- Fresh air, instead of the recycled climate stirred up by air conditioning
- Fresh scenery and the chance to top up our vitamin D reserves
- Fresh perspectives and space for mindfulness, not the time suck of incoming messages that keep us nailed to our desks
If you have survived another busy week (mine involved plenty of running around for other people) I’ve got to ask, how do you let go of the stress, relax and become a nice person to be around once again?
In fact I remember a few years ago asking a group of carers (busy people responsible for loved ones’ well being) what they did to unwind and I still think their approach makes sense. They recommended
- Nature – spending time outside, feeling the sun on my face shifts my mood.
- Music – listening to a favourite artist reminds me of good times.
- Laughing – enjoying a good comedy programme puts tough times into the background.
- Exercise – getting to the gym, playing sport, taking the stairs releases feel good chemicals into our system.
- Friends – catching up with people we care about activates our support system, which reminds us we are not alone.
I have followed 2 of these strategies consistently and they help. Which ones do you follow or do you have other suggestions to share?
Everyone is busy these days, although some of us have already enjoyed a few vacation days this summer. Some others are looking forward to their holiday in the sun. Here’s a thought: How many of us understand the stresses and strains we carry around while we are busy leading our 9 to 5 lives as leaders, managers, entrepreneurs or creatives?
Good news, there is a way we can achieve a better understanding of ourselves at work, at home, or on a mountain top.
How To Get Clarity Over Your Goals In 5 Minutes
I’ve found five minutes of mindfulness a day can help answer the question, what should I be doing next? What does my approach involve?
- Sitting with a straight back, eyes closed
- Breathing deeply from the diaphragm
- Relaxing shoulders, arms and legs
- Tuning out the sounds around me
- Noticing what I am feeling in my head, heart and gut
- Finding a way to use all that information after my five minutes are up and I feel refreshed
What would five minutes a day of mindfulness do for you today? How about over the next week? Take a moment to write down and share your answer. Feel free to message your discovery on Twitter @RogerD_Said You can Like and Share the post too, if it has been helpful.
Thank you for reading the post and have a great day.
It is (sort of) the middle of the year. Here comes an awkward question: what kind of a year has it been so far?
You’ve undertaken plenty of caring of course. Those you care for have benefited from your time. How often though have you taken care of yourself?
When you look back at the personal growth or self leadership goals you set yourself six months ago, how many have you completed? What do the incomplete ones have in common? Is there a goal which is completely untouched?
Are You Sometimes Fearful of Putting Yourself First?
What is keeping you from tackling that untouched goal you wrote down six months ago? Are you afraid of making a positive change for yourself? When you practice some mindfulness and look at what is happening in your body how do you feel? Would you feel disloyal if you spent some time on yourself?
3 Happiness Solutions Suggested By Carers
I was privileged last Carers Week to lead a session looking at how we can take simple steps to improve our levels of Happiness.
As we rush around looking out for others we recognised the value of meeting our own needs. We focused on the low cost or free solutions which could help us provide for others in a better way, whilst meeting our own needs.
My part of the day captured several practical ideas for self care. Amongst other views one attendee said:
I enjoy cooking for my family
They were sharing the idea that providing good food for their loved ones helped them feel good.
Another person in the room felt energised by spending some personal time on exercise. They commented:
Going to the Gym makes me Happy!
Someone else was in reflective mood and noted that they felt better when surrounded by greenery:
Being outdoors in nature makes me smile
How Do You Care For Yourself?
How does your diet, exercise and leisure plan help you care better and manage your own well-being? How much positive feedback do you get from those for whom you care? What other suggestions do you have for making caring more manageable?
Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to share your well-being ideas in the comments and help other people with their day. If you have found this post helpful you can Share and Like it too. Visit the Members tab to sign up for free information about taking action on your goals.
Congratulations if you have started a new project recently. The run up to Christmas is the time of year when people take a deep breath and say ‘Yes!’ to a University course, an Evening Class, or other life-changing challenge.
That bold investment of time, money and optimism involves:
- Paying regular attention to your new goal
- Setting boundaries so your time is well spent and you connect to supportive people
- Caring about the quality of your outputs as you reach your next milestone
What About People Who Don’t Have New Goals?
It is OK not to pursue new goals. Sometimes caring for others and looking after yourself is enough. Although, having said that, there is always time for goal setting unless everything is perfect in the key areas of life which are important to most of us.
What Are The 3 Steps?
