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It’s official; we’re a nation of perfectionists – and that’s not a good thing. According to the World Health Organization, record numbers of young people are experiencing serious depression and anxiety disorders. Growing evidence suggests that the excessive standards we set for ourselves, our drive to be perfect, could be more harmful than we may realise.
While many of us may view perfectionism as a positive attribute, researchers are finding that it can have a dangerous side. Personal development coach Bernardo shares his thoughts on why it’s important to be good at failing in life, love and work – and how we can start doing that well.
How to be brilliant at failing in life, love and work
“Oh, I am such a failure. I’m useless. Why did I even start this?”
Sound familiar? If that’s how you talk to yourself when things start heading south, then maybe, just maybe, you haven’t learned the art of brilliant failure. To help you – here are five useful things to ask the next time you think you’ve failed:
1. Have I really failed? People who believe they’ve failed often think, “If this happens then I have succeeded. If anything else happens, I have failed.”
This binary thinking means people put too much meaning on one event. The reality is that life’s events are learning experiences and there are countless ways things might happen that, actually, could be positives, even though they’re not precisely what you wanted.
It’s true you might not win the heart of the person you love. But if it was such a struggle to win them over, are you sure they were the right person? In business, you’ll be amazed at how many opportunities arise when you stop focusing on the one event that didn’t go your way.
In almost every case, the answer to the question ‘have I really failed?’, is: “Not yet. I’ve just learned another thing not to do!” The Question to ask yourself is: what can I learn from this experience?
2. What do I need to learn to move on? Most setbacks carry a lesson inside them. Be careful what lesson you choose to learn. If you internalise the belief that this “failure” just proves you’re a loser, you are preparing to fail again and again, because you’re telling yourself what you do doesn’t matter, because you are the problem.
Analyse. Understand what was missing from your understanding before. What will you do differently next time?
3. How do I put this behind me? Once you’ve taken the juicy learnings out of your so-called failure, then file it away or throw it in the bin. You don’t need to keep reliving the scenes of your greatest disasters. You can do that with your next triumph instead.
Some people write down their experience then throw it in the bin, others refocus their thoughts and shrink the useless memory down in their minds to make room for the next step. Others just get on with the next job. How will you do it?
4. How can I turn where I am now into an advantage? There are many great stories about people turning problems into success. J.K Rowling was a divorced lone parent looking after her newborn. She used her time alone to write her first Harry Potter novel.
Ask yourself: how can you turn life’s lemons into a gigantic, ethical, billion-pound lemonade factory? Napoleon Hill said “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit”
5. What’s next? Shake off the negative and look out for your next project. Is it – like Thomas Edison’s famous one thousand attempts to perfect the lightbulb – going to be a continuation of the current project? Or are you going to start something completely new?
Harrison Ford gave up going to auditions and started making furniture. When he was asked to make a new door at the studios where George Lucas was auditioning for Han Solo, that complete change became, literally, his doorway to success.
Remember, in life, love and work, maintaining an attitude that sees setbacks as part of an ongoing process, is creative in dealing with problems and is willing to learn and get quickly focused on to the next project – that is the key to being brilliant at failing – or failing brilliantly.
Let me ask you: how much can you learn from your failures? The answer is… loads.
Looking at my phone pick-up stats from the last seven days, on average I pick up my phone 37 times a day. I can tell you without looking further into the stats that most of these pick-ups are to check social media.
When I’m not writing here at Life Coach Directory, I run my own blog and coaching business. Both of these ventures require a social media presence to really flourish. I need to ‘show up’ and ‘provide value’, whether it’s through daily Instagram stories or tweets. I need to connect with people, tell them about my blog and remind them casually that they can hire me as a coach (if they so wish!).
Alongside basic marketing, I love social media for the community. I have a lovely collection of online friends who I interact with on an almost daily basis. Through direct messages and comments, I feel as if I’ve truly found my tribe.
Sharing on social media has also become somewhat of a hobby to me. Capturing the everyday, talking about topics I’m passionate about or sharing a little about my work process is something that genuinely makes me happy. But recently, it was beginning to feel more and more like work.
I felt as if I was on a hamster wheel, trying to produce content consistently without a moment to stop and breathe. I had some time off work coming up and so decided to take a break from social media. My goal was to come off all social media for five days, which, I’ll be honest, felt intimidating.
Five days away from social media – what happened?
On the first day, the sun was shining and I took myself to sit by the river in my hometown with a book and iced coffee. As I sat down, I noticed the reeds blowing in the wind and a couple of ducks swimming by. My instinct was to reach for my phone and capture the moment for Instagram.
This reaction stopped me in my tracks. I hadn’t realised quite how second-nature my sharing had become. Of course, I didn’t reach for my phone.
Instead, I became glued to the spot, soaking in the present moment. My attention lingered on the way the sun felt on my skin, how the reeds danced in the wind and the various people, ducks and dogs that slid into view… It was glorious.
As the days went on, I had more moments like this. I found myself with more time to let my mind wander, ideas had the chance to gently land and every thought and emotion that came my way made itself known.
