How to Cope With Stress

Stress is everywhere. It appears when your phone beeps in the morning, and you receive a text message asking you to arrive at work early. It comes when a bill arrives in the mailbox, when the in-laws suddenly appear at the door, or when you begin to feel sick.

What makes you feel stressed? I’m a planner, and when a situation comes up that is unexpected, I can lose my cool very quickly. I feel the knots in my stomach, become short tempered, and I hyper focus on the details so much I am unable to prioritise what is really important.

Over time, stress can take a huge toll on our physical and mental health. We are more susceptible to illness and our immunity suffers, we can experience insomnia, are continually tense, and our blood pressure goes up. You and I both know that a small stressor is the straw that can break the camel’s back, and soon even the most miniscule things can set us off. Lots of us live in constant stress, and it is the unwelcome guest in every conversation, every outing and even our dreams. When it’s not monitored, stress can have a detrimental effect on our lives.

The good news is that there are some basic steps we can put in place to combat stress. Small things like eating a healthy diet, exercising and making ‘you’ time can help you to it on a leash. Get organised and make a list, or plan a situation or event on paper. Journal about your feelings, play music and talk to a loved one about how you are feeling.

No matter how stressed we feel, we never have to carry the weight of life alone. By opening up and sharing life with the people around us, we alleviate the stress we feel and often, realise the situation is not as big as we once thought it was.

What are your favourite ways to de-stress? Perhaps you like to find a solitary place and read a good book, or maybe getting out all your nervous energy with a good run is more your style. Whatever technique works for you, make a point to schedule in ‘you’ time and take care of yourself. Life may be stressful, but we can control how we respond to it. So take charge and take care of yourself. You’ll be amazed at the long term benefits these simple practices can have on your health and wellbeing.

Take a look at this image by MyMentalHealthDay.org for more ways to manage stress.

How-to-Cope-With-Stress

Do you feel stressed? Are you looking for creative ways to relax and enjoy life? Then here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245  for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how she can best help you, or press book now to book on the online diary.

5 Tips to Manage Personal Relationships in the Workplace

5-Tips-to-Manage-Personal-Relationships-in-the-WorkplaceWhen we enter the workforce, we never want to be ‘that' person: the one who got that job through their connection with the boss, or the employee who already has a romantic relationship with someone on staff. In these times, it can be hard to work with a clean slate. People can undermine your work, and meanwhile you are constantly trying to balance your personal and professional life.

Have you ever asked yourself what the line between work and your personal life is? Social Media like Facebook has blurred this line more than ever, and we all must face the moment a colleague or (gasp) our boss requests us on Facebook. It means our personal photos and thoughts are now available to our colleagues, and elements of our work life, once clearly separate from our home life, are on display for everyone to see. So how do you manage personal relationships in the workplace and still bring your A game while keeping healthy relationships with your loved ones?

  1. Discuss your boundaries
    When entering a workplace where you already know the boss, a colleague or where you develop a romantic relationship with a colleague, it is imperative you have a clear discussion about your expectations of each other and your boundaries. This means discussing how and when you spend time together, how you will respond to personal questions regarding the relationship, and potentially even your physical boundaries in the workplace. For instance, in many workplaces it would be highly inappropriate to kiss your spouse goodbye, yet it would be perfectly acceptable to sit next to each other at lunch.
  2. Choose how you disclose information
    When you enter into a relationship with a colleague, it can be challenging to know if, how and when to let your workmates know. This will vary for individuals, but when you feel your relationship is serious enough to warrant it affecting the workplace consider approaching your boss or a trusted senior advisor about how your personal dynamics have changed and what they expect of you within this.
  3. Be careful with Social Media
    If you don't want your boss to know what you did on the weekend, don't add them on Facebook. In fact, make the decision to keep your work life separate on social media and never address personal issues in the public forum. Remember, once something is posted your workplace has the ability to find it, which could result in any number of consequences, so be careful before you hit that ‘post' button! If you are friendly with your colleagues but still want to retain some sense of privacy, perhaps consider changing the privacy settings on your social media so you can determine who can see what.
  4. Keep yourself accountable
    Having a personal relationship with someone on staff is great as it provides you with extra support and comradery in day to day life. That being said, it is easy for all of us to be blinded by our previous experiences with them and show prejudice either for or against them. When making decisions in the workplace that impact your loved one, take a moment to ask yourself if your judgment is being clouded in anyway before addressing the issue.
  5. Leave work at work
    When you leave the work place, you must decide to leave all your concerns there. In order to keep your personal relationship healthy, you need to determine what you can actually talk about outside of work hours that are work related. There is a difference between venting and disclosing private information that your loved one shouldn’t know, and together you need to make sure you don't allow the stress or tension that developed during the day to inhibit your personal relationship. If you have any unresolved issues or tension from the day, discuss it as soon as you get home, or choose to leave it for the next day when you are back at work. Remember, when you are home this person is your loved one, not your colleague. That beings said, be mindful of the impact anything you say could have on your loved one and consider seeking outside support if you find that work related stress is negatively impacting your relationship.

