Trying to fit it all in – and keep everyone happy!
Everybody, everywhere seems to be busy. The time poor problem seems to affect people all over the world. However, with the huge growth of time-saving apps and devices, do we actually have more time on our hands? I think many of us would agree, that this is sadly not the case.
Now, as we approach the school summer holiday time there are all the other things to juggle - routines, rotas and relationships. We need to cover gaps in child minding and find extra income to pay for treats and trips. This means that work load and pressures are higher than ever. All this make for a very stressful time for the primary care giver – usually poor old mum!
1. Be guilt free. Being at work while wishing you were with the family and vice versa doesn’t help anyone, least of all you. The best tip I was given when I faced a similar quandary with my first child was to work out what you actually want. Do you have to work? Is it essential? If you want to work or you have to work, try this:-
Imagine it is 2020 and you are looking back to summer 2017. How do you want to remember it? Write down your vision of the possible memory and work out how to achieve it.
2. Forget Perfection. It is a figment of the imagination. There is no Wonder Woman, Lara Croft or Super Woman - these were all created by men.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others – nothing is ever as it seems. Comparing increases stress and makes you unhappy, your family will pick up on this. Happy mum = happy family.
4. Be organised about your time and energy. You need good sleep to keep up with it all. Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, if possible. Save your energy for the important things - does it really matter if the housework is left for a couple of days? Or if the children wear the same clothes again? Children would rather have you sit with them for five minutes than watch you hang up washing!
5. Turn the phones off as much as possible. Constant distractions and alerts drain your energy, take the focus away from what you are doing and send subliminal messages to your children that they take second place.
6. Know that your children were born to exactly the right mother! They will flourish and thrive with you, adapt and embrace your example and ethics. Harvard carried out a study which showed that working mothers often mistakenly “internalise social messages of impending doom for their children”. In fact, the reality is that their sons and daughters appear to flourish, with daughters benefiting most from the positive role model of a mother with a career.
7. Make sure that you build in some time just for you – call it being healthily selfish. Swap childminding sharing so that you can do something just for you. Go to cinema or theatre and catch a matinee (enjoy the guilty pleasure), go to the park and read a book, have an extra class at the gym or a beauty treatment. This is the equivalent of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first – you are the pilot on this plane. Keeping everyone happy should include you too.
8. Make a special photo album up of the things you do together this summer - not the exotic holiday – but pictures of the paintings, baking, flowers in the park or on a walk, interesting sights – and not a mobile in sight! It will be something to look back on with irreplaceable, wonderful memories.
Here’s to a stress-free summer, with no looking back with regrets.
Let’s be crystal clear!
It is well known that many people suffer from stress and don't know where to go for help or are too embarrassed to do so.
Deep and long-term depression needs mental health expertise but much of today's stress is low-level and, if unchecked, will lead to health problems.
The point is that stress, workplace or otherwise, doesn't just lead to diminished mental health but negatively impacts our physical health too.
Low level chronic stress is faced by the majority of people in the City of London. This is not mental illness or something to be ashamed or embarrassed about.
Around 70 per cent of investment bankers believe that admitting to suffering from anxiety or" mental health" issues will damage their career prospects and two out of three are considering leaving the City if stress levels don's improve (source MetLife). Most other workers in the City share this view. Why? Many simply don't know who to turn to and suffer in silence as a result.
The physical symptoms of stress (caused by elevated cortisol, the fight/flight hormone and depleted DHEA, the vitality and wellness hormone a) are well documented. High levels of cortisol are linked to a wide range of symptoms ranging from tension in muscles and joints to the more serious complaints such as heart-disease, cancers, diabetes and muscle waste. Over 50% of the population are on stress-related medication with one in 5 men and one in four women on 3 prescriptions at any one time.
If this is the case, and it is, why is stress pigeon-holed under the heading of "mental health"? The glaring truth is that stress today is the norm - it is commonplace - so surely a different, more proactive approach is needed.
You may currently be under pressure and feel very stressed but don't want to go down the conventional talk therapy/mental health route. If so, it may be that resilience training is for you. Most de-stress methods are temporary and sticking plaster solutions. Using a proven programme with measurable and guaranteed results, means you can start to regain control.
Many people experience daily digital overload and overwhelm combined with narrowing deadlines and additional work-loads. It is these situations which reduce resilience and drain our batteries. This means that we feel exhausted which rubs off at work and home.
For more information on results-driven techniques in total confidence, email firstname.lastname@example.org
How to make that need change and stick to it...
We all do it; make resolutions that we are going to stick to resolutely, absolutely, definitely - this time 100% for sure!! Then there is a small, 'just this once', relapse. Just one cigarette, one square of chocolate or the "it's too cold for the run today, I will definitely do it tomorrow!" and there begins the slippery slope downhill.
