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Posts Tagged working parent

Work-life balance reduces stress

Are you rushing from commitment to commitment? Are you searching for more hours in the day? Well, you are not alone.  Health Direct suggest that Australia is behind the rest of the developed world in creating work-life balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lack of work-life balance will lead to stress because there is an imbalance between your daily demands, responsibilities and commitments and the time, capabilities and energy you have to complete the workload and obligations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you do to manage the stress and create a more balanced life? I concur with D J Lee’s article, 6 Tips For Better Work-Life Balance, and have found my success in being aware of the suggested areas for many years. The six tips are:

  1. Let go of perfectionism – strive for excellence instead. Ask yourself, “have I done my best today with the resources I have available to me right now.”
  2. Unplug – Work screen free time into your day, every day.
  3. Exercise and meditate – There are so many recorded benefits to these activities. Move your body and practise deep breathing exercises every day, your muscles and mind will thank you for it.
  4. Limit time-wasting activities and people – Practise the 3 D’s: Do, Delegate, Dump. Stress will reduce, and results will increase.
  5. Change the structure of your life – Revisit your weekly timetable or planner and change a few things around and delegate some tasks to others. You may find that doing things the way you have always done it isn’t working anymore.
  6. Start small. Build from there – Change something every day, not everything all at once.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What work-life balance means and looks like is different for each person and family. Sit down and define it for you first. Once you know that, decide what you want to stop, minimise, keep doing and do more of, then consistently implement new ways of doing and being in your day.

Please share your work-life balance suggestions.

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Are you pushing your ambitions onto your children?

The idea that parents try to live out their dreams through their children goes back at least as far as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, both of whom theorised about the phenomenon.

The psychologist Tanya Byron stated that when parents put too much pressure on children to succeed at a young age it will lead to a rise in levels of teenage stress and anxiety.

I was interviewed in 2012 by The Sydney Morning Herald for an article headlined, ‘Clone complex damages children, experts warn’. Unfortunately the dangers are just as real and happening today.

I believe, parents must recognise their children as individuals in their own right. Our children are not moulded in our image, they are not driven by our desires or fears, our likes and dislikes, and they do not necessarily have the same natural talents or interests we do. There may be similarities, however, our children are unencumbered by our experiences, life rules and limitations. This is to be embraced and explored – not exploited.

Susan Newman Ph.D said, “Parents work exceedingly hard to point their children in one direction or another to help them excel. In doing so, we have taken much of the fun out of being a parent and lost sight of what might make our children truly joyful.”

I suggest you can begin talking to your child today and find out what they like to do best. Once you know what is meaningful to your child arrange activities, conversations and tasks around this.

By listening, by being interested in their point of view, by taking time to understand their developmental needs – whilst keeping our feet firmly in the now – we are more able to achieve exactly what we are aiming for. And, what is it most parents aim for? The moment when we proudly reflect on being a part of the life of a happy, healthy, caring and satisfied adult. A person who has found success and comfort that is meaningful for them, that child you helped raise and nurture.

What are your thoughts? How do you support your child’s dreams?

Kirsty 🙂

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Performance Affects Productivity

The health epidemic of the 21st century, according to the World Health Organisation, is stress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Patrick McGorry, Australian of the Year in 2010 and expert on mental health said we need to transform our workplaces into 21st Century Workplaces where leaders at all levels: promote mental health and prevent harm, recognise when people are struggling, are empowered to turn towards strugglers, rescue those who have already been swept away.

Employers and leaders are realising it is time to become more active in providing healthy workplaces and seeking out tools to develop resilient teams.

Why it matters?

Resilient teams are more creative, productive, resourceful and high performing teams.

Studies support that developing practical strategies will decrease the damage done to the individual and the business; reducing costs, increasing staff loyalty, improving morale, and avoiding fines, claims and disputes.

It is reported that:

  • 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health condition.
  • The typical age of onset for mental ill health is late teens to early 20s.
  • There are a large number of workers who are carers for friends or family with mental ill health. 

What does a resilient workplace look like?

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a resilient workplace all team members, from the top down, are actively involved in developing, supporting and actioning programs. The team members understand that their physical health affects their mental health and support each other to reach health goals.

Management is considerate of the mental wellbeing of staff and provides a safe environment for staff to be heard, acknowledged and recognised. Comprehensive training and support are offered during times of change and flexibility and autonomy are encouraged.

Team members are given access to resources that promote skills they can use as individuals to take care of themselves and manage stress. Skills such as goal setting, meditation, mindfulness, taking regular ‘me’ breaks, eating well and being kind to self.