If you want to grow professionally and in your relationships, experience wellness and reach toward your full relational potential, then here’s what you need to do: contact me on 0434 337 245  for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you or press book now to book on my online diary.

Alcohol and the Workplace

Have you ever shown up to work with a hangover? It makes for an ugly and difficult day, but for many of us it has become normal. In fact, this infographic by Recovery Connection tells us that 15% of all workers in the US are under the influence of alcohol at one time or another. It is easy to assume alcohol only effects ‘alcoholics,’ but the truth is that most alcohol related issues within the workplace come from social drinking. Whether we drink before work or arrive with a hangover, it is something which impacts not only our productivity in the workplace, but also our personal health.

This infographic gives us a list of the industries most likely to contain ‘problem drinkers,’ and it shows that people who do evening, night or sporadic shift work are at the top of the list. In fact, construction and mining, retail, and hospitality all made the top five. And you don’t have to drink at work to be effected by alcohol; research shows that sick days, sleeping at work and trouble with tasks and colleagues are all side effects of problem drinking.

Problem drinking can affect anyone. If you are younger, are a male and work in a managerial position, research shows you are more likely to fit into this category. Do you think you struggle with alcohol at work? Ask yourself these questions:

Do you frequently drink before/after work?

Do you often arrive at work with a hangover?

Do you feel the need to drink in order to cope with the stress of your job?

Have you ever made an error at work due to being intoxicated or having a hangover?

Do you regularly struggle with your co-workers due to your alcohol use?

If you show signs of being a ‘problem drinker,’ you don’t have to struggle through life anymore. You have the ability to manage your alcohol consumption and in this, bring your A game to work on a daily basis.

Alcohol-and-the-workplace

Do you need help to manage alcohol in the workplace? Do you desire to be bold, be daring and be you? Sign up for our free ‘Go 30 Days Alcohol Free’ Challenge here and step into 2015 with new confidence. For more support, check our estore for a special deal on the 30 Days Guide and Workbook. You can also contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you or press book now to book in our online diary.

What Every Introvert Needs To Know To Be Happy and Successful

In a new infographic by Happify, we learn more about introverts and how many of us can live a happier life. Instead of rejecting our need for quiet time and our inward dialogue, this interesting graphic challenges us to embrace our true selves. By stepping out of our comfort zone and embracing some social activities, we are shown to be happier and healthier…given there is time to recharge in a quiet place afterwards. As an introvert this infographic will encourage you, and as an extrovert it will give you some insight into how and why introverts behave the way they do. Enjoy this infographic and let us know: what does it teach you about happiness?

What Every Introvert Needs To Know To Be Happy and Successful

Are you an introvert? Do you want to learn how to be happy and successful? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you or press book now to book on my online diary.

