STRESS – Good or Bad?

Many people say that STRESS IS BAD.

Well, I want to tell you why that is BS.

We are designed for stress. Some stress motivates us and gets out of bed in the morning. The stressful times in our lives are what really make us value and appreciate the times that aren’t.

Our bodies are physically pre-programmed to respond to a threat by kicking in the stress response and giving our bodies the superpowers to FIGHT, FLIGHT or FREEZE. To help us run away from a predator, for example, and survive. When repeated, these episodes of acute stress help to build high levels of resilience.

What is not good however, is CHRONIC STRESS. This is when the stress hormones kick in and don’t come down as there is:
after stress 
after stress

This is what causes BURNOUT.

The multitude of things, situations, people and environments that are kicking off the stress response these days are no longer life-threatening. It could be something as small as an unread email, a look from another person, an impending deadline. These can all kick off the stress response, which, when it happens too frequently over extended time periods, is what ultimately leads to BURNOUT.

Did you know that 80% of doctors’ appointments are for stress-related conditions? The World Health Organisation recognises (CHRONIC) STRESS as a global epidemic. In fact, 85% of heart attacks are stress related – that’s a terrifying figure!

So what can you do?
If things feel like they’re getting on top of you, here are 5 tips you can employ in your own life to regain control:

1) BREATHE – box breathing helps you calm yourself down. Box breathing is just this. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, out for 4, pause for 4. Do at least 3 rounds and notice what’s different now.

2) Take a WALK – outside ideally – if that’s not possible just get out of your chair and take a walk around anywhere.

3) Take a FAB break – FAB = Fluid adjustment break – fluids in fluids out!

4) Have a MINDFUL moment – focus on your body and bring your attention to the sensations and what’s going on right now. Bring all your senses into the NOW.

5) SLEEP – I know you’re unlikely to be able to go to sleep right now unless you are tucked up in bed – in which case you shouldn’t be looking at your phone! But here’s the thing, if you want to stay on top of your stress the best thing you can do – by far – is to get some more sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours per night of quality sleep per night and you’ll be part of the successful few. Cut out screen time an hour before going to bed and allow yourself extra time to fall asleep to ensure you are getting close if not more than 8 hours.

Join my THRIVE TRIBE if you’d like more tips on living your best life.

S x


World Suicide Prevention Day.  What Can You Do?

World Suicide Prevention Day. What Can You Do?

It’s suspected that the world suicide figures are a shocking, 1 person dies every 40 seconds.

That’s close to 1 million people every year, and the numbers are only growing. In addition to these numbers, there are many more who attempt suicide, putting them at an extremely high risk to attempt again. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds, and the number one cause of death for men under the age of 35.

Today, Tuesday 10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day. Many organisations are doing incredible work to reduce the stigma surrounding mental ill-health in preparation for World Mental Health Day on October 10th. I suggest you check out the World Health Organisation’s 40 Seconds of Action campaign, which I am also partaking in just by writing this email!

I myself have gone through a period of suicidal thoughts. I have also had a good friend commit suicide, who I’d known was depressed, and I wish I’d done more.

It’s important to remind ourselves that most who are struggling will not reach out. No matter how many television ads they see, or posters on the inside of cubicle doors, they won’t call the helpline. They won’t talk to a friend. They won’t seek professional help. The black dog of mental illness often prevents them from being able to help themselves in ways not even they can understand.

You may have primarily heard me speak about ensuring that our minds are set up to thrive by taking time out for ourselves, not letting our physiological needs slip, and taking care of number one.

However, I also cannot stress enough the importance of checking in on not only our loved ones but also those we sense may need some support. R U OK day is coming up on Thursday 12th of September, which is a great reminder to us all to frequently check in with others.

