Returning to work? Tiny tips to keep you on track.

As the furlough scheme winds down, many employers are now asking their employees to return to work. Whether this is now working from home, which in itself can present complications or returning to the workplace. After all this time, either can cause you to feel stressed out.  

Whether you’ve loved being away from the workplace or not, you’ve had to create new routines and now will have to change again. You could be negotiating with your workplace or you may have been informed that you need to return, all of these changes require you to adapt and be flexible. Being flexible is difficult but not impossible when you are in a climate of fear. You might be dreading the thought of having to be up and out at a particular time every day again, the school-run, meetings, dealing with new Covid secure procedures or if your workplace will be safe? You might feel you have lost your confidence which in itself is causing you sleepless nights. These are completely natural concerns and will undoubtably cause some anxiety.  

 The thought of getting back to work can be challenging, maybe you are trying not to think too deeply about it. You might have a physical response to this, it is important to address it to enable you to get things back in control.  

There are many different ways in which these feelings can present themselves: having trouble sleeping; dreading certain situations; feeling sick; stomach ache; increased heart-rate; not being to focus etc. For example, if you’re walking down the road and you realise, you’re not taking notice of any of your surroundings or if you’ve driven home but with no memory of having got there, this may be a sign of stress. 

There are ways in which you can help yourself, to regain some calmness before it manifests into something deeper. 

  • Breathe. We are keen believers at Live Life that breathing is something that we all should take more time to practice! This may seem ironic as breathing is what we do all the time, however research tells us there’s a better way to breathe. If you are stressed or anxious your breathing becomes shallower, this sends an alarm signal to the brain which in turn releases ‘fight or flight’ hormones causing your heart rate to increase and making you feel anxious. It is a cycle you can break by taking 5 minutes to concentrate on your breathing, click here for more information https://www.facebook.com/livelifenotstrife/posts/2752713634951953  If you have an iPhone you can set it to notify you 2 or 3 times a day to remind you to breathe, some of our clients with iPhones swear by this! 
  • Easy meditation. Make some quiet time for yourself. 5 minutes in the morning or evening or both, to practise some meditation or try a body scan relaxation; lie on your back or sit on a comfortable chair and starting at the top of your head tense the muscles of your body each in turn then relax them. An easy technique which really works, click the link for more information;  https://www.verywellmind.com/body-scan-meditation-why-and-how-3144782 You also can download the free Headspace app for easy meditation exercises. 
  • Exercise. An increase in exercise is proven to help reduce anxiety and stress. It makes a physiological change in the body which promotes the release of feel good hormones. There are many home workouts available for free on You Tube to suit every individual circumstance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5PkuMuMqBs. If you don’t exercise very much now, start with adding a little bit of walking into your day. Maybe walk to the next tube station or use the stairs instead of the lift. If your car journey takes 5 minutes chances are it’s only a mile away which means that it would take you 20 minutes to walk. Consider walking rather than driving, if you can do this once or twice a week you will start to feel the benefit.  
  • Get outside. Walk in an open space or wooded area if possible once a week, the Japanese practise of ‘forest bathing’ can help to lower stress and promote a feeling of calmness. Being amongst trees and green spaces is good for us fundamentally. Studies have shown that people relax best amongst the colours green and blue. This is an example of how you can get into mindfulness. Click here for more information https://time.com/5259602/japanese-forest-bathing/  
  • Communication. Really important to tell people who you are living with, how you are feeling. If you don’t communicate, they won’t know how you are feeling. Also, if you share some of your feelings with your colleagues you may be pleasantly surprised that you are not alone. Then you can swap ideas of how to manage things in this transition into full time work or working differently again.

If you are feeling as if you are ‘stuck’ or unable to make decisions, Live Life Not Strife provide personal and business coaching which help you overcome anxiety and stress. Our resident psychologist Adriana Summers and her team have assisted tens of thousands of clients. 

We have been working remotely since March with private consultations via Skype or Zoom, to find out how we can help you, email us [email protected] or call us for a confidential chat on 01625 786026. You can also call Adriana directly on +447980 667103.  

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Live Life Not Strife. 

Tiny tips for living a fuller, happier life! 

Frustration? Guilt? There is a Better Way…

Have you ever felt frustrated and done things you wished you hadn’t? 

I am sure the answer is, “of course…haven’t we all?” 

Yes, we have, but sometimes it spills over into bigger things. In these restrictive times when normal social interaction is still limited, we are not going back to how life was before – we can’t take things for granted in the same way. Part of staying alert is recognizing that, at any time, we may have to moderate our behaviour and interactions. It’s no wonder some people have found their frustration bubbling over. 