Discovering the Purpose for Your Life

Discovering-the-Purpose-for-Your-Life

Tanatat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life is constantly changing; very few things remain the same. Most people will have multiple jobs, and live in different houses, different states and even countries in this day of globalisation. Relationships change and even if you stay with the same person, there are changes in the dynamics of that relationship as each of you becomes more aware of differences and challenges. People change through growth and development, and this impacts stability of life.

With change comes challenge. What direction do I take? Should I leave this job for another? Do I remain in this relationship or move on? How do I manage this situation?

Having to make these difficult life changing decisions can result in a rise of stress levels and displays of emotion such as sadness, disappointment, anger and confusion. Sometimes making a decision becomes too hard, and as a consequence an individual can remain in an unhealthy and unhappy place in their life. When this occurs, a person is paralysed by ambiguity and confusion so they are unable to make a decision. It may be issues beyond our control that are causing significant pain and anguish, and we feel powerless to change.

Having an independent professional to listen and discuss your stressors in life with has proven to be an instrumental aspect of accepting change and gaining the courage to make a decision to move forward. As a professional who has faced similar challenges, I can assist you in finding answers to life changing questions.

Questions such as:

                What is important to me?

                What values in life do I adhere to and hold precious?

                Do I have a purpose in life? If so, what is it? If not, can I develop a purpose?

                If my life is a picture, what will it look like in the future?

                How do I get there?

                What is my motivation for change?

By pondering these questions, you can be provided clarity, understanding and direction in these challenging and difficult times. As a professional counsellor, mentor and coach, I can assist you in finding the answers to these questions and help to discover, or rediscover, the purpose for your life.

Are you undergoing change in your life? Do you need extra support as you navigate personal and professional challenges? Call Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on your specific needs. If you are ready to make an appointment, you can do so by clicking on the orange icon on this page BOOK NOW and follow the prompts. 

Dealing with Anger at Work

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Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Anger displayed in the work place can come in many forms. Whether you are a boss who is angry at a worker, a colleague who is annoyed at your boss, or a worker who is furious at a peer, there is an appropriate method of dealing with anger in each situation. Having personally been in each of these circumstances, I have realised that it is essential that we acknowledge and respond to conflict in the workplace; however the method of doing so will depend on the professional relationships unique to each work place.

When your boss is angry at you

Your response to an angry colleague will alter depending on their role in the workplace. If your boss becomes angry at you, it needs to be determined whether his/her anger is abusive or is a result of inappropriate behaviour from yourself. Bullying in the workplace is never okay, however if your boss often displays anger there may be little that you can do in an attempt to improve the situation at your place of employment.

The first action in any disintegrating relationship should be to address the issue with the other person; in this case your boss. There is a strong chance that you are not in a position to address this matter with your boss, and they may not care for your opinion. If this is the case, you need to ensure your own personal safety and wellbeing as a number one priority. This may mean that you need to look for other employment.

Depending on the size of the company you work for, there will be grievance procedures which help to solve these conflicts. However, if the company is small and the boss is the owner/director, you are unlikely to have an avenue to follow. You always have the choice and right to notify work safe, but even when you choose to go down this path, you need to ensure your wellbeing and safety.

When you have conflict with a colleague who is of an equal or lower position than you

In trying to understand why anger is being displayed, it needs to be determined whether the person is angry as a result of a specific incident with you, or if they are simply an angry person for what appears to be no apparent reason. If a colleague is angry at you about a specific incident, it is likely a one on one conversation in a calm, professional manner will resolve the situation. This will provide both people with the understanding and opportunity to apologise for a one off incident.

If a colleague is often angry, it is likely the anger is an unhealthy tool they use to get their point across, to make their presence felt, and to feel powerful. As stated previously, the ideal strategy is to discuss the behaviour with the colleague. There is a slight chance that the angry colleague is unaware of their behaviour and following a discussion with them, they will change. The other alternative is that the person won’t be prepared to listen to you. At this point grievance procedures for your company should be implemented.

