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Archive for the "staff well being" Category

Why Mindset is the Secret Key to Weight Loss

Posted on August 2nd, 2013 by julie

Is Stress Making You Fat?

Cultivating a Healthy Relationship Between You and Food

Part B

Why Mindset is the Secret Key to Weight Loss

mindset

Have you heard the saying: “we are what we think”? Well it is just as true when it comes to our health, weight and our relationship with food.

Emotions are often a result of beliefs and it is strong emotions that trigger stress hormones like cortisol that we have already spoken so much about.

Beliefs are thoughts accepted as being true facts (e.g.: eating is my only way of coping with loneliness and sadness). They lead our behaviours in an automatic manner – they are the autopilot in our brain, held at a subconscious level.

Beliefs are determined by external stimuli, by experiences, events or situations we encounter (e.g.: being constantly neglected and feeling better only when eating).

In other words:

             situations lead to thoughts and beliefs

             thoughts and beliefs lead to emotional responses

             emotions lead to behaviours

             behaviours lead to habits and

             habits lead to visible results

Habits are behaviours which have been done so regularly that get to be performed without thinking, without requiring active attention

Now the really good news here is that this line of natural progress from our thinking to our eating habits and weight is totally controlled by us! Yes, totally! 

What result do you want?

Are you getting it? If not then follow the arrows above to find out where you blockage is

The real cause of your weight gain is your mindset. But, what does Mindset actually mean?

Mindset:

    * Is a fixed mental attitude

    * Is an inclination to do something in a habitual manner

    * Is formed as a result of experience, education and to some point personality

    * It Includes thoughts, beliefs, feelings, emotions and habits

    * It incorporates your beliefs about yourself and how you interact with your world

    * It determines how you will interpret and respond to situations and this response is automatic

What does this mean for you?

Your current weight is the result of your mindset.  If you are eating on autopilot and not happy with the results then the key is to turn off the autopilot and become super aware of what you are thinking and doing

The great news is that self defeating or self sabotaging beliefs can not only be learnt – they can be changed. If you really want to achieve a weight loss mindset but much more importantly a mindset of health and energy, then change your beliefs

KEY POINT

Let me say something here that I believe is very important for your success: always work from a focus of strength and positivity rather than weakness and negativity. I know it is “popular” to talk in terms of weight loss but you are really not doing yourself any favours here.  For the best results, choose a healthy, energetic mindset over a weight loss mindset.  The former will last you for a life time, the latter will last until you have dropped the weight

Ways to Cultivate a Healthy, Stress Free Relationship with Food

Food is a source of not only sustenance and nutrition but also it is a source of great pleasure. These two things definitely need to be part of the equation for a healthy relationship with food. What we are aiming for is to not use food for things it was not intended for, for example, comfort, stress reduction, to hide behind or medicate our pain

Here are some ways to help cultivate a healthy and stress free relationship with food:

             Build a strong support network where you can be comforted, supported and listened to when you have a problem rather than resorting to food. Of course, you can gain support in a number of different ways, for example, face to face, online, over the phone, with friends, a support group, or a professional

             Choose exercise to alleviate tension rather than food. Make the exercise preventative by exercising regularly on most days. The best exercise for cultivating positive chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins is cardiovascular so a 30 to 40 minute walk each day is a great start. This form of exercise also helps to regulate that nasty fat producing cortisol and hopefully will help you sleep better.

             Practice regular meditation and relaxation – a time where you are in the moment, focused on yourself and tuned out to the stress and problems in your life. Get enough sleep. If you don’t sleep well when you’re stressed, that may have an impact on your weight loss efforts, too. (Research has shown there may be a connection between lack of sleep and weight gain.) Practicing relaxation before bed can help with a restful night’s sleep

             Keep a food diary. Tracking what you eat and how you feel about what you eat is an amazing tool for changing bad habits into good habits. You spend so much time on everything else – why wouldn’t you give a little bit of your time each day to developing a healthy relationship and habits with food. Remember, raising self awareness is one of the most powerful things you can do

             Monitor your reactions to stress. Maybe an honest look at your stress reactions will show you that you are overreacting to some situations. Try to put things into perspective – are they really that bad? Learn to let go of what will not have any importance to you in a few months time. If the situation is important then sit down and work out a written strategy to deal with it

             Recognize the warning signs of stress, such as anxiety, irritability and muscle tension. Your diary will help you with this but then it is important to use a better coping technique than food

             Have a routine with food. Learn to control food and when and what you eat rather than it controlling you. Who really is the boss here?

