Stress-free Job Search

Stress-free Job Search

Advice from Wendy Smith; Career Coach and author of The WiseWolf Job Search Pocket Book – order on Amazon

Stress-free Job Search – looking for work is often a very stressful experience. This is particularly so if you haven’t chose to chosen to leave your job and/or you have searched for a job for a long time. But there are ways that you can cut that stress and here is some advice.

We feel stressed when we perceive a threat. If you are unemployed and worried about the future for you, and those you love, that certainly feels threatening.

The effects of stress

When we feel threatened, the nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones. These include adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus. And they prepare you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand. This is helpful in an emergency and it can be helpful in raising performance temporarily. But if you stay in this state for too long damage can be caused to both your body and your mind.

Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. And chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. Among other things, it can raise blood pressure or suppress you immune system making you more vulnerable to infection, as well as increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Long term stress can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

Stress-free Job Search – here’s how you can limit the stress

Accepting that you are likely to suffer a degree of stress in job search, there are the ways you can limit the amount of stress you have to suffer. Here is how you get closer to stress-free job search

First, it can be helpful to have a regular routine to your day. This should be very much modelled on the working life pattern you are used to. But make sure you leave enough time in the day for regular meals and exercise. Then you can sharpen your time management skills so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the challenges ahead. For example, set realistic goals, set regular progress reviews and adjust your goals as needed. Make and manage a priority to do list and block out time in your diary to work on particular parts of your job search project without interruption.

Keep perspective! When your job search is stressful, it can feel as if it’s taking over your life. To maintain perspective, talk to people you trust about the challenges you’re facing. They might be able to give insights or offer suggestions for coping. Sometimes simply talking about difficulties can relieve stress.

Take care of yourself

Take a break. Even a few minutes of personal time during your day can be refreshing. Don’t be afraid to take some breaks from your job search, just as you would at work. This could be the occasional long weekend or a short holiday, if you can afford it.

Have an outlet and set aside time for activities you enjoy. These could be walking, reading, socializing or pursuing a hobby.

Make sure you take care of yourself. So, include physical activity in your daily routine, get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy diet.

Don’t be afraid to seek help if none of the above is really helping and you continue to feel overwhelmed. Please consult your doctor, counsellor or coach for advice on how to cut the levels of stress in your life before it causes you real harm.

Stress-free Job Search – over the last year, I’ve worked with a number of clients who thought they had no chance of securing a good job again. That was a very stressful experience for them. They are now in work and happy.  So, if I can do anything to help you, please get in touch.

Other resources to help your job search

In the job market, there are always lots of useful techniques to learn or to refresh. From writing a modern CV to wooing at the interview, you’ll find lots of tips in my handy little pocket-book.

Stress-free Job Search
A concise and practical little workbook. For all who have the courage to go out and learn the new skills necessary to find a job now.

A concise and practical little work book, it is for all who have the courage to go out and learn the new skills necessary to find a job now.

Find this and my other books on my Amazon page at this link; http://ow.ly/BRSAL

Remember working with a career coach can really help both  job search and career resilience. Get in touch at the Facing a mid-career dilemmaemail address below – I offer a free half hour trial session by phone or Skype.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. 

Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book your free 30 minute, no obligation, trial coaching session with Wendy Smith now at this Link 

Christmas Stress – Here is Help!

Christmas Stress – here is help!

Christmas stress! Stressful situations can happen at home as well as at work and Christmas is a particularly stressful time. If you’ve coped with a lot of stress at work then dealing with the extra stress of Christmas at home may make you feel overwhelmed.

What happens in stress is that your body goes into overdrive and you may find yourself with

  • Pounding heart
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pains
  • Feeling faint
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • With shaking limbs and jelly legs

Now, of course, chest pains and breathlessness should be checked out with a medical adviser. But all these symptoms can be exaggerations of your body’s normal response to fear or stress (the “fight or flight” mechanism). They can feel very frightening in themselves and that makes things worse. But once you’ve checked with a doctor, you need to keep in mind that they are not dangerous or harmful provided you take action to help you handle the stress.

They are happening because your body is flooded with stress hormones such as adrenaline and corticosteroid. They were helpful when we had to run away from dangerous animal but now they produce those frightening symptoms.

So what can you do to feel better.