Most importantly, communication in the workplace is effective and open, and social interaction with other employees is enjoyed. These positive relationships promote good mental health and problem-solving solutions among the team.

Working Together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work offers good practice and practical information to this complex area of resilient workplaces and teams. This online resource acknowledges that resilient individuals are flexible, adaptive and optimistic, and a resilient team is one of support based on mutual trust and participation.

 Your plan 

Whether you are a solo-preneur, not for profit organisation or a large company, building a resilient workplace will have benefits for you, your workers and your business.

To begin to build your healthy, happy and productive workspace practical strategies can include:

  • Identify areas of concern and areas of improvement.
  • Gain involvement, acceptance, and commitment from all.
  • Provide clear expectations and goals, tools and support that promote resilience, individually and professionally.
  • Take an active role.
  • Have clear role descriptions, outlining all responsibilities and opportunities.
  • Have effective and regular communication methods in place.
  • Encourage social interaction and self-care check-ins.
  • Promote a fair, inclusive workplace.
  • Set up peer support and mentoring opportunities.

Now that you have considered how performance affects productivity, and how building a resilient workplace can benefit each one of your workers in a positive way, what would you consider the most important change or improvement you could make now?

Please share your strategies here.

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Resilience

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A Year of Possibilities

Happy New Year!

Preparing for a new year can often feel daunting, and will be overlooked by many if it seems to hard, only to find regret around Easter that this time wasn’t taken.

So, to help you prepare, I have put together a list of ten points to consider when entering into anything new, especially a new year of possibilities, to support you getting the most out of this year.

The following list will give you the beginnings of creating a strong foundation to leap off. This reminds me of one of my favourite sayings, “prior preparation prevents piss poor performance!” Take time to mull over each one.

  1. What is your carrot? What is the thing, your why, that will keep you moving forward and keep your focus?
  2. Get real about the pitfalls, and the worst-case scenario that can occur. It is likely you will be struggle free this year, yet there is also a chance that stuff will happen, you will be blindsided, and bowled over. When stuff happens, what is the plan? What is the best way to address it? What is going to work to keep everyone on the same team, solution and goal focused?
  3. Create a dialogue around what you say to other friends, family members, your children, and those you talk to about your goals, career and lifestyle. Be supportive and positive in your language and prepare the standard responses. This will help when people begin to share their well–intended, yet negative opinion of your choices.
  4. How are you going to manage your finances this year? Create a realistic and flexible budget, then stick to it.
  5. Identify the possible stressors within your family, the routines that are required, also how the responsibilities will be shared to meet the demands of how you would like this year to look.
  6. Listen to how the other people in your circle of influence are feeling, the hopes, positive feelings, concerns, worries, and motivations. Open the conversation to what ifs, those things that may never happen—what if someone becomes ill, what if you are losing sight of the carrot, what if stress gets the better of you, what if one of you is just over it? There are lots of what ifs, discussing them lightly with no expectation of them ever happening, is a good thing because this can alert you to possible stress triggers later on and you will be more open and prepared to deal with the issues together.
  7. Start now to find all the resources you can that have information on what you would like to achieve. Start by Googling, and the more you read, learn, feel supported, and develop an understanding of the jargon, the easier you will find it is to keep on track.
  8. Set up a plan of communication and connection to others. What will work for you, your friends and your family? It doesn’t have to be every day, but by having a sense of belonging and a supportive network around you will triple your chances of success. Don’t get too busy to check in with your mates and family.
  9. What is going to be your time management system, or flexible plan, or list process that keeps you on track with all you want to do, need to do, and includes rest and relaxation?  Have a rough idea prepared so you will enjoy more fun and relaxation, keep working towards your ‘why’, and reduce overwhelm and stress.
  10. How will you improve, grow and develop this year? Just working and watching TV isn’t going to hit the right note. Could you be studying, reading, personally or professionally developing, starting a side home business, learning a new type of dance, getting fit, getting involved in a sport or volunteer position, or making new friends? You may be limited by hours in the day or home responsibilities, however embarking on something new that fits in with your life will energise you and support new possibilities.

I hope these tips spark a brighter vision for you this year. I wish you a wonderful 2018, and if you would like any support – either questions, or would like a quick phone chat please email me.
Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Resilience

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Thats a wrap – what I learnt being a Uni student

Cheers (sounds of glasses clinking), why?

