Embracing 4 Values of Leadership

In the realm of leadership, embodying resilience and integrity is paramount. In navigating the complexities of today’s dynamic world, leaders must anchor themselves in fundamental values that guide their actions and decisions. Among these, the four important values of leadership – wisdom, courage, justice, and self-discipline – stand as pillars of strength. Let’s delve into how these values intertwine with resilience and integrity, shaping exemplary leadership.


Wisdom is the bedrock of effective leadership. It entails possessing deep insight, foresight, and the ability to make sound judgments. Resilient leaders harness wisdom by continuously learning from experiences, both successes and failures. They seek diverse perspectives, recognise the value of mentorship, and remain open to constructive criticism. With wisdom as their compass, they navigate challenges with clarity and adaptability, inspiring confidence in their teams.


Courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to act in spite of it. Resilient leaders demonstrate courage by confronting adversity head-on and making tough decisions with conviction. They indeed lead by example, instilling courage in their teams to embrace change and take calculated risks. Integrity shines through their actions, as they stay true to their values even in the face of opposition. Courageous leaders foster an environment where innovation flourishes, consequently propelling their organisations forward.


Justice is the cornerstone of fairness and equality in leadership. Resilient leaders uphold justice by promoting transparency, accountability, and inclusivity. They strive to create a culture where every voice is heard and every individual is treated with respect and dignity. Integrity guides their commitment to ethical conduct, ensuring that decisions align with the greater good rather than personal gain. By championing justice, leaders foster trust and cohesion within their teams, laying the groundwork for sustained success.


Self-discipline is the mastery of one’s impulses and actions. Resilient leaders cultivate self-discipline by setting clear goals, prioritising tasks, and maintaining focus amidst distractions. They lead with integrity by adhering to high standards of conduct and holding themselves accountable for their actions. Through self-discipline, leaders indeed exhibit consistency and reliability, earning the trust and respect of their colleagues. Additionally, they recognise that true strength lies not in exerting control over others but in mastering self-control.

Leading with resilience and integrity necessitates embracing the four cardinal values of leadership: wisdom, courage, justice, and self-discipline. By embodying these values, leaders thereby inspire trust, foster innovation, and navigate challenges with grace and determination. In times of uncertainty and adversity, they stand as beacons of hope, guiding their teams towards a brighter future. As we embark on our own leadership journeys, let us heed the timeless wisdom of these values and strive to lead with resilience and integrity in all that we do.

To learn more about leadership, please check out my socials where I’m always posting useful videos surrounding the topic of being an effective leader, or have a look at my other blogs. https://real-resilience.co.uk/blog/




Holistic Leadership

I was looking through some LinkedIn posts the other day and saw a post from  Ronnie Kinsey. He gave a brilliant Cheat Sheet for Effective Leadership. I really liked the part of the cheat sheet that relates to holistic leadership so this is my take on holistic leadership, inspired by that post. Here is the link to the post, should you like to read it for yourself.


In the dynamic symphony of business leadership, success is not merely conducting a single note but orchestrating a harmonious blend of managing, inspiring, building culture, and leading. Holistic leadership transcends the conventional boundaries, consequently weaving together these elements into a symphony that resonates with the hearts and minds of every team member. Join us on a journey as we explore holistic leadership and its transformative power in the realm of business.

Shaping a Strong Visionary Culture:

At the core of holistic leadership lies the fusion of leading and building culture. Consequently, leaders become maestros, shaping a symphony of vision and culture that reverberates throughout the organization. It’s about giving a sense of purpose, fostering innovation, and creating an environment where every voice is heard and valued. Together, we cultivate a culture that inspires creativity, resilience, and unwavering commitment to our collective vision.

Strategically Guiding Towards Objectives:

In the intersection of leading and managing, leaders assume the role of strategic navigators. This charts the course towards our organizational objectives. Like skilled captains, they steer the ship through turbulent waters. Further leveraging their vision to set clear direction and their managerial prowess to navigate complexities. Through effective communication, delegation, and resource allocation, they empower their team to overcome obstacles and achieve success, one milestone at a time.

Motivating Teams While Achieving Goals:

Where managing and inspiring intersect, leaders ignite the flames of motivation, infusing their teams with the passion and drive to exceed expectations. Like conductors orchestrating a symphony, they harmonize individual efforts towards a unified goal, celebrating achievements and providing support in times of challenge. Thereby fostering a culture of recognition, trust, and empowerment, they transform ordinary tasks into extraordinary feats, propelling the organization towards success.

Fostering an Inclusive and Empowering Future:

Finally, at the nexus of inspiring and building culture, leaders cultivate an environment of inclusivity, diversity, and empowerment. They embrace the richness of perspectives, championing equality and creating pathways for growth and development. Additionally, through mentorship, training, and open dialogue, they nurture a culture where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best. Together, we embark on a journey towards a future where innovation knows no bounds and every dream becomes a reality.

In the symphony of holistic leadership, every note plays a crucial role in creating a masterpiece of success. As leaders, it is our duty to conduct it with precision, passion, and purpose. By embracing the integration of managing, inspiring, building culture, and leading, we unlock the full potential of our teams and chart a course towards a future filled with endless possibilities. Let us continue to orchestrate success, one harmonious note at a time.

Are you ready to lead the symphony of holistic leadership? Join us as we compose a future filled with success, innovation, and boundless growth.

Contact us to learn more about how holistic leadership can transform your organization into a symphony of success.

In the realm of business, politics, education, and beyond, leadership stands as the cornerstone of progress and success. Good leadership isn’t just about authority or power; it’s about inspiring and empowering others to reach their fullest potential. Let’s delve into the essence of leadership, exploring the qualities and actions that define exemplary leaders.

Leadership with Integrity:

Integrity forms the bedrock of good leadership. Leaders who uphold honesty, transparency, and ethical principles garner trust and respect from their teams. They lead by example, demonstrating integrity in their decisions and actions.

Empathy and Empowerment:

Empathetic leaders understand the perspectives and emotions of those they lead. By showing genuine care and compassion, they create a supportive environment where individuals feel valued and empowered. They recognise the strengths of their team members and provide opportunities for growth and development.

Adaptability and Agility:

In a constantly evolving world, good leaders embrace change and adapt swiftly to new challenges. They possess the flexibility and agility to navigate through uncertainty, guiding their teams with confidence and resilience. By fostering a culture of adaptability, they inspire innovation and creativity.

Decisiveness and Direction:

Effective leaders make timely and well-informed decisions. They provide clear direction and purpose, guiding their teams towards common goals. Through decisiveness, they instil confidence and certainty, driving progress even in the face of ambiguity.

Excellence through Collaboration:

Collaboration lies at the heart of good leadership. Leaders foster a culture of teamwork and collaboration, leveraging the diverse talents and perspectives within their organisation. By encouraging open communication and cooperation, they harness collective intelligence to achieve exceptional results.

Resilience and Responsibility:

Resilient leaders persevere in the face of adversity. They embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, inspiring their teams to overcome obstacles with courage and determination. Moreover, they take responsibility for their actions and decisions, accepting accountability for both successes and failures.

Servant Leadership and Strategic Direction:

At its core, good leadership is about serving others. Servant leaders prioritise the needs of their team members above their own, striving to support and uplift others to reach their full potential. They cultivate a culture of servant leadership, where empathy, humility, and selflessness reign supreme.

Strategic Direction in Leadership

A strategic direction serves as a roadmap to achieve organisational goals effectively. To craft a thoughtful plan, leaders must first define a clear vision and mission, providing a purpose-driven framework. Conducting a SWOT analysis helps identify internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats, informing strategic decisions. SMART goals should be set to ensure objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. From there, leaders can develop strategic initiatives aligned with these goals, allocating resources appropriately and creating detailed action plans with clear responsibilities and timelines. Regular monitoring of progress against key performance indicators enables adjustments to be made as necessary. Effective communication with stakeholders ensures alignment and support throughout the implementation process. By following this structured approach, organisations can navigate challenges and capitalise on opportunities to achieve their desired outcomes efficiently.

Humility and Humanity:

Humility is a hallmark of good leadership. Leaders who exhibit humility are approachable and open-minded, willing to listen and learn from others. They acknowledge their limitations and seek input from their team members, fostering a culture of inclusivity and collaboration. Furthermore, they treat others with kindness and respect, recognizing the inherent dignity and worth of every individual.

Inspirational Leadership:

Inspirational leadership goes beyond merely delegating tasks or issuing commands. It’s about igniting a flame within each team member—a flame fueled by passion and purpose. Inspirational leaders understand that when individuals are driven by a sense of meaning and fulfillment, they are more likely to excel in their roles and contribute wholeheartedly to the organization’s mission.

To ignite passion and purpose, inspirational leaders lead by example. They embody the values and vision of the organization, demonstrating unwavering dedication and enthusiasm in everything they do. By authentically showcasing their own passion for the work, they inspire others to find their own sense of purpose within the collective goals of the team.

Moreover, inspirational leaders take the time to connect with each team member on a personal level. They listen attentively to their aspirations, concerns, and ideas, fostering a sense of belonging and investment in the organization’s success. By understanding what drives and motivates each individual, they can tailor their approach to inspire and empower them to reach their full potential.

Inspirational leaders also communicate a compelling vision for the future—one that resonates with the values and aspirations of their team members. They paint a vivid picture of what success looks like, instilling confidence and excitement about the journey ahead. By articulating a clear and inspiring purpose, they rally the collective efforts of their team towards a common goal, fostering unity and camaraderie.