I read a huge amount and got through my backlog of podcasts. I doodled, wrote tiny pieces of poetry in my notes app and watched documentaries that fed my soul.
That’s not to say I didn’t have my difficult moments. The pockets of time when I was waiting for someone or something suddenly became drawn out. Usually, this would be the time for me to have a quick scroll.
I did have a couple of moments where I worried about how my lack of presence would affect my social media growth. I had the odd moment when anxious thoughts filled my mind, but I didn’t have my usual escape tool – social media. I had to sit with my thoughts and find a new way of overcoming them.
I think this is an element of social media we perhaps don’t discuss enough, the way it can numb us from our own thoughts. Rather than dealing with some of the more difficult thoughts and feelings we have, it can be easier to bury our heads in the lives of others – watching their highlight reels through stories.
So having this time away from social media gave me an opportunity to return to habits like journaling and meditation to work through these feelings, and it felt much better.
What did I miss about social media?
I missed the sense of community. While I loved the chance to re-charge (as an introvert, time alone is my way of regaining energy), I did miss the interaction and feeling part of a conversation.
I noticed there were certain platforms I missed more than others and made a decision to pause activity in my Facebook group and instead focus on Instagram – a platform I get more joy from.
What didn’t I miss?
I didn’t miss the self-imposed pressure to ‘create content’ every day. Instead, I feel like I reconnected with my creativity and what I want to share, rather than what I thought I should share.
I also didn’t miss the hours lost to social media either. It felt great to have more time to read, be present and really relax. This is a feeling I’m keen to keep hold of!
How I plan to move forward
Towards the end of my social media break, I felt the urge to create and share again, which was great. I felt refreshed and revitalised. Before the break, I had already started having Saturdays off social media, and this is a habit I plan to continue with. Having one day a week, every week, away from social media entirely is like hitting the reset button for me and gives me that white space I crave.
I made some changes to my social media marketing plan too, pausing content in my Facebook group and reducing the number of posts I share on Instagram each week. While this will technically make me less ‘visible’ it will give me time and space to focus on more creative projects I have in the pipeline and that, to me, is far more valuable.
I would also like to have more extended breaks in the future. Perhaps every quarter I’ll take five days off, like a holiday, and use the time to rest, relax and see what ideas come.
I don’t think spending time on social media is a bad thing, however, if you’re feeling burnt out with it, or suspect it’s affecting your mental health then taking a break could be just what you need. It’ll give you perspective and a chance to assess how you’re using social media and whether or not you want to make any changes to your approach.
Remember, we are in control of how we use social media and who we follow. Ultimately, it’s up to us to take control and manage our relationship with it.
Picture this: you’ve been chatting with somebody for a while. Maybe you’ve exchanged a few messages, met up for drinks, perhaps more. You ping off a quick message one morning, only to realise the next day there’s still… nothing. No response. They’ve just disappeared.
Ghosting is a term that has become more prevalent over recent years. In a romantic setting, it can leave us feeling confused, rejected, even angry. What went wrong? Did something happen? In many ways, it’s the not knowing that hurts more than the rejection itself. The same can be said of job interviews.
Ghosting job candidates
According to one company, an application to interview ratio of just 10-20% can be considered average, while 20-30% can be considered ‘good’. Take a moment to let that sink in… Unfortunately, it doesn’t get much better from there. More than half of candidates are eliminated from online job searches thanks to applicant tracking systems, and of those who get through to being viewed by humans? Out of the average 250 applications per job, just 2% are asked for an interview.
While we may be more familiar with ghosting in terms of romance, the application process for new jobs can be just as filled with it. After investing significant time and effort into online applications, phone interviews, multiple rounds of physical interviews, often completing one or more tasks for free as part of the process, candidates are finding that they are not failing to get the response that they had hoped for – they’re failing to get any response at all.
An overwhelming 75% of applicants who have gone through the interview process haven’t heard back from employers to let them know either way if they have got the job. Despite 82% of us expecting to hear something following an interview, many of us experience the frustration of being ghosted.
We explore some of the common reasons why companies may be ghosting you (and what you can do to try and combat this).
Why do some companies ghost applicants?
1. You didn’t send a follow-up email – one hiring manager shared her somewhat controversial rule when it comes to applicants: if you don’t send a thank-you email after your interview, she won’t hire you. While many of us may worry about seeming overly eager, some hiring managers feel that a thank-you email shows two important things: that you want the job, and you’re organised.
According to Business Insider, an estimated 95% of all Insider Inc. editorial applicants sent a thank-you note following their interview. Although some people feel this practice is outdated, others feel it is a good way to indicate that you are still interested in the position following your interview.
Forbes contributor Liz explains that following-up after an interview can be one of the best ways for busy hiring managers to remember you. Seeing so many candidates with similar qualifications and an even playing field of experience can make it tricky to narrow down potential applicants. By sending along a personalised note, you can help push yourself back to the forefront of their mind, giving yourself that extra little boost.