The 3 steps to greater well-being involve Goal-Setting, Taking Action, Connecting to Others who want to improve their situation concerning:
The next time you are relaxing over a cup of coffee, take the time to do a quick exercise on paper. Using the five headings above decide what score you give yourself out of 10 in each area.
Does one area stand out in the 1 to 5 range? How would it feel to set a goal and start improving that area?
What would you feel like in six months, to be surrounded by other happy, successful people who are feeling 8 out of 10 about life, just like you?
What Is Your Next Action?
If you want to take your first step toward fulfilment and well-being take a look at the short video. It highlights 3 key ideas central to getting started on tackling your goals.
Remember, there are more free resources in the Members’ Area which you can access too. Don’t forget to Like and Share this post to help others get started on their way to a more fulfilling life.
You might know that we are most of the way through International Men’s Health Week (13 to 19 June).
The 2016 theme is setting goals and taking action to reduce the stresses in your life. Being a happier man is one of the positive results.
A week ago, when I started planning what to post here about IMHW I was creating the sort of ‘How To’ information which could lead to less stressful living. It helps that 7 days ago I was also creating visuals, like the one above, as part of a Carers Week workshop on Experiencing Greater Happiness..
The workshop highlighted the close relationship between happiness and empathy, well-being Mindfulness and other healthier living ideas.
As I say that was the content I had planned.
Something changed over the weekend though.
What Can Happen When Empathy Is Missing?
Over the weekend a mentally troubled man decided to drive for an hour across Florida from his home to his destination and commit mass murder. This wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. He had armed himself with an assault rifle and a handgun.
His crime scene was the Pulse Bar (a venue which serves Orlando’s ethnically diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and progressive straight communities). On the weekend it was full of people living life, enjoying liberty and pursuing happiness. Free to do so during Pride Month or any other time.
The shooter took advantage of that freedom.
He shot his way in, stalking the people he didn’t cut down immediately and holding some hostage. Ultimately he killed 49 people. His spree also led to 53 more clubbers being hospitalised.
Now every partner, sibling, parent and friend of the dead and injured will spend the rest of their lives living with the pain he inflicted.
How Men Can Use Empathy
A few days has made a big difference to my sense of what ‘men’s health’ means.
From wanting to talk about the simple goal of happiness for men I end up talking about big ideas like empathy, well-being, connection and care.
We need to work on solutions for men – straight, bi, gay, queer, questioning men – so that we are better able to manage our inner state and our relationships with the world.
In the days ahead it is important we do what we can to connect to and care for each other a bit more than usual.
We can all use empathy to better understand what is happening in other people’s lives and how they might be feeling.
In particular, if you feel there is someone close to you who seems overwhelmed take time to check in with him. That’s really important since (Breaking News) men don’t always volunteer information about ‘feelings’.
So fellas, try empathy. Simply asking your mate, your brother, your partner ‘How Are You’, then listening to the tone of the answer and supporting them through tough times can make all the difference.
How Will You Make A Difference?
Thanks for reading this post on the challenges facing men. How will you act differently now? As I finalised these words the discussion over the murder of British Parliamentarian Jo Cox – and the disconnected background of the suspect – is ringing in my ears.
Something has to change.
Feel free to share this post with anyone who would find it useful. I am on Twitter @RogerD_Said if you want to comment on the themes I mentioned.
Thank you if you have been following my posts this year. If you have checked in recently you probably know already I led a workshop in January focused on turning goals into reality.
The session reminded me that if you get enough freelancers and 9 to 5 workers together their stories come tumbling out. Their feedback created a snapshot of the world of work in 2016.
They said one of the tougher challenges they faced involved taking the right action and avoiding overwhelm. They were talking about having too few hours each day and too many to do items to handle.
They knew something had to be done. The question was, what to do to get that winning feeling back?
Was starting a new project the answer? Could growing a new professional relationship be a solution? How about keeping going with what already worked?
What Does Success Feel Like?
To help the discussion focus I mentioned Brian Tracy’s principle of starting with the end in mind. Vividly capturing (in words or pictures) what success feels like helps you work out how to achieve it.
Does success involve you creating client-pleasing software which puts a big smile on your customer’s face by offering more results, faster than expected?
Or is your success measured by the strength of the hug you get when you prioritise finishing work in time to pick your partner up from the station?
Greater Success Ahead
Whatever success means for you there is scope for it to include a greater sense of wellbeing; more positive teamwork; a growing group of satisfied customers.