Ultimately, inspirational leadership is about creating an environment where passion thrives, and purpose is palpable. It’s about nurturing a culture where individuals are not just employees but active participants in a shared mission. By igniting the flames of passion and purpose, inspirational leaders unleash the full potential of their teams, driving innovation, creativity, and excellence.

Perseverance: Be able to make it through challenging times

Perseverance is the unwavering determination to press on in the face of adversity. In the journey of leadership, challenges and setbacks are inevitable. However, what sets exemplary leaders apart is their ability to weather the storms with resilience.

Leaders who embody perseverance understand that setbacks are not roadblocks but opportunities for growth and learning. Instead of being discouraged by failure, they view it as a stepping stone towards eventual success. They maintain a positive outlook, focusing on solutions rather than dwelling on problems.

Moreover, leaders who persevere lead by example. They show their team members that setbacks are temporary and that with determination and perseverance, any obstacle can be overcome. Through their actions and words, they instill confidence and optimism, inspiring others to keep pushing forward even when the path ahead seems daunting.

Furthermore, leaders who persevere prioritize the well-being of their team members. They provide support and encouragement, recognizing that everyone faces struggles at one point or another. By fostering a culture of empathy and solidarity, they create a supportive environment where individuals feel empowered to persevere through tough times together.

Leadership excellence is a multifaceted journey characterised by all of the above elements and many more. By embodying these principles and practices, leaders can inspire positive change, drive innovation, and cultivate a thriving organisational culture. As we aspire to lead with excellence, let us remember that true leadership isn’t about titles or authority—it’s about making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

To learn more about leadership, please check out my socials where I’m always posting useful videos surrounding the topic of being an effective leader, or have a look at my other blogs. https://real-resilience.co.uk/blog/

My Personal Journey

By Sophie Holly

I’m Sophie, and I’m going to share with you some insight into my personal journey as an employee living and working with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As any person living with neurodiversity will tell you, it’s never a straightforward or linear journey. It comes with a lot of trial and error, ups and downs, and a lengthy process of finding what works for you. However, having the support of your colleagues and employers will be beneficial to anyone like myself.

I didn’t know I had ADHD until I was 23. I went to my GP to seek help with terrible sleeping issues that I’d always had but were now interfering with my new job. Upon delving deeper into my sleeping problems, I was urged to have an assessment for ADHD, and as it turned out I ticked all the boxes. Growing up I struggled at school especially when it came to focus and deadlines. I struggled terribly with my emotions among other things. There is so much I can pinpoint from my childhood years that now makes so much sense to me. Even into adulthood, I felt lazy, disorganised, and forgetful, and that really impacted how I performed at work. When you’re neurodiverse, you start to understand how the world really is built for neurotypical people, especially the working world, and that is extremely challenging.

Adapting to Work with ADHD

Before finding my current job I hadn’t worked in a little while, so when I finally entered a structured work environment I found it very difficult to adapt. Challenges soon presented themselves. I was easily overwhelmed. Sticking to deadlines was difficult no matter how important they were. It’s worth noting that many with ADHD don’t tend to see importance as easily as others, we see novelty, so it makes prioritising important tasks very hard! I would worry that the way I was would hold me back. However, seeking out strategies and coping mechanisms tailored to my own needs helped me navigate the workplace more effectively.

One of the most significant coping mechanisms for me has been using different planning methods. I rely heavily on to-do lists, calendars, and reminders to keep me on track. Breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps helps me stay focused and prevents me from feeling overwhelmed. What I’ve learned is that, for me, there isn’t one solid fix to being productive and staying on task 100% of the time. It’s worth having multiple methods to lean on depending on the day you’re having. Whether you’re having a more motivated day, or you’re stuck in the dregs of executive dysfunction.

I still get very easily overwhelmed, some small tasks look like mountains to me. This applies to both home and work life and can make getting started all the more difficult. This can be a frequent occurance, but I’ve learned to take breaks and come away from my desk to do something else if I need to. The work will get done, but it won’t be done well if I’m stressing about it too much.

The Importance of Colleague Support

One the most helpful aspects of my journey has been the support I’ve received from my employer. Through my diagnosis and since then, I’ve had incredible understanding and support from my employer. Alison has had to navigate and adapt as much as I have.

Another game-changer my employer made was offering flexible work arrangements. Having the option to work virtually or adjust my hours has been crucial for me. I struggle with routine, habit and structure. My employer gives me the freedom to work within my means and find my own routines. This has been so helpful and has improved my productivity by miles.

Clear communication and expectations have also been essential. My employer takes the time to provide me with detailed instructions and deadlines, ensuring that I know exactly what is expected of me. As someone who struggles following vague instructions, I need as much detail and information as possible. Asking for more clarity and receiving it has been great for my work.

But perhaps most importantly, my employer has done a fantastic job of making me feel valued and respected at work. We both have vastly different minds and ways of thinking. She appreciates that I might approach something differently, and actually, it makes for some great creative collaboration between us. She’s invested in sourcing out helpful tools for me. She spoke with me to find ways of working that would benefit us both and expanded her knowledge of ADHD to gain a full understanding of how to accommodate me.

A Positive Outcome

Looking back on my journey, I’m grateful for how far I’ve come. I am also proud of how hard I have worked to improve. While living with ADHD has its challenges, I’ve learned to embrace it for what it is. In a world built for neurotypical people, it’s a relief to have found a workplace willing to embrace my differences. And with the support of my employer, I’m accomplishing more and more as time goes on.

So to anyone out there struggling with ADHD in the workplace, know that you’re not alone. With the right support and determination, you can overcome any obstacle and achieve your goals. Keep pushing forward, and remember, your ADHD does not define you, but it is a part of you. You are more capable than you think. By encouraging workplaces to be more open to making adaptions for neurodiverse employees, we could really make a positive impact for so many people.

You can read the other side of this story in the blog my employer wrote on Embracing Diversity.

If you would like to discuss your challenges, then book a complimentary 30-minute Zoom session. Click the link below. Find a slot that works for you, select it, and you are all booked.



A Journey of Understanding and Adaptation

Welcome to our journey of embracing neurodiversity in the workplace. As an employer, I’ve always strived to create an inclusive environment where every employee feels valued and supported. However, it wasn’t until we embarked on this journey that I truly understood the importance of seeing each individual and their unique set of needs that I really fostered an understanding of neurodiversity in our workplace.

The Discovery

It all started when we hired Sophie, a talented social media influencer who happened to have ADHD. Despite her exceptional skills, Sophie struggled with traditional work structures and often found it challenging to focus for long periods. Instead of viewing her struggles as obstacles, we saw them as opportunities to learn and adapt. She joined us as a Kickstart employee to learn how to translate her social media understanding to social media communication and marketing for businesses. She transitioned into an Apprenticeship and now works 3 days a week, while juggling running a house and bringing up her energetic daughter, Liv.

Making Changes

We began by implementing simple yet effective changes to accommodate Sophie’s needs. We approved her to be mostly home working so that the had a quiet workspace. We allowed for flexible work hours so that she could also balance her productive times and support her other commitments at home.  We introduced task management tools to help her stay organised and paid for a professional organiser to help her structure her house and chores to take away some of the worries.. These adaptations not only improved Sophie’s productivity but also benefited all of us. We streamlined, strategised and put stuff into easy-to-understand processes.

Simple Adaptations for Employees

As we delved deeper into neurodiversity, we recognised the importance of understanding the diverse needs of all employees, including those with conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To create a more inclusive workplace, we made a few simple changes that any employer could implement:

Quiet Space to Work: Offering quiet space can benefit neurodiverse employees who may thrive in different environments or require breaks to manage their energy levels effectively. Whether that is a hideaway in the office or working from home, whatever works for your businesses and your employees.

Clear Communication: Establishing clear communication, such as using concise language and providing written instructions along with verbal ones, can help neurodiverse employees better understand tasks and expectations. I can always tell when I am too vague, Sophie tells me. I am honored that she feels comfortable enough to just “say it as it is”.

By implementing these easy adaptations, employers can create a more supportive and accommodating environment for all employees, regardless of their neurodiversity.

Spreading Awareness

Our journey didn’t stop within the walls of our office. We took our learnings beyond our company and collaborated with clients to help them support neurodiverse employees. Through workshops, webinars, and informative resources, we empowered other organisations to embrace neurodiversity and create inclusive workplaces.

A Client Story

Supporting Autistic Employees

I worked with a client struggling to support an autistic employee. Armed with knowledge and empathy, we helped them to support their autistic employees more effectively. We suggested creating sensory-friendly spaces, helped update their communication guidelines, and offered mentorship programs tailored to their needs. These initiatives not only enhanced their workplace culture it strengthened their relationships with clients who appreciated our commitment to inclusivity. We also provided training and coaching to their employees to help them understand neurodiversity.

Embracing Diversity, Enriching Lives

Our journey of embracing neurodiversity has been transformative, both personally and professionally. By making adaptations for employees and fostering understanding, we have created a workplace where every individual can thrive. I encourage other employers to embark on their own journey of discovery, because when we embrace diversity, we enrich not only the lives of our employees but also our organisations as a whole.

Join us in building a world where everyone, regardless of their neurodiversity, feels valued, respected, and empowered to reach their full potential.

This blog aims to share our story while providing practical insights and tips for other employers looking to make their workplaces more inclusive for neurodiverse individuals. Through empathy, education, and adaptation, we can create environments where everyone can shine.

