December 6th, 2013
Lose those butterflies for a calmer festive period.
For some of us, Christmas brings with it a large dose of anxiety – for others, anxiety is something they battle with on a daily basis. Either way, suffering in silence is not the answer.
Technically, anxiety is a type of apprehension about an upcoming event – we often imagine worst-case scenarios and worry ourselves unnecessarily. Back in cave-man times, this kind of anxiety and stress helped us avoid real dangers (i.e. hungry saber-toothed tigers) but these days, we don’t have such threats to worry about. Instead we worry about presentations at work, first dates or even socialising. Luckily, this type of anxiety can be beaten.
Note: If you think you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, you are advised to seek help from your doctor.
1. Get enough sleep – Inconsistent sleep patterns can affect our physical health and make us feel more anxious. When you feel anxious, try to schedule in enough snooze time and see how you feel when you’re well rested.
2. Have a chuckle – If work is getting you down, take a break and watch something funny. Studies suggest that laughing reduces symptoms of anxiety, so don’t feel guilty about watching that Youtube clip – it’s good for your health.
3. Tidy house = tidy mind – Being surrounded by clutter is enough to make anyone feel anxious. Make your work and living area calm and welcoming by tidying away any junk and adding a few flowers, pictures or even scented candles to calm those nerves.
4. Cultivate gratitude – Expressing gratitude can help reduce anxiety and during the festive period, this can be especially apt. Rather than stressing about gifts, be thankful for what you have.
5. Breathe – Addressing your breathing can have a profound effect on anxiety. When we feel apprehensive we usually take shorter, shallower breaths. By taking deep breaths, you are telling your body it’s OK to relax.
6. Create a vision board – If the future is worrying you, try to change the way you think about it. Creating a vision board with images that represent your hopes and dreams can help you feel more positive about what lies ahead.
7. Be quiet – Too much noise has been linked to stress levels, so next time you are feeling overwhelmed, try taking 10 minutes alone to be silent. Turn off your phone, TV and computer and revel in the quiet.
8. Be prepared – If you find you are anxious about the immediate future, try planning ahead. Write a to-do list for the following day/week/month so you know what needs to be done and how you will do it.
9. Visualise a positive outcome – If you are feeling anxious about a particular event (i.e. an upcoming exam/presentation/speech), take some time to visualise yourself handling the situation with calm ease and clarity.
10. Spend time with others – Having a supportive social circle gives you an outlet for your anxiety and should help you feel less isolated. Socialising is also said to stimulate the production of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces anxiety.
To find out how a life coach could help you with stress and anxiety, please see our stress page.
View and comment on the original Greatist article.
December 4th, 2013
Prepare for the New Year with a clutter-free home.
If you spent last weekend putting up your Christmas decorations and found yourself battling with clutter, you’re not alone. Delving into the depths of your attic and adorning every corner of your home with tinsel is bound to uncover some unnecessary clutter.
While organising your house and clearing the clutter may seem like too much to add to your already full-plate, starting the New Year with serene and tidy surroundings will get you in the right frame of mind for new beginnings. Not only this, but a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience actually found that clutter can diminish your ability to focus and process information. So it seems as if the old adage of ‘a tidy house equals a tidy mind’ is truer than you thought.
Follow the following steps to banish clutter for good:
Divide the job into manageable tasks
It can be incredibly overwhelming to take on the task of tidying your entire house at once – so try to break the job up into steps. Try to focus on just one room at a time – and if that’s too much, look at one section of a room at a time. Keep moving through the sections/rooms and you’ll get the whole house done before you know it.
Take some before and after pictures
If you normally start these kinds of tasks with gusto but then never get around to finishing them, try to keep your motivation up with a series of before and after snaps. Before you tackle your first room, take a picture before and after you de-clutter it. Keeping this visual reminder of how your house can look should help you stay motivated to move on to the next room.
You can organise your belongings as much as you like – but if there is simply too much stuff, your house will never feel tidy. Now is the time to look at these things and ask yourself if you really need it. If the answer is no, donate it to a charity or throw it out. Letting go of possessions like this will make you feel lighter emotionally.
