I just don't understand it. In a relatively short period of time, we've replaced manual tasks with machines and technology. I vividly remember it taking my Mum all day to do the weekly wash, using a "twin tub" washer/dryer. The introduction of a "front loader" meant she could get on with other tasks while the washing took care of itself.
When I first started work, we marvelled at how messages could be transmitted to other parts of the world via telex machines. In a relatively short period of time, I saw technology advance at an incredible speed - fax machines, photocopiers, scanners - and with the introduction of the pc and internet, everything has become possible through our hand-held devices.
Surely, all these labour-saving devices enable us to enjoy more leisure time? Let the machines do the routine work, use our brains, skills, and judgment to do the work that requires those qualities, and use the time saved to make life more pleasant?
In reality, it seems that rather than being able to enjoy more free time, people do even more work.
I was discussing this with a friend recently. He's a salesman, out on the road all day. He admitted that in order to get home on time, rather than take the full hour allocated for his lunch break, he grabs a quick sandwich then drives to the next appointment.
I don't think his story is unique. More and more people seem to have to sacrifice meal times in order to fit in more work. More and more people, too, find that their work intrudes not just on the whole of the working day, but also on their holidays. Modern technology enables them to keep in constant touch with the workplace. Work becomes an obsession — and many employers encourage that.
Isn't this a misuse of technological developments? Being able to avoid dull, routine tasks by using modern technology clearly makes a lot of sense. It provides the means to improve the quality of life by removing much of the drudgery and concentrating on the more stimulating aspects of work.
Reacting to that possibility by simply taking on more work — and ignoring the opportunity to devote more time to enjoying life — surely makes no sense at all? Perhaps I'm missing the point ... I'd love to hear your views.
(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.
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with work on your mind, your thoughts racing, and struggling to get back to sleep?
Perhaps for you it's a case of having difficulty falling asleep or waking early, unable to complete a full night of sleep? I really understand - insomnia used to get me, too - and the only way I could deal with it was to get up, log onto the pc and physically send the emails I was mentally composing in my head. Frustrating, isn't it?!!
I'd then go to work and get through the day, thinking I was "coping", but really struggling to overcome the tiredness. Little did I notice the effect this was having on my quality of life, my performance at work, my personal and professional relationships and, most importantly of all, my health.
As well as a personal cost, there's a huge economic cost to insomnia, and we currently only quantify part of that cost. A study by The Sleep Health Foundation (http://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/research.html) highlighted that sleep disorders cost the Australian economy more than $5.1 billion a year in health care and indirect costs. In addition, the reduction in life quality caused by sleep disorders has a further cost, equivalent of $31.4 billion a year.
The study only looked at three conditions that have been diagnosed and detected (sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome). The true cost to the Australian economy will therefore be much higher, because people like you and me have not been counted in these statistics.
Half of all those who have experienced insomnia blame the problem on stress and worry. This was exactly the category I fell into - and it is exactly the category I can help you with through my coaching program. If you, or someone you know suffers with stress-related insomnia, and you'd like to know more about how my program can help relieve the stress, improve performance at work, and get you back to a regular, good night's sleep, please contact me to arrange a complimentary, obligation-free 30 minute phone session.. Email: email@example.com or phone me on (02) 8006 9224.
Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) with "why isn't my diet working?" in the subject line, a complimentary discovery session - valued at $149.
This is a great article that explains why it's important to smile. Taken from the It's My Health website (www.itsmyhealth.com.au), it explains how smiling can really help us de-stress.
‘Just grin and bear it’ is common advice but is there any truth to this old adage? We all know that feeling good makes us smile but does it work the other way around? Can smiling actually make us feel better?
In a new US study, researchers have investigated the potential benefits of smiling by looking at how different types of smiling, and the awareness of smiling, affects individuals’ ability to recover from episodes of stress.
“Age-old adages such as ‘grin and bear it’ have suggested smiling to be not only an important nonverbal indicator of happiness but also wishfully promotes smiling as a panacea for life’s stressful events,” Tara Kraft, researcher from the University of Kansas explained.
“We wanted to examine whether these adages had scientific merit; whether smiling could have real health-relevant benefits.”
Previous research shows that positive emotions can help during times of stress and that smiling can affect emotion; however, the work of Kraft and her colleague, Sarah Pressman is the first of its kind to experimentally manipulate the types of smiles people make in order to examine the effects of smiling on stress.
The findings show that smiling per se during brief stressors can help to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, regardless of whether a person actually feels happy.
“The next time you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing some other type of stress,” says Pressman, “you might try to hold your face in a smile for a moment. Not only will it help you ‘grin and bear it’ psychologically, but it might actually help your heart health as well.”
I think this is great news! Smiling is easy to do, it costs nothing, and it helps to prevent us from looking and feeling tired, worn down, and overwhelmed.
Image courtesy imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When I first came across the word "presenteeism" I was intrigued to know what it meant. The opposite of absenteeism, when workers take sick days for being unwell, presenteeism is when employees continue turning up to work but their productivity and effectiveness is reduced.
It's often the case that someone turns up for work while sick because they are concerned about the impact on their colleagues who have to take on extra workload while they are away, or they want to avoid the inevitable backlog of work that piles up.
Sometimes it's the unrealistic deadlines, excessive workloads or lack of knowledge and skills that are the problem, as the employee stresses out over the task in hand - but to everyone around, it looks as if they are "working".
It's a huge issue - research shows that presenteeism costs the employer up to four times more in lost productivity than absenteeism!!
Having come from an environment where I experienced presenteeism first-hand, both personally and within my teams, I really understand the impact it has for the individuals dealing with it. It impacts relationships - both at work and at home; it affects how we think and feel; how we communicate; our diet suffers as we either turn to comfort food and alcohol or skip meals completely; we often don't get a good night's sleep, which means we are irritable and short tempered the next day.
As a Wellbeing & Performance Coach, I'm now helping others adopt and sustain behaviors that reduce health risks, improve quality of life, enhance personal effectiveness and, in the workplace, benefit the organization's bottom line. My coaching focuses on you to raise your self-awareness and move forward to reach your full potential, whether in your work and/or personal life. I create a safe environment. I am your partner: listening, questioning, providing feedback, supporting, and encouraging you to progress from the current state to your desired state.
If what I've shared resonates with you, and you want to make a permanent, positive change, then please drop me an email: email@example.com.
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?