You can read the other side of this story in the blog from the perspective of my neurodiverse employee Sophie here: https://real-resilience.co.uk/adhd-navigating-challenges-and-finding-support/

If you would like to discuss your challenges, then book a complimentary 30-minute Zoom session. Click the link below. Find a slot that works for you, select it,  and you are all booked.



In the ever-evolving landscape of the digital workplace, where screens dominate our daily existence, the need for resilience has never been more apparent. I’ve witnessed firsthand the challenges that professionals face in maintaining a healthy work-life-tech balance. In this blog, I aim to provide practical tips, strategies, and fun exercises to help you navigate the digital deluge and foster resilience in the digital workplace.

Understanding the Challenge: Digital Overload

The constant influx of emails, notifications, constant instant messaging and virtual meetings can lead to information overload, affecting our productivity and well-being. To combat this, consider implementing the following practices:

  • Set Boundaries: If you work from home, define clear boundaries for work hours and stick to them. Establish a designated workspace to create a physical separation between work and personal life. Even think about walking out the front door, around the block and coming back in and sitting at your workspace.
  • Prioritise Tasks: Use task management tools to prioritise your workload. Get a balance between focusing on high-priority tasks first, and breaking larger projects into smaller, more manageable chunks. Sometimes it is easier to manage quick tasks first thing in the morning. I find I do my admin in the morning first thing and spend the afternoon with time set aside for the larger project work. I focus better in the afternoon. When is your focus time? Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  • Digital Detox: Designate specific times for a digital detox. Turn off notifications during breaks and non-working hours to reclaim your mental space. This is particularly important when you are on leave. With email on mobile phones, it is very tempting to “Just have a quick check”.

Building Resilience Through Mindful Practices

Resilience is not just about enduring challenges; it’s about bouncing back stronger. Incorporate the following mindful practices into your routine to build resilience:

  • Mindful Breathing: Take short breaks throughout the day for mindful breathing exercises. Deep, intentional breaths can help reduce stress and improve focus.
  • Gratitude Journaling: Maintain a gratitude journal to shift your focus from challenges to positive aspects of your life. Reflect on achievements, no matter how small, to foster a positive mindset. What are your wins for the day? Focusing on the positives will help motivate you and keep you going.
  • Visual Breaks: Integrate short visual breaks into your day. Set a timer to remind yourself to look away from the screen, stretch, and refocus your eyes.
    • Try the Pomodoro technique, working in 25-minute sprints. Set a timer to remind you to take a mini break.
    • Or my personal favourite, Ultradian intervals,  90 minutes of ultra focussed work and then a decent break. At least 15 minutes.
    • Eye cupping also helps relax the eyes. It also relaxes your eyes when they feel tired.
      • Start by cupping your hands over the sockets of your closed eyes. Stare into the far back of the dark space. You will notice that the various residual hues in your vision slowly turn to black.
      • Do this simple exercise for a minimum of 30 seconds. It serves as a reset button for your vision and freshens your eyes.

I prefer the ultradian intervals as I can immerse myself in what I am doing. I find I focus better in longer timeframes. For me, the Pomodoro is too short and I lose the thread. However, if I am doing admin-type tasks then the Pomodoro is my go-to.

Digital Harmony: Tips for a Healthy Balance

  • Scheduled Screen Breaks: Plan regular screen breaks to prevent eye strain and mental fatigue. Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  • Utilise Productivity Tools: Leverage productivity tools to streamline tasks and reduce the time spent on digital devices. Tools like task managers, calendar apps, and project management platforms, electronic To Do Lists to help keep things straight, can enhance efficiency.
  • Create Tech-Free Zones: Designate certain areas of your home as tech-free zones. This could be your dining area or bedroom, allowing you to disconnect and unwind. My bedroom has been a tech-free zone since we moved in 2021. I am convinced I sleep better as a result.

Fun Exercises to Recharge Your Mind

  • Desk Yoga: Incorporate simple yoga stretches into your work routine. Stretch your arms, neck, and back to alleviate tension and promote physical well-being.
  • Virtual Team-Building Games: Organise virtual team-building activities to foster camaraderie. Games like online trivia or virtual escape rooms can provide a welcome break from work-related stress.
  • Laugh Break: Watch a funny video or read a joke to induce laughter. Laughter has proven benefits for reducing stress and improving mood.
  • Digital Downtime Challenge: Challenge yourself to a digital downtime day at the weekend, or whatever day you don’t work. Disconnect from all screens and engage in activities you enjoy, whether it’s reading a book, taking a nature walk, or trying a new hobby.

Embracing Digital Resilience

In the era of the digital workplace, resilience is the key to maintaining a healthy work-life-tech balance. By implementing these recommended practices and incorporating fun exercises into your routine, you can foster a resilient mindset and navigate the challenges of the digital age with confidence.

Remember, it’s not about eliminating technology from our lives but about creating a harmonious relationship with it. Embrace the power of resilience, prioritise your well-being, and find joy in balancing the digital and the analogue. Your journey to digital resilience starts now!

For health management, it is important to understand the physical responses triggered by the body when subjected to stressors. Notably, the release of hormones, namely adrenaline and cortisol, is a fundamental element of the stress response. This response mobilises energy by increasing blood glucose levels, preparing the individual for a fight-or-flight situation.

Continued exposure to elevated stress hormones, particularly cortisol, is associated with a variety of harmful effects on both physical and mental well-being. Long-lasting high cortisol can cause metabolic issues, leading to fat accumulation in the belly and disrupting metabolic balance. This is important, as it affects how a person handles weight and overall health.

The impact of chronic stress on health

Furthermore, the impact of chronic stress extends beyond metabolic disturbances to include broader ramifications on mental health and gut function. Chronic stress has been implicated in reducing the body’s repair capacities, causing fatigue, and anxiety, and reducing metabolic efficiency. Additionally, it makes us crave unhealthy foods like fried foods, takeaways, chocolate, and wine, which are tasty but not nutritious.

The interplay between cortisol levels and gut function merits attention. Short-term stress can manifest as reduced appetite and slower digestive processes. Persistent stressors can precipitate gut disorders, including constipation, diarrhoea, and indigestion. Prolonged exposure to chronic stress carries the potential to instigate severe gut conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and other related disorders. This underscores the intricate relationship between stress, cortisol, and the multifaceted nature of gut health.

An out-of-balance gut environment becomes a double-edged sword, as stress and anxiety in turn influence gut health. This can worsen digestive symptoms and create a cycle where the gut contributes to stress, which in turn can worsen digestive issues.

We should all cultivate resilience and proactively manage our health

In light of these scientific insights, everyone must cultivate resilience and proactively manage stress. To enhance resilience and effectively cope with stress, adopt proven approaches such as engaging in yoga and meditation. Incorporate deep-breathing exercises, establish clear boundaries, and indulge in brief yet impactful self-care activities. These evidence-based methods collectively contribute to mitigating the physiological and psychological impact of stress. This helps foster a balance between mental and physical well-being.

Wellbeing: Whose responsibility is it?

Wellbeing in the workplace is a hot topic at the moment, but do we really understand what it is all about.  On the news, they are talking about Mental Health.  So what does it mean and is there a difference? Whose responsibility is it?

Any role that is customer facing is stressful. The Service Desk Institute realise how difficult it can be for Service Desk staff to know how to cope with stress and how critical it is to have the right support in place.

I joined the Service Desk Institute 2018 conference as one of their leading breakout speakers to discuss the importance of wellbeing in the workplace.

Is Wellbeing just a management issue?

In the dictionary wellbeing is described as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy”.  Mental Health is described as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being”.  So basically it is all about a person being well.

We all have responsibility for ourselves so our Wellbeing is the responsibility of each person.  If work is stressful though is it then a management issue?  To avoid work-related stress, wellbeing initiatives should ideally originate from the boardroom, in order to bring about positive and lasting change.

Having the right support in place, should staff need it, is key.  Depending on the nature and size of the business this can vary from very small companies where everything is managed through Human Resources to having Work Place Assistance programmes in place, medical insurance, an on-site Medical team, Wellbeing Strategies and training to name but a few.  Do employees know where to find help and is it fit for purpose?

All about the team

What if one of your team members having difficulty?  If you are the team manager it is definitely part of the job description, yet often managers are too busy doing the day job to notice the early signs of something being amiss with a member of staff.

Could you offer a listening ear?  As part of a team, the culture should be to support each other.  That is what a high performing team does.  Each person is very aware of their role and how they contribute to the success of the team.  They know that each member has to be operating to the best of their ability for the whole team to be operating at their best.  They support each other.

So no, it is not just a management issue, it is everyone’s responsibility to look after themselves and to look after each other.

Call me to finding out more about how to support your employees then I would love to connect.

Here’s my calendar link to make finding time easy.

pink menopause image showing what organs can be affectedA Guide to Support and Understanding

Menopause is a natural phase of life that every woman will eventually go through, marking the end of reproductive years. This transformative journey, however, can bring about physical, emotional, and mental changes that often go unnoticed in the workplace. To foster a more inclusive and supportive environment, businesses should educate themselves on menopause and empower their male colleagues to understand and offer support. In this blog, we’ll explore why businesses need to address menopause and provide practical insights for men to offer genuine support and understanding to their female co-workers during this transition.

