Friday, 30 March 2018

Listening for Purpose

As mentioned in a previous article on “listening”, doing it properly is no easy feat.  It requires   If we are in “the zone” of actively listening to a friend or family member having a difficult time, chances are they will feel better, even if it is only momentarily, but the listener is often left in a flurry, or a heap.
undivided attention, not only to the words but the tone of voice, body language and facial expressions.

The bad news is, “the zone” was probably just a little to the left.

As listeners, we tend to get caught up in offering solutions or trying to make the speaker feel better.    Often times, the friend or family member in a difficult time, needs to vent; neither solutions nor a pep talk may be sought, yet that is exactly what we aim to do.

While this is noble, the listener may feel taken advantage of – especially if the solutions offered require time and energy from the listener beyond the conversation.  When we are actively put in a listener role, we have the responsibility – both to ourselves and the speaker – to determine what our purpose is.  This can be done through a direct question, or by careful listening for cues. 

It is important to identify our roles in each conversation to ensure we do not feel taken advantage of and the listener feels supported in the way that is most needed at that time.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Back to Work Blues

“I need a holiday!”

This phrase is coming up quite a bit lately, and it’s coming from people who have spent a little over a month back at work.  It comes with much eye-rolling from spouses and colleagues and is assumed to be said tongue-in-cheek.  Except it’s not.

While most feel a twinge, or something stronger, of something when going back to work after a break, it should lift at some point.  Barring those going into a new position, department or company; or dealing with a colleague who is not returning, those “back to work blues” should be replaced by a comfortable routine.  If this is not the case, some investigation is required.

After ticking the boxes of all the must haves such as sleep and food, it is time to consider whether those blue feelings are only associated with work, or if it is a general theme.  A general, pervasive down feeling is indicative of poor, or a decline, in mental health (mental health is the more technical term for our feelings and coping strategies).  Often one event, such as going back to work, acts as a trigger toward feeling down and we tend to associate the feeling with the trigger, despite the fact that the feeling has migrated into other areas of life. 

Considering we tend to spend a great deal of time at work, it is common to think that this alone is the source of feeling down; taking stock of those emotions, their triggers and the areas they infiltrate can help determine if it really is just work blues or if some greater self-care is needed. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Maintaining Relaxation

Many people experience the ‘Sunday blues’ where the end of the weekend brings a sense of sadness. massive difference.  How can we maintain those carefree feelings throughout the week, month and year?
For those prone to this experience, the end of a break from work can be a bit more painful.  Logically, there is no difference between this Wednesday and the one from two or three weeks ago – apart from the scenery perhaps.  Emotionally though, there is a

Take the time to think back to your time away from work, what was it that made the time so special?  Ok, apart from being away from work, what made it so special?  Barring the holiday you may have gone on, those special things are available to you throughout the year.  Granted you may not be able to do as much on a whim during the week but planning your week to include what makes you happy can free the weekends for those whimsical ideas.  If you tend to be a bit of a social hermit during the work year, consider why this is the case and challenge yourself to schedule a weekly or monthly ’contact’ with someone – with technology even your overseas special people are reachable for a cup of coffee.  It may seem counter-intuitive but working non-stop does not make you more productive.

If being away from your work space truly was the sole thing that made your break special, you may need to consider making some changes – whether it be to personalise your work space, ask for a raise, change your working hours, move to a different department, change companies or even careers entirely (with the latter being the most challenging).  While not everyone is smitten with their jobs, if there are no elements of satisfaction, the year will be very long.

It may also be time to consider changing what you tell yourself about the year:
December should not be a reward for working yourself to the bone – reward yourself often, healthily.
December is not an end – it’s a break: viewing December as an end sets your emotions up for disappointment.