2. The position has changed or fallen through – some applicants report waiting up to six weeks between their first and second interview, with 60% of candidates quitting the process as it takes too long. It’s unsurprising that many assume after a week of radio silence that they won’t be hearing from the potential employer again.
If a company is hiring, they are often looking to do one of two things: replace an existing position, or fill a need that they did not previously have. During the course of the application process, potential employers may discover additional qualifications, duties, or experience that would benefit the role. In some cases, this can lead to them starting the process all over again with a tweaked job posting, new title, and updated requirements. It can be frustrating, but it can be better for you in the long run if they realise their needs have changed before the process can continue any further.
3. You may be the back-up choice – it’s not something we like to consider, but let’s be honest: with how expensive the recruiting process can be, it’s no wonder companies like to keep their options open. Is it pleasant from the other side? No. But we can see where they are coming from.
Companies may hold off on contacting you one way or the other in case their first choice in candidate turns down their offer, accepts another position, or just doesn’t work out. If the first choice candidate is successful, some recruiters may feel awkward about getting back in contact to let you know after time has passed.
What can I do to get past interview ghosting?
It can be tough, but try to remember: it’s unlikely that you have done anything wrong. While it can be helpful to go over the interview process again in your mind to see if anything stands out which could indicate you weren’t quite what they were looking for, there are any number of other factors that could be affecting the process.
Developing your confidence, building resilience, and working towards improving your interviewing techniques can all be ways to strengthen your future applications with other employers.
Although we may feel upset, angry or disappointed after a lengthy interview process that amounts to nothing, holding onto those negative feelings can risk tainting future applications. By focusing on yourself and how you can continue to improve, you can help show your best side to potential colleagues and employers, helping cement a positive and memorable impression.
Self-awareness is a key component of emotional intelligence. If you’ve not heard of emotional intelligence before, here’s a quick definition:
“The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”
Having a good level of emotional intelligence is incredibly valuable in the workplace, especially if you’re working as a manager or within a team of people. Self-awareness is all about knowing your personality, your strengths and (crucially) your weaknesses. Being self-aware helps in all areas of life, but sometimes we forget just how important it is at work.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you get from being more self-aware at work.
You’re better able to deal with stress
Part of self-awareness is knowing what triggers you to feel stressed, angry or defensive. Knowing your triggers means you can respond to them more calmly when they come up.
Perhaps taking yourself out for a walk or, if that’s not possible, taking a few moments to breathe and collect your thoughts.
This can prevent you from making a knee-jerk reaction that may only add to your stress levels (and those of your colleagues). Knowing what helps to reduce your stress is key here too.
Having self-awareness means taking care of yourself and resting so you don’t burn out.
You can manage your time better
Knowing yourself well means you should know when and how you work best. If you know you have a lot of energy in the morning for example, then flag in the afternoons, plan to do your more taxing tasks when you get in.
If you know you need limited distractions when you work, try working from quieter places if possible or invest in some noise cancelling headphones so you can get in the zone.
You understand the impact your emotions have on others
Self-awareness doesn’t only benefit you, it benefits those around you. Knowing your moods and emotions well should help you see how they impact others. If you’re feeling particularly stressed, for example, you can be aware of the way this may radiate and do what you can to minimise this.
As much as we would like to compartmentalise sometimes, it’s very difficult – we’re only human. There’s nothing wrong with bringing negative emotions to work, but if you see it’s affecting your work or other people’s moods, try talking about it with your manager and get some support.
You’re better able to take on feedback
Receiving feedback can be tricky. One of the benefits of being self-aware is that, chances are – you already know what feedback is coming. You’re likely to be more open to constructive criticism and to learn from it. Take it as an opportunity to improve your self-awareness.
You feel more confident in your ability
Getting to know yourself better includes getting to know your strengths and talents. This can help feel more confident at work. If your role isn’t currently geared towards your skillset, consider talking to your manager about ways you can incorporate more tasks that play to your strengths.
Tips to improve self-awareness
Now you understand how much understanding and knowing yourself can support you at work, it’s time to improve your self-awareness. Here are some tips to get you started:
Take a personality test: We love 16 personalities for this. Try getting all members of your team to take the test, understanding the different characters and dynamics in a team can be super helpful.
Practice mindfulness: Finding quiet time where you’re not distracted by tasks, social media or anything else can be a great way to get to know yourself better. Try meditation or going for a mindful walk now and then.
Start journaling: This can be a game-changer when it comes to self-awareness. Make notes on how you feel, any stress triggers or behaviour patterns you spot day-to-day.
Encourage feedback from colleagues: Sometimes we need to see ourselves through the eyes of other people to get a clear view. Ask your manager and/or colleagues for feedback and learn from it.
It can be easy to fall into a career slump. Maybe you’re feeling lost, unsure what to do next with your career (or life), or perhaps you know what you want to do but you’re struggling to maintain the motivation to get things done. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, there are many options you can try to restart your inspiration and discover new motivations to help propel you forward.
