your physical self. Eat healthily, get regular exercise and try to keep a regular sleep pattern. Avoid too much alcohol, caffeine and junk food.
  • Practise deep abdominal breathing. This consists of breathing in deeply and slowly through your nose, taking the air right down to your tummy. Visualise the breathe going right down to your tummy and say “I am calm” to yourself as you breathe in. Then breathe out slowly and gently through your mouth. As you breathe out visualise the stress and tension leaving your body with your breath.
  • Learn to replace “negative self-talk” with “coping self-talk.” When you catch yourself thinking something negative like “I can’t do this, it’s just too hard,” try to change it to something more positive, like “This is hard but I can get through it.”

Being a working parent can have its ups and downs, and comes with added responsibilities.  However if you are organised, communicate positively to your family on a regular basis, laugh and have an awareness of your needs your will certainly be on the right track to feeling back in control, confident and finding the elusive work/life balance you have been seeking.

Posted in: Business, Parenting, Resilience

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