Category: <span>Stress</span>

frustrated female white collar worker in an office. Burnout worker. Stressed.

Imagine Feeling Happy At Work

Can you imagine feeling happy at work? Read our blog to find out how to make work a happier place for everyone beginning with how you manage stress. Workplace stress is a huge issue, and it’s becoming increasingly apparent as the rates of anxiety, depression and worker burnout continue to increase.

Approximately 80% of employees report that their jobs are stressful, and the stress takes a significant toll on their minds and bodies. According to a recent report by the American Psychological Association, “Workers who are not engaged at work or whose jobs are highly stressful are more than twice as likely to be chronically stressed compared to workers who are highly engaged at work.”

Being happy at work matters. We’ve found that people-first cultures are more innovative, and productive, with an easier time retaining staff.

Imagine feeling happy at work. Raise your hand if you want that.

Before we jump into ways to manage stress at work and feel happier at work, we must understand the causes of stress. The best way to learn more about the emotional health of your teams and the financial correlation, I encourage you to participate in a workplace mental health audit. An audit gives you the data to curate a roadmap for your employees that prioritizes the areas they may need support in to thrive reducing worker burnout, company costs, and the potential for a Mental Health Crisis at work.

For more information on that, visit us here and request additional information.

Typically, having an outside entity assess the quality of your workplace culture through a mental health lens is the most effective. Why? It addresses internal concerns like trust and retaliation, increasing the likelihood of effective interventions. Some things we explore: 

  1. Do leaders at our organization model a healthy balance between work and personal life?
  2. Does your organization dedicate resources for mental health programs, education, and resources beyond EAP? Do those events happen more than twice a year?
  3. Have you designated safe spaces to discuss issues impacting employees within or outside the organization? Do staff have time in their schedule to access those resources?
  4. Is emotional wellness integrated into routine experiences like team meetings or monthly events? When was the last time someone asked how are you? Or what do you need from us to effectively do your job? Empathy can be the key to unlocking happiness in your teams and improving retention rates, but that’s a skill that most have to learn.  
  5. Is this a space motivated to focus on workplace mental health to reduce employee stress? How is that conveyed to staff? Would staff agree? 

Now let’s get to the good stuff.


Staff working together in a low stress job. Managing their stress to feel happy at work.

Tips to Reduce Stress  

Tip #1: Think about where the work-life balance lines have blurred for you and what’s needed to reinforce limits and boundaries for your well-being. Setting boundaries can be as simple as having breakfast before logging on for remote work, delegating responsibilities, using vacation time, or implementing the word no. 

Tip #2: Before you respond to someone or a situation, take a breath and take the time to develop healthy responses. Instead of working relentlessly on tasks, take a breath, and prioritize your needs.

Your breath resets you from the inside out, calming your central nervous system and giving your brain time to better process details and make effective decisions under pressure. 

Tip #3: Learn to challenge and change your mindset. Your thoughts drive your actions, and we have over 60,000 thoughts daily- most negative. Typical strategies focus on exercise and mindfulness to reduce stress and anxiety, which is excellent, but it neglects the cognitive aspect of the experience- how you think. By identifying and challenging the thoughts that drive stress, anxiety, and overwhelm, you can create more control and ease in your daily life. 

Vision Board Experience hosted by two therapists to help reduce stress and set goals for 2023.
Have you RSVP’d to the Vision Board Experience yet? A space for women to relax, set intentions, and connect with other likeminded women. 1/21/23 Details here.

Want to become better at recognizing your thoughts? See tip #2. 

With tools like this in your toolbox, you get better at moving through work demands and can quickly shift into a space that allows you to invoke calm and move through crises and demands with ease. 

In a holistic workplace culture, longevity and managing stress in the workplace requires soft skills like empathy, systemic vulnerability, support, and continuous education. With a framework that supports those areas, you can prioritize happiness in the workplace giving employees the resources to thrive at their highest level while at work. Are you equipped for that?

Author: Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R, is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Mental Health consultant. She works in partnership with organizations and institutions like schools and corporations to assess an organization’s emotional health designing customized mental health and wellness workshops and high performance coaching to address underlying needs.

happy trendy black woman sitting on stairs and laughing

15 Quotes to Calm Your Anxiety When Stressed Out

Cheerful stylish African American lady. Able to manage stress and anxiety.  Happy.