If you live with other people, be sure to tell them how you plan on organising the house. Let them know where they should place their belongings from now on so they can help to keep your house clutter-free. Hopefully they’ll pitch in and help!
Keep it clean
Once your house is tidy, the biggest challenge is keeping it that way. Try to spend 10 minutes or so at the end of every day putting things where they’re supposed to be and clearing any clutter. This will keep the house clean and save you another mammoth job at the end of next year.
Looking to de-clutter your life while you de-clutter your home? Take a look at our life coaching areas to see how a life coach could help.
View and comment on the original Inspiyr article.
November 29th, 2013
Give gifts that inspire this year.
Knowing what to get loved ones for Christmas can often be a challenge and it can be all too easy to fall back to generic gifts year after year. This Christmas, why not give them something that will make them smile and feel inspired instead?
Take a look at our gift guide for ideas:
The Happiness Project (£5.67)
Written by Gretchen Rubin, this book follows her journey to find happiness over the course of a year. During this year, Gretchen immerses herself in a variety of pop psychology and classical philosophy, trying out a range of techniques to find out what works for her.
Every day – a five-year memory book (£12.99)
Beautifully illustrated, this notebook allows you to capture the moments that matter every day for five years. Decked-edge pages and colourful endpapers make it an heirloom to treasure.
Life is too short poster (£18)
With a gorgeous vintage style design, we love the words on this poster:
“Life is too short to wake up with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forget about those who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy – they just promised it would most likely be worth it.”
Pillow notes (£14)
Cute little notes for you to leave on your loved one’s pillow to make them smile before they drop off to sleep. Quotes include “Sleep tight, wake bright, allow your dreams to take flight.”
Looking back, looking forward planner (£14)
Unleash your creative side with this exquisitely designed notebook. Journal your thoughts, note down ideas and plan for the future.
Cup of sanity mug (£12.50)
Perfect for those who love their tea, this ‘cup of sanity’ mug will allow you to take a breath and compose yourself before taking your day by the horns.
November 27th, 2013
Never use the “I’m too busy to exercise” excuse again with these simple tips.
As Christmas rolls around it becomes all too easy to avoid exercise – after all you’re very busy, what with work, present shopping and general Christmas organising to contend with, who has time to work out? Well, you do, actually. Your health should take priority, especially over winter and there are plenty of ways you can sneak exercise into your everyday routine…
Take advantage of those precious couple of hours before work to work on your health. If you’re not keen on early starts, don’t worry – you can do all of these things while you get ready.
- Before you get in the shower aim to do 40 reps of the following: Mondays – squats, Tuesdays – push-ups, Wednesdays – lunges, Thursdays – tricep dips, Fridays – side-to-side jumps.
- When you’re brushing your teeth try standing on one leg to build core stability.
- If you live close enough, walk to work rather than drive.
- If you live too far away to walk the whole way, park further away or get off the bus earlier so you can walk part of the way.
Even if your job requires you to sit at a desk for eight hours, there are still ways you can get a little exercise in.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Get up and walk around every 20 minutes or so – set yourself a reminder to prompt you.
- Do leg extensions, buttock squeezes or march your legs at your desk.
- Do some easy yoga poses during your lunch break.
In the evenings
While evenings are typically earmarked for relaxation, adding a little exercise to the mix will keep you healthy and help you drop off to sleep more easily.
- Join an evening class that is on your route home from work to increase your chances of attending.
- Work out while you watch TV – every time there is an ad break, do a different exercise.
- Make it fun and get the kids involved with a dance session when you get home from work.
- Do some leg raises while doing the dishes.
To find out how a health coach could help you stick to your fitness goals, please see our health page.
View and comment on the original Express article.
November 22nd, 2013
Looking at something blue and green can help boost creativity.
Think outside the box and boost creativity with the following simple tips.
