Follow the “Road to Stress Management”

We all have one life to live!  We all have the same 24 hours in each day, and we need to make the most of those hours and our lives. Can we separate our personal and professional lives? Can we have balance?

In B is for Balance, 12 steps toward a more balanced life at home and at work, 2nd edition, we answered that question. We did it so well that the book was awarded 1st Place in Consumer Health by the American Journal of Nursing in 2015. Now, we offer a workbook to guide the reader to an awareness of what is needed to create, and sustain balance!  This is The Road to Stress Management. 

This is it…the ultimate workbook to accompany the award-winning book – with a Stress Management Thought at the end of each chapter. Available next week at http:/smwgroupllc.com and http:/sharonmweinstein.com

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Why B is for Balance…connecting the dots

From infusion to evolution: I am often asked how I could write infusion therapy textbooks for 25 years, and then write about life balance.

How is it possible to shift paradigms so dramatically and connect the dots? I am often asked how I could possibly transition from the world of sick-care and chronic disease to the wonderful world of wellness.  What was the trigger that I was out of balance, and that I needed to do something about it?  And, how, after so many years, could I evolve into a wellness professional and seek balance for myself?

My story could easily be your story.  Working 100+ hours per week, and well aware of the toll that this schedule placed on my own body/mind/family/relationships, I knew that something had to change.  And, it was my global work colleagues who introduced me to the concept of work/life balance.

Picture this.  During the month of August, hospitals in the former Soviet Union traditionally close to allow time for the staff to visit a remote Sanatoria for a 24-day respite.  Who do you know in this country that offers 24 days of vacation time to all employees, regardless of status, and then mandates that they actually take the time for a much-needed rest?  Maternity leave in that part of the world is a minimum of two years, during which your job is held for you!  Who do you know in this country that offers extended parental leave time equal to two years?  If you are like me, no one measures up to those standards.  And while I was not considering parental leave for myself, nor would I ever stay in one place long enough for a 24-day rest, I did start to think about working less and playing more.  I was intrigued by the concept of a life in balance and what that might look like.

Perhaps you have had the same experience…perhaps you realize that your work and home life are intertwined and that there is no longer time for you and those near and dear to you.  Perhaps you have thought, “What if I could take that much-needed vacation, attend that graduation, or just relax?”

The Art of Reinvention: I chose to reinvent myself as a wellness professional with a focus on lifestyle rather than on managing chronic disease and acute illness.  I thought about the words of Harold Whitman, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  I decided to come alive, enjoy life, family, career, and more – and to write about the experience. It’s time to reinvent a new us that will take us through our second adulthood.  I have done it, and so can you. So who are you?  Who do you want to be when you grow up – a question that my kids often ask me?  This time, you get to decide. 

Use these steps to relieve the stressors that are holding you back:

Decide what’s most important in your life: Identify three areas of your life that are most important; for me, the three include (1) health and well-being, (2) family, and (3) professional work.  If health is a priority for you, take the time to achieve it.  Eat well, be well, do well – begin an exercise program, if you have not already done so.

Know your purpose and set goals: Life purpose is what gives meaning to our lives and a reason why we are here on earth. Each individual life has a natural reason for being.  Think about what brings you the greatest joy in your life, and pursue it. To be successful in our lives, we must set goals to discover our purpose and what we want to achieve in the course of our lives. In order to be a goal, it must first be specific and measurable.

How to Seek Help: Successful, balanced professionals are not afraid to ask for help. Everyone needs help from time to time, and reaching out is an admirable skill.  Be acutely aware of the stressors in your schedule and in your life.  Know thyself first!  Manage yourself, and take advantage of counseling, coaches, professional peers, mentors and more.

Working 100+ hours per week, and well aware of the toll that this schedule placed on my own body/mind/family/relationships, I knew that something had to change.  And, it was my global work colleagues who introduced me to the concept of work/life balance.