I have survived my first year of University as a mature aged student, I have survived my first year of my husband’s roster taking him away for three months at a time, and I have survived the first year of my daughter moving in to her own home and my eldest son moving back!

What a year it has been.

The impact didn’t hit me until this afternoon as I was driving home from campus after my final exam. I began to shallow breath, my nerves began to twitch, and I thought, “how the hell did I pull that off!” This year, I realised, I had faced every fear I had, I worked harder than I think I ever had, I swallowed my pride on more than one occasion, and I had weeks where I was learning so many new theories I thought my brain might break.

My home suffered, however, thankfully my children didn’t as I vowed, and followed through on, to be there for them whenever they needed me. My wellbeing was pushed to its limits and I had equal moments of feeling like super woman and a puddle!

So, you are getting the picture.

During this year, my husband was absent for ¾’s of it, and a handful of my closest friends had life throw them their own curve balls so they weren’t on call for me at times I thought I needed them most. Even so, I was never alone, I had people step up for me, check in on me and remind me that I was on the right track during the uphill stints – special thanks to Tracey, Anna and Cinty – you know why!

Fears that were faced: am I clever enough, judgement of others, making huge mistakes, can I do it all on my own, being too old, letting my family down, letting me down, saying no to some work opportunities, and have I got what it takes to be extraordinary?

What I now know: I am clever enough, I am a leader, I am strong, I may get it wrong sometimes, I can take critique, I’m okay with not knowing it all, my family is awesome, I am exactly where I need to be, I have grit and determination that even amazes me, I may be ageing but I am doing it with grace and style!

Already, from the expansion and development I am undergoing opportunities are flowing abundantly.  I am on committees, being paid for work at the Uni, I am meeting amazing people, business is booming and I am just beginning work with an organisation called Porn Harms Kids to make change and give our wonderful young people the best start possible. I am also so honoured to be credited with guiding others to study, grow and push themselves out of their comfort zone. That is probably my greatest honour.

Next year, I am sure, will bring more adventures, ups and downs, yet I will be even more prepared, even more inspired and, as always, supported.

Thank you, to those who have cheered me on; thank you, to those who were inspired; and thank you to me – bloody massive effort Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Book review – Finn and Puss

Exisle Publishing recently asked me review a delightful children’s story, Finn and Puss, featuring a young boy, Finn, who is feeling lonely and a cat called Puss who is lost.

They meet in town one day and loneliness and fear seems to be forgotten as they become friends, for a short time anyway.

Finn must make a tough choice.

The illustrations are soft and gentle which compliment a relatable story, that can be read independently by young readers.

What I liked most about this book was that it provided opportunities for discussion around situations where children may be feeling alone, what ethical behaviour is and different types of friendship.

RRP $19.99 – For more information or to buy CLICK HERE

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience

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FIFO Families – Parenting Tips and Tricks

I recently did a short talk at a FIFO family event in Perth.  The energy in the room was high and children were very excited with all the activities that were happening.  A perfect place to share tips and tricks to support parents.

Being Separated by Work, is a minefield of stress triggers for parents and children. Approaches to keep you and your children as stress-free as possible are outlined in video and handout below.

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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FIFO Families – Get Organised In The Overwhelm

I recently did a short talk at a FIFO family event in Perth, (hence why there are so many children running across the stage!)

In the video below I will share with you the systems and processes that have worked for my clients and our family over the years.

Keeping to a set routine when Separated by Work is challenging. Every family has different needs and every working away roster has unique demands. Yet having a plan and being organised will decrease the overwhelm, and you will be better able to cope with the day to day tasks and responsibilities.

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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How heavy is this glass of water?

I have been on an upward trajectory of achievements and success in the last couple of years.  All my dreams coming true –  going back to study at University, a published book, online membership site, successful business, financial ease, awesome friends and a close family. One would imagine that with all this success all my burdens, stress and worries would get less, or even be non-existant. A huge misperception!

People even often say to me I don’t know how you do it all with Uni, business, family and a husband that works away. They say, you are so strong, and so lucky to have it all! Then they ask me to share with them my secret, or want to know how can I do it all and find peace with some of the horrible things that have happened in my past. They want the magic solution that will change their life in an instant.  I can tell you, that there isn’t a magic solution; unless you call hard work, determination and never giving up in the face of numerous challenges a magic solution.

I usually explain by first assuring them I am neither lucky or completely calm all the time.  I let them know that it is a constant conscious choice to get up, step up, choose the emotional state I want to be in and smile.  And I then share with them one of my favourite parables to illustrate how to honour, recognise, acknowledge, let go of the ‘stuff’ and keep achieving; even in the face of adversity.

