As we head into our second lockdown, how can we reduce anxiety and stress?
A return to restrictions and lockdown has seen Anxiety levels soar again, in all ages.
It has been a year that has touched everyone in some way. One we certainly won’t forget.
Continued uncertainty and not being able to plan for the future, can give the feeling being anxious, stressed and not being in control. We are left wondering when ‘normality’ will return.
This can also create stress and overwhelm, as our mind becomes hypersensitive to the continued threat to our well-being and fears go into overdrive.
As the weather changes too, how can we manage our anxiety, or help those close to us?
Following on from being on Pat Marsh’s show, on BBC Radio Kent – I have listed the advice spoken about and more…
Focus on what YOU can control
Like your getting up time, when you have lunch or some exercise, whether indoors or outdoors.
A routine is a great thing to have in the week, especially if you are not able to continue your normal routine, to give you structure. Relax at the weekend. This will help you feel less anxious to keep the days of the week and the weekend seperate.
Also, Stick to a good bedtime, to get important sleep you need. Waking up refreshed is so much better for you and will help you cope better day to day. Our body repairs and our mind helps file away our day.
If you wake up in the night – listen to the calm silence and then task your mind to count down from 300 – gently keep bring your mind back to the countdown and you will go back to sleep. It is a good idea not to turn on phone screens if you wake up, because the light affects your sleep hormone, which promotes sleep.
Stay connected in whatever way you can with family and friends. This is the time to keep talking. Talking to friends and family about how you feel, or listening to others, can really help.
Pick up the phone and have conversations. Check on your neighbours. You can meet one other person for a walk, so even if it is meeting for just a half hour walk, it is well worth doing. Wrap up if it is cold and prepare to be invigorated!
If you feel anxious and like thoughts are whirring around your head – get a plain piece of paper and write everything down – then rip it up. It feels good.
Try to limit the news to once a day, just so you can keep in touch with what is happening that may affect you, then concentrate on what you can control within your own environment – whilst following the guidelines.
Other things you can try:
- Join virtual group or create one – like a model club, knitting, photography… there are other things too, if you are not wanting to use a device or computer.
- Have quiet time and read, colour, draw or paint and do crafts, or a jigsaw
- Try calming mindfulness – focus on your breathing and think of things that make you smile and feel happy
- Make a calming glitter jar – literally fill an empty jar with water and glitter – seal and enjoy its calming affects
- Get a stress ball – or something lovely and touchy-feely for when you feel anxious and stressed or pop bubble wrap!
- Listen to music, sing out loud and dance – music has wonderful power to uplift you and change your mood instantly and it lasts
- Watch things that make you Laugh, laughing really is a tonic.
So, give a few things a good and you will feel better
If you are feeling panicky:
- Breathe – breathe in for the count of 3, hold for 3, breathe out to the count of 3 and hold for 3 – do this three times and you will feel calmer
- Tell yourself ‘I’m OK, I am calm’
- This could be useful to try: Focus on 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear (even if you create the noise) 3 things you can touch. This grounds you and helps you feel calmer.
Really not feeling yourself?
We can all be feeling anxious and stressed, but if it is taking over your day to day living, affecting your sleep and eating habits, then do seek help from your GP, and the many organisations available to get the support you need.
You are not alone: 1 in 4 people suffer anxiety.
How often do you put yourself first?
I have had the pleasure of being on BBC Radio Kent, Pat Marsh’s show, over several weeks now. We have been talking about many things to help your Mental Health and Well-Being.
Today we talked about being kind & and looking after yourself.
Putting yourself first at times matters – it is essential for your well-being to top up your own cup, so you have something to give.
It reduces your stress levels and helps you feel happier, which is better for you and the people around you.
Some people find it hard to put themselves first, worrying that it is a selfish thing to do; which can result on taking on too much, feeling overwhelmed, tired and stressed.
So, how can you look after yourself?
There are several things you can do as listed below, to look after your Mind Body and Soul
- Start by taking the pressure off yourself to be ‘perfect’ or things to be done ‘perfectly’ and to be 100% all of the time. A great question to ask yourself; “Is it fair to expect 100% – 100% of the time?”
- A rule I like to live by is 80 / 20. 80% of the time do what you know you should – 20% of the time do what you like doing. This creates a great balance and avoids you trying to cut things out altogether which can be a hard thing to do – just adding to pressure or stress.