Why Businesses Should Care

Menopause affects half of the world’s population at some point in their lives. As women spend a significant portion of their lives in the workforce, businesses need to recognise the impact of menopause on their employees. Menopause-related symptoms, such as hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, and cognitive changes, can affect productivity, work quality, and overall well-being. By acknowledging and addressing these challenges, companies can create a more compassionate, supportive, and effective work environment.

Menopause Education for Employees

  • Raise Awareness: Begin by conducting educational workshops or seminars about menopause. Offer information about its symptoms, challenges, and ways to manage them effectively. A well-informed workforce is more likely to offer empathetic support.
  • Open Dialogue: Create a safe space where employees can openly discuss their experiences without fear of judgment. Encourage open conversations about menopause, allowing women to share their stories and challenges, which can help reduce stigma and misinformation.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Offer flexible work arrangements to accommodate fluctuating energy levels and physical discomfort. This could include options for remote work, flexible hours, or reduced workload during particularly challenging days.

What Men Need to Know

  • Educate Yourself: Take the initiative to learn about menopause, its physical and emotional implications, and how it can affect your female colleagues. Online resources, books, and seminars can help you gain a deeper understanding.
  • Listen Actively: When a female co-worker talks about her experiences, listen without judgment and offer your support. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a compassionate ear.
  • Practice Empathy: Understand that menopause is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Every woman’s journey is unique, and symptoms can vary widely. Approach conversations with empathy and without assumptions.
  • Be Flexible and Supportive: If possible, be accommodating when a co-worker is struggling with symptoms. Offering a helping hand, covering tasks, or providing additional support can make a significant difference.
  • Respect Privacy: Some women might prefer to keep their menopause journey private. Respect their choice and avoid discussing it unless they initiate the conversation.
    Creating a Supportive Workplace.
  • Implement Menopause-Friendly Policies: Introduce policies that address menopause-related challenges, such as flexible work hours, designated rest spaces, and wellness programs that focus on nutrition and stress management.
  • Training for Managers: Train managers to recognize the signs of menopause-related struggles and offer appropriate support. This includes creating an environment where women feel comfortable discussing their needs.
  • Normalize Breaks: Encourage regular breaks to help manage symptoms like fatigue and cognitive changes. This not only benefits women but can also enhance overall productivity and mental well-being for everyone.

By acknowledging and addressing menopause in the workplace, businesses can take a significant step toward fostering inclusivity and supporting their female employees during this life transition. Through education, empathy, and policy changes, both men and women can work together to create a workplace that values and understands the unique challenges that menopause brings. Remember, a supportive work environment benefits everyone and paves the way for a more compassionate and productive workspace.

Why I Care

I wish I had experienced an employer who comprehended menopause when I navigated it myself. During the period when I grappled with burnout, which was also the case, menopause simultaneously intensified my symptoms. The inquiries from my male colleagues such as “Are you embarrassed?” when I underwent a hot flush contributed to the distress I felt about this then-taboo topic. Although it’s no longer a taboo, there’s still much more progress to be made.

Initiating menopause education should commence earlier in all aspects of life. My social media manager had never received any information about menopause until we initiated this series of blogs. Is it necessary for her to know about it at 25? Certainly, she does. It’s crucial for her to grasp the experiences of others and to be ready for her own life changes.

Stories matte, typewriter, storyThe Timeless Power of Fables: Teaching Life’s Lessons through Stories

Fables, those short and captivating tales featuring talking animals or mythical creatures, have been a cornerstone of storytelling since ancient times. Combining entertainment with moral lessons, fables have transcended generations and cultures, imparting wisdom and guidance to both young and old. This blog looks at the enduring power of fables and why they continue to be relevant in the modern world.

Universal Themes

Fables are well known for their ability to address universal themes and human experiences. Whether it’s Aesop’s fables or stories from various cultures, these narratives touch upon timeless concepts such as greed, kindness, honesty, and perseverance. By distilling complex ideas into relatable scenarios, fables provide a mirror through which readers can reflect on their own actions and attitudes.

Simplicity with Depth

The beauty of fables lies in their simplicity. With concise narratives and often anthropomorphic characters, they can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Yet, beneath their surface simplicity, fables carry layers of depth. Readers are encouraged to delve into the symbolism and allegorical meanings, stimulating critical thinking and interpretation.

Learning through Indirection

Unlike direct lectures or didactic teachings, fables use the power of indirection. They allow readers to draw their own conclusions and make connections between the story and real life situations. This engagement leads to a more profound understanding and ownership of the lessons learned, fostering personal growth.

Cultural and Moral Diversity

From the ancient Greek fables to African folktales and Asian parables, fables come in a myriad of cultural flavors. Each culture’s fables reflect their unique values, traditions, and social norms. Exploring these diverse narratives can cultivate cultural awareness and empathy, enabling readers to appreciate different perspectives on ethical matters.

Engaging for All Ages

Fables are not limited to a particular age group. They capture young minds with vivid characters and imaginative scenarios, planting seeds of morality and ethics early on. Simultaneously, adults find value in revisiting fables, gaining new insights as their life experiences evolve.

Application in Modern Life

While fables often have historical origins, their lessons are remarkably applicable in today’s world. In an era of rapid technological advancement and shifting societal norms, the fundamental values conveyed by fables remain steadfast. They serve as a compass to navigate contemporary challenges and dilemmas.

Inspiring Creativity

Fables offer a treasure trove of inspiration for writers, artists, and creators. Many authors have reimagined classic fables, adding modern twists or adapting them to different settings. This demonstrates the enduring flexibility of fables and their ability to inspire fresh perspectives.

In a world inundated with information and entertainment, the power of fables endures. These stories, enriched with moral wisdom, continue to spark conversations, provoke thoughts, and shape character. As we journey through life’s complexities, fables remain steadfast guides, reminding us of the values that connect us all as human beings. So, whether you’re reading to a child or contemplating the lessons yourself, the timeless allure of fables remains a beacon of light in an ever-changing world.

We tell stories all the time. About ourselves, about the business. Make them count!

The Resilient Reed: A Fable

A long time ago, in a tranquil valley surrounded by towering mountains, there stood a lush and vibrant forest. Within this forest, there lived a community of animals who had learned to live in harmony with one another. Among them was a wise old owl named Orla, who was known throughout the valley for her wisdom and kind heart.

One breezy morning, as the sun painted the sky with hues of gold and orange, Orla gathered the animals under the ancient oak tree at the heart of the forest. She cleared her throat and began to speak.

“My dear friends,” Orla began, “today I want to tell you the tale of the resilient reed. Once, there was a reed that grew by the side of a gentle stream. This reed was unlike any other in the forest, for it was not the tallest, nor the strongest, but it had a remarkable quality—resilience.”

The animals listened intently as Orla continued.

“One day, a great storm descended upon the valley. The wind howled, the rain poured, and the stream swelled into a raging river. Many of the trees around the reed were uprooted, their branches snapped, and their leaves torn away. But the reed, though bent nearly to the ground by the ferocious wind, remained firmly rooted.”

The squirrel, perched on a branch, asked, “But how did the reed survive?”

Orla smiled kindly and replied, “Ah, my little friend, it was the reed’s resilience that allowed it to endure. You see, instead of fighting the storm, the reed swayed with the wind. It bent and flexed, but it never broke. And when the storm finally subsided, the reed stood tall once more, its spirit unbroken.”

The rabbit, sitting at the base of the oak tree, asked, “But what can we learn from the reed’s story, wise Orla?”

Orla nodded and continued, “My dear friends, just as the reed faced the storm with resilience, so too must we face the challenges that life presents. Resilience is not about being the strongest or the fastest, but about adapting and remaining steadfast in the face of adversity.”

The forest animals exchanged knowing glances, understanding the lesson Orla was giving them.

“In times of difficulty,” Orla continued, “we must bend like the reed, letting ourselves feel the challenges and the pain, but never allowing them to break our spirits. Resilience means finding the strength within ourselves to weather the storms, to adapt, and to grow stronger from the experience.”

And so, the animals of the forest embraced the story of the resilient reed. They learned to face life’s challenges with a spirit of adaptability, perseverance, and unity. In times of trouble, they would recall the tale of the reed and find inspiration to stand tall once more.

And from that day on, whenever a storm raged through the valley, the animals would gather around the reed that had weathered the greatest tempest of all. Its slender form became a symbol of resilience, a reminder that even in the face of life’s storms, they too could endure and flourish.

And so, dear reader, let the story of the resilient reed remind you that true strength lies not only in unyielding might but in the capacity to bend without breaking. Embrace life’s challenges with resilience, and like the reed by the stream, you shall find your way through even the fiercest storms.

Mental Health at Work – Time for a Different Approach

In today’s fast-paced and high-stress professional work environment, mental health has emerged as a significant concern. Unfortunately, there is still a prevalent stigma surrounding mental health, largely due to the misperception of its intangibility. Many individuals tend to believe that what is invisible is unmeasurable and, therefore, unworkable. Consequently, mental health is often considered harder to prevent, detect, and manage compared to physical problems. However, it is high time we challenge this notion and adopt a fresh approach to prioritize mental health in the workplace.

The Hiring Challenge

Traditional hiring processes often focus solely on technical skills and experience, neglecting the importance of assessing an individual’s mental wellbeing. By expanding the hiring metrics to include psychological wellbeing assessments, organisations can identify candidates who possess not only the necessary qualifications but also the resilience and emotional intelligence to thrive in a high-stress environment. Also having training in place to support and develop people in this area can be an attractive proposition for potential employees and a value add for those already working for you.