Our inspirations can come from all around us. You may feel particularly inspired after reading a good book, catching up on a good series or podcast, through appreciating art, or any number of other ways. It can be easy to overlook the significant benefits physical activities can have on not only our physical health but our mental health and well-being, helping us to combat feelings of stress and burnout, spark inspiration, boost motivation, and help reinvigorate us towards making more positive changes across all areas of our lives.
How can physical activity spark my imagination and boost motivation?
Improve your overall health and happiness – when it comes to improving our overall health and well-being, we’d all love to find a quick-fix. It can be tough to realise there isn’t a magical cure-all – what we really need is to get back to basics. Through increasing our levels of activity, we can not only improve our physical health, but majorly boost our sense of well-being as well.
Exercise can reduce our risk of many major illnesses including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type 2 diabetes by up to 50% (according to the NHS), all whilst lowering our risk of early death by up to 30%. Beneficial at any age, a recommended minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity can help lead to a healthier, happier life.
Boost your mood – research has shown that physical activity can boost your sense of self-esteem, improve mood, help you to sleep better, as well as reducing symptoms of stress and depression. Building your confidence and self-esteem can be tough when you’re feeling low or demotivated. It can feel like you are falling into a vicious cycle where stress takes over, disrupting sleep and upending your work/life balance.
Introducing regular physical activity can help you to reset, breaking negative patterns and helping you to start new, healthy, sustainable routines. Undertaking the recommended 150 minutes of weekly (split across multiple days), moderate activity can improve your sleep quality by up to 65%, helping you feel more rested and ready to face the day’s challenges.
Increase your energy levels – studies have found that regular exercise can help boost your overall energy levels. In healthy people, research has shown a reduction in feelings of fatigue, as well as a significant increase in energy levels for those with chronic conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) thanks to regular exercise.
Strengthen and protect your memory – exercise isn’t just good for our bodies, it’s good for our minds too. Research has shown regular exercise can help improve brain function, protect memory, and increase thinking skills. Studies have also shown it can stimulate the production of hormones that enhance the growth of brain cells, as well as causing the hippocampus (the part of our brain vital for memory and learning) to grow in size.
Three ways to increase your activity to inspire motivation
1. Dive into forest bathing – if you’re looking for a gentle way to up your activity levels whilst relaxing and destressing, forest bathing could be for you. Known for having both physical and mental health benefits, forest bathing can help you feel more grounded and connected with nature.
Research suggests forest air is not only fresher and better for us, but can also help improve our immune systems too. Studies have suggested it can significantly lower our cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
If you’re thinking of trying forest bathing, try to remember: it’s not all about hardcore hiking and pushing yourself to go off the beaten trail. It’s about restoring a sense of peace and calm, allowing your mind to be clear as you wander, focusing on the present and taking in the moment as you have a break from the worries and hubbub of the modern world.
2. Shake up your routine – according to recommended guidelines, we should try to be active every day. Instead of trying to make time to head to the gym daily, one of the easiest ways to achieve this can be making physical activities part of your everyday life.
Instead of driving to and from work, try switching to walking or cycling as part of your commute. If you work too far away for this to be viable, getting off a stop or two earlier on your bus or train can help, or parking further away from the office and taking the stairs can all add up. Using half of your lunch break for a vigorous walk can also help slip activity into your day, giving you a much-needed break from work and colleagues to help you reset and recharge, ready for the afternoon ahead.
If you’re looking for something a bit more engaging, trying a class can be a better option or finding a friend to go to the gym with. If you aren’t sure where to start, the NHS has some great suggestions for fitting activity into your daily routine at any age.
3. Take meetings outside of the boardroom – inspiration doesn’t just have to come from expensive away days or conversations with overpriced lattes. If you work within a creative industry, it can feel stifling to be entirely office-based. Meeting rooms and rows of identical desks can feel more draining than motivational.
Breaking away from your routine and getting out of the office can be a good way to not only gain inspiration, but to be a little active at the same time. Try having a meeting on the move. Discuss project ideas and inspirations with colleagues whilst walking around the office or nearby park. Getting outside of your usual working environment can feel like a breath of fresh air, all whilst providing the change for a new perspective.
We all struggle with our confidence from time to time. It can be easy to forget how much our confidence affects how we present ourselves – and how much of an impact it can have on how our kids and teens start to develop their own self-confidence and self-belief. How we demonstrate our confidence can help teach our kids how they can begin discovering their own voices and feeling more confident in speaking up and being heard.
We share seven simple ways you can begin modelling more confident behaviour and start setting an even better example for your kids.
1. Be a good role model
Whether we realise it or not, our children can be influenced by our behaviour. When what we say and what we do don’t match up, they can be pretty quick on the uptake. Take a moment to consider your own confidence and how you handle sharing your opinions and how you talk about standing up and speaking at home.
Maybe you’ve expressed nerves about giving a presentation at work, or you avoid answering your phone when an unrecognised number pops up; you may have nervous tells you aren’t even aware of. Identifying what these are and what is making you nervous can be the first step towards setting a positive example for your kids.