- Eat a wide variety of wholesome foods that nourish and sustain your body and mind. Good nutrition helps to keep your body healthy and more able to fight off disease. When you feel healthly you can do more things well, which helps you feel happier.
- Keep Hydrated Keeping yourself hydrated helps you think more clearly, and your body functions so much better when well hydrated.
- Exercise is good for your Mind Body and Soul – it keeps you flexible and fit, reduces stress, gives you headspace and much needed ‘time out’ and reduces the risk of disease. When are body and mind are healthy we feel so good from the inside out and life flows better.
Other important things are;
- Get plenty of sleep. The benefits of a good sleep can not be underestimated – our mind filters and files our day, our body repairs and children grow. I’m an advocate of the power nap – a great way to top up on sleep.
- Play and have FUN do what you love doing, have fun and laughs – it is so good for your mental well-being. Doing things you enjoy is so important. When was the last time you factored some FUN into your life as a priority?
- Looking after your spiritual health is an important part of over health and well-being – whether it is meditation, religion and prayer, the outcome can be an inner sense of peace.
- Developing Confidence in yourself learning to say YES to what you want to do, and NO to what you don’t want to do, or maybe don’t have the time to do.
- Many people find that little word NO a difficult word to say – so, try buying your self some time to decide what you want to do by saying something like, “Let me see if I have the time to do what you ask, to make sure I can do the best job for you”
- Learn something new learning a new skill not only expands your mind and feeds your interest, giving you a wonderful sense of achievement. As a result of doing something new – it can open up opportunities for new experiences, or friendships.
- BE YOURSELF – You are the only you there is. Embrace who you are. Get to know yourself and appreciate your achievements and skills. This will help you feel so much happier and confident.
There is so much more I could add!
TAKE CARE OF YOU – YOU MATTER
During these challenging times that we are all going through, it is undersandable to be feeling Stressed or Anxious.
I have created a short video to help you understand any feeling you may be having and how to reduce any anxiety.
I hope helps
Ever asked yourself ‘why do I procrastinate?’
Is procrastinationg stopping you doing the things you really want to do, or really should be doing? Do you feel like your dreams are slipping away from you? Would you like to find solutions as to why you may be procrastinating? Here is some inforamtion, you can request my EBook if you would like to know more.
Stop your procrastination crushing your dreams
It is a normal process that most people go through – a form of contemplation, to decide whether to do something or not. This stage can sometimes become prolonged, due to fear, or being unsure and not feeling very confident, so that procrastination takes over leading to a job or task not getting done.
When procrastination becomes a real problem, is when this process happens often, leading to chronic procrastination. This can quite markedly affect our Self-esteem, and lead to us losing confidence and not allowing ourselves great experiences or opportunities. Like a new job, going for a promotion, dating, or joining in on things we enjoy. Or not ever showcasing what we can do and let the world see how talented we are.
There are many reasons from; Low Self =-Esteem, ‘Perfectionism’ Overwhelm, lack of effective planning, not having the right skills, being too distracted or bored even.
As many reasons as there are for procrastinating is matched by solutions. So, you can answer the question ‘why do I procrastinate?’ Once you inderstand your reason for procrastinating a little better, and have some solutions to work with, you can get going…
Learning how to plan effectively, using tools to help you.
How to break tasks or projects down into achieveble steps.
Prioritising tasks – to help you be more organised and avoid overwhelm.
Developing your confidence, recognising your skills and knowing when to ask for help.
Learning how to say NO.
Delaying gratification – this is about rewarding yourself after a task has been completed.
I have developed an EBook to explain more. There is so much to help you understand and to be able to fix your procrastinating and live a fulfilled and happier life, which puts you back in the game!
Please email me if you would like the free EBook with a lot of very useful information in it at: firstname.lastname@example.org or use the ‘Request an Appointment’ button and ask for the EBook
Why not LIKE my Facebook page 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/AndreaBarkerConfidenceCoach/
When you lack Confidence, it can seem like you may never develop it, or regain it.
We can all lack confidence in some areas, and feel fine in others. Like; being ok in a close friend or family group, to feeling panicky at the thought of standing up and talking about ourselves in front of others!
There are times in everyone’s life, where life events can seem to sap your confidence. Being out of work for sometime due to illness or redundancy. Maybe having children, moving to a new area, or country, and starting work for the first time.
