Back on campus, and back to stress!

So you’ve arrived on campus to begin or continue your undergraduate studies! Perhaps you are a returning graduate student focused on completing your education and moving on with life! There is so much to do, and no time in which to get it done. The first few days can be hectic until you are settled into a routine. And, then what?   Suddenly what appeared to be an easy transition has become a life challenge, and you wonder how you will ever manage the process and get through each day you’re your mind intact.

Sound familiar? That is because college can be a challenging and stressful time for students, both grad and undergrad, and learning how to adapt while creating work/life balance is critical to one’s success and survival. And, it does not stop with work/life; what about academics and social activities? What about sports, family, and more?

I’ve heard students say that college life is like a tightrope; there are so many entities tugging at you for time and attention, and you may be overwhelmed. You have your academic workload, your growing social circle and all their activities, your friends and family back home, career and/or grad school decisions to make, your physical fitness to attain or maintain, work hours, and your spiritual well-being to nurture. Add roommate problems and boyfriend/girlfriend relationship issues, and now you know why you are over your head with concern.

How can you cope? Use these 5 simple tips for finding life balance in college, and begin to deal with the distractions that you would otherwise face:

  • Have realistic goals
  • Develop good study habits
  • Manage your time wisely
  • Try healthy eating
  • Exercise and learn when to say no, and when to let go!

Back on campus and back to stress…make an effort to remain stress-free and on-track this semester!

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Caught in the middle…and finding a path!

We know that we can aspire to, and reach greatness, if only we could reinvent ourselves and find that path.  Is it time for you to reinvent yourself?  I have done it several times.  Growing up with parents who told me to learn to type because I would never amount to anything, I believed them.  As the middle of 5 kids, I did not have the ‘middle child syndrome’, but I did have the ‘caught in the middle syndrome.’  And, I did not allow fear to get in my way. So, I started at an early age to identify ways in which I could better myself, learn and do more, achieve great heights, and then start all over again.

So, I started at an early age to identify ways in which I could better myself, learn and do more, achieve great heights, and then start all over again. Are you caught in the middle? Perhaps it is not in a family, but it might be in your career. Are you are a crossroad, and are you considering your next steps? It is not a secret that nurses in many healthcare settings are somewhat disenchanted with their careers.  Yes, they love the profession and want to remain in nursing and in balance.

As a young nurse, I, too, began my career with the option that would generate the highest salary, working nights, multiple shifts, and 7-10 day stretches at a time – for income, for excitement, and to fulfill my aspirations of what nursing was and could become.  Each of us has felt the same way at one time or another…idealistic, eager to offer service to mankind, eager to reach personal and professional fulfillment. I never lost sight of my why – why nursing!

I did not re-enter that ‘caught in the middle’ phase. Instead, I reinvented myself using my nursing knowledge, skills, and abilities. I use my nursing platform to educate, engage and empower others to get out of the middle and to get a life.

As a nursing professional, I have been fortunate to have worked in many modalities within nursing…from acute care and infusion therapy, to home care, outpatient, practice plan management, clinic management, education, and international work.  I have been blessed to have touched the lives of many people in many ways…but at no time in my own nursing career has that been truer than now.  I am out of the middle, as a Certified Speaking Professional, author, facilitator, and coach and a path that will allow me to be more, do more, and yes, speak more! How about you?

 

 

 

Mindset…the shift that ensures success

As an eimagesmployee, perhaps you punched a timeclock, participated in huddles, followed a routine, listened to/or gave orders, and assumed that the outcomes would be great. Unless you were a director, you probably were not concerned about the bottom line. And, perhaps as a new employee, you waited to be told what to do next.  Unlike employees who work for others, you are now an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are in charge of their successes and failures.  As an entrepreneur, it’s time to shift that mindset because regardless of the type of business you are in, you are the boss/the CEO/the brand.  Ask Sharon about the  7 simple steps that can shift your mindset and ensure your success.

 

Negotiating for balance

 

Tired – overworked – emotionally and physically drained?  Are your aging parents challenged, or is your young child ill?  Is your partner out of work, or overworked? If any of these scenarios describe you, you may be in need of balance. If you know your skills, abilities, and performance record are strong and valued, you have a solid footing for negotiating flexible work arrangements.

What is negotiation? Practically, it’s making the other person an offer or proposal that he or she may find more attractive than the next best alternative. Some consider negotiation to be the art of making deals. It is certainly that, but it also involves educating the other party about merits of your offer or proposal or talents, skills, and actual and potential contributions. Negotiation is a key component of creating workplace balance and thus avoiding burnout. To negotiate successfully, you must do some advance planning. The process is simple, but each step is critical to the outcome.

  1. Be prepared. Follow the tips and understand the rationale; know what you want and understand what the other party wants.
  2. Open with your case; this demonstrates confidence. Then, listen actively.
  3. Support your case with facts.
  4. Explore areas of agreement and disagreement, and seek understanding and possibilities.
  5. Indicate your readiness to work together.
  6. Know your options.
  7. Advance to closure by confirming the details.
  8. Make it happen!
Tip Rationale
Know what you are willing to accept and be honest about your requirements You will be empowered in support of your interests.

Your listener will recognize your confidence level.

Do not disclose what you are willing to accept in terms of salary or conditions.  Have a deal-breaker in mind, i.e., lack of flexibility in hours. This will compromise your negotiating power.
Determine what the other party is willing to accept. It is better to know the alternatives up-front than to second-guess.
Be an active listener, like a student. Assume there are things about the situation that you don’t understand.

Let the other party know that you have heard and understood what has been said.

Make the art of negotiation your key to balance!

What are your boundaries?

What are your boundaries, and how do you set/manage them?  Do you have your space? Are you in control? Do others violate your boundaries? Are you in a ‘safe’ place? 

Boundaries have an impact on our personal and professional lives. Setting boundaries allows you to have your won time and space. The process ensures that you will have the time (taking it is an altogether difference thing) to do what you need to do for yourself. It prevents others from invading your space, crossing your boundary, and stepping on toes.

How do you use boundaries in your personal and professional lives? Will you set boundaries for 2017 and beyond – in the hope of making this a better year? What boundaries will guide your performance, your health, your finances, and your outcomes in 2017 and beyond?

How difficult are the people in your workplace?

Difficult people generate difficult work settings; a workplace may seem like a battlefield with a conflict at every turn in the road or within each department. Conflict is inevitable, and it does not mean that it is time to seek another job. Instead, remember that it takes two to tango. So, own your part in the disagreement so that you may move on. Allow a cooling off period. I recall a time at a prominent medical school in the Chicago area when one of the clinical chairs was a source of constant conflict. I found it beneficial to type a response, print it out, lock it in my drawer, and shred it the following morning. My assistant found it beneficial to hang a soft dartboard behind her door. In the center, she placed a headshot of the offender. She actually threw darts, removing them before leaving her office. It was extreme, but it gave her great relief from an otherwise confrontational situation. And then, address the issue and apologize as appropriate. Time does heal wounds as you both move ahead.

 

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!