2. Show your appreciation
Giving positive feedback (whether something has been successful or not) can be a huge help in building a strong foundation for more confidence. It’s not just about giving praise when things go right; by showing kids it’s OK to do things imperfectly, you can help instil the idea that it’s the act of doing something that matters. As long as we’re trying, we’re recognising our progress, and we’re doing our best to keep improving, that’s all we can really ask. This can help kids feel more confident in trying new things, whilst showing them positive ways they can give constructive feedback and take on criticism without feeling overwhelmed.
3. Be curious
Encourage curiosity. Show it’s OK to not only ask questions but to look into things in more detail yourself. Trying new things shouldn’t be about getting them perfect first time. Through showing kids it’s OK to do an activity together that is both fun and new to them, it can be a good way to encourage them to explore new things and build their confidence in trying new experiences (and speaking up if they need help and support with what they’re doing).
Give them the space to ask questions and explore, rather than giving them all the answers up-front. Trying an activity that’s new to you both, like cooking a new recipe or taking up a new class together can be a good way to show your own curiosity and learning process.
4. Model self-love and positive talk
When was the last time you acknowledged something you did well? Rewarding and praising our own behaviour or actions doesn’t come naturally to many of us; we’re taught it’s boasting or showing-off.
But, celebrating and talking about our own successes can be a good way to recognise our accomplishments and hard work. It can also be a positive way to talk with kids about any skills you had to develop to accomplish things. This can help encourage kids not only to recognise and develop their own skills but start learning how some things (like public speaking) may seem scary but can have a much bigger impact on other areas we do enjoy or need to work on.
5. Set realistic goals
Having manageable milestones and realistic goals can not only help us but can show kids that even big tasks don’t have to be too daunting. Breaking big tasks into smaller milestones can help us feel a bigger sense of accomplishment, motivating us to keep going and helping avoid that feeling of being bogged down.
6. Show resilience
Nobody succeeds first time, all of the time. We all experience setback and failures; it’s part of life. It’s how we learn from these experiences, rather than dwelling on what has happened or seeing these as failures, that can impact our overall sense of wellbeing and teach kids healthy ways to cope with setbacks.
Through building resilience, we can show our kids how they can keep trying. It’s not about just ‘pulling ourselves together’, rather, it’s about showing them healthy ways to express their disappointment without dwelling on the negativity – and learning what steps they can take to do better next time.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Showing that it’s OK to ask for help and support is key. Working with others whose skills or area of expertise may exceed your own can be a great way of showing them it’s OK to not have all the answers, whilst highlighting the benefits collaboration and skill sharing can have. By working together, we can improve ourselves far more efficiently than trying to do it all alone.
Public and corporate awareness of the importance of mental health is increasing in the UK, with media outlets rightfully bringing greater attention to the topic. According to Mind, approximately one in four adults will experience a mental health issue each year and, staggeringly, one in six of us report experiencing a common mental health problem each week.
With anxiety and depression the most prevalent issues, this can have a huge effect on our working lives. In total, approximately 70 million work days – 12.7% of all sick days – are lost on a yearly basis because of mental health problems, equating to a cost for companies in the region of £2.4 billion.
We take a closer look at the relationship between mental health and work, as well as the steps we can all take to support good mental health in the workplace, both as employees and employers.
The invisible illness
It might not always be clear that a colleague is struggling with a mental health problem. Speaking up about problematic feelings can be difficult enough already without having to confront social stigma, shame and fear of compromising their employment. It’s important to remember that whether we have been clinically diagnosed with a mental illness or not, we are all prone to experiencing feelings of anxiety, guilt, anger and unhappiness at different stages in our lives.
While entirely normal, these are things that can have an impact on our work. Mental health problems can lead to effects on our performance like emotional exhaustion, absenteeism and decreased productivity. But, with the proper mental health training and awareness for employees, companies will be better equipped to help their staff safely disclose their problems, receive support and lead full and satisfying lives both in and out of work.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is one example of a training course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. It won’t teach you to be a therapist, but it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and potentially stop a crisis from happening.
If you’re interested in taking a MHFA course, visit Happiful to find the next course available near you. Enter the code HAPPYL1FE10 at the checkout to save 10% on course fees.
Encourage openness and utilise resources
Employees should be given the assurance that they can comfortably disclose any mental health problems they are dealing with and that their colleagues are sensitive to what they are going through. In the event of an anxiety attack or bout of depression, for example, they should be allowed to take the time needed to recover, just as they would a physical illness.
Most importantly, they need to be assured that they will not be judged and that they are not defined by their illness. The best way to achieve the level of trust required is to encourage a company culture of openness. A great way to implement this is to provide mental health awareness training for all staff as part of an employee induction programme or learning at work week.
Dealing with emergencies effectively
An outburst of anger in the workplace may be the result of mental illness where something, or nothing, triggers a seemingly irrational reaction. It is important to acknowledge the incident for what it is and to diffuse the situation sensitively while avoiding the risk of escalation.