These 15 anxiety quotes are meant to encourage you and help calm that feeling of overwhelm when anxious or feeling like life is out of control. Understanding how your mind works and how you talk to yourself when stressed out is key to reducing Anxiety in your life. 

We all have that humble inner voice that tells us what we should be doing with our lives and who we ultimately want to be. Unfortunately, many women push this inner voice aside and instead listen to the one that says things like, “You can’t do this”, “How am I going to make money from this?”, “What will people think of me?” “I feel like a fraud,” “This is too difficult”, and “What if I fail?”. 

That critical voice is like a neon yellow highlighter finding all the negatives. Its presence can be painful, limiting, and paralyzing. What you may not know is it is often connected to anxiety or depression and fuels destructive habits shortchanging your progress, and the progress of the other 40 million adults in the United States alone that are diagnosed with Anxiety or Depression (and that’s just those who know). 

The Thought, Attitude & Action Connection

Anxiety is pretty common, and a hallmark trait is the fear-based worry thoughts that hold women hostage creating doubt, imposter syndrome, and not much action. See your thoughts, attitude and actions are strongly related, and you can take a look at an example of that hereNegative self-talk triggers emotions like worry, anger, or sadness, kicking up a negative or defeated attitude, which then causes you to engage in self sabotaging behaviors with things like procrastination or avoidance. Sounds familiar?

Learning to correct negative thinking patterns and your response starts with understanding the source of these unhelpful stories running around in your mind and beginning to seize control of your inner mean girl. If you want to take a closer look at what this means for you, download the free inner critic workbook to help you calm your inner critic. 

I’m curious, what would you be doing if you didn’t second guess yourself? Or talk yourself out of amazing opportunities? Share those thoughts in the comments below

Retraining Your Brain

As you ponder the impact of your inner mean girl, please note the good news- changes made to your brain by negative thought processes are reversible. While we use strategies based on cognitive behavior therapy to do this with clientsyou can start to do some of this work yourself simply by introducing more positive comments to your life. The research has found the more you engage in positive thought work, the more it stimulates the front of your brain or the pre-frontal cortex- positive self-talk is like a workout for your mind. 

And real talk, reading something positive is just uplifting and is a powerful way to help you feel calm and in control when stress or Anxiety threatens to overwhelm you. 

Managing Stress

Navigating anxiety, stress and overwhelm in the moment is critical. Here are a few ways some of our clients do that:

  1. Embrace mindfulness or regular meditation practice (try apps like stop, breathe, think or calm.com)
  2. Schedule breaks within the day
  3. Brain dump to-do lists and work on the top 3 items at a time instead of being overwhelmed by EVERYTHING on the list
  4. Eat junk free snacks throughout the day to support a consistent mood 
  5. Learn to say “no” and assert boundaries with significant others 

Embracing the positive

Using affirmations, mantras, the above approaches, and working with a therapist or a business mindset coach may be the missing element to fighting against your mind and consistently showing up for your self and your business. As you continue to work on yourself, here are a few positve quotes to get some perspective on your Anxiety and soothe your soul!

Quotes to Navigate Anxiety and Lift Your Spirits

This one is one of my favorites from the Inner Critic Workbook for Ambitious Women:

1. “Thoughts are not facts or realities. They do not define you” ~Amanda Fludd

anxiety, dealing with stress

2. “I give myself permission to suck…I find this hugely liberating” -John Green

3. “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”

—Charles Spurgeon

4. Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot, and you’ll survive whatever is coming. – Robert Tew

5. Smile, breathe, and go slowly. — Thich Nhat Hanh  

6.”You can have it all. Just not all at once.” ~Oprah

And another from the Queen herself: 

7. “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” – Oprah Winfrey

8. “You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits.” – Michael Phelps

  1. “Just believe in yourself. Even if you don’t pretend that you do and, and some point, you will.” Venus Williams

10. “The only person who can stop you from reaching your goals is you.”

— Jackie Joyner-Kersee 

11. “You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.