Picture this.  During the month of August, hospitals in the former Soviet Union traditionally close to allow time for the staff to visit a remote Sanatoria for a 24-day respite.  Who do you know in this country that offers 24 days of vacation time to all employees, regardless of status, and then mandates that they actually take the time for a much-needed rest?  Maternity leave in that part of the world is a minimum of two years, during which your job is held for you!  Who do you know in this country that offers extended parental leave time equal to two years?  If you are like me, no one measures up to those standards.  And while I was not considering parental leave for myself, nor would I ever stay in one place long enough for a 24-day rest, I did start to think about working less and playing more.  I was intrigued by the concept of a life in balance and what that might look like. Perhaps you have had the same experience…perhaps you realize that your work and home life are intertwined and that there is no longer time for you and those near and dear to you.  Perhaps you have thought, “What if I could take that much-needed vacation, attend that graduation, or just relax?”

Know your Limitations: We just do not know how to say ‘no.’ In B is for Balance, I talk about ‘no’ being a complete sentence, and it is okay to learn how to use the word to bring balance to our lives. If something does not fall within your priorities, it is okay to say the magic word, ‘no.’ You must avoid taking on more than you can possibly handle. Negotiate for workplace balance by knowing yourself and your limitations. “No” can be the best time management tool that you have! Knowing my limitations allowed me to transition from the sick-care industry to the Life Balance space. I connect those dots by using my nursing platform to share the wonderful world of wellness – one that is available to you as well, with you live a life in balance.

 

Is a respite center needed in the work environment?

The author has consulted with global organizations to create respite centers within healthcare settings. Today’s work environment mandates providing respite centers in all industries.

A Hospital-Based Respite Center

Stress is overwhelming, and workplace stress has become a ‘given.’  We can overcome that stress by creating an internal respite center whose goal is to provide a safe, calm place in which nurses can regain momentum, renew spirit, and refresh themselves.  I’ve had the privilege of creating such centers in global locations; these are possible amenities:

  1. Comfort
  • Light
  • Air
  • Eye masks for dimming light
  • Healthy snacks
  • Healthy choices
  • Workout area including adjacent paths and exercise room on-site
  • Adjustable heating and ventilation
  • Noise levels controlled
  • Ergometrics
  • Room size approximately 30 x 30
  • 4 comfortable chairs with ottomans or recliners
  1. Amenities
  • Massage tables
  • Filtered water system
  • Control of lighting
  • Dark room as needed
  • Safe setting
  • Lockers
  • Showers nearby
  1. Consistent recognition and rewards for success
  • Attention, praise, and rewards are given for wellness achievements
  • Values placed on wellness
  • Values on lifestyle improvements/enhancements
  • PTO for achieving success
  • Wellness mentors/mentees
  • Peer modeling
  1.  Managers model healthy behaviors
  • Walk the walk and talk the talk
  • Weight management
  • Weight watchers on-site
  • Solidarity
  • Flexibility
  1. Ongoing health promotion
  • Consistency
  • Orientation for new students/staff
  • Participation 100%
  • Health calendar emphasis (national health holidays, i.e., diabetes, vision, heart, cancer)
  • Benefits of good health
  • Ease of access
  • Lifestyle changes

For additional information, contact info@smwgroupllc.com

Life Balance…it is what we do and who we are!

 

Did grandma have a cell phone?

imagespinterestI wish that I had been there when my 7-year old grandson asked his mom, “Did you call your grandma on her cellphone when you were a little kid?” She shares the story with a smile in her voice, and says, “Grandmas did not have cellphones when I was a little kid! My mom and dad did not have cell phones either.”  I can imagine the surprise on my grandson’s face; yes, he is familiar with history, is a fan of the Titanic, and knows everything about Ben Franklin!  But the blunt truth of realizing that your mom, dad, and your grandparents are a part of history is more than a 7-year old can bear.

Our daughter explained that her grandmother wrote her a long letter in cursive, sparking another question, “What is cursive?”  She told him that the letter sometimes took a week to arrive; he probably thought that it came by Pony Express rather than the USPS, which is only a tad faster than Pony Express these days.

