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I mentioned recently on Instagram that I had been on a resilience course with my work. I work for the NHS as a Medical Secretary but this course wasn't just for admin staff, it was for everyone and anyone. There was a good mix of staff on the course from nurses to receptionists. Now please bare in mind that this course was focused around "wellbeing at work" but I genuinely feel like the information I got from this course can help with your general wellbeing which essentially helps you to get the perfect work/life balance.

The course was run by a Clinical Psychologist called Kevin Simpson (based in Cornwall). We were given handouts and I will be sharing some of the key information from those handouts along with some personal notes that I made. I'm going to split this blogpost into 2 parts. The first part will focus on personal wellbeing, what stress does to our bodies, understanding stress and anxiety and how to be more productive with the second part focusing on ways to look after yourself, stay healthy and get the best out of life (my favourite part).......now go and grab a cuppa because this is a long one!

So there are a few signs of un-wellbeing that you might not even realise you are experiencing. Do you ever.....

  • Feel you have nothing left to give by the end of a typical day
  • Feel rushed even when you are running on time
  • Have trouble doing things at a slower pace, even when you have the time
  • Think about what's coming up in your day rather than being in the moment
  • Often want to be left alone when you get home from work/school
  • Find yourself sighing a lot during the day
  • Have burning eyes early in the day
  • Forget to take breaks because of the pressure you are under
  • Find it difficult to relax even when you have free time
  • When you have free time, prefer activities to help you zone out
  • Have trouble motivating yourself to do things that are heathy for you
  • Feel exhausted by the end of the day, feel like you are running behind
  • Feel like you are always multitasking, even at home
  • Often find yourself daydreaming when you are with your partner or children 
  • Tend to bring your work or school stress home with you
  • Wake in the night thinking of things that are stressing you out
  • Get impatient and irritable about little things
  • Often do things like household tasks without even thinking about them
  • Feel like taking time to relax means you'll fall behind on some duty or responsibility

Contributing Factors to Stress/Depression
Right at the beginning of the seminar Kevin asked us what we thought contributed to the daily stresses of life. Nearly everyone wrote Social Media. It's safe to say that we are much more stressed now than we were 50 years ago and technology and the media definitely influences this. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others, setting expectations too high, putting too much pressure on ourselves, doing too much, we're busier than ever. Other classic stress/depression factors are financial worries and quite understandably bereavement/grief.

Pressure & Stress
It is important to differentiate between stress and pressure. Pressure can be positive and can actually motivate you to get a job done, but......apply too much pressure and this will eventually lead to stress.  Stress affects people in different ways and what one person finds stressful can be entirely normal to another.

Fight or Flight
Most people have heard of fight or flight. Its the body's natural response to perceived threat or danger. Its a basic ancient survival mechanism designed to protect us from danger by either fight or running away (flight). The response brings out a number of changes in the body, which mobilises us for action. This response is hardwired into our brains so don't worry guys everything you are feeling is entirely normal (sweaty palms, racing heart, dry mouth, urgency to go to the toilet.......all signs that you are normal).

Using Stress to your Advantage 
Stress can be viewed in two different ways.  You can either view it as something that is wreaking havoc on your body (and it can) or as something that is giving you the strength and energy to overcome adversity. For example I took a very challenging telephone call recently that made my heart feel like it was going to burst out of my chest and my breathing quicken, but rather than thinking "oh god i'm panicking, i'm causing damage to my heart, I'm going to pass out" instead I listened to my body acknowledged all of the above and told myself to take a deep breath because my faster breathing was allowing more oxygen to get to my brain to help me think more clearly for the challenging call. 

Recharging your Batteries  
The best bit of advice that I came away with from the seminar was the importance to rest and recharge and generally look after yourself.

  • Take regular breaks from work - plan deliberate downtime, grab that cup of tea
  • Create boundaries between work and home - If you have to bring your work home designate a specific time and/or separate area and stick to it.
  • Detach from work
  • Take your annual leave
  • Avoid working long hours

Being more Productive
For me the best way to be productive in work (this works at home too) is to have a plan. I love making lists and make them for everything and anything and I love a good To Do list. When making a To Do list its important to be specific with your tasks so include what, where, when, how. A good idea is to have a separate master To-Do list and a Today To-Do list. So your master list will house all of your To Do's , literally everything that pops in your mind that you need to do and from that you can then move them along to your Today To Do list. I've recently downloaded the Microsoft To Do app on my phone and its fab and gives a great sense of satisfaction when you tick off a list.

Another method that's great for prioritising is the Ivy Lee Method which I have been using with great success recently.

Single Tasking is also proven to be more productive than multitasking so stop trying to juggle everything and focus on one task at a time. Now I can appreciate for most jobs single tasking isn't possible, there are far too many interruptions (telephone calls, e-mails, queries) but there are ways to modify it. How you manage your time is key. I like to allocate specific time zones for certain jobs. For instance I know it is quieter first thing in the morning for me so this is when I would get my most important work done free from distractions and interruptions. I also allocate certain times in the day to focus on just my e-mails or other specific tasks. Don't forget to factor in time for breaks. Plan deliberate downtime at least every 90 minutes (or after each zone) have a stretch, move away from your desk.

And remember .................

Keep Smiling

NB - All images from Pinterest 

1 comment

  1. Thanks for sharing! I find stuff like this so interesting. Going to try the Ivy Lee method tomorrow! Xx


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