             Believe it or not, the first function of food is not pleasure. It is energy and nutrition to keep our amazing systems functioning on optimum. By all means enjoy food but when you are able to ask yourself, “Will this food nourish and energize my body?” maybe you will find it easier to say no to food that is actually destroying your miraculous system

One last point I want to make here is that food affects our mental health as well as our physical health.  The wrong foods or excess amounts can bring us depression, low motivation, instability, lack of focus etc.  In other words, the wrong foods can themselves cause stress. Nutritious foods can bring us joy, energy, clarity, hope, passion and excitement. If you are having mental health issues as well as physical health issues, seriously consider a healthy lifestyle

Julie Spain

 If you would like further help in changing your mindset once and for all or a copy of my ebook “Change Your Habits: Change Your Life”, simply send me an email at julie@sigmamindset.com or ph 0430186415.

Julie Spain is the Owner of Sigma Mindset and a Life and Leadership Coach, Trainer and Public Speaker to Executives, Professionals and Business Owners.  Julie specializes in strategic mindset coaching that: Makes a Difference and Makes It Quick

 

 

Care of the Carer: Preventing Burnout and Maintaining Performance

Posted on April 10th, 2013 by julie

Are you in the Human Service Industry?  Do you care for your fellow man in some way? Professions such as, firefighter, police, ambulance officer, nurse, doctor, mental health professional, aged and disability care all fall under these categories

Let me say straight out: these are special people. They give and give and give and often they give more than they really have to give which sometimes leaves them burnout.

Now “burnout” is a term that has been around a very long time (since the 1970’s) and as often happens, we become desensitized to commonly used terms and often brush them off particularly if it applies to us. But I can tell you burnout is alive and well in the workplace (and it is not solely the ownership of the caring professions but for the purpose of this article that is what I am talking about today)

When I was in private practice, I would sometimes see up to eight clients a day for counselling. I always said it was like sitting an eight hour exam but it just kept on going day after day, week after week. One week, I worked with two women who had been raped. At this time of my life I had 3 young children and had become an expert in not taking my work home. But this week was different. I found myself thinking about the sad situations of these lovely young women. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was burnout and if I was suffering in this way my performance was as a consequence compromised

So What is Burnout?

According to Wikipedia, “burnout is a psychological term for the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest.”

Maslach and her colleague Jackson first identified the construct “burnout” in the 1970s, and developed a measure, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, that weighs the effects of emotional exhaustion and reduced sense of personal accomplishment

Maslach and her colleague, Michael Leiter, defined the antithesis of burnout as, engagement, characterized by energy, involvement and efficacy, as opposed to burnout which is characterised by exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy

This in turn can affect job performance, physical health, mental health and relationships

As you can see, it would be much easier to prevent burnout rather than try to repair it

So let’s have a look at:

10 Steps to Prevent Burnout and Maintain Effective Performance Within the Helping Professions:

1.       Watch for your personal warning signs –

Your unique radar that tells you something is wrong within you system. This can be physical, behavioural, mental, emotional or relational. The sooner you catch these signs the better as the longer you let it progress the greater the possibility that your self awareness will diminish. It is common to have others pointing out the changes within you while you are busy denying these changes

2.       Know and implement your personal and professional boundaries

Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated by others or simply to protect ourselves from a busy work and life schedule.  They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others. Their presence helps us express ourselves as the unique individuals we are, while we acknowledge the same in others.

It would not be possible to enjoy health, peak performance and healthy relationships without the existence of personal boundaries, or without our willingness to communicate them directly and honestly with others.

To learn more about this important topic read my blog:

“Organisational Skills for Busy Professionals: Developing Personal Boundaries in the Workplace That Save Time, Energy, Money and Relationships”

3.       Develop cultural intelligence

Here cultural intelligence refers to both the organisational culture you work within and the various ethnic and socio economic groups you work with.  Culture is always about “the way we do things around here”.  If you are at odds or incongruent with the culture you find yourself working within, it will take a toll on your mindset and wellbeing. We need sensitivity and the ability to adapt our behaviour to perform effectively while still being true to our own values and identity