5 Routes To Greater Success
- Create Affirmations Using Words You Repeat to Inspire You
- Construct A Vision Board Capturing Images Of The End Result You Want
- Use A Favourite Piece Of Inspiring Theme Music To Get You Started On A Key Task
- Enjoy The Smell Of Success By Using Your Favourite Aroma When Working
- Treat Yourself To Your Favourite Healthy Beverage To Get Your Creativity Flowing
I will be sharing some more ideas about success ahead of my 5 March Reshaping Reality workshop*
Thanks for reading this post. Share a comment below about your success strategy. You can also use social media to let a friend have this information if you know it will help them.
It is a busy world and you are bombarded by emails, texts, meeting requests and dozens of people claiming your time. It can be hard to make time to stop and think about the people who make your day a bit easier. In fact when someone goes out of their way to make your goals easier to accomplish, their efforts can slip by unrecognised.
However, being mindful* and celebrating that assistance can trigger leadership action on your part, which helps to establish a virtuous cycle: good team work leads to positive client feedback; your leadership is shown to reflect an authentic understanding of what good work by colleagues looks like; your clients keep getting more examples of that good work.
(*Mark Williams and Danny Penman’s practical guide to ‘Mindfulness’, published in 2011, might be one for you to look at, if you want to learn more).
What Are Your Options For Showing Your Appreciation?
If you do recognise others’ contribution to your success there are so many options available to you, to show your appreciation, that choosing the right one can be a challenge.
- In the world beyond work I’m sure that a Father’s Day gift, or call, would go down well today.
- If you know someone who has made a contribution to civil society in the UK you can recommend them for an award in the Queen’s Birthday, or New Year’s Honours List.
- Simply remembering someone’s birthday or anniversary can make their day too. So can an unexpected card showing your appreciation for something they did (like the one in the illustration above, which I just got from a client. It definitely put a smile on my face).
Here Are Some Questions For Your Consideration
If making time for reflection, and being more mindful, is one of your health goals here are some questions you might want to consider:
- How often in your busy schedule do you pause, and think of ways to show your appreciation of others’ efforts?
- How far do you go beyond saying ‘thank you’ when you do so?
- How will you show your appreciation for outstanding service to a colleague, friend or family member in the next 7 days?
Good luck with the week ahead of you. Let me know how you get on (and do respond today or tomorrow to my recent post on equality and diversity).
Feel free to look at the further ideas relating to your work and life goals in the Archive section here, on Facebook and Google+ too. Or if you are a Linkedin user you can visit View Roger Dennison’s profile
This is the second of two posts about last week’s very first Work & Family Show at Excel, London.
Here’s a question. Which one of your improvement goals has taken priority this year? Is it improving some aspect of your work? How about getting more from your personal or family life?
Whatever your priority you could have gained knowledge in any of these areas had you been at the Show. The sponsor My Family Care and their partners put on practical, personal, and plenary sessions looking at the advice, inspirations and solutions that contribute to peoples’ ideal life balance.
From what I saw the audience of women on Maternity Leave, or taking a Career Break; people searching for their next job after redundancy and those looking to work flexibly, really engaged with the sessions on offer.
More details of the Work and Family event are set out here . You can follow the feedback from the show on Twitter using the hashtag #wfshow
Personal Questions For Your Goal Setting Sessions
Meanwhile, here are the five personal insights I noted from the range of ideas offered by speakers last week. I have added some bullet point questions for you, which you can use with your coach as you set your own goals:
On average Men are likely to apply for a promotion if they meet 60% of the recruitment criteria:
- What more could you do to add to your skills, so you comfortably reach 70% of the recruitment criteria?
Women are likely to hold off applying for a promotion until they feel they meet 90% of the recruitment criteria:
- What could you do to add to your skills, so you are confident you have 70% of the recruitment criteria?
You help yourself perform better by making time each day to check out your state of mind and take action, where necessary, to change limiting beliefs:
- What is your strategy for taking stock of your inner state?
Making time to manage your personal / professional relationships in a considerate way makes your life easier:
- How empathic are you when you manage your key relationships?
When you need to give feedback make time to pause, and comment on the behaviour rather than the individual’s personality:
- Thinking about your previous bosses, whose feedback technique would you wish to emulate and why?
Feel free to check out my Archive section for more inspiration. There are further ideas On Facebook and Google+ too. Do feedback about your progress, via the Contact page here, or on Twitter @RogerD_said
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