In your work place, grievance procedures will be similar to the following:

  1. Speak with colleague
  2. If no resolution, speak to your manager
  3. The manager is likely to involve HR If they want too. A number of possible scenarios may follow:
  • The Manager or HR will provide a form of mediation with you and your colleague.
  • The situation is managed through performance in which case it is unlikely you will know the outcome; however you can certainly hope to see a change in behaviour.
  • If you do not agree with the outcome, you can either speak to your manager’s manager or report the incident to work safe.

In all situations with people, it is best to understand that we cannot change them, we can only change the way we respond to them. For example, if person A is angry at Person B, B is unable to change A. B can only change the way they respond to A.

If you feel you are on the receiving end of anger from people, seeking professional support can provide you with strategies so you can respond in a healthier and safer way.

When you are the angry person

The previous situations have dealt with being the recipient of anger. This section will look at the responsibility of the angry person.

Whether you are in leadership/management or a peer to the people you get angry with, you need to take responsibility for your actions. It is highly likely that you feel justified in your actions and comments; however displaying anger at others shows a lack of respect, professionalism, and undermines the value of other people

If you are in leadership or management and you regularly display anger, it is highly likely that your team are under performing and you have a high staff turnover rate; this will be costing you money. By being prepared to review your behaviour and implement different strategies for dealing with stress and pressure, you will not only save yourself work and money, is is quite possible you will have a much happier and productive team.

If you display anger at your colleagues, it is likely you will be limiting your career options. People who regularly display anger at work are identified as bullies and this label can have a detrimental effect not only on their career, but on their sense of self-worth.

As an individual you may enjoy getting angry, however I expect that deep down you are quite embarrassed about this behaviour; you my even feel powerless to control your angry outbursts. Whatever the reason you use anger at work; it can have a detrimental impact on yourself and the people you work with.

Anger is something that can be managed. By seeking professional support, your triggers for anger can be identified and strategies implemented so that you control your anger rather than it controlling you.

If you are experiencing anger at work or are feeling the effects of a colleagues anger and need support then here’s what you need to do: contact Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how Watersedgecounselling can best help you or press book now to book on our online diary.

4 Benefits of Professional Supervision

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Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you in a leadership position in your profession?

Where do you discuss your ideas, debrief from a stressful day, analyse challenges and increase your self-awareness?

Are you uncertain of what to do next in your career?

Professional supervision provides you the opportunity to manage your situation through critical reflection and self-discovery. Here are 4 benefits I have discovered that come from receiving professional supervision.

1. You don’t have to do it on your own

In the professional world, it can often seem like you are on your own as everybody appears to be interested in looking after themselves. In my experience, supervision provides an external perspective on different situations. It allows me to step out of my inward thinking so I become more creative, I understand people more and I am able to develop strategies for improvement.

2. Supervision provides strategies and processes to deal with challenging situations and people.

Initially I  would only go to professional supervision when I found myself in a crisis. My supervisor was always able to help me to discover the answers and ways to navigate these situations positively. Eventually I realised that if I attended supervision regularly, I wouldn’t have as many crisis as my skill set increased.

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Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3. Supervision can give you direction

Do you ever feel like you are going around in circles or stepping backwards in your day to day routine? Supervision can provide you with the direction required to get out of the mundane and to move forward with purpose and direction. So often we feel we have to do things on our own because of professional competitiveness; with professional supervision you will be assisted to discover your inner potential without fearing the vulnerability of the workplace.

4. Professional supervision provides you with a safe environment to debrief and vent regarding life and work.

Often the stressors of work can result in embarrassing behaviours, and we beat ourselves up for this. By accessing supervision and dealing with the causation of these comments and behaviours, you become better equipped to be more professional and in control.

If you would like to talk to Duncan about the possibility of Professional Supervision you can contact him on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. If you are ready to book an appointment with Duncan, click the icon BOOK ONLINE NOWand you will be taken to his online appointment calendar, and follow the prompts.