4.        Understand your professional identity

This can be particularly difficult if you are new to your profession. It does take time and experience to develop. My suggestion would be to put it on your awareness radar and make it part of your professional agenda to pursue this.  Understanding and then being true to your professional identity will allow you to stand with feet firmly planted when the storms come to blow and blow they will

5.       Have a clear role definition

This is clearly linked to your professional identity but role definition translates more into what you do rather than how you see yourself.  Role definition gives clarity and with that comes confidence and assurance. Are you trying to be all things to all people? Of course this is not possible and simple revisiting your role may clear this up

 6.       Have both a preventative and crisis stress management strategy

Yes, they are different! Self care is truly about putting into yourself on a regular basis so you actually have something to give out. Crisis management is for those unexpected times that life and work can throw at us

For more on the topic of self care have a look at my blog:

“Achieving Work/Life Balance: The Secrets to Vitality and Success”

7.       Build your resilience

Resilience is a wonderful term that at its most basic means: “bouncing back when the going gets tough”.  Let’s face it, work and life does not always go the way we want it too. When times get tough, the question is always: “which road should I take, the road to being overwhelmed or the road to bouncing back?”

If you are interested in increasing your resilience skills then you may like to read my ebook:

“Thriving Not Just Surviving a Life Crisis: How to Bounce Back and Find Happiness Again”

8.       Monitor your self confidence and self esteem

When our self belief is down, our confidence goes down. When our confidence is down it is more difficult to make decisions, enjoy life, communicate our needs and protect yourself. Do a quick confidence check every so often just to know that you are on track

9.       Know your limits and your strengths

Knowing your professional limits will protect both yourself and your client. You cannot be all things to all people and you do not need to be.  Knowing your strengths allows you to give the best of yourself to others. If you are not sure about these things then ask a trusted colleague or your professional coach or supervisor

10.   Regular supervision or coaching

The helping professions can be lonely and taxing. When you make a mistake, it can have grave consequences for your client and most of us take this very seriously.  We need the opportunity to debrief after events and strategize before certain situations. Coaching or supervision gives you someone to bounce off, to give you another perspective, to learn from, to download with. Why wouldn’t you cultivate this very important relationship?

You may be wondering what I did when faced with burnout in my personal story that I shared previously?  Well I took rather drastic action and downsized my private practice. I knew myself and knew the warning signs were severe for me. My non negotiable was taking work home and I was determined to protect my family from my work. As life would have it, taking care of myself and my family led to other amazing career opportunities

If you would like further help for yourself or your organisation or to attend my upcoming course see below:

CARE OF THE CARER: PREVENTING BURNOUT AND MAINTAINING PERFORMANCE

  • Personal and professional boundaries
  • Preventing vicarious trauma
  • Role definition and professional identity
  • Knowing your limits: Know your  strengths, manage your weaknesses
  • Resilience Building
  • Preventing burnout

 Just email me for further information at julie@sigmamindset.com  or phone 0430186415

Until next time

Julie Spain

 

 

 

Dealing with Fear and Anxiety in Business

Posted on May 15th, 2012 by julie

“I think that maybe inside any business, there is someone slowly going crazy”

Joseph Heller

In a recent study, 62% of BRW Fast Starters identified anxiety as the biggest personal problem to running a business

Basically, this anxiety was about the fear of the unknown

I know, we all put on a brave face to the world to show that we have everything under control and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Certainly, we want to exude confidence in our business dealings. But the reality of life is such that we do and will face difficult times. The question has to be how do we deal effectively with these difficult times and in particular feelings of fear and anxiety.

While I was writing this article someone phoned me and we got to talking about how difficult it is for businesses right now. Unfortunately, for many, they suffer in silence and isolation, never asking for help or support. The question posed during this conversation is why don’t business owners seek help and support?

Behind every fear there is an issue of safety and when we do not feel safe we go into flight and fight mode – a natural instinct meant to protect ourselves. This fear, anxiety and feelings of being unsafe, often cause us to make decisions that we may not necessarily make as we struggle to regain a feeling of safety, I suppose in some way to build our world of the known.

But business is by its very nature, unknown. This is in fact part of its allure, as entrepreneurs love a challenge but we need to be equipped to handle the fear and anxiety that can surface when problems arise in business and they will arise.

Here are six keys that if you implement will help you get through the other side of fear and be able to move forward:

Key #1: Accept that fear will always exist if you live a life worth living. The positive is, it can keep you on your toes. Fear is a normal and natural part of life. We are programmed to respond to threatening and unknown situations with fear. Learn to accept this, flow with it and move into the more rational parts of the brain to respond. For example, just stop and ask yourself “What exactly is happening here and how is it affecting me?”

