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Recovering Workaholics can help you create a life full of so much more than just work.
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Volume 05 | March 2007 | Energy:Are you making the most of yours?

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Courses | Coaching | Partners of Workaholics

Contents


Part 1 - Welcome! [Back to Top]

Dear Recovering Workaholic,

Welcome to this our fifth newsletter for Recovering Workaholics.

Firstly I would like to thank you for signing up for the newsletter which is published on a monthly basis.

It has been another busy month for Recovering Workaholics, much of the work being behind the scenes in the design of information leaflets which will be distributed to libraries, HR Departments, Occupational Health Organizations etc.

If you know of people who would be interested please let us know by contacting us on info@recoveringworkaholics.com

The first of our CDs will also be available via the website later this month, but more of that later.

In a previous Newsletter we looked at one of the three essential commodities we have available to us and how we choose to spend it. That commodity was time.

We use up twenty four hours every day. Once used those hours are gone for ever. A lifetime of 70 years has a little over 6 million hours and we each have a choice as to how we spend that time. You might say “I have no choice” but not choosing to choose how you spend that time is actually a choice we make.

If you would like to read the whole article you will find it in the
December 2006 Newsletter
which is available on the website.

The other two essential commodities are energy and money. In this Newsletter we will be looking at energy and what has a positive and negative effect on how much we have available to us.

Spring is on it's way to London and it's a great time to start taking some big steps towards "creating a life you love"!

Gina Gardiner
Helping you create a life you love!

Recovering Workaholics
Tel in the UK: 01708 703 959
Tel International: +44 1708 703 959
Email: gina@recoveringworkaholics.com


Part 2 - Recommended Read [Back to Top]

“Stop Chasing Perfection And Settle For Excellence” by Topher Morrison

It is a self help book with a difference. It offers a fresh perspective on some old themes. It is an enjoyable read with a down to earth approach and a refreshing style.

It offers some really good techniques for tapping into greater potential, releasing beliefs which hold us back from achieving our potential and for dealing with emotional baggage.


Part 3 - Products and Special Offers! [Back to Top]

Three new CDs will be available from March.
Just go to www.recoveringworkaholics.com/cds.php.

CD - Beat Insomnia

Insomnia is a really common problem.
Lack of sleep can make us feel stressed and unwell. This CD is designed to help.

Sleep is vital to our health and sense of wellbeing. We need it as much as we need food and water and the air we breathe. It is during sleep that the body rests and repairs itself. Good quality sleep leaves us feeling refreshed, re-energized and ready to face the new day.

Insomnia affects most people at some time during their lives. For many it is a passing phase caused because of a stressful event in their lives. For chronic sufferers it becomes a way of life. Although it is not life-threatening it can and does threaten the quality of life for many sufferers leaving them frustrated, exhausted and feeling low.

Beat Insomnia uses deep trance techniques to help you retrain your sleep pattern without drugs. Use the "Beat Insomnia" CD to get a great nights sleep; make Insomnia a thing of the past.

CD - Relaxation 1 – A Spanish Theme

Do you find it difficult to relax and unwind from the day? Then this CD is for you.

Take time out of you busy and stressful day to relax.

True relaxation is known to reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, clear the mind and leave you feeling alert, refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your day with renewed energy and vigor.

"A Spanish Theme" uses a mixture of guided imagery and deep breathing exercises to take you on an intensely relaxing journey.

Stress is sited as the cause of over 500,000 days of absence a year in the UK alone. It represents a huge cost in both economic and personal terms. In order to deal with it we must first understand what it is and what causes it.

Where stress is detrimental people are often in situations where they feel they have little control. Sustained exposure to such negative situations can have serious implications for the health and well being of the individual and ultimately for the organization as a whole

Relaxation is a powerful tool to combat stress. Learning to take time out, to truly relax has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve mental acuity and reduce stress.

Our Relaxation CD with "A Spanish Theme" is the first in a series of relaxation tapes created by Gina Gardiner Associates.

Using visualization, guided imagery and deep breathing exercises take time out of your hectic day to unwind, de-stress and relax!