However, when you can’t always access services as you did before, when queuing to get in the supermarket takes forever, when you can’t go for a drink with your chums in the normal way, when your children stop being able to sleep through, when the home you used to see as a refuge now feels too overwhelming, when you can’t do this or can’t do that… turns into something else, then maybe it’s an indication that frustration is building.  

Frustration is a bit like a pressure cooker, you’ve got something cooking on the stove, you can’t see inside the pan but all of a sudden, the steam is released. Perhaps you have got so wound up that you feel the need to lash out? E.g. have you ever thumped a wall? Stormed out and driven the car recklessly as a tension releaser? Said something spiteful to your loved ones? This is the “steam” coming out of the pressure cooker! What’s really important is knowing what is the cause of the pressure building up, as this is the start of being able to regain your self-control. 

Ask yourself a question, how often do things frustrate me? How do I usually respond? Do I notice if/how my response affects other people? How do I feel about that? What do I say to myself? Has my frustration become a habit? 

Once you understand the root causes, then the power frustration has over you can reduce. 

Ask yourself another question. “Do I want to make a change?” 

If you can relate to the above, we will help you understand where your frustration comes from – and how to manage it. The lockdown situation may have been the trigger to release thoughts and emotions that were actually already there, so when you begin to unpack what is behind these pent-up feelings, you may find there is more going on than you originally thought. 

We help you understand and change the way you view things. You will learn how to develop better ways to get your point across and also hear what the other person is really trying to say, allowing you to reduce those guilty feelings you had in the past. The benefits will help you to feel happier in yourself, as you improve how to communicate in a calm and constructive way. 

To discuss this issue confidentially, please do not hesitate to make a private online consultation. 

For enquiries please contact our psychology service on 01625 786026 / 07980 667103, email [email protected]

For regular updates please like our page: https://www.facebook.com/livelifenotstrife 

Tiny tips towards living a fuller happier life! 

Working from home and home schooling?

Trying to juggle home schooling and working from home? You may be feeling overwhelmed by what is expected of you and that you can’t give your usual 100% to any one thing. Remember, there is only one of you and only so much you can do physically and mentally. By now, you will probably have got into some kind of ‘new normal’ routine but is it working for you and your family?  

There may be ways you can change your day to make life easier for yourselves. 

So, you have to work, there’s nothing you can change there but you may be able to break up your working day around when the kids need you the most. 

With the new guidelines around some primary school year groups returning to school, this in itself can create more unease and confusion as you may still not have decided whether to send your child back to school if yours fall into this category. However, we still have to carry on with what is required of us each day. Everyone’s family is different and since lockdown, although the restrictions are beginning to ease, it has changed our daily lives dramatically and we need to try to retain some kind of consistency and routine for the children as this makes them feel secure, plus it gives you focus on when you can work.  

If your kids are sleepyheads and will sleep in later than they would do usually you can use this as a really good quiet time to work. Get in a few hours at the computer in the morning, an hour before the kids get up for instance and while they are breakfasting; you could then maybe set them up with an online lesson (there are some brilliant daily lessons from BBC Bitesize, Oak Academy or White Rose Maths for example) followed by some cosmic yoga; then some free time to play while you carry on. 

Break for lunch, then give yourself some time away from the computer to help with their home learning in the afternoon or switch it around if that works better. You may find spending the morning to home school the children and letting them have the afternoon to read, watch a movie or have some screen time works better for them and you. 

There are lots of educational TV shows they can watch or apps they can use while you continue work, also some more traditional type games and activities can make a refreshing change for our children: jigsaws, dominoes, sticker books, painting by numbers? Dig out some forgotten about toys and games for them to play with. It’s all good for them and may give you some respite while you carry on with work. If they are playing, they are also learning, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to keep up with every single thing that school are posting on the website as they do understand how difficult it is for everyone. 

Talk to your friends, find out how they are managing their days, plus it helps general wellbeing and happiness to connect and chat with someone who is going through a similar experience. There’s no right or wrong way to do this and it is a matter of trial and error, everyone’s family is different. 

Are the children anxious about the situation, or having trouble engaging with their school work? They need extra reassurances, take 5 minutes on a 1:1 with your child, tell them how proud you are of them, that you can tell they’ve worked very hard on that colouring in/dot to dot/maths work, ask them what they would like to do with you on your day off and make a mental (and set a reminder!) note to make that thing happen for them. Make time for cuddles, they make everyone feel better!

However your day works out try to keep focusing on positive thoughts, you’re doing great.

Live Life Not Strife 
We’re available for remote consultations, for a confidential chat on how we can help 
you contact us on 01625 786026 / 07980 667103, please visit our Facebook Page: 
https://www.facebook.com/livelifenotstrife 

Tiny tips towards living a fuller happier life!