Coaching: The Resource That Will Change Your Life

Woman Holding a Compass in a LabyrinthI have a very active imagination and have always loved stories that transport me to a different reality with all its new possibilities. Thus Rick Riordan’s novels have been a delightful discovery, drawing me into the world of Greek mythology with its’ Gods, demigods and monsters in a constant struggle for supremacy in both the godly and human realm. ‘The Battle of The Labyrinth’, the 4th book in the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series, features the discovery of a secret opening to a Labyrinth – an elaborate underground maze that has the ability to confound the traveller by continually changing and reinventing itself. Only by using a piece of thread tied to the point of entry, was the traveller able to successfully survive and return from the Labyrinth. As I reflect upon the Labyrinth, it is symbolic of the complexity that we call ‘being human’.

We all have a secret Labyrinth under the surface of our ‘public self ’ – the ‘private self’ is that part of you that only your most intimate friends are privileged to know. Your ‘public self’, is the personality you have grown into since infancy as you learnt to interact with your environment. You learnt that it was not always in your best interests to respond authentically and so you began to adapt and conform to the expectations of your environment and your personal need for survival and safety. In this way, your ‘private self’ was protected and kept hidden.

Many people ‘forget’ that they have a ‘private self’. Your coping strategy has been so efficient that it has felt ‘normal’ to function as you do. However it is part of life’s experience that as you transition from childhood through to adulthood, your normal way of coping becomes less effective or even ineffective and the degree of stress and dis-stress increases. Frequently this realisation does not come upon us until you reach a point of crisis: a relationship gone wrong, bereavement, marriage breakdown, retrenchment, a crippling physical or mental health issue. A crisis forces you to stop and take a good, hard look at yourself. It invites you to look beneath the surface of yourself (if you dare) and discover who you really are. This is where a resource such as The Enneagram becomes a valuable tool for self-awareness and personal growth.Head with maze

The Enneagram can be a guide to your own personal Labyrinth. It reveals and explores the complexity of your inner self, strengths and weakness, motivators and fears, directing you to your own unique road for growth and wholeness. Do you have that ‘thread’ that ‘anchors’ your journey through your own inner Labyrinth? Do you even know where to begin? I commend The Enneagram to you as a great resource and personal tool to your journey.

If you would like to know more about The Enneagram, further introductory articles are available in Watersedgecounselling’s archives: Relationships: 3 Secrets To Manage Conflict in Your Relationship;

 

If you would like to explore your ‘inner Labyrinth’ but don’t know where to start, a Professional Counsellor is skilled in facilitating your journey to greater self-awareness (Please note – The Enneagram is a resource that I use when working with clients however every Professional Counsellor has their own differing and preferred style and resources).

If you would like to know more about The Enneagram and how it can enhance your growth, wellness and potential you can contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or make an appointment online immediately for a personal consultation.

How to Keep Your Life-Balance

I was feeling great 2 weeks ago, enjoying life, feeling balanced, anticipating completion of a new project. Then this week it all came crashing down on me. I'm tired, not sleeping well, feeling ‘driven' and overwhelmed by my self-imposed workload, anxious,irritated by small things and constantly being apologetic to people(my daughter pointed that one out). What happened to that ‘inner life-balance' and the corresponding feeling of well-being I so enjoyed?

I have been through this cycle many times before and I am much better at pulling myself up and re-balancing myself, but it is never an easy or comfortable experience.

It seems to me that human experience is full of highs and lows and even the most well- adjusted person will occasionally lose their sense of life-balance and well-being. The old saying, ‘No man (or woman) is an island' is a profound truth of our human existence. We are all subject to a broad and complex range of factors that are unpredictable and can throw us off balance without warning. Be it a significant crisis or a small change to some aspect of your life, falling off balance is easy to do.

The question is, how long does it take you to recognize the signs that you are ‘out of balance'? Are you aware of what happens to your behaviour or does it take someone else to point out the obvious?

Here is a simple exercise that will help you to become more aware of who you are when you are imbalanced in contrast to who you are when you are feeling more balanced.

Ask yourself what happens when I lose my balance? Write it down.
Here is my list. You may share some of these or your list might look entirely different.