– Dan Millman

12. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. Isiah 41:10

13. “Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” – Roy Bennett

14. “It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” – Mandy Hale

15. “The way you tell your story to yourself matters.” – Amy Cuddy

That said, continue to challenge that inner critic and the mean girl stories it tries to tell you. It’s most likely not true, and you are more powerful than your mind will have you to believe. 

If any of these quotes or parts of this blog resonated with you, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Also, if you like any of the images featured in this post, sharing it through your favorite social media platform like Pinterest or tagging @amanda.fludd on Instagram is appreciated.

Related Articles:

Calming the Anxious Mind

Getting Clear on Goals to Reduce Overwhelm

Ending Self Criticism and Liking Yourself More

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed therapist and coach for high-achieving women. It’s important to note when resolving complex thoughts, it can be challenging, and it is helpful to enlist the support of a therapist or a coach. If you are unsure what you need, reach out, and we can help you figure that out.

Note: There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you decide to buy to support our tea drinking habits at no cost to you. 

Do You Have an Unhealthy Relationship With Your Business?

The Relationship Between Your Business and Your Mindset Can Be Toxic

Entrepreneurs are one of my favorite people because they’ve consciously decided to carve their own paths and take full responsibility for their success. Yet, as creative, driven, and ambitious these phenomenal humans are, they still encounter challenges in their growth that, just like you, they may not realize is an unconscious habit holding them back.

When you eat, sleep, and breathe your business, it’s sometimes hard to see the emotional patterns at play that often contribute to those moments you feel anxious, frustrated, stagnant, or stuck.

Allow me to help you out.

Here are three bad habits that may be compromising your entrepreneurial success:

  1. IGNORING THE INNER BULLY 

Everyone struggles with fear and self-doubt from time to time, and entrepreneurs and young leaders experience these emotions more frequently than others. When our performance and decisions do not meet expectations, our instinct isn’t always compassion and praise but self-criticism. When you say “I can’t” do this or embrace other negative internal dialogue, it flames the fire of imaginary catastrophic situations and leaves you susceptible to limiting beliefs. Negative and self-deprecating thoughts tend to keep getting bigger and ultimately put a wrench in progress if you aren’t intentional with addressing it.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

  1. NOT USING THE RIGHT PEOPLE 

You can’t start [or grow] your business with friends alone. A challenge for most entrepreneurs is recognizing their current circle may not have the knowledge, expertise, or even care to support their growth. No hard feelings towards them, but they can’t help you go to higher levels if they have never experienced that themselves. You may need friends in leadership, marketing friends, investor friends, social media friends… it’s time to diversify your friendships.

The reality is that there’s an entire community of other entrepreneurs behind almost every successful entrepreneur who understands the grind and can expedite your learning curve. The best of us recognize that we genuinely can’t do it by ourselves or with our walking friends.

  1. BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL AND DOING IT ALL

Let’s face it, work is never-ending, especially when success is dependent on you, and more often, that pressure can trigger our over-achieving perfectionism and push us onto the path of exhaustion. Burnout is real in this arena, and so is frustration with the hustle, stress, and losing the connection to why you started in the first place. That’s usually when coaching clients come to me when they don’t even know why they are working so hard anymore, and the stress and anxiety are overwhelming. What’s usually very evident is poor boundaries.

A good strategy I recommend is to commit to taking a few minutes each day to reboot your brain and reenergize your body. Most people ignore the importance of taking time away from their desks or implementing a hard stop time when doing work (or working from home).

When was the last time you took a weekend off?

The barriers between work and personal life can blur for many ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs, but the word is balance. I am the most creative and inspired when I take intentional breaks and travel, read, ambush my kids with nerf guns, engage in focused breathing exercises, or just nap.

A quick workaround here is to schedule time for fun just as you would professional tasks –whether it’s a call with friends, hanging at a new café, or that mindful moment, put it on your calendar. I think it’s also essential to build it into the workday- incorporate music into meetings, or end with a quick mindful minute. The pauses should be built into the work experience. Socializing, laughing, and relaxing is an excellent prescription for the entrepreneur’s soul.