Imagine I am holding a glass of water and I ask you – “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”

From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter.  It all depends on how long I hold it.  If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light.  If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little.  If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor.  In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.

Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water.  Think about them for a while and nothing happens.  Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little.  Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralysed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.

My message to you today:  It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses and worries.  No matter what happens during the day. As early in the evening as you can put all your burdens down.  Don’t carry them through the night and into the next day with you.  If you still feel the weight of yesterday’s stress, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to put the glass down.

And that is exactly the way I live my live and teach others to do the same. Work hard, be clear and focused on what you want, don’t get caught up in others dramas, don’t get caught up in your own regrets or what if’s, and always remember that the longer you hold on to the glass the heavier it gets until you are paralysed. Just for today – put it down and let it go – or ask someone to help you ease the burden.

Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

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Not Home for Birthdays

We have two big birthday months in our home, June and September. My husband has been a FIFO (fly in fly out) worker for the last eight years and he is rarely home for any of the actual days. The first couple of years were the hardest for us all, but as the years went by our family became accustomed to his absence, and we developed ways that everyone’s presence is still felt, and the birthday boy or girl feels special and celebrated.

After talking to many families in similar situations, who ask me for ideas to keep connected when apart on a family member’s special day, I felt moved to share how we celebrate and create birthday memories.

My top six tips for families separated by work on birthdays are:

  1. Overthinking it is the number one enemy! I strongly advise you to not become completely immersed in the fact that you are away or your loved one isn’t there for the special day. This will fuel negative and destructive feelings of missing out, loneliness, isolation and seclusion. This type of thinking will put a dark cloud over all celebrations, which you will regret later.  Instead, attempt to keep as upbeat and prepared as possible, stay focused on a day of festivities and activities, and have a good time.
  2. Just because you are apart, no one is forgotten! Even though one family member is away from home, the day is not less important or forgotten by anyone. It certainly doesn’t even have to be downplayed.  We have instantaneous ways to communicate at our fingertips, we can pop up on screens to join in on the party and we can pre-plan activities to be involved in on the day.  At times, being separated by work on a birthday can make the day seem much more special because of the effort involved.
  3. Let your friends step up and help you celebrate! Instead of downplaying the day, hiding it, or telling people it is no big deal – let others make it a big deal. Even if you must arrange it, (I have found though that friends usually love being a part of the planning) have a group of people around you to make a fuss and celebrate the special occasion.
  4. Always celebrate when together as well! It may not be on the actual date, but pre or post parties and gatherings are always fun. In the future, no one will remember what date it was you celebrated, but everyone will remember how they felt every year being the centre of attention and spoiled for their day. So, look at the roster and plan ahead so that it doesn’t become overwhelming and too hard as the date rapidly arrives.
  5. Be a positive force of festivities for your children! Your children may feel it the most – Mum or Dad isn’t here for their birthday. This is a time when we as parents need to excel in role modelling that their day is still a super special one; that everyone is involved in some way, they may even get two celebrations out of this, and that even though this isn’t everyone’s normal it is our families normal.
  6. Pre-plan, prepare and pre-book! As mentioned above, planning is key whether it is your child’s birthday or yours. Sitting down together and planning the surprises and activities for the day keeps everyone involved and excited. Planting hidden presents and notes around the house or in luggage to be found on the day certainly warms the soul for the receiver, and booking venues and events in advance avoids disappointment.

To finish off, I would like to leave you with some of my favourite activities for celebrating and to inspire you to plan yours and your family’s special moments, whether you are together or apart:

  • Finding hidden notes and presents/scavenger hunt.
  • Spending time with friends.
  • Eating out.
  • Going to the movies.
  • Having a picnic at the beach.
  • Ordering pizza and having movie night at home.
  • Cooking (and cleaning up afterwards) done for me.
  • Treat myself pamper day.
  • Doing something I love doing.
  • Checking something off my ‘bucket’ list.
  • Getting flowers and eating cake.
  • Having lots of good food, laughter and fun.
  • Outdoor activities and hiking.
  • Going to a concert.
  • A weekend getaway.
  • Taking a cooking class.
  • Winery tour.
  • Having a tea party.
  • Painting party.
  • Themed party or get together.
  • Feeling loved, spoilt and special!

I would love to hear your ideas on how you do birthdays when separated by work or when you are apart from your family – and what are your favourite ways to celebrate?

Kirsty 🙂

 

 

 

 

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