(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
If you're busy and enjoying your work, you may describe yourself as being "in flow". This can truly be exciting, fulfilling and enjoyable, but before you realise it, the whole week has flown by, and you haven't done anything for you - professionally or socially. If this is a one-off experience, you can probably excuse it, but if it is a regular pattern, you might get to the stage where you resent not having "me" time.
Sometimes, getting balance requires some planning. Take a moment each weekend to ensure you plan some time in the week to do things for you: which days will you to the gym? when will you have a drink with your co-workers? when can you set aside some time to finish reading that book?
It's a simple tip, but if you plan time for you in your week, you'll get to Friday feeling you've accomplished a lot ... and you'll feel your life is in balance, too.
If this tip has been helpful, you might enjoy my weekly tips & hints newsletter - drop your details in the form on the right to start receiving them.
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If you look up the word "play" in a dictionary, one definition is recreation. If you break that word down, it's actually re-creation, or to make new, to inspire with life and energy. It's "creativity" at it's best.
Is "play" something you do? Or is it an attitude you create that transforms the boring into fun?
Do you take your work so seriously that there's no time for 'play'? Do you frown when your colleagues are 'messing around', or do you join in?
How you perceive "play", and how you participate in it can make the difference between you being extremely stressed and achieving balance. Having a laugh and a joke in the office, or even stopping for ten minutes to take a break can be enough for you to have a real 'feel good' moment, and be able to go back to your work with renewed energy and focus.
We so often associate "play" as the opposite of work. Need it be?
Take a different perspective on things. Think of play not just as laughter, frolic and fun, but as absorbing, fascinating, peaceful, beautiful, restful. Allow yourself to stay in the moment and enjoy whatever avenue you choose for your play.
If you'd like to know more about simple strategies you can employ to bring more balance into your life and thereby increase your own wellbeing and performance, as well as that of your team(s), email me at email@example.com.
Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
These days, it's so easy to get caught up in the trap of keeping busy rather than taking time out for ourselves. In fact, we may feel the need to justify any activity that isn't work related, because over the years we've repeatedly been told what we should and shouldn't do - by our parents, teachers and now our employers.
Keeping up our energy to stay on top of all the demands of our modern lifestyle requires we recharge our energy on a regular basis. Of course, we get energy from eating well, from breathing, from exercise. But we also get energy from doing the things that give us a sense of joy and of belonging.
Our requirements are all different. For some, it's retreating into a quiet place while for others they like to be amongst a crowd. Our needs vary from day to day, depending on the situations we find ourselves in. Listening to and taking care of those needs - being good to ourselves - is an important part of optimal wellbeing. When we are loved and cared for, almost anything is easy. When we are deprived, tired, needy, even the smallest detail becomes an overwhelming task.
Take some time out from your busy schedule, from the 'seriousness' of work and embark on an activity that lightens the load, feeds your soul and your body, too. It need not be something that takes a huge amount of time, either - just sitting at your desk, taking a few long, deep breaths and sitting in silence for a minute can be enough to recharge those batteries and equip you to continue with your day.
What are the things you can do to be good to yourself today? Here are some of my favourites:
- sitting under my favourite tree, taking in the beauty of nature
- going for a walk - long or short - just to 'get away from it all'
- writing in my journal
- taking a trip away - especially to a foreign country
- enjoying a pleasant meal with my husband
Make your own list, and when you've completed it, make a promise with yourself to do one thing off the list each day. You'll find you feel good about yourself, and you'll be amazed at how much more productive your day is if you can be good to yourself.
October 19, 2012 is a milestone event in our lives. It's the day that my husband Steve retired from his corporate career. His company hosted a wonderful party for him last night, and it was rewarding to meet his ex-colleagues and staff and hear them recount stories of their time working with him.
Steve always said he wanted to start his first day of "freedom" at St. George's Heights, sipping champagne and watching the sunrise. Frankly, the last thing I wanted to do after a very late night, was get up after only four hours sleep to watch the sunrise ... but I am so glad I did. Yes, when the alarm went off at 5.15am, it was a rude awakening, but dutifully I got up, dressed and ready to go. I didn't want to spoil this day for him.