You have the metrics if you have a workforce that is struggling. You will see it in your sickness report. If they are doing fine you will see it in their productivity and in their employee feedback questionnaires. Not tracking those already then it is time to start. In companies that have developed organically, with everyone knowing each other, these types of metrics can be sidelined. They are very important things to measure. Start before you really need them, because you will need them.

How to Cope:

Promoting mental health at work is a shared responsibility between employers and employees. It is crucial to create an open and supportive environment where individuals feel comfortable discussing their mental health challenges without fear of judgment. Encouraging open communication, providing access to mental health resources, and offering flexible work arrangements are effective coping strategies that foster a mentally healthy workplace. this will only happen when mental health is spoken about openly from the top of the organisation down.  If I am having a challenging time I share it with those working around me. How can I expect others to share unless I am prepared to go first!

A New Approach:

To combat the intangibility stigma associated with mental health, organisations should adopt a holistic and proactive approach. This approach involves investing in comprehensive resilience training for all employees, including managers and supervisors. By equipping individuals with the knowledge and tools to understand and support mental health, organisations can effectively prevent, detect, and manage mental health issues before they escalate.

Understanding Brain Functions:

Educating employees about the basic functioning of the brain can empower them to recognize the signs of mental health problems and seek appropriate help. By understanding how stress impacts the brain and learning effective stress management techniques, employees can develop resilience and improve their overall wellbeing.

Employee Happiness:

While financial compensation is important, it is not the sole determinant of employee happiness. Organisations should consider factors beyond salary, such as providing opportunities for growth, recognition, and work-life balance. Creating a positive work culture that values mental well-being and offers appropriate support systems can contribute significantly to employee happiness and overall job satisfaction.

Embracing Diversity:

A diverse workforce brings unique perspectives and experiences, fostering creativity and innovation. Organizations that value diversity and create an inclusive environment for all employees demonstrate their commitment to mental health. By celebrating individual differences and promoting equality, organizations can cultivate a supportive workplace culture that enhances overall well-being.

It is essential to challenge the misperception that mental health is intangible and unmeasurable. By adopting an innovative approach, organisations can prioritize mental health in the workplace and promote a culture that supports wellbeing. Through comprehensive hiring metrics, coping strategies, education on brain functions, fair pay rates, and embracing diversity, we can create mentally healthy workplaces where individuals can thrive both personally and professionally. Let us take the first step towards positive change and embrace a fresh perspective on mental health at work. Together, we can make a difference.


thereUnraveling the Pitfalls of Implementing Workplace Transformations

Transformation and therefore change is an inevitable part of life, and the business world is no exception. In today’s fast-paced service industry, where finance, legal, IT, and other sectors thrive, the ability to adapt and implement change is crucial. As a resilience consultant, I have witnessed both successful and failed attempts at implementing change in the workplace. In this blog, we will delve into the reasons why change initiatives often falter, and explore strategies to overcome these challenges.

The Change Conundrum

Embracing Change: A Leadership Imperative

Effective transformation starts with strong leadership commitment and a clear vision for the desired outcome. Leadership plays a pivotal role in driving and implementing successful change within an organisation.

To effectively manage change, leaders must demonstrate unwavering commitment and dedication to the process. Therefore, they need to communicate a clear and compelling vision that inspires and motivates their teams toward the desired outcome. Without strong leadership, change initiatives can falter and lose direction, leading to resistance, confusion, and ultimately failure.

Leaders must be proactive in fostering a culture that embraces change and encourages innovation. They should provide the necessary resources, support, and guidance to enable their teams to navigate through the complexities of change. By embodying the change they wish to see, leaders create a ripple effect that permeates throughout the organisation, empowering employees to embrace change, adapt, and thrive in an ever-evolving business landscape. Embracing change is not just a choice; it is imperative for leaders who aspire to build resilient and future-ready organisations.

The People Factor: Resistance and Fear

Resistance to change is a natural human response. Recognising and addressing employee concerns and fears is vital. When organisations introduce changes, whether it’s implementing new technologies, restructuring, or adopting new strategies, they often encounter resistance from every level of the organisation. This resistance is a natural human response rooted in our innate need for stability and familiarity. Change disrupts the status quo and can create uncertainty, which triggers fear and resistance.

To navigate this resistance effectively, it’s crucial for leaders to recognise and acknowledge the concerns and fears. By doing so, they can address these emotions and provide reassurance and support. Open communication channels are essential during times of change, as they allow everyone to express their concerns and receive transparent information about the change process.

Leaders should actively listen to employees’ fears and concerns, demonstrating empathy and understanding. This helps create a sense of psychological safety, where employees feel comfortable voicing their apprehensions without fear of negative consequences. Addressing concerns directly and honestly can alleviate anxieties and build trust among the workforce.

Additionally, providing employees with the necessary resources and training to adapt to the change can help alleviate fear and resistance. Offering workshops, mentoring programs, or access to learning materials can empower employees to develop new skills and feel more confident in embracing the change. Support from leaders and peers can also play a vital role in easing fears and building a positive attitude toward change.

Let Everyone Be Part of the Transformation Process

Engaging employees early on and involving them in the transformation process boosts motivation and ownership. Facilitating discussions and seeking input from others can have a transformative impact when it comes to implementing change. By actively involving individuals in the decision-making process and encouraging their contributions, everyone feels a sense of ownership and belonging. When people are given the opportunity to co-create, their ideas and perspectives are valued, fostering a culture of collaboration and inclusivity.

Engaging in discussions allows for the exchange of diverse viewpoints and insights, leading to more comprehensive and well-rounded solutions. It enables the exploration of different possibilities and encourages innovative thinking. When individuals feel heard and respected, they become more invested in the outcome and are motivated to contribute their best.

Furthermore, facilitating discussions promotes transparency and accountability. It creates an environment where information is shared openly, and decisions are made collectively. This helps to build trust among team members and stakeholders, as they are aware of the rationale behind the choices made and have had the opportunity to provide input.

Involving others in the change process also helps to identify potential challenges and opportunities that may have otherwise been overlooked. People on the ground often possess valuable insights and practical knowledge that can significantly impact the success of a change initiative. By actively seeking their input, organizations can tap into this expertise and increase the chances of a positive outcome.

Ultimately, facilitating discussions and input empowers individuals, fosters a sense of ownership, and promotes a collaborative and inclusive culture. It harnesses the collective intelligence and creativity of a diverse group, resulting in more effective and sustainable change.

Common Pitfalls and Challenges

Inadequate Communication: The Silence Barrier

Inadequate communication is a common pitfall and challenge that organizations face when implementing change. This pitfall is often referred to as the “silence barrier.” When there is a lack of open and transparent communication, it creates a void that is quickly filled with misinformation and speculation among employees.

Without clear communication about the reasons behind the transformation, the desired outcomes, and the steps involved, employees are left to their own devices to fill in the gaps. This can result in rumors, anxiety, and resistance to the proposed changes. Employees may start questioning the motives behind the change, creating a sense of distrust and resistance within the organisation.

Furthermore, inadequate communication can lead to a lack of understanding. When people do not fully comprehend the purpose and benefits of the change, they may not be motivated to embrace it. They might view it as an unnecessary disruption to their established routines and ways of working. This lack of understanding can hinder the adoption and implementation of the change, as employees may not see the value in it.

To overcome the silence barrier, organisations need to prioritise open and transparent communication channels. Leaders should actively communicate the reasons for the change, the intended outcomes, and the steps involved. Ultimately, they should provide opportunities for employees to ask questions, seek clarification, and express their concerns. By fostering an environment of open dialogue, organisations can address misinformation, alleviate fears, and build trust among employees.

Additionally, it is essential to establish consistent and regular communication channels throughout the change process. This could include town hall meetings, team briefings, email updates, or intranet platforms. By keeping employees informed at every stage of the change, organizations can minimize uncertainty and maintain engagement and support.

Insufficient Training and Support: The Skill Gap Dilemma

Providing adequate training and support is critical to enable employees to navigate through the new landscape. One of the primary consequences of insufficient training and support is a decrease in overall organisational efficiency. When employees lack the necessary skills to utilise new technologies or implement innovative strategies, tasks take longer to complete, and errors become more prevalent. This not only hampers productivity but also affects the quality of work delivered, potentially damaging the organisation’s reputation and customer satisfaction.

Moreover, the absence of adequate training and support can also hinder employee growth and development. In a fast-paced business landscape, continuous learning is crucial for professional advancement. When employees are left to figure things out on their own, their growth potential is limited and this lack of development opportunities can lead to demotivation, stagnation, and an increased likelihood of employee turnover.

Strategies for Success

Change Champions: The Power of Influencers

Identifying and empowering change champions within the organization helps drive acceptance and engagement. Change champions play a crucial role in driving acceptance and engagement within an organisation. These individuals are influential figures who embrace and promote change, inspiring others to follow suit. Identifying these change champions and empowering them with the necessary tools and resources enables them to effectively communicate the benefits and importance of the change initiative, thus fostering a positive attitude towards the transformation. Albeit, they are not necessarily the most senior. Change champions should be leaders who are passionate about the change. Willing to help and support the vision and mission when talking to others. They are the cheerleaders of change.

Staged Implementation: Gradual Progress for Lasting Change

Breaking down change initiatives into manageable stages ensures smoother implementation and minimizes disruption. To ensure lasting change, it is essential to implement change initiatives gradually through staged implementation. Breaking down the overall change into smaller, manageable stages not only makes it more feasible for implementation but also reduces disruption. By focusing on one stage at a time, organizations can navigate through the transformation process with greater ease and flexibility, allowing employees to adapt and integrate the changes into their routines more effectively.