CD - Creating the Confident You!

We all feel less confident in certain situations.

This CD is designed to help you feel confident in any situation.

It used tried and tested NLP techniques to help you develop the confidence you need to tackle new social situations or giving an important presentation or interview.

  • How often do you wish you felt more confident?
  • Do you worry about social events or standing up to talk I front of work colleagues?
  • Would you like to live your life feeling that you are in control?
  • Do you have butterflies in your stomach that feel as if they are wearing hobnailed boots when you have to go to an interview or a meeting?
    Is the voice in your head telling you - you can’t do it?

Developing confidence is about much more than learning to do an activity better.

It is about changing how we feel about ourselves and dealing with our thoughts and beliefs.

It is about facing the things we fear and being curious about why we fear them. Learning to push through the fear will create a world of limitless possibilities – one where you are in control of your own destiny.

The strategies in this CD are designed to help you do just that.


Part 4 - Feature Article
Energy - Are You Making the Most of Yours?
[Back to Top]

When you are feeling at your most alive – raring to go and full of passion and energy – what are you doing?

When you feel tired and out of sorts, pulled down and exhausted what is at the bottom of your lack of energy?

You might think that for each person the answer would be entirely different and at one level that is in fact true. However there is a common underlying principle to both the positive and negative scenarios.

The things which de-energize us are very likely to come from one or more of the following:

  • Carrying around emotional baggage.
  • Incompletions
  • All or nothing syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • You are what you eat

Lets look at each of these in more detail.

Carrying around emotional baggage.

When we fail to deal with negative issues which leave a residue of a negative emotion such as anger, fear, hate, loneliness, frustration, disappointment, jealousy or bitterness those emotions take energy.

If we try to suppress those emotions rather than deal with the underlying causes it takes enormous energy to keep them locked away. My metaphor for these is the dragon in the box. Once the lid comes off it can feel as though it will be impossible to put it back on again. Some clients will say “I can’t afford to cry because if I do I won’t be able to stop” or “If I admit to being angry it will be real and I won’t be able to control it any more”.

The paradox is that it takes far more energy to avoid dealing with these negative emotions than it does to tackle the underlying problem itself.

If you are finding it difficult to let go, there are a number of techniques which can help enormously. You may find it helpful to work with a coach and some techniques can be found in this months recommended read.

Incompletions

By that I mean all those things which we know we should have done or be doing but haven’t. It could be a simple as tackling the ironing, making a phone call to someone, or as complicated as complete overwhelm because we are drowning under acres of work and we simply cannot work out where to start.

The brain is constantly sending us little reminders that we still haven’t completed things, jogging our consciences and making us feel bad about ourselves.

The solution is to create a “To Do” list which is constructed in such a way as to make each small task achievable. Celebrate that achievement. Prioritize the things on your action list. Be realistic. If we can’t do it now then putting a date in the diary to do it – AND STICKING TO YOUR PROMISE TO DO IT can enable you to get things done more effectively.

All or nothing syndrome

Hand in hand with the incompletions goes the human condition that so many of us suffer from, that is all or nothing syndrome. By that I mean that if we can’t do it all we’ll do nothing.

When I learned about this the example Topher Morrison used was of exercise. A gentleman wants to get fit. He sets himself the target of exercising six days a week for 50 minutes each day. Day one arrives, he is caught up at work so cannot fit in the 50 minutes. He thinks to himself – no worries I’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow comes; the train is late so he misses his session again. He then thinks to himself there is no point in doing anything this week as I can’t get my six sessions in. I’ll start again on Monday. Week by week something gets in the way of six fifty minute sessions so he does nothing.

The need to get fit niggles away at the back if his mind – as an incompletion.

One strategy is to create a target where it is impossible to fail. Ten minutes exercise once a week. Completing the task gives a sense of completion which is in itself energizing. The likelihood is that once the exercise session is actually started it will end up being longer than ten minutes. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain which are the body’s natural feel good chemical. If you feel good after doing exercise then you are far more likely to repeat the process.