  1. First recognise the symptoms for what they are.  If it is possible to remove any of the pressures on you, then do so. Use the same techniques you would use at work to organise and prioritize any work you have to do at home.
  2. Start to control you thoughts – when anxious thoughts and worries come into your head take a pause and start to repeat to yourself quietly; “This will pass.” Each time a negative thought comes into your head say it again, until the new thought replaces the negative one. And you know at Christmastime that the 2nd of January does come round remarkably quickly.
  3. Have little stock of things you enjoy, such as, music on your iPod, or in my case very old BBC Radio comedies. Even if you can only find 10 minutes alone to enjoy to them, do so everyday.
  4. Be quite ruthless in protecting yourself from the harmful effect of negative friends and relatives. If you have to spend time with them then make sure you take regular breaks and reward your self for your patience in dealing with them.
  5. Avoid over eating and drinking too much but make sure you have a little of everything that you enjoy.
  6. If it is at all possible take short walk in the open air each day.
  7. Recognise that this is an emotionally demanding time and if you feel like having a good cry then do so – tears can be a very healthy response to the feelings within us.
  8. Practice relaxed breathing – the technique is described below

Christmas Stress! Relaxed breathing can help

Practise deep breathing at a regular time and in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.

Loosen or remove any tight clothes, such as shoes or jackets. Make yourself feel completely comfortable.

Sit in a comfy chair which supports your head or lie on the floor or bed. Place your arms on the chair arms, or flat on the floor or bed, a little bit away from the side of your body with the palms up. If you’re lying down, stretch out your legs, keeping them hip-width apart or slightly wider. If you’re sitting in a chair, don’t cross your legs.

Good relaxation always starts with focusing on your breathing. The way to do it is to breathe in and out slowly and in a regular rhythm as this will help you to calm down.

Fill up the whole of your lungs with air, without forcing. Imagine you’re filling up a bottle, so that your lungs fill from the bottom:

  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Breathe in slowly and regularly counting from one to five (don’t worry if you can’t reach five at first).
  • Then let the breath escape slowly, counting from one to five.

Keep doing this until you feel calm. Breathe without pausing or holding your breath.

Practise this relaxed breathing for three to five minutes, two to three times a day (or whenever you feel stressed).

I wish you the happiest holidays and if I you need help to handle the after shock, please get in touch.

Remember I offer a trial free half hour coaching session by phone or Skype.

Warm regards

Wendy
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

Christmas can be stressful – here is help!

Christmas can be stressful – here is help!

Advice from Wendy Smith. Wendy is a Career and Life Coach helping youfind fresh perspectives on life and your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

Christmas can be stressful  – stressful situations can happen at home as well as at work and Christmas is a particularly stressful time. If you’ve coped with a lot of stress at work then dealing with the extra stress of Christmas at home may make you feel overwhelmed.

Christmas can be stressful – symptoms

What happens in stress is that your body goes into overdrive and you may find yourself with

  • Pounding heart
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pains
  • Feeling faint
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • With shaking limbs and jelly legs

Now, of course, chest pains and breathlessness should be checked out with a medical adviser. But all these symptoms can be exaggerations of your body’s normal response to fear or stress (the “fight or flight” mechanism). They can feel very frightening in themselves and that makes things worse. But once you’ve checked with a doctor, you need to keep in mind that they are not dangerous or harmful provided you take action to help you handle the stress.

They are happening because your body is flooded with stress hormones such as adrenaline and corticosteroid. They were helpful when we had to run away from dangerous animal but now they produce those frightening symptoms.

So what can you do to feel better.

  1. First recognise the symptoms for what they are.  If it is possible to remove any of the pressures on you, then do so. Use the same techniques you would use at work to organise and prioritize any work you have to do at home.
  2. Start to control you thoughts – when anxious thoughts and worries come into your head take a pause and start to repeat to yourself quietly; “This will pass.” Each time a negative thought comes into your head say it again, until the new thought replaces the negative one. And you know at Christmastime that the 2nd of January does come round remarkably quickly.
  3. Have little stock of things you enjoy, such as, music on your iPod, or in my case very old BBC Radio comedies. Even if you can only find 10 minutes alone to enjoy to them, do so everyday.
  4. Be quite ruthless in protecting yourself from the harmful effect of negative friends and relatives. If you have to spend time with them then make sure you take regular breaks and reward your self for your patience in dealing with them.
  5. Avoid over eating and drinking too much but make sure you have a little of everything that you enjoy.
  6. If it is at all possible take short walk in the open air each day.
  7. Recognise that this is an emotionally demanding time and if you feel like having a good cry then do so – tears can be a very healthy response to the feelings within us.
  8. Practice relaxed breathing – the technique is described below

Relaxed breathing

Practise deep breathing at a regular time and in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.