I truly believe reading about mental health not only helps those who suffer, but also gives others a much greater understanding of its workings so as to support others more effectively. So, in light of this awareness week being centred around the worldwide epidemic of mental health problems, here are three great reads that I would recommend to all:

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful – Sarah Wilson
If you have anxiety, this book is for you. If you love someone who is anxious, this book is for you. I Quit Sugar founder and New York Times bestselling author Sarah Wilson has lived through high anxiety – including bipolar, OCD and several suicide attempts – her whole life. Perhaps like you, she grew tired of seeing anxiety as a disease that must be medicated into submission. Could anxiety be re-sewn, she asked, into a thing of beauty? Sarah travelled the world, in a quest to unravel the knotted ball of wool that is the anxious condition. She emerged with the very best philosophy, science and hacks for thriving with the beast.

Thrive – Rob Kelly
This book is an ACTION novel, teaching people to change their limiting thinking styles.
By joining together new research and unique clinical insights, Thrive demonstrates how most symptoms and problems in life are actually created or exacerbated by people’s limiting belief systems and thinking styles. It enables people to really understand the importance of their cognitive processes and to realise that the way they think, feel and react to situations has a profound effect on how they experience life.

The Marriage Plot: A Novel – Jeffery Eugenides
Eugenides’s book revolves around Madeline, an English major at Brown who struggles to reconcile her life with her love for Victorian literature. The book’s beating heart is the complicated relationship she has with Leonard, a possible representation of a friend of Eugenides’s who dealt with depression for much of his life and ultimately died by suicide.

I hope you enjoy these suggestions and that you too can take your #40seconds of action today.

3 Tips For Getting More Done And Avoiding Burn Out

3 Tips For Getting More Done And Avoiding Burn Out

Are you a busy woman rushing around trying to balance family life with work but then never having any time for yourself?  Or maybe you’re an entrepreneur feeling like you’re spread too thinly and there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done?  Maybe you’re fed up with having to sacrifice yourself, your health, enjoyment and relationships to fulfil others demands.

Over the last 10 years, I have moved from being hospitalised from burning myself out to finding a balance in my life.

I want to share with you 3 simple ways to get more done in your day so you can achieve more, worry less and get yourself back on track.

Tip 1 – Sleep Rules

The mistake that many people make with their productivity is that they prioritise work over everything else.  This includes sacrificing sleep to get things done.

Sleep is the most underrated productivity tool there is. Research has shown if you don’t get enough sleep, things take longer to do, you make more mistakes, your brain can’t focus or be as creative as it might and you can feel cranky too!

You know what its like when you see people wandering around sleep deprived and they have no idea how it’s affecting their productivity, but yet this is seen as normal.

So, instead of prioritising work and compromising your sleep you need to simply flip it on its head and prioritise sleep. You’ll feel refreshed, energised, think more clearly, be more productive and have time for the things that matter.

Tip 2 –  Be in Charge

 Another mistake that people make is allowing their day to be in charge of them rather than them being in charge of their day.

This means that they are influenced by what comes into their in-tray or email and they often then get caught up in what appears to be urgent rather than what is important.

When that happens day in day out the important things don’t ever happen in your life which causes your business, career or other priorities not to move forward as they should

So instead of allowing your day to be in charge of you, you need to spend some time strategising each day.  To strategise, simply make sure you spend a few minutes before your day starts to decide:-

  • what’s important now
  • what must get done today
  • how can you be your best self

This will give you more focus and you will feel more in control. Get the important things done not just the urgent things.

Tip 3 – No Time for Distractions

Another mistake many people make with their productivity is they allow themselves to be continuously interrupted. This makes it more difficult to focus, think clearly and to get any quality work done.

Instead of allowing yourself to be interrupted you want to create blocks of uninterrupted time.  Schedule time to do a particular task, create a space away from distraction, turn off your phone and computer ideally or if that’s not possible, at least turn off the notifications and tell people you don’t want to be interrupted for the next period of time.

With fewer distractions, you will have more time to focus on the things and people that really matter.

NOW if you have found value in these three tips you going to love the Thrive Tribe Live Quarterly meetups.

The Thrive Tribe Live events are for like-minded busy women who want to get more control back in their lives so they can have more success without the stress and more joy and confidence.