In the event of a panic or anxiety attack, for example, the incident is often accompanied by rapid heartbeat, sweating and an overwhelming feeling of dread and anguish. The body reacts as if it’s in mortal danger and triggers the fight or flight responses. As a result, actions taken during these episodes may appear unreasonable or even extreme to onlookers in the workplace. As a bystander, knowing what to do is important.
Sometimes, staying calm and granting the person the space to deal with the attack on their own terms is the best approach. In other situations, calming the individual down and offering verbal support and understanding is all that is required. Mental health awareness training can grant employees the tools for recognising and managing these situations effectively.
The relationship between workplace and head-space
Companies must create environments that are conducive to employee comfort whilst also encouraging them to work to their maximum potential. Unfortunately, there’s never a one-size-fits-all solution. Some employees may enjoy loud music and a lot of activity in the office while others might feel their performance is hindered by the slightest disturbance. It’s important for companies to try as much as possible to cater for all needs.
People that experience ADHD may prefer to be positioned away from areas of high activity. Those who suffer from depression or anxiety may benefit from flexible hours and the chance to work remotely, to work from home on days when they are feeling ill. Going green and positioning plants around the workplace has been found to be a stress reducer and booster of productivity.
When we’re stressed, we tend to know about it. There may be a particular event making you feel stressed, such as a big presentation at work or knowing you have to have a difficult discussion with a friend. Sometimes, however, stress is caused by a build-up of lots of little things.
When this happens, you may not realise how stressed you are. Stress might manifest in physical symptoms, or you may notice you behave differently. If this continues unnoticed and you don’t make changes to reduce your stress, over time you could develop anxiety, depression or physical illnesses.
Being aware of your stress symptoms and knowing how stress shows up for you, is important. Once you know what your ‘red flags’ are, you can be more mindful of them and work on reducing your stress before it builds up and becomes unmanageable.
We all experience stress differently (and people’s stress responses are triggered by different things) so it’s important for you to get to know your personal stress symptoms. Here are some ways stress can affect you:
difficulty making decisions
increase or decrease in appetite
If you’re worried about your symptoms, visit your doctor for a check-up. It’s always worth checking there are no underlying medical conditions causing your symptoms. Once you have a good idea of how stress affects you, you’ll be better able to manage your stress.
How to be more mindful of your stress levels
As stress can build up without us realising, being mindful of your stress levels can go a long way in helping you stay on top of things. Increasing your overall self-awareness with mindfulness activities like meditation, journaling and yoga can help you start to get in tune with yourself, physically and emotionally.
Below we’ve outlined a few ideas to help you be more mindful of your stress levels:
Check in with yourself daily
Aim to check in with yourself once a day to see how you’re feeling. You may want to do this by journaling or simply setting aside five minutes at the end of every day to ask yourself how you’re feeling and how your day was. Noting it down in a journal can be useful as you’ll be able to look through it and spot patterns.
Keep a mood diary
Taking this idea one step further, you may want to start a mood diary. This is where you note down every time you notice your mood shifting (whether it’s getting better or worse) and try to understand what triggered it.
For example, if you’re feeling low in the afternoon, think about how your day’s been, how much sleep you’ve had, and whether or not anything has happened to make you feel low. After a few months, you should be able to spot patterns and see what triggers your stress.
Note your triggers
Keeping a note of your triggers can help you be more aware of them when they next come up. For example, if you know that having a high workload triggers your stress, you can look at setting boundaries around work. By delegating more or speaking up to say you can’t take on more work you’ll prevent yourself from feeling overstretched and hopefully avoid excess stress.
Create an action plan
Having an action plan means you’ll know what to do if a stress trigger comes up. Start by making a list of all the different things that help you feel relaxed. This could include spending time with friends, reading a book, enjoying a long bath, watching your favourite film, knitting – anything that leaves you feeling calm and refreshed.
Once you have this list, turn it into an action plan. So write down what you’ll do if you start to feel stressed. For example, if you notice you’re struggling to sleep, your action plan may involve changing your evening routine, avoiding screens before bed and meditating more.
Sometimes when it comes to stress, we can struggle to see the wood for the trees. Getting support from friends and family can really help – often sharing what we’re stressed about can help us feel better just by talking about it. When we feel especially overwhelmed however, it can help to get support from a professional.
Coaches who help with stress can help you identify stress triggers and come up with strategies to manage stress. Offering their insight, support and a sense of accountability, a coach’s job is to help you achieve your goals.
Whether you knew it may be coming or the news was a complete shock, being made redundant can feel like you’ve had the rug pulled out from under you. You’re probably going through a barrage of emotions: shock, denial, anger, worry, anxiety, uncertainty. Losing your job can impact your sense of well-being, negatively affect your mental health, relationships and confidence. It’s important to remember: you will get through this.
What is redundancy, and why are people made redundant?
Redundancy can happen due to a number of reasons. Your employer may be looking to cut costs, new technology may mean your role isn’t needed anymore, your workplace may be relocating to a new, uncommutable location, or they may be closing altogether. Whatever the reasons, you have legal rights.