Insomnia

Not being able to sleep well is a very common problem. For some it as a problem for an odd night, which can be irritating but it causes only a transitory problem. For others it is a debilitating condition because night after night sleep eludes them. Long tem insomnia can impact negatively on health and longevity and has a huge impact on the sufferer’s energy levels and sense of wellbeing.

The solution to the problem may be different for each person and will require some experimentation. In the first instance it is sensible to try to identify the root cause although that is not always obvious. You may need the help of your Doctor to eliminate physical causes like sleep apnea. Dealing with negative emotions is a good place to start if there is no obvious physical cause.

You are what you eat

I find some of my clients will report lack of energy as being an issue for them. When we look at their diet I sometimes find that it simply cannot sustain a healthy body and sense of well being. Snatched meals often made up of junk food, and/or eaten very late at night will over time impact negatively on energy levels.

Once a healthy balanced diet and taking time to eat at sensible times is established their energy levels shoot up. Part of a healthy diet should be ensuring you remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Dehydration will leave you feeling lethargic and unwell.

Think of your food as fuel. To run a high octane racing car you would use a top quality fuel. Your body is no different.

Giving yourself the time to eat in a relaxed way will also impact positively on your energy levels.

The things which create positive energy and re-energize us are very likely to come from one or more of the following:

  • Doing something you feel passionate about
  • Making a real difference
  • Using imagery to create energy
  • Laughter, fun and playfulness
  • You are what you eat

Lets look at each of these in more detail.

Doing something you feel passionate about

When we are engaged in doing something we love it creates a sense of enthusiasm and energy. When was the last time you did something you were passionate about? What was it? What is it that makes it so special? When and how can you create more opportunities to engage again?

Making a real difference

When we feel that we a truly making a difference whether it is to others, animal welfare or the environment it has a positive impact of our sense of self worth, that in turn boosts our energy levels and makes us feel valued and energized. What interests you? How can you make a real difference to others?

Try making a random act of kindness to a stranger every day. Expect nothing in return. It doesn’t matter how big or small, letting a car out of a side street, carrying someone’s bag, giving of your time and energy. Just monitor how it makes you feel.

Go out of your way to make someone smile, try talking to someone in the lift rather than staring into space. Say hello to a stranger in the street. Each small but positive action can add to your pot of personal energy.

Using imagery to create energy

You can think your way to greater energy. Think of a time when you felt at your very best, full of energy. Close your eyes and imagine you are in that moment.

Let your mind see what ever it sees. Think of the colours and textures. Are they bright or dull, close to or far away, moving or still?

Hear what you hear – are the noises loud or soft, low or high, melodious or discordant?

Feel what you feel – what sensation is it? Does it have a shape? Where is it, is it moving or still, heavy or light, hot or cold?

Immerse yourself in the sensations of that moment; pay close attention to how it is to be so full of energy. Imagine the sensations are only at 20% Turn the sensation up gradually until it is at 100%.

Finally one of the best ways of being energized is to have fun, to laugh and be playful.

Laughter, fun and playfulness

Laughter is a wonderful tonic. When we laugh we breathe deeply oxygenating the brain and releasing endorphins. The result is a hugely increased energy levels. When was the last time you had fun and laughed long and hard? Research has shown laughter has incredible benefits to general health and particularly on the immune system.

How often are you playful – taking life less seriously? We all have a child in us who can be incredibly energizing if we allow them to be. I know that life is a serious business but with out the lighter side of life it is all too easy to become bowed down under the pressure.

Plan to do something different in the next month. Create an opportunity to laugh and have fun this month. Let us know what you did and what impact it had on your energy levels by contacting us on info@recoveringworkaholics.com


Part 5 - Media Interest [Back to Top]

An article on Recovering Workaholics featured in Bella magazine this month. It sparked off interest from a number of people who telephoned, concerned that they or a loved one were workaholics.

Working too hard and too long has been much in the media this month. Those who live in the UK work the longest hours in Europe, however when compared with our USA work colleagues we are a great deal better off if we become sick.