Driving there was so easy. No other mad people were up at that time, and for the first time ever, all the traffic lights were green! We parked up, and walked to our favourite spot, and marvelled at the beauty of the calm water, the red sky and the lights of all the homes and offices around us and the surrounding area.
Apart from the pop of the champagne cork, the only other sound was that of the birds. Three or four rabbits came out and ran around the grass, and we sat, deep in our own thoughts, and watched the sun rise. "This is the best part of the day", Steve told me, and I had to agree - it was spectacular. He has seen it regularly on his early morning walks, and I suspect he will spend a little more time enjoying it in the future, without the need to get to the office hanging over his head!
During the lead up to this day, many people have asked me what impact having Steve at home is going to have on me, particularly as I work from home, and what is Steve going to do? When I respond that I am honestly looking forward to having him around more, and that as he has no idea yet of what he will do, I really don't know, they express surprise, concern, and sometimes their counsel!
The reactions have been interesting. Some have said that Steve has taken a brave decision. To me, this is just a new beginning - the start of a new chapter in our lives - and we are looking forward to the opportunity to shape it into something meaningful for us. And it got me thinking. Are you about to embark on a new beginning? Are you feeling excited about it, or slightly anxious? Or perhaps you have to make some decisions and you just can't see the wood for the trees? I've been in that situation many times. I understand how it feels. I know that deep down you have the knowledge and resources to move forward - and I can help you find that answer within yourself. If you'd like to find out more about how my Wellness & Performance Coaching can help you, contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. And while you are waiting for a response, my weekly wellness tips and hints newsletter is a tremendous resource - just pop your details into the contact form and start receiving them straight away.
Frustrating, isn't it. You know what to do. You eat all the 'right' foods. You exercise regularly. Yet those scales just give you the WRONG reading every time you step on them! You've tried just about every diet there is, spent a fortune on products and sometimes even managed to lose a few kilos ... but the weight piles on again - and then some.
There are so many reasons why diets don't work. What was your relationship with food as a child? Were meal times a happy occasion, when you got together as a family around the dining table and laughed and chatted and teased each other? Or did you rarely sit together as a family? Was food plentiful or scarce in your house?
If you fell over as a child, were you given sweets as to comfort you? Do you find you eat more when you are bored? Or that you forget to eat when you are working to a deadline, and stressed? When you come home after a stressful day, do you pour yourself a large glass or wine (or three)? When you eat, do you savour every bite, chew thoroughly and take your time - or do you eat "on the go", wolfing it down as quickly as possible?
These are just some of the stories behind my coaching clients' diet struggles. Often, they've made drastic changes in their eating habits, only to lose the battle of the bulge. Making radical changes in a very short period of time only sets you up for disappointment and failure. Throw away the scales. Remember that 'diet' is, after all, a four letter word and eliminate it from your vocabulary. With the help of your wellbeing coach, create small, manageable steps that you can feel good about achieving, see the results and maintain them for the long term.
If you are interested in reviewing your current state of wellbeing, I'm offering the first six people to email me (email@example.com) with "why isn't my diet working?" in the subject line, a complimentary discovery session - valued at $149.
Do you have difficulty saying “no”? Are you always trying to be nice to others at the expense of yourself? Perhaps you don't want to hurt the other person's feelings?
The reality is that when we don't say "no" to others, we say "no" to ourselves.
The reasons we find it hard to say no vary. It could be our desire to help, to avoid conflict, to avoid appearing rude. We might be afraid that if we say no, it might spoil a relationship or we might lose out on an opportunity.
Whatever excuse you give yourself, when you don't say no to something you really don't want to do, you are in fact not respecting and valuing your own time and space.
Let's look at this from a different perspective. What if you stop saying NO to what you don't want to do, and start saying YES to what you DO want? What if you put yourself and your own priorities first, and start saying yes to your family, your health, your sense of self?
Perhaps saying Yes to you can help you feel more positive about your choice, and enable you to say no with good grace.
Need help to get started? Call me: +612 8006 9224 or drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There's nothing I like more than going to my favourite outdoor spot, sitting under "my" tree, and looking out over the ocean. It's not really my tree, of course - it doesn't belong to me - it's not even planted in my property. It's one I've adopted ... and I think it has adopted me.