Key #2: The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it. After the first step, the fear will subside. As the unknown becomes familiar the fear will dissipate.

Key #3: You are not alone. Others feel this way. Network and find support. I can tell you right now there is someone who wants to listen to you and help you. But you must put the work in to find them. Do not give up

Key #4: Revisit your reasons for starting the business. Get out of the micro and into the macro – The Why! The Dream!  Fear can make us naval gazes and this only serves to cover up the problem and expand the fear.

Key #5: Use coaches or mentors – people who have experience with your issues. Every day I work with people having exactly these problems. I cannot count the number of times that people have left a coaching session with a completely different perspective and as a consequence a different feeling.

Key #6: Information is power – it will reduce anxiety and help you make better decisions. 80% of our decisions are made with 20% of the information – this is a recipe for disaster. Collect as much information as possible before making important decisions

Don’t allow fear and anxiety in business to cripple you. Rather face it head on and work with it and through it using the suggestions above.

If you want more help, this is one of the topics covered in my upcoming one day program: The Entrepreneurial Mindset Exposed

Until Next Time

Julie Spain

Business Mindset Strategist

Entrepreneurial Business Success – Don’t Quit, Think About Why You Started!

Posted on April 10th, 2012 by julie

What do you think the biggest enemy to your business is? Cash flow? Staff problems? Venture capital? No plan or goal? No effective systems? Of course they are all important but for me there is a much more sinister threat that is not often discussed in all those hugely successful business books. Of course by now you are asking – “What is it?”

Discouragement!

You know that feeling when nothing seems to go right. When no matter what you do and how hard you work it is just not happening. You pour everything you have into this great new idea – your time, love, money, energy, passion. You give up all the things you love to focus on making your dreams come true. Isn’t that what all the good books say?

That you have to stay focused. Block out everything else in your life and give everything you have to your dream. This is how the winners do it. If you don’t believe me read Napoleon Hill’s very famous book “Think and Grow Rich”.

You know what? I believe them but it just doesn’t stop that terrible churning eating away at your stomach until you start to think – why am I doing this? It is just too hard.

Every so often I have days like this. Do you? If so, what keeps you going? We all realize that of course, if we do not keep going, then our dreams will not come to fruition. There is this wonderful experiment that was performed a number of years ago with preschool children. The children were taken into a room and told by the person looking after them that they had to leave the room. They put a marshmallow in front of the child and told them that if they could wait until they came back and not eat the marshmallow in front of them that they would receive two marshmallows when they came back. The worker then left the room and watched them through a window. Some children put the marshmallow straight in their mouths, others just licked them and put them back and others simply did not touch the marshmallow and promptly received another when the worker came back. This longitudinal study followed these children up later in life and found that the children who were able to delay gratification had achieved more success in their lives than the ones who could not delay gratification.

The immediate is not always easy and there is always something more enticing to do with our time than work. But history does show that the more we can delay gratification the greater our chance of success.

So what are some ways that I use to deal with discouragement so that I can keep moving my business forward?

1. Make sure you have good support networks. Sometimes you will really need to download a hard day with a very sympathetic ear

2. Give yourself some time out to enjoy your favourite activities

3. Try to mix with likeminded people

4. Have a mentor or coach (see my coaching page at http://sigmamindset.com/services/leadership-development-and-coaching ) it really is a prerequisite for success

5. Everyday come back to your commitment. What is it that you are trying to achieve and do you still want it just as much as you did originally?

6. You must have a strong belief that you can do this

7. An attitude that every problem has an answer – just make sure you look in the smartest places for an answer

8. One that I try and apply everyday is an attitude of gratitude regardless of the circumstances. There is always something to be grateful for

Until next time

Julie Spain

Business Mindset Strategist

www.sigmamindset.com

Achieving Work/Life Balance: The Secrets to Vitality and Success

Posted on June 27th, 2010 by julie

Let’s face it – generally, we are not that good at caring for ourselves! Others maybe but often when it comes to our own wellbeing, we run out of time, energy and resources.

In over 26 years of working with staff and managers in the workforce, there is one theme that keeps recurring more than anything else – a loss of vitality due to feeling overwhelmed and experiencing burnout.