Most people associate creativity with music, art or writing – but the truth is, being creative can mean anything from submitting an original idea at a meeting to coming up with a new recipe. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a creative person, you can still benefit from a freer way of thinking.
Take a look at the following ideas to boost creativity no matter how short on time you are.
Under 10 minutes
Listen to some music
Listening to your favourite tunes actually stimulates the part of the brain responsible for motor actions, emotions and creativity. It is thought that classical music in particular can increase creativity, concentration and other important cognitive functions.
Look at something green or blue
According to research, looking at these colours can enhance cognitive function. This is thought to be because we associate blue with openness and green with growth – we’ve helped you out here with our accompanying image.
Under 30 minutes
When you were young, chances are you spent a great deal of time outside – running around a playground making up games and adventures. Recreate that feeling by spending some time in nature, studies show it stimulates the imagination.
Try something new
This could be as simple as trying a new recipe or finding a new route to work – doing anything out of habit is considered ‘novelty-seeking’, something that is linked to creativity and overall well-being.
Keep a notebook handy
Make a point of jotting down any ideas you have or any issues that need solving – often having such things written in black and white can help you think in a different way. Don’t worry about grammar or presentation – consider it more of a brain dump.
Schedule in some play time
If your job doesn’t already, suggest to the boss that you have a games area or suggest some more team outings. Getting away from work every now and then throughout the day can help you think more creatively and boosts productivity.
If you are struggling to think creatively at work or simply need a little career advice – why not speak to a life coach? Find out more on our personal development and career pages.
View and comment on the original Greatist article.
November 21st, 2013
After National Stress Awareness Day highlighted the soaring levels of stress in the workplace during the past year, online resource Life Coach Directory has reported that business coaching terms have received the highest volume of queries in the same period1.
Wednesday 6th November marked the 15th annual National Stress Awareness Day (NSAD), held to raise awareness about the importance of effective stress management – particularly in the workplace – which, if left untreated can lead to the development of a number of serious physical illnesses.
According to figures released to coincide with NSAD, in the past year alone, stress resulted in five million employees calling in sick to take a day off work – ringing up a £460m bill per day in wasted wages2.
Interestingly, Life Coach Directory – an online register of coaches and NLP practitioners – has reported that business and career coaching have remained the two most highly searched for terms on the website during the past twelve months – indicating that both employers and employees are now taking a more proactive approach to stress management and employee development.
Why so stressed?
A moderate amount of stress can act as a great motivator, encouraging us to push towards our goals, subsequently making us feel exhilarated when we see the tangible results of our efforts. Working under too much pressure however can become a problem – so much so that if the stress is left to build, it may begin to impact a person’s ability to carry out their work or other day-to-day tasks. So how can employees and employers identify and take control of stress?
Employees who have recently been feeling the pressure at work should look out for:
While the above list is not exhaustive, if any of the above symptoms reflect recent changes in either your behaviour or in the behaviour of a colleague and you feel this may be a reaction to events or experiences in the workplace, additional support such as counselling or life coaching may be of benefit.
What can employers do to identify and tackle stress?
Those who are in a managerial position should never underestimate the impact of stress on their team, and keeping an eye open for any employees who may be struggling to cope with responsibilities or workload should be an important aspect of the role. If you do identify workplace stress in a team member, see below for some useful tips on how to approach the subject:
Talk with your team member privately – If you have identified a change in the behaviour of a team member, take them to one side and gently voice your concerns e.g. “I’ve noticed you’ve been very quiet recently and I just wanted to check in to see if everything is ok?”
Don’t assume a change in behaviour is work related, we all have things going on at home that sometimes spill over into the workplace so be sure to let employees talk freely and prepare yourself to be surprised by what they may say. When they are speaking, listen carefully and express empathy.
Offer and provide support – Go in with the understanding that a team member may not feel comfortable speaking about their private life with you. Instead, make them aware of the workplace services and support available to them to help them during this time and make sure you are armed with the correct information e.g. telephone numbers, website addresses and leaflets etc. beforehand.