When I lose my balance I :
– am more introspective
– am more emotionally reactive to people
– am easily irritated
– forget things.
– become overly task- driven
– experience headaches
– am apologetic to people when I have no need to be
– eat more chocolate
– am tired all the time

Now brainstorm what you are doing and how you are behaving when you have a strong sense of well being.

My list has the following on it:
– people focused
– energized by my work
– walking every day
– daily time of meditation
– spending quality time with friends
– adequate sleep
– reading a good novel
– doing something ‘creative' in my ‘down time'
– feeling relaxed

Getting the balance back in your life is about doing more of the things that nurture and energize your spirit (list B)and doing less of the things that are absorbing too much of your time and energy(list A).

As you compare your 2 lists what do you notice? What is happening to you when you are feeling out of balance? What is on your list B that your neglect to do when you are feeling out of balance? What can you do today to rebalance yourself and restore your personal sense of well being?

If you want to grow, experience wellness and reach toward your full potential then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you.

Managing The Transition Between Work And Home

The transition from couple with no children  to couple with children is an exciting and yet bewildering experience.A couple's relationship can be brought to near breaking point by the struggle to make the necessary adjustments that the addition of children inevitably thrusts upon you.
 

This is particularly apparent at the end of the working day when the key family provider comes home from a hard day's work. If you fulfill this role, you will be familiar with the demands that your partner  places upon you when you came home from work and the growing conflict between you as you struggle with feelings of resentment and abandonment. You come home feeling tired , stressed and possibly overwhelmed by your workload, preoccupied with the work day and the many demands it has made upon you. You walk in the front door tired, self-absorbed, and looking for some time to yourself.

Meanwhile, your partner has been with the children all day, attending to their needs, on the go throughout the day. Your arrival home is eagerly anticipated as your partner looks forward to some adult company and a hand with the children.

You walk in the door, looking forward to some space and possibly a nap before the evening meal but before you know it you are accosted by a harassed partner and a couple of children who clamour for your attention. Immediately your irritation goes up a few knots and before you know it, you are in the middle of another argument. How do you change this recurring drama that you go through on a daily basis?

I recently came across an article by Dr Alan Fraser, who has proposed a specific strategy for managing the transition between the workplace and home. Dr Fraser describes 3 ‘spaces' – the first space is your workplace, the second space is your home and the third space is the transition between the first and second space. It is in this third space that you want to prepare yourself for the domestic space you are anticipating as you leave the workplace.

So how do you use this third space effectively, as you travel home?
Dr Fraser ‘s strategy is simple: reflect, rest and reset.
This exercise can be done in just a few minutes or over a lengthier period .

1. Reflect:

You need to intentionally reflect on your day, looking for the things that you did well and the positive outcomes you achieved. When you notice your mind pursuing negative  thoughts, simply acknowledge the thought and then turn your mind to your reflection of what was positive in your day. By noticing the things you did well, your own sense of competence and well being will grow and you will feel more positive and relaxed.

2. Rest:

As your mind dwells on the positive aspects of your day, you will notice yourself feeling calmer and your body more relaxed.  The stress of the day is able to dissipate because in the act of reflection you have effectively calmed and grounded yourself.

3. Reset:

Now you are ready to anticipate how you want to behave as you walk in the front door of your home space. Don't underestimate the positive  impact you can have on  your interaction with your partner, simply  by making up your mind that you will walk in happy, calm and relaxed.

You will have more empathy for your partner, and be able to respond from a place of grounded-ness instead of being angry and preoccupied. In turn, your partner is more likely to feel compassion for your needs and together you will be better able to negotiate the evenings tasks before sitting down.

Why not make it your intention to  practice  this for a two week period. I would be very interested to hear your feedback.

 If you want to grow, experience wellness and reach toward your full potential then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you.

(Dr Adam Fraser is a leading researcher and behaviour expert. His latest book “The Third Space” came out in July 2012. For further information visit dradamfraser.com)