In fact, I was spending so much of my time with people going through basic self care and biochemistry that I put a video (How to Super Charge Your Energy and Your Life) online and now just regularly send client there

During a time of personal crisis (my divorce), I did something that is probably exactly the opposite of what most people do during crisis – I started a program of determined self care and balance. At the time, I had a very busy job with approximately 150 staff but I had a deep drive motivating me – to take responsibility for my children and knew, that there was really only one way for me to achieve this – I had to put into myself so that I could achieve the goals I had set myself – to take care of my children and build a new life better than the old. I found the time and resources to exercise, eat correctly, find emotional and practical support and yes, even have fun.

Think of a balance wheel made up of your five parts – emotional, physical, mental, spiritual and relationship (includes personal and work) and ask yourself the question “Where does most of my finite daily supply of energy go? Many people will answer that nearly 80% of their daily energy supply goes into the work section. Of course, this only leaves 20% to deal with all other areas of your life! No wonder we hear people say things like – “I feel so overwhelmed”, “There is never enough time in the day”, “I’m not sure if I can keep going”. Maybe these are the sorts of things that you are saying to yourself?

If so, here are 7 tips for cultivating balance in your life, by caring for each part of yourself so that you can achieve the health and success that you dream about:

1. Take care of your body.

This requires both the right food and the right exercise. Eat as close to nature as possible, cutting out the processed foods. Small serves of protein three times a day to combat fatigue and if life is stressful for you at the moment, cut out stimulants such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and sugar (nicotine may be the hardest so start with the other three)

2. Take care of your fitness.

Amazing things happen biochemically when we exercise – we produce good chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin, and get rid of “bad” chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol. Just 30 – 40 minutes of exercise at 60 – 80% of your heart rate will do the trick

3. Deposit into a “support account”.

Research indicates that people recover from crisis or trauma better when they have psychological and practical support around them. Isn’t this the basis of our peer support programs? New research (Dan Beuttner “The Blue Zones” ) now shows us that belonging to a community or family that gives and receives love and support actually contributes to longevity and vitality. If you have not been born into this sort of network, you will need to cultivate it and develop supportive networks so that when you need someone to listen to you, a listening ear will be available

4. Tune in to the power of purpose.

Dan Beuttner’s research has shown a number of factors that contribute to longevity and vitality. He found 4 areas around the world where higher percentage than normal, live to over 100 years. We have mentioned three of these important factors already: eat food close to nature, keep moving, give and receive love and affection and the final one is have a sense of purpose. Life purpose gets us up in the morning. It motivates us to press forward and do the best we can. In fact just having a job to get up to, helps us live longer than those who don’t. If you want to explore this spiritual aspect further I’d suggest Rick Warren’s book “Purpose Driven Life”

5. Unblock your mental and emotional blockages to health and success.

Our brain works with our thoughts and feelings on two different layers or levels, the conscious and the subconscious. The accepted belief is that only 10% of our mind is the conscious brain. Our thoughts, feelings and senses are greatly influenced by our subconscious. The subconscious is thought to make up 90% of our mind. Did you know that it is generally accepted that success is 90% determined by the mind and only 10% by the actions we perform. At this point we might start to realize the huge effect the mind with its thoughts and emotions, has on the outcome for our life.

6. Recognize and when necessary deal with your emotions

Did you realize that negative emotions can make you sick and keep you locked into the past? Yet positive emotions are synonymous with good health and success. Although we need to feel our emotions, they are not meant to control us. Take notice of them and deal with the situations that may be causing negative emotions. One way to do this is:

7. Keep a personal journal

Journaling has a number of benefits including:

  • a cathartic experience that allows you to experience and release emotions
  • the opportunity to concretize your thoughts and allow you to hopefully make more informed decisions.

There really are more tips for cultivating life balance than I can fit into this article but my hope is that you will choose just one of these and start yourself on the road to self care, vitality and success.

If you feel you could use some further help, then you may be interested in my one day course:

Achieving Work/Life Balance: The Secrets to Vitality and Success

We will be covering this topic and many others such as:

  • Understanding the importance of balance when it comes to dealing with stress
  • How to increase your energy and vitality
  • Taking control over your mindset and life
  • Actually leaving work at work
  • Dealing with emotions that can rob you of your joy of life
  • Increasing your performance and productivity at work and in life

Just email me for further information at julie@sigmamindset.com or phone 0430186415

Until next time

Julie Spain