Continuous Evaluation and Adaptation: The Evolutionary Approach

Regularly evaluating the change process and making necessary adjustments allows for continuous improvement. Continuous evaluation and adaptation are critical components of a successful change strategy. Organizations should regularly assess the progress and impact of the change initiative and make necessary adjustments as needed. This evolutionary approach allows for ongoing improvement and refinement of the change process, ensuring that it remains aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives. By continuously evaluating and adapting, organizations can address any challenges or barriers that arise, fostering a culture of learning and agility.

Implementing change requires a resilient mindset and a strategic approach. However, by understanding the common pitfalls and challenges that hinder successful change initiatives, managers can proactively address them. Embracing open communication, involving employees, and providing necessary support are key factors in overcoming resistance and ensuring successful change implementation. Therefore, by fostering a culture of adaptability and continuous improvement, managers can navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the service industry and lead their organizations toward growth and success.

Navigating the Challenges of Implementing Change in the Service Industry: Insights from a Resilience Consultant

Change is an inevitable aspect of any organisation’s growth and adaptation. As a manager in the service industry, you understand the need to keep up with evolving trends, technologies, and customer expectations. However, the implementation of change initiatives often proves to be more challenging than anticipated. In this blog, we will explore the common pitfalls that hinder successful change implementation in the workplace and offer valuable insights on how to overcome them. As a programme manager, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of effective change management. It was part of my day job for over 30 years.

Clear Vision and Communication

Without a clear and compelling vision, change efforts often lose direction. As a manager, it’s crucial to articulate the purpose, benefits, and desired outcomes of the proposed change to your team. Transparent and consistent communication fosters understanding and reduces resistance.

Engage and Empower Employees

Change imposed from the top down seldom leads to sustainable outcomes. Involve your employees in the process, seek their input, and empower them to take ownership. A collaborative approach enhances morale, increases buy-in, and ensures that the change aligns with the organization’s values and culture.

Address Resistance Proactively

Resistance is a natural response to change. Identifying and addressing resistance early on is essential. Listen to concerns, provide support, and explain the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) aspect of the change. Encourage open dialogue and create a safe environment for sharing perspectives.

Develop a Well-Defined Change Management Plan

A comprehensive management plan outlines the key milestones, timelines, and responsibilities. Break down the programme into smaller, manageable steps to avoid overwhelming your team. Regularly evaluate progress, celebrate successes, and adjust the plan as needed.

Anticipate and Mitigate Risks

Transformation initiatives often encounter unforeseen challenges. By identifying potential risks and developing contingency plans, you can proactively address obstacles. Stay agile and adapt your approach as you navigate through the implementation process.

Provide Training and Support

Equip your team with the necessary knowledge and skills to embrace the transformation. Offer training programs, workshops, and resources that empower employees to navigate new processes and technologies. Ongoing support ensures a smoother transition and minimizes productivity disruptions.

Foster a Culture of Real Resilience

Real Resilience is the cornerstone of successful change implementation. Encourage a growth mindset, where failures are seen as learning opportunities. Recognize and reward adaptability, innovation, and positive contributions during the transformation journey.

Transformation in the workplace can be challenging, but with the right approach, it can also be an opportunity for growth and success. As a manager in the service industry, embracing change and implementing it effectively is vital for staying competitive. By adopting a clear vision, engaging employees, addressing resistance, and implementing a well-defined change management plan, you can navigate the complexities of change with resilience. Remember, change is not a one-time event but an ongoing process that requires adaptability, open communication, and a supportive environment. Embrace transformation, empower your team, and pave the way for a brighter future in your organization.

Navigating the Challenges: A Coach’s Perspective

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving legal landscape, the challenges faced by employees in the legal profession are numerous and demanding. As managers, it is essential for you to understand and address these challenges to create a supportive and empowering work environment. Let’s explore some of the key hurdles faced by legal professionals in the UK and discuss how a coaching approach can help overcome them.

Work-Life Balance

One of the foremost challenges faced by employees in the legal profession is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The demanding nature of legal work often leads to long hours, tight deadlines, and high-stress levels. This can have a detrimental impact on employees’ well-being, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. As a coach, I can help managers create strategies to promote work-life balance, such as implementing flexible working arrangements, fostering a culture of self-care, and encouraging open communication about workload concerns.

Burnout and Mental Health

The legal profession is known for its high-pressure environment, which can contribute to burnout and negatively affect mental health. Persistent stress, heavy workloads, and the need to meet client expectations can leave employees feeling overwhelmed and emotionally drained. As a coach, I support managers in recognising the signs of burnout and implementing preventative measures. This may include facilitating stress management workshops and encouraging regular breaks and vacation time.

Career Development and Progression

Employees in the legal profession often face challenges related to career development and progression. The industry is highly competitive, and employees may struggle to find opportunities for growth or advancement. By adopting a coaching approach, managers can provide guidance and support to help employees identify their career goals, create personalised development plans, and offer relevant training and mentorship opportunities. This fosters a culture of continuous learning and professional growth.

Diversity and Inclusion

Promoting diversity and inclusion within the profession is a critical challenge that managers must address. Employees from diverse backgrounds may face biases and barriers that hinder their career advancement. As a coach, I can assist managers in implementing strategies to foster a more inclusive workplace. For example, could include unconscious bias training, creating mentorship programs, establishing diverse hiring practices, and promoting open dialogue about diversity-related issues.

Technological Advancements

The legal profession is experiencing rapid technological advancements that are transforming the way legal services are delivered. However, adapting to new technologies can be daunting for employees, especially those who are less tech-savvy. It is essential to support the integration of technology into legal workflows, provide training and support for employees, and ensure that technological advancements are embraced as opportunities for efficiency and innovation rather than seen as threats.

As managers in the legal profession, it is crucial to recognise and address the challenges faced by employees. By adopting a coaching approach, you can empower your employees, promote their well-being, and drive their professional growth. Remember, a supportive and inclusive work environment is not only beneficial for the employees but also for the overall success of your organisation.

If you require further guidance or support in navigating these challenges, I am here to help as a coach. Together, we can create a thriving legal profession that fosters employee satisfaction, productivity, and success.

Metrics That Matter

In today’s competitive business landscape, companies are recognising the value of prioritising employee wellbeing. This is not just as a means to enhance productivity, engagement, and retention. A critical component of fostering a culture of wellbeing lies in the hands of the Human Resources (HR) team. By effectively measuring key metrics, HR professionals can gain insights into the overall health and satisfaction of the workforce. Let’s explore what your HR team should measure. How do those metrics contribute to cultivating a culture of wellbeing within your company?

Employee Engagement:

Measuring employee engagement is a foundation for understanding the level of commitment and motivation within your workforce. By utilising surveys, feedback mechanisms, and performance evaluations, your HR team can assess factors such as job satisfaction, alignment with company values, and work-life balance. These metrics provide invaluable insights into the overall wellbeing of employees and identify areas for improvement. Engaged employees are more likely to experience a sense of purpose, take ownership of their work, and feel supported, leading to increased productivity and a positive work environment.

Wellness Programs Participation:

Wellness programs have gained significant traction in recent years and for good reason. By tracking the participation rates and analysing the impact of these programs, HR teams can gauge the level of interest and engagement in employee wellness initiatives. Metrics such as attendance at fitness classes, use of mental health resources, and adoption of healthy lifestyle activities can help assess the effectiveness of these programs. Regularly evaluating participation rates and soliciting employee feedback ensures that wellness initiatives align with the evolving needs and preferences of your workforce. It helps reinforce a culture that prioritizes wellbeing.

Employee Absenteeism and Sick Leave:

Monitoring and reviewing data on employee absenteeism and sick leave provides valuable insights into the physical and mental health of your employees. By identifying patterns and trends, HR teams can proactively address potential underlying issues, such as excessive workloads, stress, or burnout. This data enables companies to develop targeted interventions and support systems, promoting a healthy work-life balance and reducing the negative impact of absenteeism on productivity and morale.

Diversity and Inclusion Metrics:

Inclusion and diversity are integral components of a thriving culture of wellbeing. HR teams should measure metrics related to diversity representation, equal opportunity practices, and inclusivity initiatives. Tracking data on employee demographics, pay equity, and promotion rates provides valuable information on the progress and effectiveness of your diversity and inclusion strategies. Cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace fosters a sense of belonging and psychological safety. These are vital for employee wellbeing and overall company success.

Employee Feedback and Surveys:

Regularly seeking employee feedback through surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one discussions is a powerful tool for understanding the pulse of your company. HR teams should measure metrics related to employee satisfaction, happiness, and overall wellbeing. This data provides actionable insights for improving policies, procedures, and the work environment. By actively listening to employee feedback, companies demonstrate a commitment to their workforce’s wellbeing. They create an open and transparent culture that values employee input.

Measuring the right HR metrics is instrumental in creating a culture of wellbeing within your company. By tracking employee engagement, wellness program participation, absenteeism, diversity and inclusion, and employee feedback, HR teams can gain valuable insights into the overall health and satisfaction of their workforce. These metrics enable companies to proactively address areas of improvement. Also aiding implement targeted interventions, and creating a supportive work environment that fosters employee wellbeing. Investing in these measurements not only leads to enhanced productivity and employee retention.  But it also reflects a commitment to the holistic success and happiness of your most valuable asset—your employees.