There are times when low confidence can seep into everyday and starts to prevent you living life fully. Meaning you may miss out on opportunities, because you don’t feel confident enough to put yourself forward.
If you suffer with a lack of confidence, one thing to know is you are not alone. It is more common than you may think, even though some people seem very confident, that doesn’t mean they are!
Three small things that you can do, that start to increase your confidence:
- write down a list of all you have achieved from being young. Learning to ride a bike, or swim, playing a sport, dancing, for example. Or learning an instrument; getting badges from youth groups; learning to cook – even something very simple; to sew / woodwork and make something. Any certificates you have, learning to drive, to type, to read and to write! The first time you did a journey by yourself; overcoming illness or tragedy; getting your first job or work experience, helping others, friendships, being there for family and friends… the list goes on.
- Get a little notebook, and every day for 21 days – write down 3 things each day that either made you laugh or smile and feel happy, even if only for a moment. Then after 21 days read them all back and then carry on if you want to. This is great to do with children near bedtime; just ask them what made them laugh today and see what they say!
- Watch a film, programme or comedian that makes you laugh out loud! Laughter is contagious and it helps us reduce stress and live in the moment, and the feeling lasts.
Try and see how you feel.
The next steps would then be to very gently step out of your comfort zone, and try a small thing like complimenting someone else, and making them smile.
Arrange a day out to visit something very different, a train journey to the city or beach; an exhibition; or animal sanctuary; a theme park. Even though your heart may beat a little faster, tell yourself ‘just do it’. **Go with supportive people, or on your own. This is about gentle steps, not anything that makes you feel terrified. Do your planning on times of journey’s there and back, opening times, distance to venues etc… and have some fun.
I hope this helps in some way
How do you survive Christmas while managing an SME?
Christmas can be a wonderful and a stressful time for many reasons; the pressure for it to be just right, for everyone to get on! fitting in extra activities, buying presents and if you have a business – trying to manage that too.
For some business owners I know, the festive period is a time to wind-down, and an opportunity to plan for the coming year, for others it can be relentless, and also managing staff holidays, whilst keeping clients happy.
My advice would be: do have a cut off point so you can have time over the festive period, to be festive, or to relax and re-charge. We are much more effective and efficient as a result – because as much as you may love, live and breathe your business, there is more to You and your life. If we look after our well-being and literally sometimes do ‘nothing’ – yes nothing, or watch a film, play games with family and friends, or get some fresh air, the benefit is immeasurable.
To truly-wind down, this means managing the expectations of any staff you may have, your clients and family too, most people do understand. Be clear when things can be done by, switch the email to ‘out of office’ – you have worked hard – but no-one can run on empty. Think of yourself as your favourite car, or an amazing race horse, how would you look after them?
So, your present to yourself is: TIME – to rest, recuperate, recharge and be You, and so that you can free up your mind to come up with great solutions, and ideas. When we are stressed or running at max constantly – the solution focused centre of our mind closes down, because we are just ‘surviving’.
Look to the greats; Einstein knew the power of doing ‘nothing’ to gain his best ideas, and many top business people know about the power of true rest, and meditation (there are many forms including; nature; music, exercise and Yoga) this also puts you very much in tune with yourself – your intuition or ‘gut instinct’ which is never wrong, and will serve you well, not just in business but in life too, and if there has been a problem or issue to deal with, you are certain to come up with the answer by allowing your mind the time to process a solution.
Christmas isn’t the best time for a lot of people, so if you have people around you, and food on the table – being grateful is an amazing boost for you too – and those closest to you
Have a Happy peaceful Christmas and New Year
I am signing off now and returning to Confidence Coaching on the 3rd January 2019
I delivered a talk to a lovely group of people on Wednesday 5th December
titled: ‘Presenting Yourself Confidently in Business’
here is the slide showing what we covered
Presenting covers so many things – from how you present yourself, whether in person or over the phone, in emails and on social media, across your Branding, literally delivering a speech, talk or presentation – to ‘Being Present’
A present is also a gift
Presenting is a way of giving information- so people are informed about an event, a promotion or new product, idea or concept and to raise awareness, generate interest and to educate, so people can make informed choices, or it could be to raise money for a good cause.
Many people have a Fear of presenting and there are many reasons why – the fear of being judged, and feeling exposed, getting it wrong, embarrassing oneself or forgetting what to say, or worrying that you have nothing good to say that people will want to listen to. During the talk, we discussed whether people really do judge you in the way that you think, in this situation – and generally they don’t – do You?