Loosen or remove any tight clothes, such as shoes or jackets. Make yourself feel completely comfortable.

Sit in a comfy chair which supports your head or lie on the floor or bed. Place your arms on the chair arms, or flat on the floor or bed, a little bit away from the side of your body with the palms up. If you’re lying down, stretch out your legs, keeping them hip-width apart or slightly wider. If you’re sitting in a chair, don’t cross your legs.

Good relaxation always starts with focusing on your breathing. The way to do it is to breathe in and out slowly and in a regular rhythm as this will help you to calm down.

Fill up the whole of your lungs with air, without forcing. Imagine you’re filling up a bottle, so that your lungs fill from the bottom:

  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Breathe in slowly and regularly counting from one to five (don’t worry if you can’t reach five at first).
  • Then let the breath escape slowly, counting from one to five.

Keep doing this until you feel calm. Breathe without pausing or holding your breath.

Practise this relaxed breathing for three to five minutes, two to three times a day (or whenever you feel stressed).

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in helping people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. She has worked in management as well as coaching and personal development, as well as starting up her own businesses. That means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up a new business or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. 

Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

Stress and the HR Professional

 Stress and the HR Professional

Human Resources UK is the leading LinkedIn group dedicated to those involved in HR in the UK.  Discuss HR is the HR blog written by Human Resources UK. I am one of the Discuss HR team of writers and yesterday a post I wrote on stress and the HR professional was published.

HR staff are under constant pressure in the current economic climate.  While they are great at advising others on the management of stress, I suspect they may not be so good at identifying and managing their own.

Anyway here is a link to the post and I would very much welcome your views; http://discusshr.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/stress-and-hr-professional.html

Wendy Smith is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

Stress-Reducing Techniques to Help Cope with School or College

Stress-Reducing Techniques to Help Cope with School or College

Today we have a guest post from Isaiah Banks who is a full-time graduate student studying health care administration. During his undergraduate studies, he realized academic stress was overtaking his life. He investigated stress-reducing techniques, which allowed him to study effectively and, he hopes, will eventually prepare him for healthcare management jobs. 

Image provided by Sara V. from Flickr’s Creative Commons

It’s no secret that school can be stressful. Pursuing a degree requires a student to perform at his or her absolute best. If this stress is left unchecked, it can be devastating to a student’s overall success, not to mention their entire well-being.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways to keep stress in check. Each technique will work differently, depending on your preferences as well as your mind and body. Take time to thoroughly practice each to find one, or even several,  that will work best for you.

Techniques to Reduce Your Stress

The can significantly below reduce stress. Explore these strategies until you find one that is right for you.

  • Meditation The state of your body and mind have a profound effect on your ability to handle pressure and conflicts. Pressure from professors, as well as internal conflicts, are a major source of stress. Regularly meditating can prevent stress from building up. Take time at the beginning of each day to sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Attempt to clear your mind by focusing entirely on your breath. Count the length of your inhales and your exhales. This will provide your brain with more oxygen, and you’ll start the day with a clear head.
  • Time ManagementOne of the biggest sources of stress in a student’s life is worry. They worry about not getting everything done, worry about upcoming projects and worry about fitting in an active social life. However, this source of stress can be entirely eliminated by enacting a time management strategy. At the beginning of each week, create a schedule with everything you are required to complete. Include studying, classroom hours and projects that are due. Now, you can clearly see how the week ahead of you will transpire.
  • Proper NutritionAccording to the Mayo Clinic, having a well-balanced diet can alleviate stress by providing your mind and body the nutrients they need to function. When you do not receive required nutrients, your body goes into panic mode. This is aggravated by the external stresses of school. Depending on your degree, you may be aware that nutrition has a profound effect on a person’s ability to think clearly. Someone pursuing a master in health administration or a similar degree has likely covered this phenomenon in their studies.
  • Leisure TimeSchedule time to do whatever it is that you enjoy — whether this means relaxing on the couch, sitting by the pool or spending time with friends. Leisure time can help you process and release accumulated stress. Make an effort to not think or talk about your studies to maximize the quality of your leisure time.
  • Disconnecting from ElectronicsThe modern world is one of constant connection. It’s important to take time out of your day to disconnect. Turn off your laptop, smartphone and tablet. Don’t turn on the TV, either. Simply relax by yourself without having to process any external stimuli. This will significantly allow you to reduce and release stress.