Final pop quiz:

  1. What sabotaging patterns do you recognize in yourself?
  2. Are you in an unhealthy relationship with your business? What is something different you can do today to better navigate habits that self-sabotage your success? Take a moment to create a reminder for that one thing and schedule it on your phone. You may not be able to make a huge shift right away, but a shift is a start. And it’s a start in the right direction.
  3. How can you recognize these patterns in the future?

I hope that you enjoyed this week’s blog post on the importance of emotional awareness in business. I’ve written in the past about how important it is for entrepreneurs to remember that it’s okay to be vulnerable, to trust your gut, to take risks, and to go outside of your comfort zone. Hopefully this post has helped you rethink your inner-entrepreneur so that you can start focusing on the things that need to be done rather than the things that are holding you back.

If you’re looking for more information about business psychology or need support, you can connect with me here.

Let me know if these tips and the review questions were helpful in the comments below!

Cheers to your success, Amanda Fludd

Give Your Sanity And Productivity The Weekend It Deserves

Whatever this week has brought you, let that mess go.

It’s the weekend, and your mind has done enough backflips around expectations, criticisms, and judgments that it just needs rest.

Now, decide that you are the most important woman in the room, and let the next decision you make honor what you really need. Is it rest, to laugh, to sit idle on the front steps with a beverage and watch the sunset or the moon rise?

 “The pain and stress and anger and sadness and loneliness and frustration and fear and cravings and irritations that we will experience today … they are made up. We can let them go as easily as they arise. They are unnecessary if we realize that we’ve created them for no good reason. Instead, see the beauty in every moment. In every person’s so human actions. In our own frailties and failures.

This world is a morning poem, and we have but to see it to be shaken by its beauty, over and over”.

~Leo Babauta

It can be hard to permit yourself to let go and prioritize yourself. With that in mind, here are 13 mantras to support you as you release the week and reclaim yourself:

  1. I’m living a purposeful life.
  2. I trust the timing of my life, and I know that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
  3. My life is becoming calmer
  4. Loving myself is as important as loving others
  5. I do not allow grudges to become a part of me
  6. I release the stress of the week
  7. I permit myself to focus fully on my self-care
  8. I will not criticize myself. I will love myself for who I am, what I have become, and where I am going.
  9. I am proud of myself
  10. I am allowed to make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of my growth
  11. I am resilient; I will get through this difficult time.
  12. I am an amazing gift to myself, my friends, and the world.
  13. I am not only enough, I am more than enough, and I get better and better each day.

Even 5 minutes is better than doing nothing

Taking a moment to self-nurture and embrace self-care can happen any time- sipping a hot cup of tea, laughing with a friend on the phone, gardening, and noticing the smell of the grass- it’s just sometimes we are so preoccupied, we miss it. The key is to take your 5 minutes, or whatever moment you decide, and show up fully, staying present in the moment and aware. In addition, since your thoughts play a part in your overall success and happiness, its important to find ways to improve your mindset. Adding affirmations to those moments can be encouraging because it shifts any negative thoughts you may be unknowingly entertaining and can help reframe them, supporting a positive mood, happy feelings, ideas, and attitudes.

You deserve that.

Give Yourself a Break: The Gift of Self-Compassion

When you have a setback towards your goals, treat yourself as you would a friend: with kindness and understanding

Self Compassion Supports Motivation

Even with the best plan and intention, things can go wrong. For most people, their initial reaction in the presence of failure at work is to turn up the inner critic more harshly than we’d find acceptable by anyone else.  I have no idea what’s going on here or why I’m on this team. You’re an idiot; you blew that presentation. Get it together, you’ll never have another opportunity at this.  

We often assume that criticism will motivate us to do better. In fact, most highly productive and driven people seem to be quite unforgiving of their own mistakes.  

To Motivate or To Berate—That is the Question

We hold on to this belief that with enough self-abuse, it will change whatever we believe to be “wrong,” “inadequate,” or “imperfect” about us. Yes, that degree of negativity you drop on yourself falls under the category of abuse, and it really doesn’t move you any closer to your intended outcome. Self-criticism can be paralyzing, and it’s a response that has brought many to my couch as a psychotherapist. While I am grateful to have you, I would like to offer you this instead- what if you were to treat yourself with a bit more understanding and compassion?  

