Goals 2014: Six Actions To Help You Manage Your Stress Levels This Week

Life is full of coincidences.  Fresh from posting about the impact of workplace stress, caused by poor management, I read a really useful article* by Lucy Dimbylow – @lucywriter on Twitter.

Lucy is responding to the question posed by the half a million UK workers whose stress and anxiety levels are too high: What actions can I can take to manage my levels of work stress?

The key actions I took away from Lucy’s article are:

  • Taking regular Exercise reduces stress
  • Following a healthy Diet aids positive mental health
  • Taking the Rest periods you are entitled to is beneficial
  • Making time to have Fun with family is important
  • Adopting a positive approach to Mindfulness helps you manage the aspects of pressure you can change
  • Seeking Support from those in a position to affect workloads, and job objectives, also helps

Having read that list here’s a final question for you:

  • What key action will you take, this week, to more effectively manage your workplace stress?

*The article appears in the spring edition of Benenden Healthcare Society’s subscription-only magazine ‘benhealth’.  Information on the society’s work can be found online at www.benenden.co.uk

Goals 2014: What Kind Of Management Do You Want To Receive?

Here’s a question to ponder as the end of the reporting and financial year draws near:  How much does your progress at work depend on the effectiveness of your manager, or supervisor?

Some people want a line manager who is closely involved in the day to day aspects of their career.  This can reassure the job holder that their performance and development needs are at the front of their manager’s mind.  That could be crucial if progression, development or bonuses depend on the supervisor’s feedback.

Other job holders are content with a different approach.  They prefer being set realistic tasks, whose delivery is discussed at quarterly reviews.  This approach gives them breathing room.  They get on with delivering tasks that are within their capability.

The Guardian’s Work blog has just highlighted a worst case scenario.  In this situation a line manager is so ineffective that their job holder is becoming ill through over work.  The customers needs are not being effectively met and team morale is suffering.  The manager is an obstacle to the job holder achieving their goal, of being productive and happy at work.

See what you think of the feedback offered in the Tweet (then have a go at the bullet point questions)

  • How do you influence your manager to give you the support you deserve?
  • What do you say when their input isn’t quite right?
  • When do you know it is time to take action to change your situation?

A Reminder: Your Goals Matter

Just three hours left of 2013.  Keep an eye our for two further posts before midnight.

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, this is another chance to see my recent Tweet poll about 2014 Goals.

Get in touch, if you want to start 2014 with my professional coaching support on your side. I look forward to learning about your goals.

What’s Next?

Choosing a Slice of Life (c) R Dennison October 2013

Choosing a Slice of Life (c) R Dennison October 2013

Would it be great to be 25 years old again?  What if you could view the rest of your life as you did then, with every possibility still open to you?

Life would be the most delicious treat, a cake perhaps from which you have only taken one slice.  You could then make positive changes whose impact would be felt over the next 50, or 60 years.  The rest of your life could be incredibly memorable.

A query in the Guardian Work blog explores the territory of later life choices, from the vantage point of someone at the age of 55.  He is trying to find his occupational passion to improve the final part of his working life.

It makes sense to ask ‘what do I want to do now’, since the latest Office for National Statistics figures show a man of 55 can expect to live for another 12 years.  Life expectancy for women is slightly longer.

The question is, if you have the choice, what should you do with the remaining 20 per cent of your life?

You can see the below the line comments if you click the link below.  My views are shown there (I’m Roger AD) and you can see them on Twitter too (where I am RogerD_said)

http://www.theguardian.com/money/work-blog/2013/sep/23/job-inspires-passion

Trapped In A Golden Cage ?

Gilded Cage

A Well Paid Job Or A Gilded Cage? (c) R Dennison September 2013

I’ve blogged before about the intriguing work-life issues which the Guardian newspaper features.  Here is one issue from last week, which is well worth a read.

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/sep/13/hard-work-time-off

The key points are these, he:

– seems keen to get off the work ‘treadmill’ and out of the gilded cage of a well-paid, but all consuming, job.

– is also clued in about the employment situation he wants for the future.

– values interesting work (with adequate downtime to maintain a social life & his personal relationship).

– has a job currently at right angles to his values.

It would be great to coach him, as he does some action planning.  He may want to decide when he wants his values to complement the other elements in his life.

Once those timings are clear he can get the support he needs to plan his steps to reach his destination.  The actions he takes from now on will help him reach his ideal situation, at a pace with which he is comfortable.

Prime Numbers

A Slower Pace At Mid-Life (c) R Dennison September 2013

A Slower Pace At Mid-Life (c) R Dennison September 2013

If you are 23 years of age your life may be coming together nicely in line with your life plan (although recent figures from the Office for National Statistics on young jobless people show an upward trend).  Nonetheless hopefully you will be gaining life experience through working or studying.  Perhaps you are settling into a steady relationship.  Fingers crossed you are enjoying the best days of your life.

Three decades later, at 53, you will still be in your prime: using your life experience; enjoying time with your partner and wider family; these could be the best days of your life for different reasons.  Time to stop and smell the roses?

According to the recent Benenden Health survey many people identify that as the point which middle age arrives.  The survey suggests there are downsides to this milestone (like losing touch with technology, youth culture and fashion).   With demographic changes the ageing members of society are also in the majority.

My experience of people in that age bracket is that they are well in tune with their inner wisdom.  That is reassuring and would be more so, if employers were more motivated to take on staff in their fifties.

From a coaching perspective it would be powerful to build on that idea by:

–          exploring a 50-something client’s attitude to reaching their mid-life point

–          establishing what they wanted to do as a first step towards an even better future

–          energising them to take that step and the ones which follow it

It would be wonderful to support clients ready to look into those topics, as they are now in the prime of their life.

https://www.benenden.co.uk/media-centre/study-reveals-changing-attitudes-to-%E2%80%98middle-age%E2%80%99/

A Healthy Balance

One Portion Of Five A Day (c) R Dennison August 2013

One Portion Of Five A Day (c) R Dennison August 2013

It isn’t fair.  You work really hard, get the job you always wanted, start to enjoy your success and then your weight becomes an issue.

If you are David Cameron (photographed on holiday recently displaying a bit of middle aged spread) there will always be someone to remind you about your weight and the impact on your health.

All this in a climate in which: Central government promotes a healthy diet including five portions of fruits and vegetables per day; Birmingham council has promoted free sessions in their leisure facilities to encourage good health http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22350807 ; the Royal College of Psychiatrists draws attention to the link between physical activity and positive mental health.

Since the consensus is that being healthy is a good thing, how might an average person use coaching support to form a health goal?

Well, any success goal will be more powerful if it is phrased in a positive and forward looking way.  So the plaintive cry of ‘I don’t want to drag around this middle aged spread’ will benefit from some further thought.

To help the coachee refine their goal the coach might ask some questions to establish what the personal benefits of ‘feeling healthier’ would be.  For instance: what has the coachee done already to change their situation; how many steps are there to get from where they are presently to the healthier state; what will friends and family be saying when the coachee reaches their healthier state.

Answering these questions starts to build up the background to the healthier state the coachee hankers after.  It also may start suggesting what powerful initial step he or she could take to move them in the right direction.

Ultimately, the coach can help the coachee clarify their situation.  Taking the action necessary to start to attain the goal is the coachee’s responsibility.