In Europe it is standard practice to be paid for a number of sick days whist in the USA it appears that this is not always the case. Many people are forced to go to work even when extremely unwell as there is no sick pay available to them.


Part 6 - organizations [Back to Top]

I spoke with a client this evening who was feeing tired and under pressure. It soon became clear that the problem was being caused by one or two members of staff who she said were “dragging me down.”

After further investigation it appeared that at the heart of the matter both people were exhibiting behaviours which were unacceptable. In fact it wasn’t the behaviours themselves which were causing the leach of energy but the fact my client was not dealing with the problem.

Over the years I have found this to be a common issue. Dealing with negative attitudes or behaviours is often left by managers until it becomes impossible to ignore any more. By this time the problems are often entrenched.

I believe managers avoid dealing with the problem because they feel unsure of how to. By avoiding it in this way they are tacitly agreeing that the behaviour or attitude in question is ok. When they finally do do something the member of staff is often surprised at their boss as nothing has been said before. The outpouring of irritation from the manager seems disproportionate to the member of staff. There is the potential for real difficulty.

Most of these problems can be easily avoided. How?

In the first instance it is important to have clear, high expectations of the staff by the manager.

How do your staff know your expectations?

Are they:
a) Expected to have them before they take up the post
b) Introduced through your formal induction programme
c) Find out by picking them up from others within the department
d) Find out by chance
e) Discover what they mean when they get negative feedback after failing, as they have no idea what is meant by your version of high expectations

Induction and ongoing training of staff is important.

An induction programme is an investment which pays huge dividends when it is done well. The sort of Induction Programme you offer gives all sorts of overt and subliminal messages to new and existing staff. For example - explicit high expectations show that professionalism and professional development have high status within your department or organization and that you value the individual.

Modelling the behaviours you want to encourage from others is a great way to demonstrate to staff what your want from them. Giving mixed messages is a sure fire way to create problems. E.g. Telling people you expect them to exhibit good meeting behaviour the shouting across and constantly interrupting them in meetings.

Constructive feedback is a powerful tool for ongoing professional development. Done well it can motivate your team, raise performance, and enhance your corporate team identity.

There is a place for feedback to be given as part of the formal monitoring Programme. It is also very useful to feed back to your team on an ongoing basis. When staff receive feedback exclusively at the point of their formal review it can leave 3 months, six months or a year between opportunities for discussion and development. Misunderstandings, poor performance tend to grow and get worse when they are left alone.

In the first instance offering feedback as part of your normal cycle may be enough. Don’t forget to set up a review date.

If that process doesn’t work you may need to have a “Hard Conversation”.
Be very clear this is not a competency hearing.

What is a “Hard Conversation for?

It is about ensuring staff recognize what they are doing something unacceptable. They need to know the impact it is having on organization, the team, you as their manager and what needs to change.

A full discussion on all of these elements including a template for having the “hard conversations” can be found in “How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion)” this book will be available soon. More details in the next Newsletter.


Part 7- Support For Partners Of Workaholics [Back to Top]

There is now a monthly Newsletter designed for the partners of Workaholics. This can be accessed by going to www.recoveringworkaholics.com/partners.php.


Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

If there are any topics you would like covered in future issues please let me know on info@recoveringworkaholics.com or complete the feeedback form at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/enquiryform.php.

What do you think?

Warmest wishes,
Gina Gardiner

********

Creating a good work life balance is vital for long term
health, wellbeing and happiness.

If you would like support to achieve this, visit
www.recoveringworkaholics.com

For any further information or to discuss your coaching needs contact info@recoveringworkaholics.com or phone 01708 703959


Gina Gardiner, recognized by "Investors In People" as creating an "innovative and exemplary training programme for emerging and middle managers" and by Ofsted as an “inspirational leader”. Her experience includes that of “Change Management” and in supporting organizational leaders in developing strategic vision and creating a “can do” culture.

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Author : Gina Gardiner

For any further information or advice about Recovering Workaholics contact info@recoveringworkaholics.com or phone 01708 703959