Here's a photo of my tree, taken this morning on our weekend walk. I like to sit under it, and lean against it's trunk. Sometimes there are other people at my happy place, and it makes me smile to know that others get pleasure from being there too. Unusually today, no one else was there - it was just for me to enjoy.
I call it my "happy place" - I am able to sit here and just be. I feel calm and relaxed when I am here. This is often where my creative self comes to life, where my ideas come from. It's also a great place for reflection - it's where I come when I want to think something over.
If, during the day, something happens that causes me to feel down, and I am not able to get there, I conjure up this picture in my mind, and mentally take myself to this happy place. I recall the sights, sounds and smells from my memory, and imagine the sun and cool breeze. I find that even doing this for a couple of minutes, combined with a few long, deep breaths, can be enough to change the mood, lift my spirits and set my on my way again.
How do you restore balance in your life? Do you have a happy place?
BANG!! We all turned around in the gym to the direction from which the noise had come, and there was one of our group members, lying flat on his back, glasses having flown through the air and landed some distance away. No one is sure what happened - we were getting ready to do our end-of class stretches, chatting amongst ourselves, and all we know is he was talking one minute, and on the floor the next.
The staff were fantastic. Instantly, they appeared from all corners of the room. Monte, the owner, took control, grabbing the telephone on his way so it was ready to hand if he needed to call an ambulance. Monte knelt on the floor next to the guy, started talking to him, while checking vital signs, all the time reassuring him and telling him to lie still and not get up. He was asking him questions - such as “do you know what day it is?” and “roughly what time is it?” - to see if his condition was getting worse or improving.
Some of the members were suggesting an ambulance be called. When Monte didn’t respond (although he still had the phone in his hand), the members looked at Howard, who responded “he’s got it” - meaning, it’s under control, and if Monte feels he needs an ambulance, he’ll call for it.
Seeing that Monte was able to cope, Howard moved us to a different part of the gym, and took us through our stretches. As our class disbanded, the next class was coming in. There was no verbal exchange between Monte and Howard, they’ve just worked together long enough to have that level of trust between them, and to each do what was required.
With Howard in charge of the room, Monte asked Hayden, a student in his first hour of student placement, to assist by locating and photocopying the member’s file. This meant personal details and exercise history was available to the ambulance crew should they need it.
Next, Monte wanted the area coned off, and the first aid box and gloves brought to him. Having spent about 15 minutes with the guy, observing and communicating with him, Monte felt it appropriate to ring for an ambulance. The member wanted to sit up - Monte stayed calm, gently, reassuring him and still telling him to lie still. As he stayed on the phone to the emergency services control room, Monte asked a member of the class that had just finished if they could please wait on the street to meet and direct the ambulance crew.
When they arrived, the ambulance crew immediately went to work, checking vital signs, asking questions, getting as much detail as possible.
A gym incident report was filled out, and a list of all the members who had been in the class that day was attached to it, with their contact numbers for future reference if required.
Finally, before the ambulance crew took the member to hospital, Monte spoke to his doctor and wife to advise them what had happened.
What criteria do you have for choosing the gym you want to exercise in? Perhaps you want state-of-the-art equipment, or a personal trainer to work one-on-one with you? I wanted somewhere close to home with great equipment AND with qualified, friendly, professional staff who showed me that it was as important to them that I achieve my goals as it is to me. It never occurred to me that I might be taken ill at the gym ... but how reassuring to know that in the event I am, the staff will remain calm and work together to take care not just of me, but of everyone else in the room.
It's 7.25am - five minutes before my gym opens - and there's me plus four other members already lined up at the front door. One lady is banging on the door to gain entry, despite the rest of us telling her that the gym doors won't open until exactly 7.30am.
"I just want to get in there and get on with it", she said. "Wow", I thought. "She's keen!" I hadn't seen her at the gym before - obviously new - and clearly raring to go! As we filed inside and each got started on our workouts, as I could hear her telling another member "I've already read all my emails and written and posted a birthday card this morning. I have such a busy schedule!"