Join me in our Thrive tribe Facebook Group here, where I will be sharing more tips on how to bring more balance in your life and not burn out.

Is Your Career Killing Your Marriage?

Is Your Career Killing Your Marriage?

You might do your job out of necessity, or it might be your passion that drives you, either way, have you ever wondered – is your career killing your marriage? There is nothing wrong with your focus being on your career, this is a highly positive thing, and you’re in a fortunate position if you are driven by something that fulfills you and gives you a great sense of achievement. However, should this come at the expense of anything else that is also important to you, in particular, your marriage? What you need to aim for is giving all aspects that make up your life sufficient time and attention; be it work, relationships or health and wellbeing.

Here we give a few pointers on how you can tell – is your career killing your marriage?

Do you have a good work/life balance?
With a busy work schedule, we can often go into autopilot, leaving the house early, not getting back until late, followed by dinner, bath, bed – and then doing it all again. Making time for a marriage or a relationship in the working week can seem difficult, and for some it might even be seen as unnecessary. However, even the healthiest of relationships still need nurturing in order to flourish. Giving time to a marriage on a daily basis can seem unimportant, however in the bigger picture this can lead to neglecting the relationship and taking your partner for granted. Make time in your day for your partner. This could be sitting down and having breakfast together, or dinner, or having some quiet time in the evening where you focus on each other, and not the TV or smartphone. If this is something you would rather avoid, you should be asking yourself why.

Does you partner hate you working?
Having a career we love and are good at can deliver a great sense of achievement, build self esteem, and keep us feeling fulfilled. However, it is not unheard of for a partner to dislike their other half having a career. The only way to overcome this is to communicate, and get to the bottom of the reasons why. Your partner could feel threatened by your success due to their own insecurity issues. Or, they could resent the fact that it takes up so much of your time, especially if work spills over into home life and the things you do together. Be sure to communicate how you both feel, and come up with compromises if need be. Make sure you are putting as much effort into your marriage as you need to, and try and see it from the other side.

Do you snap at your partner for no reason?
Sometimes you can snap at your partner without even really being aware of it. If you are feeling irritable, it could be for many reasons (medical, tiredness, stress) however it can often be related to stress at work. When you feel stressed about work, and do not deal with this stress, it can spill into other areas of your life. Try to be more self aware, and when you catch yourself snapping at your partner, acknowledge it, apologise, and explain the feelings behind it.

Do you feel resentful toward your spouse?
When small things aren’t discussed and dealt with properly, they can fester and grow. If you find yourself feeling moody and resentful toward your partner, take a step back and see if you can figure out why. Is it because you feel you are doing more housework than them, despite working full time, or do you feel they don’t understand you? Whatever the reason, communication is key. As well as communication with your spouse, being able to know yourself and how you really feel about things is vital.

Do you speak up at work?
Not speaking up at work can mean you come home feeling frustrated and unheard, or perhaps undervalued. And as you might expect, if these feelings are not dealt with in the workplace, they are brought home. These feelings of frustration, maybe anger, at work are likely to spill over into your home life, and it is common that these feelings can be projected onto your partner. It could be that you are acting as if you are unhappy at home, when really you are unhappy with issues at work. Try to deal with work issues in the workplace, and you will be less likely to take them home with you.

Take time out for yourself
In addition to having a career, and being a spouse, perhaps a parent, and any other role you may be fulfilling, it is important to take time out for yourself. This doesn’t mean having a cup of tea or a glass of wine and scrolling through your phone. This means, quiet time when you are alone with your thoughts and you can work out what is really going on. If you are stressed, ask yourself how you are feeling, and what might make it better. If you or your partner seems unhappy, ask yourself what can make it better. While it is important to put time and effort into your marriage, it is also vital that you nurture your own self and deal with your own feelings about things too. As they say on planes these days, fit your own oxygen mask before you help others to do the same.

To help you to plan the ttime for yourself – please download our complimentary planners here 

Switching off

Switching off

The inability of all of us to switch off is universal these days and is evident in every sector.