My how things change!  How quickly we become history! How about you? Did you call your grandma on her cell phone when you were a little kid? And in what year was that?

SpinCon2016…and stress-less!

I had the privilege of presenting The Wages of Stress to attendees at the SpinCon2016 meeting in Fort Lauderdale on Monday! What an incredible learning audience; these were seasoned professional meeting planners whose jobs exude stress. They were especially interested in the price we pay for stress…the price of relationships, family, job, productivity, sleep, and overall health.

What is the dollar value of your stress, and is it worth it?  Are you sacrificing quality time with family and friends due to work? Are you sacrificing relationships and your own health due to your commitments?  Is your ‘to-do’wages list overwhelming, and can it be converted into a ‘must-do’ list?

Don’t fall victim to stress; don’t let it become a fact of life for you! Don’t lose sleep and become fatigued due to stress.  You will recognize fatigue; the most common effects associated with fatigue are-

  • Sleepiness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Impaired recall
  • Irritability
  • Poor judgment
  • Reduced ability to communicate with others
  • Reduced fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Reduced visual perception
  • Slower response times

Have I just described you, and how you are feeling?  If yes, seek support…slow down…enjoy life to the fullest, and stress less! Thanks, SpinCon attendees, for the opportunity to share with you; I know that you know the triggers, and how to control them!

What’s your balancing act?

Surely, America’s Got Talent; so too does Britain!  From the Fifth Generation Hand Balancer on One Finger, to the Balancing Daredevil, to my own National Speakers Association colleagues known as The Passing Zone…we have seen it all, haven’t we? imagesu62xnhj2

Life is a balancing act…the ability to juggle responsibilities, money, time and perhaps time for ourselves.

Think about your own life, and your balancing act! What must you juggle each and every day to reach your goals, realize your dreams, and live your life? 

Stressbusters…what will work for you?

What will work for you?

What’s relaxing for one may not be relaxing for another.  You may try relaxation and find yourself impatiently tapping your finger, wishing it to be over! You probably need it more than those who can easily and deeply relax. It may take you longer to learn to quiet your mind. Stop-Stressing-Start-Living-placard-with-bokeh-background-000074895569_Large

Take heart, you can learn. The trick is to find a technique that works for you personally.  Begin by choosing a method that appeals to you while allowing your mind to tailor it to work better as time goes by.

In my stress management workshops I offer alternatives to relieve stress, such as:

  • Focus intently on anything that relaxes you.
  • Focus on your breathing: by focusing on your inhale and as you exhale think of any short phrase or word that relaxes you, such as “I’m relaxed.” That’s all you need to do, over and over and over.
  • Visualize a relaxing scene: your favorite vacation spot, the beach, the woods or incredible sunsets. Choose one scene and focus on what you would see, hear, feel and smell in this place.

Additional relaxation tips

  • Set aside 20–30 minutes of uninterrupted time on a non-digesting stomach (before you eat a meal, not right after).
  • Play relaxation music if you like.
  •  Sit upright with your spine straight and both feet on the floor. You can also lie down (don’t fall asleep.)
  • Begin with deep breathing for a minute or two or until your body relaxes and experiences a “body sigh.” (This is when your body gets progressively more relaxed with each breath and at one point it almost sighs into a deeper level.) Then, allow your breathing to return to normal and begin to focus on your chosen relaxation technique.
  • It’s perfectly normal for distracting thoughts to enter your mind.  Take another deep breath whenever you become distracted and think to yourself, “oh well,” then return your breathing to normal and to your relaxation technique.
  •  Or gently push away your distracting thoughts. Imagine pushing them to join other background thoughts that are circling above your head.
  • Relax for 20 minutes (or work up to it). Set a quiet alarm for 25 minutes in case you don’t come out of it on your own.
  • Gently return your focus to the present and stretch before getting up.

Practice this powerful skill of deep relaxation regularly. Once you get good at it, I can almost promise you you’ll find it to be one of the four most powerful stress reduction techniques (the others are regular exercise, humor, and great problem solving). resting

Think about it, and decide what will work for you!