Reduce workplace pressure on a temporary basis – Once the source of stress has been established, a management discussion should be had so that a decision can be made on whether to cut down the employee’s workload.
Perhaps some aspects of their role need delegating to other team members, or maybe they require some extra support or training in order to carry out their role.
Follow-up – If you have referred an employee on to a support service or have reduced their workload temporarily, don’t just leave things there – follow-up to see how they are getting on.
Monitor their behaviour and schedule in a series of catch-up meetings so that you can have a chat about their progress and any setbacks.
How can life coaching help with workplace stress?
While examining the root cause and preceding events is the traditional way to treat stress, life coaching offers a contemporary and effective alternative that instead focuses on the future.
For employers with dispirited and stressed employees, group staff coaching offers practical solutions to get to the heart of business and improve morale and motivation among employees.
For the strained and downbeat employee who no longer feels satisfied or fulfilled with their job role, one-to-one career coaching provides a unique opportunity to seek out some career change advice from a professional coach to set you on your way to a more fulfilling life.
1: Information based on visitor searches carried out on Life Coach Directory between October 2012 and October 2013.
2: Tovey, Alan. 2013, Stress the cause of five million days off work, The Telegraph.
General information also obtained through Time to Change – How to cope with stress at work.
November 20th, 2013
Embrace change and pursue the life you want by overcoming your fears.
In life, there are many times when we need to make changes. Such changes could include leaving a job, moving to a new town or even ending an unfulfilling relationship. All of these situations take us out of our comfort zone and have the potential to cause major anxiety.
The problems start when this anxiety stops us from making changes – holding us back from pursuing the life we really want. If this sounds familiar, take a look at the following tips to help you overcome your fear of change:
List the pros and cons
It may sound overly simplistic, but sometimes our minds need to see evidence in black and white. List the pros and cons of making the change and weigh them up, considering your ultimate goal. This list will either empower you to make the change, or help you realise you are happy where you are.
The enormity of these kinds of changes is usually what scares us. To make them less intimidating, break them up into manageable steps. For example, if your goal is to change career, start out by networking with people in the industry and work yourself up to applying for a job.
Acknowledge your feelings
It is perfectly natural to feel fear before making a big change. The key is acknowledging this fear… and doing it anyway. Just taking the time to accept the way you feel and make the positive step to embrace change is enough to get anyone fired up.
Focus on the positive
Try not to see change as something scary, instead try to focus on the positives. If you’re anxious about moving somewhere new for example, focus on how it will feel exploring a new city and meeting new people. If you are fearful of ending an unhappy relationship, consider how you’ll be free to grow more independently and make room to meet someone who enhances your life.
Talk it out
In many cases verbalising your fears to someone else can help you gain perspective. Talk to a friend or family member, or if you feel their views will be biased, consider speaking to a life coach.
To find out more about life coaching and how it could benefit you, please see our personal development page.
View and comment on the original ChickRX article.
November 15th, 2013
Find out what steps you need to take to uncover a meaningful career path for you.
Most people agree that the key to being successful at work is finding a career you really love. Sounds simple enough, but if you’re not sure exactly what it is you’re passionate about, finding a meaningful career path can feel like an uphill struggle.
There are however some steps you can take to figure out what it is you’re passionate about so that you can then turn this into a career.
A good question to ask yourself before you jump into anything is, ‘What would I still do, even if I wasn’t paid to do it?’. Whatever answer you come up with, try journaling or meditating on it to surface ideas for a career path.
Once you have a few areas of interest you want to explore, the next step is to network. By meeting people working in the field you’re interested in, not only will you get the chance to learn more about the industry, you could also make important connections with potential employers.
3. Try out a few different fields
Once you know which industry you want to work in, try to get internships/volunteering positions in different fields so you get a taste of the whole industry. This could uncover which field you want to go into and will offer invaluable experience.
4. Be realistic
Following your dreams is empowering, but you should keep practicalities in mind. If you have to start at the bottom in your chosen career for example and you need to work for very little money (or even for free) to start with, ensure you have a back-up plan or second paid job so you can pay the bills.