And suddenly, I understood. You see, I got the distinct impression that this lady was really enjoying her state of busy-ness. That it energized her. That hanging around outside the gym when she could be inside exercising was just a waste of her time. I was like that once - running from one thing to another, on a complete high - thoroughly enjoying the challenges along the way. The lady this morning was animated as she described her life - for her, being busy was Fun!!
For some, however, maintaining this fast pace is tiring, challenging and far from enjoyable. Even the language and tone of voice is different - the words are negative, the voice is slow, everything looks and sounds heavy.
If what you are doing does not satisfy your needs, if you are stuck in a job you don't like, for example, you will probably find yourself experiencing health issues, having trouble sleeping and stagnating. If left unchecked, it may lead to serious health issues, and ultimately, burnout.
Making a change can be simple, if you tap into your creative force. Bringing a playful attitude to your situation may help you get a more positive perspective on it. No matter what your situation, it is possible to transform the way you perceive it into something more enjoyable for you. It's possible to discover your real needs and fulfilling them, of discovering your real talents and using them, of discovering your many options and trying them out.
It really is possible to enjoy life - whether you want to be more energised, have less stress, more time for yourself - whatever it might be. And maybe you will be the one banging on the gym door minutes before it is due to open in anticipation of a fun workout!! I hop
I've always believed in "walking the talk" - that you shouldn't ask someone to do something you won't do yourself - and as an Executive Wellness and Life Coach, I'm promoting the importance of exercise ... but i have a confession to make - apart from long walks at the weekends, I've not been following my own advice.
I've never been a gym junkie. Even during my school days, during breaks and lunch times, you would find me in the music room, practicing the piano, rather than out in the playground.
Over the years, I've 'failed', over and over, to take up and maintain a regular exercise regime. I've lost count of how many times I've joined a gym and not used it, or started a fitness class and lost interest or found an 'excuse' not to go - week after week - until, unconsciously, I'd created a new habit - one of not going!
I went through a phase where I worked one-on-one with a personal trainer. She was a lot of fun - worked me hard, made it fun, but after a while, even that lost it's appeal, and I stopped.
The really interesting thing is that I am not alone in this cycle of setting my resolve, taking action, and not maintaining momentum. I have clients who tell me that they are thinking about starting a diet, or quitting smoking, or giving up alcohol ... several times ... and done nothing about it. Or that they started a new regime, were all excited at the beginning, but lapsed back into bad habits as soon as things got a little tough. If this sounds familiar, it might also make you give out a sigh of relief, as it's normal!!
So, over the past month, I've done some research into local gyms, and found one that interests me. I've joined. My commitment is to go three times a week, to follow a personalised program, with the aim of getting fitter, feeling better about myself, losing weight, toning up. I recognise it took me all my life to get to where I am today, so the improvements will not happen overnight. But I know that long before I see the results externally, they will be happening internally. Already my body gives me little messages - after a workout, I am reminded by my muscles that they have been used after a long period of inactivity - and I get a little "feel good" feeling. That's quite good payment. But this gym is clever. You pay up front for 13 weeks at a time. You get a receipt at the end of the 13 weeks for the sessions you've attended, which you can then submit to your private health company for a rebate. Don't attend all the sessions you've paid for and you can't claim it back! Good incentive, heh! Secondly, you have to book in for the hour(s) you want to work out. They limit the number of clients in the gym at any one time, which means the trainers can give you individual attention - they are constantly checking that you are doing the exercise correctly, as well as ensuring that the level of difficulty is gradually increased, so you are constantly stretching yourself ever so gently a little bit more each time. This requirement to book in advance was initially a negative in my mind - after all, I run my own business - I need to be able to be flexible. My version of flexible, if I am honest, probably means not turning up and skipping sessions if I don't make a specific time in my diary. So my exercise appointments are in the diary before anything else, and I fit my business in around something for me. Of course, I can change those times if I need to, but it is so good to have them already scheduled. And because I go to the same sessions every week, I am getting to meet and make friends with the other clients - which is a clever way of "locking me in" without me feeling duped!!
So, I'll let you know how I am getting on, and what insights I have along the way. And I'd love to know your thoughts/experiences - are you one of those sporty types who love exercising and feel on top of the world when you participate? Or are you more like me, having to drag yourself along?