Here is why – we are generally thinking about ourselves! it’s true – and whether what is being said or shown, is of benefit to us – we may switch of and be thinking about what’s for tea, or the email you should have sent, or not be interested. As the presenter – it’s your job to try and know your audience and there are many ways to do this – depending on the type of event it is – and it is good to remember that not everybody will be interested, but that’s OK.
When it comes to the fear or Anxiety – the best way to get around this is to get out there and do it! To feel Confident – you need to Practice Practice Practice and know your subject – do it in front of the mirror, others or video yourself – so that the first time you do it – isn’t the actual presentation or talk itself!! and you can get the timings right.
You need a little bit of Adrenaline – and you can learn how to control anxiety – one good thing to remember is it’s the same adrenaline if you’re Excited therefore; ANXIETY = EXCITEMENT our mind believes what we tell it – so Choose!
Also, check out your venue beforehand – arrive early – introduce yourself and your subject – have a clear key message and maybe 3 – 7 key points and objectives, to help your audience know what to expect, but it also helps your when planning your presentation / talk /video -to start with the end in mind.
Don’t tightly script what you want to say – bullet point your key points – put notes on PowerPoint – to print off as an aid (PowerPoint) also has presentation mode – so you know whats coming next – don’t overcrowd the slides, they are there as a visual aid only! Invest in a ‘clicker’ – have handouts and extra information for those who want it. Have a checklist of what to take with you – put everything on it – including ‘Take Presentation’ or ‘take handouts’ Computer – cables – plan B! – which could be your presentation on a memory stick, or emailed to yourself or the organiser.
BREATHE and SMILE and most of all be YOU – there is so much more – so get in touch if you want more information 🙂
This Wednesday 10th October 2018 is WORLD Mental Health Day
I will be in Maidstone Kent at County Hall, Kent with the FSB for MENTAL HEALTH in the Workplace
It is sure to be a very informative event to help all employers and staff – to encourage a healthier happier workplace – which has a massive impact and helps people to feel so much happier.
What is good Mental Health?
“Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”
The Mental Foundation reiterate this “Good mental health is not simply the absence of diagnosable mental health problems”
When a person’s Mental Health is compromised it can affect their work, their family life and friendships, and their physical health too.
Latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive is:
2016/2017 12.5 million working days lost due to Stress, Depression and Anxiety
Which is now 40% of all work absence, compared to the previous 2015/2016 of 37%
This equates to an average of 23.8 days a year lost per person
My personal argument is, there is also the days prior to absence – loss of focus and productivity when a person is feeling stressed, overwhelmed, tired, depressed or anxious. Prevention is always preferable, and it is in the interest of all of us, regardless of size of business – to look after our own Mental Health, to take responsibility. If you are the Boss, yours really matters, and is a great example for any employees you have, but also, if you feel good, the knock-on effect is -so will they.
To create the best working environment we can, offer and maintain a good Life/work balance and to let people know they are Valued.
No-one can run on empty, family and social life is important to our mental well being and happiness, making us more productive. One thing above all things, to get the best from an employee, to have great productivity and Loyalty – is to let them know they are Valued, that their role is important, to make sure they understand what their role is, and how it fits in with everyone else’s, and to spend time on their development – so you have happy loyal productive employees.
A few tips:
- Take lunch away from your desk or work station and have a proper break, go for a walk, even 10 minutes helps – most people do not do this!
- Have regular team meetings
- Prioritise workloads – to avoid duplication, and overwhelm and allow for –
- Good time management
- Leave work at a time that allows valuable time at home with your family, or friends
- Exercise – in whatever form you love – the mental health benefits are huge, as well as gaining great physical health too
- Take on a team challenge!
- Practice Mindfulness – it works! as does learning Stress management
- Train in Mental Health at work to help take the stigma away – we all have times we need help and support, you can also enlist dedicated companies for your staff to talk to
- Have numbers for supportive organisations clearly visible – there are so many wonderful ones from MIND, to CALM (Campaign Against living miserably) aimed at men, ANXIETY UK, Heads Together, The Samaritans, Re-think Mental illness, Time to Change… there are so many
Just a few things, there is so much more. The work I do is to work on Confidence, and self-esteem to really help people recognise their skills and reach their full potential.