Posts Tagged ‘stress management’

Stress Management: Relaxation Ideas

February 1, 2009

Relaxation is important as it helps prevent and control the overwhelming panic that can occur when you are stressed. Relaxation may be a different experience for everyone but common themes are peace, quiet and calm. You need to be able to relax regularly in order to manage your stress. Give your mind and body some time off. It doesn’t have to cost you anything, but you do need to commit some time for relaxation. Here are some suggestions.

·         Sleep more. Your mind is powerful and can work on problems when you are asleep. As well as feeling refreshed when you wake up, you may also have the answers to some of your problems.

·         Turn off the TV and stop the constant noise and stimulation. Be silent or read a book.

·         Listen to some relaxation or meditation CDs. These are often available in your local library if you don’t want to buy any.  

·         Learn a relaxation technique like progressive muscle relaxation or visualisation. Again, there are books and CDs available on these topics.

·         Have a regular massage. Ask the therapist where you hold your stress in your body. This can help you identify which physical areas to focus on relaxing.

·         Take a yoga class. Breathe and stretch more.

·         Get a hammock and spend some quality time in it. There is something inherently relaxing about being in a hammock. You can get a stand instead of using hooks so you can put it anywhere.

·         See a professional hypnotist for relaxation and de-stressing.

·         Cry. Big sobbing bursts of crying can release tension and you will feel better when you are all cried out. This will only be useful if you find it socially acceptable but it does work!

·         Laugh a lot. Get some funny movies. Play with your children. Go to a fun park and go on the rides. Be silly. Check out a laughter club at

·         Get out into nature and walk. Go and look at something that is not the city.


“I find myself being mentored by the land once again. I too can bring my breath down to dwell in a deeper place where my blood soul restores to my body what society has drained and dredged away.”

Terry Tempest-Williams



Stress Management: Develop your self-efficacy in work situations

January 26, 2009

Self-efficacy is your belief in your own capability to do something. It may be a proven capability based on something you have achieved or it may be the belief that you can do a new thing given the opportunity. If you believe you can do something, you will feel more in control and therefore less stressed.

If you try something new and it works, you will feel you have achieved. You will have increased your self-efficacy. If it doesn’t work, then you can learn from it and the lesson will also improve your self-efficacy.

 It is about how you perceive the situation.

For example, I have started three businesses. Each folded within a year after much hard work and money spent. As much as the experience was painful, I learnt a great deal each time that has enabled me to go on to later success. I perceived that the failures increased my abilities to eventually run a successful business so my self-efficacy improved even though some would say that I “failed”.


“If you want to succeed,

double your failure rate.”

Thomas Watson, founder of IBM.


Your comfort zone is where you are happy doing your work or using your abilities. Part of developing self-efficacy is to stretch these comfort zones and increase skill level so you can function without being stressed in the outer limits.

If you don’t challenge yourself, you will never know what you are capable of.

Here are some ways to improve your self-efficacy in work situations.  


  •          Identify what you have achieved – at work or in other areas of your life. Really look at what you have done and acknowledge that you have skills, and that you are valuable.
  •          Identify where your comfort zone is. Where are the boundaries of your skills? Where do you lose your self confidence? For example, you may be happy speaking in front of colleagues at a staff meeting, but not at a conference of 500 people.
  •          Find ways to apply the skills you have to the boundaries of your comfort zone in order to extend it out further.
  •          List ways you could improve in specific areas by developing new skills.
  •          Aim to put yourself in these situations in manageable ways in order to increase your comfort zone without being too stressed.
  •          Once you have tackled a new situation, add it to the list of what you have achieved and learned. Celebrate another step forward!

Stress Management for Workplace Stress – Part 1

January 20, 2009

Take control of your stress – Part 1. 

1. Assess why you are stressed

What are the situations in which you get stressed? Who makes you feel stressed? Here are some examples of workplace stress to help you identify your stressors.  

  •          Trying to do a job that doesn’t match your values or skills
  •          Conflict with other people
  •          Working long hours which leaves you so tired you can’t function at home or do things you enjoy
  •          Not enough time to do a quality job and then being criticised for under-performing
  •          Lack of support from other team members


There are many more things in the workplace that are stressful. Write down the things that particularly affect you. 


2. Use time management techniques


You might feel stressed because you do not have the time to do everything that you need or want to do. The key is to actively manage the situation and bring it under your control. Try the following time management techniques.

  •          Write down everything you have to achieve and by when. Even the small things add up.
  •          Estimate how long these things will take and rate them in terms of urgency and importance (although this list will keep changing, sometimes it is necessary to write it all down so you can get some perspective).
  •          Review your work related items with your manager so they are aware of the competing demands on your time and ask for more help if necessary. You may find that they are unaware of your workload and there may be others who can help you with it. Managers prefer to know in advance if deadlines will be missed.
  •          Ask people to book your time rather than turning up at your desk with impromptu requests.
  •          Start saying ‘No’ when people ask you to do things outside the boundary of your prescribed job. This may be very difficult for some people who want to be helpful all the time, but it is essential if you are to be less stressed.
  •          Some workplaces have “no meeting days” or only have meetings in the mornings so people also have time to achieve their actions by the next meeting. You could suggest this for your workplace or your team.  
  •          Only check your email twice a day, or turn off your email program when you are doing a piece of work. This prevents regular interruptions from incoming mail.