Stress Can Be Avoidable

Carefully explore the above techniques to become a considerably less-stressed student. You’ve taken time to study, completed projects and done everything in your power to earn high grades. You owe it to yourself to put this same amount of effort into finding a way to reduce stress throughout your education. Not only will mastering one or two of these techniques help you make the most of your studies, it will also help you in your career and personal life. Forming a lifelong habit to cut down on stress can lead to a longer, happier and altogether more fulfilling life.

About the Author: Isaiah Banks is a full-time graduate student studying health care administration. During his undergraduate studies, he realized academic stress was overtaking his life. He investigated stress-reducing techniques, which allowed him to study effectively and, he hopes, will eventually prepare him for healthcare management jobs. 

>Strength for the Journey – staying fit!

>

Running with Seagulls
You wouldn’t be wasting time reading this if you were not committed to doing something interesting and worthwhile after leaving the Public Sector. 
You are engaged in a most important task – ensuring the best possible future for you and for those close to you.  This major project will be challenging to manage and making sure it is success will require both your energy and your commitment! 
You need to do your best to make sure you are fit for the task – I mean physically and mentally fit!
You are going through what for most people is a deeply stressful experience. Sometimes people turn to alcohol or drugs as a way of coping, or they may overeat. Unfortunately all of those just provide a short-term fix at the cost of long term physical and mental damage. (I’m not even going to mention smoking!) 
If you are serious about Project You, you just can’t afford those options!   
There are lots of simple relaxation techniques around.  But I’ve put one at the end of this post anyway. 
Sometimes playing a game that keeps your mind working (rather than watching TV) can be a way to relax even if it is just Scrabble on Facebook. I have a NintendoDS and my word can’t that while away the hours and the tension!
This might also be the time to make some simple change in your overall life style that have worked for others.
Replace coffee with tea! In a recent study,   researchers found that drinking a cup of tea 4-6 times a day reduces stress hormone levels in your body. The study’s results suggest “drinking black tea may speed up our recovery from the daily stresses in life.” In any case drink lots of water – 8 glasses a day is recommended.
Eat a balanced diet – plenty of vegetables and complex carbohydrates!  Cut out the fat, salt and sugar and eat small meals at frequent and regular intervals.
Get some exercise every day, even if much of your day is spent in the home office working on Project You! Get out for a daily walk at the very least. Getting outside for some fresh air, a change of scenery, and a quick walk to get your blood going, will do wonders for your mood and motivation.   
Now is not the time to cut yourself off from company, I will be writing here about networking shortly.  In the meantime make sure you stay in touch with your old friends. Remember so many people have suffered the indignity of being made redundant that you are likely to be treated with a lot of understanding by old friends and colleagues, if that is what has happened. 
Now here is that relaxation technique I mentioned.
Relaxed breathing 

Practise deep breathing at a regular time and in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Loosen or remove any tight clothes and make yourself comfortable! 

If you can, sit in a comfortable chair which supports your head or lie on the floor or bed. Place your arms on the chair arms, or flat on the floor or bed, a little bit away from the side of your body with the palms up. 

If you’re lying down, stretch out your legs, keeping them hip-width apart or slightly wider. If you’re sitting in a chair, don’t cross your legs.
Good relaxation always starts with focusing on your breathing. The way to do it is to breathe in and out slowly and in a regular rhythm as this will help you to calm down.
·         Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly.
·         Fill up the whole of your lungs with air, without forcing.
·         Imagine you’re filling up a bottle, so that your lungs fill from the bottom.
·         Breathe in slowly and regularly counting from one to five (don’t worry if you can’t reach five at first).
·         Then let the breath escape slowly, counting from one to five.
·         Keep doing this until you feel calm.
·         Breathe without pausing or holding your breath.
While you are doing this concentrate completely on your breathing – let the thought of your breath fill you heart and mind completely! 
You will be surprised by the power of this very simple technique which you can use any time and in more or less any place.  Please try it and let me know what you think!

Do you wear a mask at work? Can you be yourself at work or even at home?