The World Health Organisation states that stress is the ‘Global Health Epidemic of the 21st Century’.  Stress and burnout are on the increase globally due to the increase and intensity of work and it is now the number one cause of sickness here in the UK with 12 million days lost in 2015.

The Sunday Times in 2016 stated that nearly 3/4 of bankers were suffering from insomnia, panic attacks, headaches and depression brought on by work-related stress.

The City of London police reported in Sept ’16 (9 months) a 100% increase in suicides from the previous full year 2105 in the square mile alone.

It’s a major issue.

The average user in the UK checks their Smartphone 150 times a day

70% check their work phones within the first hour of waking

56% check their work phones before going to bed

48% check their work phones over the weekend

Harvard Business School expect email volumes to increase by 16% year on year

51% constantly check their phones during holidays

73% of British workers feel they are expected to always be available, increasing stress levels and the likelihood of them leaving their job.

It’s all a false economy and we’re all colluding in this fallacy.  It’s a massive problem for mental health and productivity.  It’s just not possible to function at your best for long periods of time without breaks and time out.

Our brains cannot continue to process information without out time out – they get full up.  Timeout allows the brain to consolidate information, make meaning, allow connections and creativity to happen and puts down memories. Being on 24/7 is not humanly possible and doesn’t allow for Eureka moments that only happen when our brains are allowed to wander.

As I say we are all colluding. Have you sent emails outside of normal working hours and expected an immediate response? Was it really that urgent? Have you sent emails to people who you know are on holiday?  Have you have copied in people on emails which was not really necessary and adding to their already bulging inbox.

Instead, people need to stop this folly.  We have to allow people to have time out. Within your team agree up front and between you when you will have uninterrupted time to switch off and recharge.  Take it in turns to cover for each other to give people a break.

If you want the biggest competitive advantage of all, carve out your own ‘switch off’ time and stick to it.  You know your competitors won’t dare and you will be so much more effective and clear-headed.

If don’t you could be yet another burn out casualty!

to help you avoid burn out – download our free planners here

The Importance of Sleep

The Importance of Sleep

Everywhere I go these days I see people who are sleep deprived and running on very low battery levels. Did you know that sleep is the most underrated health

habit and also the most under rated productivity tool?

You see, if you don’t get enough sleep, it is not possible to function at your best and

stay on top of things.

The research findings are astounding.

o One good nights sleep can improve your cognitive scores by 20%

o Those people who get more than the minimum sleep, increase the volume

of the grey matter which is linked to improved psychological health and

cognitive ability

o One night of insufficient sleep can lead to 20% more mistakes and tasks

taking 14% longer

o Poor sleep is associated with increased stress levels, greater risk of heart

disease and diabetes.

o Sleep deprivation negatively impacts your mood ability to focus and your

ability to access high cognitive function

o Poor or interrupted sleep affects our ability to put down and recall memories

It all adds up to sleep being vital for your welfare and productivity. With a good

nights sleep not only do you feel better, you are able to cope with stress more

effectively and you get more done.

But how much is enough?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends a minimum of 7-9 hours of sleep per

night for individuals aged between 35 and 55.

o So are you getting enough sleep? What about last night?

o How much sleep do you typically get?

If you are not getting the sleep you need, you are depriving your body and brain

and diminishing your ability to function at your best, and worst still you are saving

up problems for your future.

But how do you change your Sleep routine?

o Keep a Sleep log to track the no. of hours sleep you are getting. If less than

the recommended minimum, plan when & how you are going to catch up.

o Set an alarm for when you will to go to bed in order to get your 7+ hours

o Create a routine for slowing down your body and brain before going to sleep,

o No screens 30 mins before bedtime (blue light interrupts Melatonin)

o Make wise choices – sport tv/late night movie or productive day?

o Take naps if you can

Sleep your way to the top

To help you get more sleep – we have created free planners, which support you to pplan your week and keep it in balance (including getting enough sleep). Download them here.