Are you tracking the right data for your company and what is it telling you? Perhaps you outsource HR. in which case, who is doing this role and do you have the right metrics in place? As companies grow organically, these elements can often be missing.  Would you like to discover what your metrics are telling you and how you can improve your company’s competitive advantage? Sign up for a Real Resilience Audit.

Want to know more? book a 30-minute discussion with our MD.




Celebrating Diversity

In a world where diversity is celebrated, it is essential to understand and appreciate the various personality traits that make individuals unique. Four common terms used to describe personality types are introvert, extrovert, ambivert, and shy. While these labels are often used interchangeably, they each represent distinct characteristics. In this blog, we will explore the differences between introverts, extroverts, ambiverts, and shy individuals. Furthermore, we will provide valuable hints and tips to foster inclusivity and promote a more understanding environment for everyone.

Have you ever worked in a team where the boss says, “Well you just need to be more…..”. I am sure most of us can think of an example.  Is your workplace more biased toward extroverts and ambiverts? So many people confuse introverts and shy for example. Do you really understand the different terms? How can you make your team more inclusive and benefit everyone? How can you embrace diversity?


Introverts are individuals who draw energy from within themselves. They tend to feel recharged through solitary activities and introspection. Introverts may prefer smaller, intimate gatherings and often engage in deep, meaningful conversations rather than small talk. They are generally more reflective, thoughtful, and reserved. While they may appear quiet or reserved, introverts possess valuable insights and strengths that are worth appreciating.

Tips for inclusivity:

a) Create quiet spaces: Recognize that introverts thrive in environments where they can find solace and recharge. Providing quiet areas or designated spaces for introspection can greatly benefit introverted individuals.

b) Encourage written communication: Introverts often excel in expressing themselves through writing. Encouraging written communication channels such as emails or online forums can help them contribute and feel more comfortable expressing their thoughts.


Extroverts, on the other hand, are energized by social interactions and external stimuli. They thrive in lively environments and gain energy from being around others. Extroverts typically enjoy engaging in group activities, initiating conversations, and networking. Their outgoing nature often helps them connect with people easily and fosters a sense of enthusiasm.

Tips for inclusivity: a) Allow for group interactions: Extroverts feel most comfortable when interacting with others. Providing opportunities for group discussions or team activities can help them contribute and showcase their strengths. b) Be an active listener: Show genuine interest when extroverts share their experiences and stories. Engage in conversations and encourage their participation in group settings, making them feel valued and heard.


Ambiverts fall in the middle of the introvert-extrovert spectrum and possess a balance of traits from both ends. They are comfortable in social situations but also appreciate alone time for introspection. Ambiverts may exhibit extroverted tendencies in certain scenarios and introverted tendencies in others. Their flexibility allows them to adapt to a variety of social dynamics.

Tips for inclusivity:

a) Offer options: Recognize that ambiverts may have varying preferences depending on the situation. Providing them with choices, such as participating in group activities or opting for individual tasks, allows them to navigate their energy levels more effectively.

b) Practice active observation: Pay attention to cues that indicate whether an ambivert is seeking solitude or social interaction. By understanding their subtle signals, you can create an environment that respects their needs and preferences.

Shy Individuals:

I always thought I was an introvert until I started learning about psychometric profiling. I learned that I am actually strongly extroverted in many circumstances, but actually, I am also quite shy.

Shyness is not synonymous with introversion, extroversion, or ambiversion. Shy individuals experience social anxiety and discomfort in social interactions, often leading to hesitation or withdrawal. Shyness is a personality trait that can affect people across the introvert-extrovert spectrum. It is important to remember that shyness is not a flaw but rather a personal characteristic.

Tips for inclusivity:

a) Foster a supportive environment: Encourage a nurturing and understanding atmosphere where shy individuals feel safe to express themselves at their own pace. Avoid putting them on the spot or pressuring them to participate in situations that cause significant distress.

b) Small group interactions: Provide opportunities

The key to any environment is to embrace diversity and be as inclusive as possible. Understanding these different personality traits is key to improving relationships and communication. Giving everyone space and encouraging them to be themselves increases creativity, which in turn increases ideas. If people feel included then they want to stay working where they are. At a time when professional talent is scarce, think about how you can include everyone in your team.

How Coaching Can Unlock Your Team’s Potential

Coaching Plays a Significant Role

Today, let’s delve into a topic that’s crucial for fostering a thriving workplace: employee resilience. In an ever-changing business landscape, resilient employees can be the driving force behind your team’s success. And guess what? Coaching plays a significant role in nurturing and enhancing that resilience. So, grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and let’s explore why employee resilience matters and how coaching can help your team reach new heights.

Understanding Employee Resilience

Picture this: A team facing a setback, be it a project gone wrong or unexpected challenges in the market. How do your employees respond? Are they able to bounce back, adapt, and keep moving forward? That’s where employee resilience comes into play. Real Resilience refers to the capacity to navigate through adversity, bounce back from setbacks, and maintain optimal performance despite challenging circumstances.

Why Does Employee Resilience Matter?

  1. Thriving through Change: In today’s fast-paced business environment, change is inevitable. Resilient employees can handle transitions more effectively, whether it’s adapting to new technology, shifts in organizational structure, or market fluctuations. They embrace change with open arms, driving innovation and growth within your team.
  2. Overcoming Challenges: Every workplace faces obstacles along the way. Resilient employees view these challenges as opportunities for growth rather than roadblocks. They stay focused, maintain a positive mindset, and find creative solutions to overcome hurdles, fostering a culture of problem-solving within your team.
  3. Emotional Well-being: Resilient employees possess higher emotional intelligence, enabling them to manage stress, maintain a work-life balance, and cultivate strong relationships with their colleagues. By prioritizing emotional well-being, you can create a positive work environment that boosts employee engagement and satisfaction.
  4. Sustainable Performance: Resilience acts as a buffer against burnout, ensuring that your employees can sustain high-performance levels over the long term. When faced with demanding deadlines or increased workloads, resilient individuals are better equipped to handle pressure, maintain productivity, and prevent exhaustion.

The Role of Coaching in Building Resilience

Now that we understand why employee resilience is vital, let’s explore how coaching can be a powerful tool in developing and strengthening this attribute within your team.

  1. Self-Awareness and Mindset Shifts: Coaching provides a safe space for employees to reflect on their strengths, weaknesses, and personal triggers. By fostering self-awareness, coaches can help individuals identify their default responses to adversity and guide them toward cultivating more resilient mindsets. These mindset shifts enable employees to embrace challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth rather than sources of despair.
  2. Building Coping Strategies: Effective coaching equips employees with practical coping strategies to navigate difficult situations. Coaches can help individuals develop adaptive thinking patterns, problem-solving skills, and stress management techniques. These tools empower employees to bounce back stronger, maintain focus, and find innovative solutions when faced with obstacles.
  3. Encouraging Growth Mindset: A growth mindset is an essential element of resilience. Coaches play a crucial role in fostering this mindset by challenging limiting beliefs and encouraging a focus on continuous learning and development. Through coaching, employees can adopt a growth-oriented perspective that embraces failure as a stepping stone to success, thereby boosting their resilience in the face of setbacks.
  4. Providing Support and Accountability: Coaches offer valuable support and accountability throughout the resilience-building journey. They act as trusted guides, providing feedback, encouragement, and guidance when employees encounter challenges. With the help of a coach, employees feel supported in their pursuit of resilience. Eventually enhancing their motivation and commitment to personal growth.

As office-based managers, it’s essential to recognize the significance of employee resilience.

For more of our blogs covering resilience and more topics, click here

Some employees are struggling with being back in the office. Quite a few companies require employees to return to the office full-time or increase the number of days. I have definitely noticed a trend so far in 2023. I know many people who are being urged to amp up their office presence. Typically, the request is for an increase of 3-4 days a week in the office.

Is the remote working trend slowly dying off? Is hybrid still an option for many? How do the employees feel about this? These are the questions that struck me as I researched whether the trend was more widespread and how employees really feel about it.

According to Business Insider, larger companies are mandating that employees need to be back in the office full-time. Many employees were so upset with the reversal of flexible working policies that they filed a petition against the changes. Others have been reported in many articles citing headlines like “Return to Work Wars”.

The Companies Mandating Employees Return to the Office (businessinsider.com)

Remote and hybrid

Remote and hybrid ways of working have a lot of benefits, such as flexible hours and the ability to work from anywhere in the world. But it can also be difficult to get work done when you’re isolated from others.

According to the CIPD “More action is needed to increase the uptake of a range of flexible working arrangements to create more inclusive, diverse and productive workplaces that suit both the needs of organisations and individuals.”

Clearly, the best practice is seen to be giving employees the option of flexible working. The CIPD is campaigning for it. Gallup poll data shows that employees are leaving if they are not getting the flexibility they want. So what is the issue with employers continuing to embrace it?

The CIPD Good Work Index points to a number of barriers to be overcome:

  • Line manager attitudes
  • Lack of senior-level support
  • Concerns about meeting operational and customer requirements
  • The nature of the work people do.

A two-tier system?

Many people moved out of cities during the pandemic, myself included. Now there is a split between those that are still local and able to travel into the office regularly, and those that are mostly remote with only the occasional trip in. Roughly once a month or less is what I see.