5. Find your ‘why’
Finding a purpose to your life and career can lead you to both happiness and success. Figure out why you want to do the career you’ve chosen and keep it in mind throughout your journey.
If you want to find out more about career coaching and how it could help you find the job of your dreams, please read our career fact-sheet.
View and comment on the original ChickRX article.
November 14th, 2013
Today, everything seems to move at 100 miles an hour, making it difficult to find the time to do the things we really want to do. Whether it’s finding a new job or reaching a small personal goal, confidence and self-belief can really help us to find new ways of living. See below for our top tips on how to adopt and maintain a positive attitude:
Strive to be better
While some people suggest that always yearning for more can lead to constant dissatisfaction, pushing beyond our comfort zone and reaching for something higher can help us to achieve our goals. Search inside yourself and find your own personal reason to exist, and once you’ve found it work out a way to include it in your life.
Set personal goals
Knowing what we want from life and whether we are on the right path is challenging, so setting goals of where we want to go and what we want to achieve can help to establish perspective. Goals inspire us to achieve more and promote personal growth, so take a shot at writing yours down so that you can check back on them regularly to see where you are.
Surround yourself with positivity
It’s all very well having a ‘glass half full attitude’, but if you’re surrounded by those with a half empty glass it can be difficult to ward off those negative thoughts.
Being positive is easier when you are surrounded by those with a similar attitude. Try to spend time with those who help you to be the best person you can be, and distance yourself from those who weigh you down and drain your positivity.
Don’t be afraid to take risks
If you want to experience life to the full, you need to be prepared to take chances.
If you are afraid to take a risk that doesn’t mean you don’t believe in yourself – it simply means that you’re aware there could be some bumps along the journey but despite this you’re willing to step outside of your comfort zone and take a chance anyway.
If the risk you take doesn’t turn out as planned, don’t view it as mistake. Developing a fear of mistakes will only prevent you from moving forward in life.
See our personal development page to find out how a life coach could help you to achieve your goals.
View and comment on the original Express article.
November 8th, 2013
Keep fitness goals going during winter with our easy tips.
When the temperature drops and it gets darker earlier, it can be easy for fitness regimes to fall by the wayside. In the summer it is far easier – we have our bodies out more, the weather is warm and the bright sunlight makes us feel bad if we don’t exercise. In winter months however, the temptation to crawl under a duvet with a mug of hot chocolate is overwhelming. So what can you do to maintain motivation during this time?
Remind yourself why you’re doing it
Whether you have a goal to lose weight, you’re looking to improve your fitness or you simply enjoy the way exercising makes you feel – it is important to remind yourself why you exercise. Write this information down and put it up somewhere you’ll see it every day for a visual reminder.
Motivate and prompt yourself
Utilise technology and try out some goal tracking and fitness apps to keep you motivated. We love Fig, a fab little app that prompts you to complete your goals on a daily basis. It may also help to leave yourself some visual cues – put your running gear by the front door, or your exercise DVD in front of your TV.
Try something new
Getting stuck in the same routine can get boring, and if you’re bored you are less likely to want to work out. Mix things up a bit and try something different this winter; if you’re a runner, why not incorporate some Pilates to strengthen your core? Or if you normally exercise alone, why not join a local sports team?
Attend a class
If the thought of going outside to exercise leaves you cold (excuse the pun) why not sign up for an indoor class instead? You’ll meet new people and learn new skills in a brighter, warmer environment.
Invest in winter workout gear
For some, getting out in nature to exercise is imperative. If this is the case, make sure you are equipped with the right clothes so you stay warm while exercising – this will eradicate any excuses about it being too cold.
Work out during daylight hours
If all else fails, why not exercise at a different time of day? If you can be flexible with your working hours, take advantage and fit in some exercise during the day – if not, try going for a walk or run on your lunch break.
If you’re struggling with motivation, you may benefit from talking to a life coach. To see how they could help, please see our motivation and health pages.