Why is this? We want to keep to the resolution, we see the need, we want to stick to what we said so why can't we? You might decide to exercise more, lose weight, give up smoking or alcohol but this example uses weight-loss.
Listed below are the 5 steps that have been identified by an interesting company, Pro-Change to be essential for successful long-lasting behavioural change. The same principles apply whether it is January 1st or April 22nd but for ease am using a New Year’s resolution for weight loss:-
Pre-contemplation (you aren't ready) - you are resistant to change. You know you may be overweight, but you really enjoy your food, it makes you feel good and in any case, you have tried to lose weight before and look how that turned out! You are unmotivated and possibly demoralised because of previous failed attempts.
Contemplation (getting ready) Let's say it's September and you find you are out of breath more often, heart rate is quicker, clothes are tighter and you realise that you have to do something about it.
You may sometimes be stuck in this phase for a while, balancing the pro's and con's and procrastinating. You know that you should cut down on rich foods and alcohol, exercise more but you have a lot of client entertaining and it can all become slightly overwhelming and stressful.
Preparation (ready) It's November and you decide that January 1st will see a "new and improved you" You may start looking into diets, see a nutritionist (excellent idea btw) join a gymn in readiness. Having made the decision, you feel fired up, less stressed, excited and ready for the challenge.
Action (this is it!) You are ready. You start your diet, exercise more, see the change. More importantly, others see the change too and congratulate you, you feel really good.
Maintenance (this is probably the most important step) This is where you have to work harder to prevent a relapse. The good news is that the longer you can keep to the new regime, the less likelihood of a relapse but it is important to keep stress triggers at bay. If giving up something has been very hard, it may be an addiction. Prolonged periods of intense pressure can bring back desire for the familiarity and comfort of the old behaviour. If you have used food in the past for comfort or used to overeat, there is likely to be a root cause of stress which should be identified to make sure you can stick to your resolutions for once and for all.
For more information on increasing personal and professional resilience and stress prevention,
Keeping Stress At Bay This Christmas
How to make sure your Christmas is as relaxed and stress-free as possible
Stress is one of the key reasons for poor and diminished quality of sleep. Recently a survey by Rand highlighted in fact people’s sleep is so poor that the upshot is loss of productivity in business is estimated to be at £40 million.
But what about the cost to you?
We are fast approaching Christmas, “the season to be jolly” but for many it is hard work, stressful and leaves us feeling exhausted and, dare I say it, looking forward to being back at work.
For essentials to give you a relaxing, well deserved and enjoyable break,
When broadband took over from dial up, we were suddenly launched into the ultra high speed, high tech era. Unbelievably, it was only three years ago in 2013 that BT turned off dial up.
Exciting and brilliant advances - yes? The paperless and ultra-efficient age has evolved to support and make our lives easier on every level.
But there is one slight problem.
The very systems designed to save time and increase efficiency play a major part of today's near pandemic levels of stress. This is why there so much talk about stress today.
Why, when we have so many programmes and systems to take away the drudge, work and "ick" from our lives, do we always seem to be time-short and tired out?
The main problem is the never-ending stream of constant distractions and interruptions. This causes our brain to switch from one area to another. Each time this happens, the blood flow is switched too which tires us both mentally and emotionally. When our energy levels drop, we lose concentration and focus, making it even harder to keep up with the demands.
You probably think that this is OK; you can multitask and it's easy because you do it all the time but nothing could be further from the truth. Research has proven that multi-taskers are less efficient on every level and are more easily distracted by trivia. The reason being that all new information needs time to be assimilated, archived, and considered. The never-ending alerts, vibrating phones, messages and pings mean that our brains don't have the time to process in the way which evolved over millions of years. Combine this with drained energy and deadlines, the result is build-up of pressure and stress.
This build-up of stress produces additional cortisol, one of the most powerful hormones in the body, which leads us to feel tense, achey, irritable and it interferes with sleep. People feel out of control and anxious. This builds into a cycle. If unchecked, it can lead into depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Women are usually better at dealing with this as they have a network of friends, families and colleagues that they confide in. Men tend to keep quiet because, erroneously, they think somehow to admit it, it will be seen as a failure. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Another problem is the effect of "blue light". Blue light which is emitted by screens disrupts sleep patterns.
Download a "warm" screen filter:- F.Lux.com to help negate these effects.
Turn off all blue screens at least an hour before bed (phones, ipads, laptops and TV's). Read in bed for 10-15 minutes, preferably light and uplifting.
Keep electrical gadgetry out of the bedroom; the only tablets to be taken in the bedroom are those the doctor prescribes!
For more information on stress, its impact and prevention,
© 2014 Ruane BioEnergetics
The subjects covered in this website are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. If you have a medical condition of concern, please consult the appropriate health care professional.
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