Your employer has a set of requirements they are legally required to follow before they can even begin the process. It’s your employers responsability clearly lay out their grounds to make you redundant. During the process, they will have to give you certain information about why the redundancy is occurring, how many people will be affected, which areas of the business it will impact, when redundancies will happen, and how your redundancy payment will be calculated.
10 steps to help you deal with redundancy
We share 10 simple steps to help you cope with the redundancy process and start the next step in your career.
1. Make sure you understand your legal rights
Understanding your legal rights and knowing what to expect can have a calming effect and help you feel in control. It’s important to know how much redundancy pay you will get, how long your notice period is, and if you’re able to leave sooner to start a new position. Once you have the basic details, you can start thinking more clearly, regain your balance, and face the next steps.
The Money Advice Service has some great advice on understanding your legal rights when facing redundancy. The official Gov.uk website also has everything you need to know about redundancy, along with a simple tool to help you calculate your statutory redundancy pay. Based on your age, weekly pay, and how long you’ve been working in your current job, as long as you have been with your current employer for at least two years, you’re entitled to statutory redundancy.
As well as looking at external sources for information and guidance, remember to check your contract, speak with someone at HR, and chat with your union representative to discuss your specific entitlements.
2. Manage your money
Once you know what you’re entitled to (and when you’ll be paid), it’s worth working out a budget. Are there any areas you can cut back on? Could you save money by switching bill providers, changing tariffs on your mobile or broadband, or switching to cashback sites when shopping online? By addressing these areas early on, you can minimise how far your redundancy pay may need to stretch.
Remember to check if there are any benefits or grants you may be entitled to whilst looking for a new job. Depending on which part of the country you live in, the main benefit you may qualify for is typically Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit. You may also be entitled to other benefits such as tax credit or help with housing costs.
Worried about credit card debt, loan payments or bills? Citizens Advice can be one of the best places to turn for guidance. It can also be worth contacting your provider directly to explain your situation, as they may be able to work with you to create a reduced payment plan. If you are worried about keeping up with mortgage or loan repayments, check to see if you are covered by any existing insurance policies.
Try to carefully budget any lump sum redundancy payment you may receive. It’s not something we like to think about, but there’s no guarantee as to how quickly you’ll be able to find a new position. Your location, industry, job market, and qualifications can all play a big factor; finding the right job can be as much about luck and timing as skill and experience. Thoughtfully managing your finances can be key to reducing feelings of stress and worry.
3. Try not to take it personally
A big part of the redundancy process can be understanding what’s happening and why. It can help to acknowledge that the decision isn’t personal – there’s a logical, commercially driven decision behind what is happening. Knowing what has lead to redundancies can help you to see that the decision wasn’t a personal one.
Losing your job can be extremely stressful, but you aren’t alone. According to the Office for National Statistics, three in every 1,000 employees were made redundant between November and January 2018-2019. You may not have control over losing your job, but you are able to control how you deal with that loss and move forward.
4. Be open and honest
Speaking with your loved ones can be a crucial part of the redundancy process. It’s important to be as open and honest with your partner as early on as you can. Together, you can tackle any financial or emotional worries; you don’t have to face these alone.
Opening up to close friends and family can help. You have nothing to be ashamed of; redundancy can happen to anyone, at any time – it isn’t a reflection of your work ethic, the quality of your work, or you as a person. By opening up, loved ones can offer support and guidance through this tough time. If you don’t feel ready or able to talk things through yet, that’s ok too; it’s more important to focus on what makes you feel comfortable and works best for you.
5. Protect your energy
Once you’ve got your finances sorted, it’s time to figure out what comes next. Having the right mindset can be key in starting the next phase in your career. Approaching your options with a positive mindset can help increase your productivity, allow for more effective communication, boost your confidence in what you say (and how you say it), as well as allowing you to present the best possible version of yourself.
Practising regular mindfulness and meditation can be a simple way to help re-centre and re-focus your energy, as well as to examine and understand your motivations. Protecting your energy can also include examining how you frame what is happening in your life and how you can move forward towards new opportunities. By examining how you frame your redundancy, it can help you more positively view what has happened, and how you can learn from it.
We aren’t saying you have to be happy about what’s happening, but showing you are capable of moving on and letting go of any resentment can highlight a more positive attitude potential employers may be looking for.
6. Reassess your career (and life) goals
While we hesitate to say redundancy is a ‘good thing’, it can present the opportunity to help you take stock of your skills, talent, and experiences. Is there anything you want to change in your career? Have your goals remained the same, or is now the chance to start on a new journey? Changing jobs or career paths can provide the chance to readdress your work/life balance if your old role left you feeling exhausted, stressed, or on the path to burnout.
While discussing your option with friends and family can be helpful, talking things through with an impartial, outside person can be a big help in creating clearer goals and identifying what you want from your career (and life) as a whole.