 

When things don’t go as expected, or a goal seems out of your reach, what would you tell a friend in the same situation? That is called self-compassion, and it’s an approach that allows leaders to increase their resilience and outthink their setbacks.  

 

The Science Behind Compassion 

There is growing research supporting things like compassion and gratitude, supporting its motivational power on a psychological level. It’s becoming a valuable tool for enhancing performance and improving professional development. Self-compassionate people set high standards for themselves, and in the face of setbacks, when they don’t meet their goals, they are more likely to regroup quickly. They are less likely to get hung up on mistakes or sidetracked by feelings of embarrassment, frustration, and disappointment. In fact, according to recent neuroscientific data, those who exhibit compassion are more likely to have the emotional resilience to combat suffering, anxiety, burnout, or stress, according to Frontiers in Psychology.     

 

“Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you are good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you?” – Kristin Neff

Let’s put this into action: 

 

I’m inviting you to try a short experiment. Bring to mind a situation when you didn’t achieve your goal. Please take a few moments to recall the response of your inner critical voice and note what it says and how you feel, especially in your body. 

Now, bring to mind the same situation and imagine what you would say to your colleague or good friend in the same case if they brought that same failure to you. Say the exact words you would tell them to yourself (that’s self-compassion). How does that feel in your body?

 

If you did this short exercise, you probably noticed the following:

Self-criticism made you feel:

· Small

· Incompetent

· Embarrassed

· Tense

· Wanting to quit or give up

 

 Self-compassion made you feel:

· Validated 

· Understood

· Good enough

· Relaxed and calm 

 

Self-compassion is a mindset shift leaders and managers can benefit from because it reinforces worth, optimism, personal initiative, self-determination, and a sense of control even in the context of the pressure to succeed. These traits tend to be contagious and have a consequent ability to foster resilient teams. Developing a self-compassionate self and team does take time but is possible with intentional effort. Organizations should look at ways to create space for conversations and resources around compassion and navigating stress and change in the workplace.   

A few additional ideas to foster the overall resilience of your organization:

Improve your self-talk. Practice responding to yourself in ways you would to support a colleague, embrace criticism from others as a means to personal growth, and engaging with others without judgment or in a tone that would hurt their feelings.

Bring in workshops to grow as a team. Create opportunities for staff to learn from each other, for leaders to take their teams’ temperature, and boost morale and promote better staff engagement.  Bring in professionals with fresh ideas or a similar option is to set aside funding to allow staff to pursue outside opportunities (books, webinars, training) that will support their emotional wellbeing. As they invest in themselves, they become a more incredible asset to your team.

Prioritize communication and mental health at work. Having regular meetings where people are encouraged to share not only work achievements but mistakes and experiences around that make workplaces safe for learning. Also, work to improve access to support services onsite (training, consultations, mindful breaks) and outside of work (like EAP). Making compassionate and supportive workplaces a priority reduces pressure, anxiety and improves an organization’s resilience to stress, burnout, and turnover.

It’s innovative approaches that focus on self-compassion and overall well-being that will determine if teams, individuals, and organizations can embrace a more adaptive attitude and thrive through challenging experiences and transitions.

In the comments, make sure to share with us how well you think organizations are embracing concepts like compassion and emotional wellness at work and whether you believe well-being training might be valuable to your team.

 

Amanda Fludd is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Coach, and Mental Health Consultant addressing the emotional needs of individuals and the work cultures that support them.

If you would like information on how to infuse mental health support at work and facilitate practices like self-compassion, schedule a call here to discuss program options.

 

 

frustrated female white collar worker in an office. Burnout worker. Stressed.

Imagine Feeling Happy At Work

Can you imagine feeling happy at work? Read our blog to find out how to make work a happier place for everyone beginning …

Build Your Confidence By Taking A Look At How Far You’ve Come

How often do you really take the time to celebrate the wins in your life? If you’re like many of us, you probably don’t …

prioritze your self care and wellbeing. Wellbing ideas to support good mental health.

Show Up and Glow Up

This is your reminder to make yourself a priority and not sabotage your emotional wellbeing and good habits this summer. …