In what ways you could implement time management techniques to make your work life less stressful?

3. Take control

If you blame your stress on aspects of your life which are not under your influence, you will not be able to reduce or control your stress.


Take ownership of what is stressing you and be in control of it.


If you acknowledge that you have control over what stresses you, you can deal with it by actively solving the problem. If you believe it is someone else’s fault or responsibility, then nothing will change.

Own it, change it.



“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery

None but ourselves can free our minds.”

Bob Marley, Redemption Song


Holidays: New study shows Australians are not taking them

January 10, 2009

A new study by Tourism Australia has shown that people are not taking their annual leave, but working instead.Close to 60% of full-time workers did not use their 4 weeks holiday, citing “workplace issues” and “personal issues” as reasons why. 

Stockpiling annual leave has an effect on people’s performance and workplace happiness as well as the company bottom line. The study is aimed at turning this missing leave into Australian holidays to boost the tourism industry, which should have a positive effect for everyone. 

“In the interests of workplace productivity as well as individuals’ mental refreshment and general health, it is important that annual leave be taken seriously by business.  During this time of skill shortages, employers who want to retain their talented workers increasingly need to be seen as employers of choice.

 “Employers who impose a culture of ‘work first at all costs’ are not investing in their people and will lose them to competitors who have a culture of looking after their human capital,” Jo Mithen, AHRI executive director said in the report.

“How to Enjoy Your Job” Book Trailer

November 21, 2008

This book trailer gives you a brief taste of what the book is all about. Change your job – change your life! 

Pets at work: there are benefits!

June 16, 2008

My cat Shmi helps me workAnimals are great – I love my cat Shmi and he makes working at my desk a joy. He comes and sits on my lap while I am typing and loves the printer.

It turns out there are actually benefits to having pets in the workplace.

An American Pet Products Manufacturers Association survey of businesses allowing pets in the workplace confirmed the benefits

·         73% of the companies surveyed said pets create a more productive work environment.

·         27% reported a decrease in employee absenteeism.

·         73% indicated pets led to a more productive work environment.

·         96 % said pets created positive work relations.

·         58% of employees stayed late with pets in the office.

This site also outlines “petiquette” (for dogs) including:

·         Make sure your dog is socialized to people and other dogs before he goes to work.

·         Make sure your personal workspace can comfortably accommodate your dog.

·         Avoid squeaky toys and collars that jangle.

·         Keep your dog clean and well-groomed.

If you can’t take your pet to work, they can lower your stress levels at home by:

·         Pets improve your mood and make you smile

·         Pet owners have lower blood pressure

·         Dogs encourage you to exercise

·         Watching fish swim can be a form of meditation and help you sleep

·         Having a pet gives you something to talk about with like-minded people so can help build social networks

·         Pets are great listeners and some are very empathetic. Crying will usually elicit a lot of sympathy from your pet.
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Meditate: Reduce stress and get some focus

June 2, 2008

As a society we suffer from information overload. Our constant need to stay on top of things puts us at risk of increased amounts of unnecessary stress. Sometimes all that is needed is a little breathing space and some perspective to lighten our load and make us realize the really important things in life. Meditation can be a great way to achieve this!

Meditation need not be a complex undertaking involving instructors and classes and methods; rather it can be as simple as time spent clearing your mind of the clutter of daily living and just allowing yourself to relax for a few minutes. You can meditate while going for a walk, while waiting at the doctor’s office, standing in line to pay bills, or just about anywhere where you can detach yourself from the world for a few minutes.

While meditating, make a conscious effort to relax the muscles in your body and breathe deeply; this will relieve knots in your body caused by tension and anxiety. Try and focus on an event or an object that makes you happy; doing this will divert your attention from the stress-causing factors and help you gain some perspective. You can also use prayer as a form of meditation. There are as many forms of meditation as there are people. You need to find your individual path, and you may try a few different ways before you find one you like.


On a personal note, I have never focussed on meditating before as I have preferred more vigorous exercise. I like to “get things done” and meditation seemed to take up too much time. But I have unconsciously been holding my breath when stressed, and the only way to tackle this has been to try meditation. By focussing consciously on breathing, I am retraining myself to relax. As someone who finds it hard to stay still, I looked for some way to make it easier on myself.


I have started using the Holosync program, available from

I am only on Day 5 and I look forward to the 30 minutes I spend blissed out listening to the rain and crystal bowls. You can read all about it at the website, but I am an advocate already! It has brought me focus and much needed respite from my crazy mind. The sounds stop the flow of thoughts and enable me to escape from constant activity. Highly recommended!