I’ve always had a dilemma!  I have spent much of my life trying to reconcile the needs of my interesting and satisfying professional life as a manager and consultant, with my spiritual and creative life as a seeker and a poet! For many years, I would rarely let my work colleagues know anything about my other interests!  Even now I exercise a degree of caution in who I tell and how! But life running my own business does mean that I have greater freedom to make my own choices! I was lucky, as I say above I enjoyed my life as a manager and I now enjoy the work I do as a consultant.  I could express myself in both my worlds!

But there are many who are far less lucky than me! Some of us cannot be ourselves at home, let alone at work!  And there is a penalty to pay from the time we spend adapting to meet the needs of others; time we spend pretending to be someone we are not! We can damage our health far more than we probably realise!

Dr Katherine Benziger is a pioneer and leading expert in her field. She has given three decades of teaching and research in psychology working to help people understand, value and use their own and other people’s natural gifts! Her work has focused on the proper and ethical development and application of personality assessment in the global business environment. Significantly, Dr Benziger prefers the term personality assessing, rather than personality testing, to describe her approach. She is keen to distance herself from the ‘personality testing’ industry, which puts the needs of the organisation ahead of the individuals who make it up!

Dr Benziger believes, in simple terms, that there are four different areas of one part of the human brain (the processing section or neocortex) that equate to four different types of human behaviour.

SENSING/BASAL LEFT The fundamental goal of the Basal Left/Sensation Type is to have the fullest possible experience of what is immediate and real, in order to be able to produce dependably. For this reason, the Basal Left is said to contribute or be responsible for the productive foundations in life.

FEELING/BASAL RIGHT The fundamental goal of the Basal Right/Feeling Type is to create harmony, connectedness and good will in the community. For this reason, the Basal Right is said to contribute or be responsible for the peaceful foundations in life.

INTUITION/FRONTAL RIGHT The fundamental goal of the Frontal Right/Intuitive Type is to discover the furthest reaches of the possible, in order to perceive new patterns, invent new solutions, or solve “theoretically insurmountable” problems. For this reason, the Frontal Right is said to contribute or be responsible for the adaptive in life.

THINKING/FRONTAL LEFT The fundamental goal of the Frontal Left/Thinking Type is to create rational order and make sound plans and decisions based on logical analysis. For this reason, the Frontal Left is said to contribute or be responsible for the Directing or Prioritizing function in life.

She believes that each of us is born with a hard-wired connectivity in one of the four areas which usually leads to how we interpret the world around us and how we react to it.  It results in personality styles, thinking styles, behaviour styles or communication styles.

Dr Benziger’s work has focussed on the common tendency of people in work, whether being assessed or not, to adapt their natural thinking and working styles to fit expectations of others.   This can apply both at home and at work! It can be a particular issue for women as many of us strive to be good partners, as well as successful mothers and supportive carers for our elder relatives! The result is tension and stress.  People become increasingly unhappy and ineffective, if they behave in unnatural ways! Much of Dr Benziger’s work focuses on dealing with these issues and the costs of this pressure to adapt.

Dr Arlene Taylor has been a leading specialist in ‘wellness’ since 1980, and has collaborated with Dr Benziger for much of that time.  Arlene Taylor’s work has confirmed, and builds on, Benziger’s observations about the cost of adapting!  Her work has included identifying anecdotally a collection of symptoms. The complete family of symptoms which Dr Arlene Taylor identified within PASS (Prolonged Adaption Stress Syndrome), as linked to Benziger’s work the “Falsification of Type”, are:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Hyper-vigilance
  3. Immune system alterations
  4. Memory impairment
  5. Altered brain chemistry
  6. Diminished frontal lobe functions
  7. Discouragement and or depression
  8. Self-esteem problems

So what does this mean for us as leaders and managers of groups of people at work? Remember that any personality assessment or psychometrics test can be skewed!  This is particularly likely if someone is practised at falsifying their type and spends their time continually trying to be someone they are not. Don’t rely solely on the results of such tests when you are recruiting. Get to know the people who work with you, and for you.  Make sure they know that you value difference in your team!  Don’t put pressure on them to confirm to a stereotype – value the differences between them!

We need to recognise that we are cannot all be good at everything and it is legitimate for us to do less well at some things and better at others! It is also OK for us not all to like or want the same things!   Don’t increase the pressure with unrealistic expectations of yourself and others. Be aware of the people around you and learn to recognise when they are showing the signs of stress!  It could be that they are trying too hard to live up to your expectations and that is causing the problem!  Make sure your expectations of yourself and others are legitimate and that they are reasonable!

You can find our more about Dr Benziger and her work at this link.