If you aren’t sure where your passions lay, what you want to do next, or what your long-term goals are, working with a personal development coach can help. A coach may be able to help you set goals, track your achievements, and start recognising your progression. A career coach can help you in a number of different ways, from teaching you how to identify obstacles to improving your CV.
7. Set realistic parameters
Entering the job market can feel both liberating and terrifying. Although it can be tempting to open up your search to a wider range of opportunities, make sure to consider factors that affect your day-to-day satisfaction.
Keeping geographical location, economic factors, and creativity in mind can create a solid basis for your search. For example, it’s great to go back and retrain for a new career – but can you afford to do this without working at the same time? Maybe you’ve found the perfect career move, but have you considered the additional stress a longer commute may cause? Or perhaps you’ve found a well-paying role in the right area, but is going to challenge and engage you? It’s good to dream big and keep your options open, but make sure you factor in areas that may affect your well-being.
8. Start networking
It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. If you are looking for a new position, making the most of your existing network and expanding on your contacts can be beneficial.
Using social media can be a simple way to network at any age. Have a clear social media presence, be proactive on groups, and have an active, engaged account on sites link LinkedIn, professional Facebook groups, even Twitter. Share your expertise and industry knowledge; the more you put yourself out there, the more you can start raising your profile and (hopefully) start getting noticed by the right people
9. Let the search begin
Searching for a new job can be daunting. To set yourself up for success, it’s important to make sure your CV is up to date. Take the time to consider all of the skills, tasks and achievements from your last role, and how you can take these forward into a new position. It’s not just about stuffing keywords into your CV in hopes you’ll be picked by online algorithms; your CV gives you the space to showcase your accomplishments, experience, and personality. It’s not just an overview of how your career has progressed and developed – it’s the opportunity to show how well rounded you are as a candidate.
While you’re at it, tailoring each cover letter to suit each role is key. Having templates can be handy, but it’s important to personalise each cover letter with details about the specific role you are applying for, what they are looking for, how you fit the criteria and why you’re interested in the role. Simple details like making sure you get the hiring manager’s name right can help create a good first impression. If you aren’t sure how to get started, Reed offers some great redundancy CV and cover letter templates, or check out these six tips to create a stand-out CV.
10. Look after your mental health and well-being
It can be tempting to spend every waking hour searching for new jobs, but putting that extra strain on yourself won’t help. By putting 110% into looking for a new role, you can neglect your well-being, become disheartened, and start making small but silly mistakes (like sending the wrong cover letter to the wrong company) that can damage your prospects. It’s important to take time to look after yourself, practice regular self-care, and spend quality time with your loved ones.
Alternative therapies can be a simple way to help you manage stress, mitigate some of the symptoms of ill mental health, and act as an outlet. If you are experiencing mild signs of depression, Mind recommends several alternative therapies that may be able to help.
In some cases, managing these expectations can lead to stressed-out children and teens, confused family dynamics and aggravated behaviour. But, with the help of a youth coach, young people can gain confidence, learn healthy self-expression skills and effective emotional coping mechanisms.
Youth coaching often comes across as quite an ambiguous term, due to lack of clarity of what it actually entails. Far from being limited to sports activities, youth coaching can encompass many personal development opportunities for young people.
Life Coach Directory writer Katie chatted to Julian Brunt, Life, Youth And Educational Coach, whose expertise lies within coaching for young people and educators. Not only does youth coaching provide valuable benefits for the individual receiving the coaching, but it can also hugely impact family life, in a positive way. As Julian notes, “Youth coaching has a strong collaboration focus. Family roles and dynamics might need to change and coaching can mediate and support more appropriate relationships.”
At times, parents can unknowingly blur the lines between parent and child relationship towards friendship and this, in turn, can cause responsibility stress and role confusion for the young person. Understanding your relationships and relationship boundaries is key to developing healthy connections with people later in life.
Julian reflects on a past client coaching situation when he worked with a boy of 13. “I was able to support him in developing his own independent learning strategies whilst supporting his mother to let go of some of her previous roles. This accepting or handing over of responsibilities can be experienced as a team building and trust exercise for families.”
Not only did the young person benefit from clarification on the relationship between mother and son, but he was also able to develop strategies that supported his own individual method of learning and shaped the way he will grow into an adult.
Specialising in mentoring young people towards success and personal development, Julian uses a cognitive approach to youth coaching. A teen, whose behaviour could be construed as destructive in a family dynamic, can benefit from coaching as a form of expression and internal reflection.
Julian says, “Reactionary aspects of teenage behaviour can bring confusion and emotional suffering on all sides. In a household with a strong patriarchal dynamic, the oldest daughter of 15 was struggling, the whole family at a loss. Being able to understand how her father’s expectations were being misunderstood brought them closer which allowed her to enjoy some of her roles with her siblings.”
“Effective communication is the key to maintaining a happy family dynamic – the coaching process models the listening skills and respectful approach to others and situations that may be out of habit in the home.”
Whilst every young person may respond to certain life situations differently, youth coaching can tailor key personal growth journeys for each individual, enabling them to gain essential life skills to tackle the stressors that come their way and move forward.