Is this causing a two-tier system between the employees with remote workers being more isolated and cut off from the rest of the workforce? When everyone was working from home, most employees made an effort to ensure more effective and frequent communication. Are the people back in the office forgetting to do this, now the majority of people are available for face-to-face meetings on a regular basis? The people I have spoken to report feeling more cut off from their office-based peers. They also report that they are finding it more difficult to find out information as people forget to keep them in the loop.

This situation supports neither the employee nor the organisation, so it is failing on both counts.

Why are employees struggling?

According to the latest Gallup research, six in ten employees with remote-capable jobs want a hybrid work arrangement. One-third prefer fully remote work, and less than 10% prefer to work on-site.

While some employees may be happy to return, others prefer the ability to get work done without interruptions and no commutes. For these employees, the thought of returning to the office stirs up anxiety and even dread.

The reasons for return-to-office dread are very personal and vary so much between individuals. Some are worried about losing the free time they’ve gained without a commute, the ability to pick up the kids, or throwing some laundry in the washing machine between meetings. Many found that office politics were less when home-based while others dread going back to that soul-destroying commute.

Research worldwide has many psychologists convinced that the mental and physical stress of a long commute is rarely worth it. If you have a long commute, it’s taking the place of something in your life that’s healthy. It also reduces time with your family and friends.

However, some people are actually enjoying being back, that they are back into the routine. A recent study by the BBC found that, after years of resisting, some workers are back at their desks. The secret? They don’t hate it. They are enjoying the camaraderie and the fact that you can go seek people out and sort problems quickly.

You can read more about their perspective here: The workers quietly backtracking on return-to-office – BBC Worklife

Are employees more productive in the office?

Gallup data show that spending two to three days in the office during a typical week tends to lead to the highest levels of employee engagement, and tends to reduce burnout and intentions to leave the organization. However, employees’ unique job responsibilities, as well as their team’s collaboration and customer service requirements, should be considered when determining hybrid work schedules. For instance, highly collaborative jobs requiring frequent real-time interactions often benefit from more time in the office than jobs that are done mostly independently.

A study by Forbes found that employees who work remotely are three times as likely to struggle with productivity as those who work in an office setting. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Employees struggle because they have less face-to-face interaction with their boss, which can lead to decreased motivation and increased distraction.
  • Employees who work remotely often have to rely on technology to stay connected, which can lead to less effective communication.
  • Remote workers are less likely to get feedback on their work, which can lead to frustration and a decreased level of productivity.

In order for employees to be productive in the office, they need to have a balanced routine that includes face-to-face interaction, good communication tools, and regular feedback.

What about Gen Z?

I am particularly interested to read an article about Gen Z workers and how they are starting on the back foot, in terms of understanding the work environment. Particularly the experience they gain from osmotic communication and being set up for success at work, by being co-located and learning from those around them. Some experts feel that entry-level workers are missing out on picking up vital cues that guide behaviour, collaboration, and networking. It is making fundamental work much harder to achieve. What is the etiquette and the norms? Who should you call? How should they be contacted? Are some people out of bounds? Plus a whole host of other questions they need to be answered.

The experience is leading to a whole different area of anxiety for these employees. Of course, it’s not the case that every new Gen Z worker is struggling. But for many of these inexperienced employees, virtual work settings can exacerbate new job stress.

What does the future look like?

I can see the pros and cons of both the argument for flexibility from the employee, and at the same time, the data backing up the need for regular time in the office.

Being in the office supports both the integration and productivity of the team. The sharing of osmotic communications. The passing on of tacit knowledge. The ability to be able to hash things out and spark ideas of each other.

At the same time the need to support employee mental health and wellbeing. Enabling flexibility and being a more inclusive organisation that supports everyone’s needs is critical.

I worked for years in large global, diverse organisations. That was back in the day when companies could afford to pay for employees to get together at least annually, from all around the world. There was definitely an understanding that the team-building element that this enabled was critical. However, I still managed to build lasting relationships with remote colleagues that I never met in person. It just took a lot more work.

My conclusion is that all is possible. With a lot of work. For me though, hybrid working gives the best of everything. It will enable the needs of the organisation and support the employees at the same time. At the end of the day what most people want is choice.

In a climate where finding talent is exceedingly difficult, as an employer you better start listening!

Can the four-day week work for your business?

The idea of a four-day week has been gaining traction in recent years. Many companies are considering the switch to a four-day week as a way to increase employee productivity and satisfaction. This shift could potentially have far-reaching effects on the economy, as well as on individual workers and their families.

A four-day week could lead to more free time for employees, allowing them to spend more time with family or engage in leisure activities. It could also lead to increased job satisfaction, as employees would have more control over their schedules and be able to take advantage of flexible working hours. Additionally, it could reduce stress and fatigue associated with long working hours, leading to higher levels of productivity and creativity in the workplace.

There are lots of articles in newspapers about the idea of the four-day week at the moment. This one grabbed our attention as being of particular interest as it is UK-centric and very pragmatic in its approach.

Having worked a four-day week for the last four years of my corporate career, I wanted to give my personal perspective.

What is a four-day week?

The four-day week is becoming increasingly popular in the corporate world. Many companies are finding that they can increase productivity and morale by giving employees an extra day off each week. There are a variety of different approaches to working a four-day week. Some companies offer a longer work day over four days, therefore crashing the same amount of hours into longer days, but then getting the day off every Friday for example. Other companies offer to let people work reduced hours for reduced pay. (This was what I took up in 2012). What has distinguished this latest study from all the others, is that employees have kept the same salary as if they were working their usual five-day week, but worked fewer hours.

The findings from the study

There are a few benefits of a four-day week. First, it allows employees to have more time to pursue outside interests and spend time with family. This can lead to happier and more productive employees. Additionally, it can cut down on costs associated with commuting and child care.

In the report that we attached earlier in the blog, you can see that 61 companies, involving 2900 employees, took part in the study between June and December of 2022. 56 of those companies are still continuing with the four day work week. 18 of them are making it a permanent change. Why is that? Well, over the course of the trial the companies saw an increase in productivity and performance. They also saw that stress, mental and physical health also declined, and reports of burnout declined by 71%!
According to a full report by 4 Day Work Week Global, covering the same study, 60% of the employees that took part said that they found it easier to combine work and personal responsibilities, and 62% said it benefitted their social life. Employee resignations dropped by 57%, and the companies themselves saw increased revenue by 35%.
However, it stated that one or two companies did have concerns about an increasing workload. Some employees would be working longer hours into the evenings to get tasks finished on time. Also there were concerns of the workplace becoming less convivial, saying that unstructured conversations surrounding ideas in creative companies were declining. One employee stated that socialising at work has lessened, and interrupting colleagues is “taboo” now. But managerial employees are said to be paying full attention to this and perhaps pairing the shorter work week with designated team days. This goes to show that companies really are focusing on the importance of job quality while creating a better work-life balance.

Is a four-day week the right approach for your business?

There are a few things to consider before making the switch. First, think about the type of business you have and whether or not a four-day week would be feasible. For example, if you have a retail business, you’ll need to be open five to seven days a week to meet customer demand, so would you need more employees to cover? However, if you have an office-based business, a four-day week might be a possibility.

Next, consider your employees and whether or not they would be on board with a four-day week. If you have employees with young children, a four-day week might be a great way to help them balance their work and home life. However, if you have employees who rely on a five-day week to make ends meet, a four-day week might not be ideal, if it will be at 80% of the current salary. If you are offering reduced hours and the current salary then this will not be an issue.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether or not the four-day week is right for your business. It’s important to weigh all of the factors before making a decision.

Just remember that all of this should be discussed with all employees. Employees need to feel part of the discussion and help co-create the way forward. This helps them feel part of the processes, rather than the process being done to them. They are also likely to think of things that management have overlooked. Communicate at all levels and keep communicating. Have a trial period and communicate and review.

A personal perspective

It is actually nothing new. I was working a four-day week in 2012. I have to say my experience was very similar to the experience of those people that are currently part of the experiment. While I was not lucky enough to keep my salary as many people are being offered now, I was lucky enough that my remuneration and holiday entitlement were still within very comfortable limits. Plus the health benefits far outweighed the loss in salary.
It was amazing the difference a day made. it does not seem like just an extra day added to the weekend would make such a massive difference, but it really, really did. That extra day to myself, doing chores, and getting some washing done, was all time well used, so then when it came to the weekend, and friends and family were also free, i did not have to carve out any of my time to do chores, I was already up to date and was able to have quality time with them.

Stress levels dropped drastically

I found that my stress levels dropped massively, and I no longer dreaded Mondays because felt like I had had enough time to properly relax and destress. I ate better because I had more time to plan and prepare. Exercise was easier because I had more time. Hobbies were back on the agenda and other things that give me lots of joy.
When I was at work I was happier, and therefore better able to focus. I was also more productive. There is nothing quite like a busy person with less time, to get a laser focus and get a job done quickly.
It took a little while for other employees to respect the time off, but as four-day weeks gained in popularity, they quickly understood the need to respect people’s time. I think times have moved on since then too and everyone respects that there is an overarching need for flexibility where possible.

I recommend it

Based on my experience and that of those I worked with, I would say it is totally worth it. I am sure, as the studies have shown, that I was more productive in four days than I was in five. There was flexibility on both sides and a lot of much happier employees that managed stress levels a lot better. A win-win in my opinion.

Over the course of six blogs, we are looking at Menopause. Why? Because so many women go through it, without understanding the changes, and how they can manifest. I was diagnosed with burnout back in 2011. I realise, with hindsight, that menopause was a major contributing factor to my symptoms and mental state. Are you in a similar situation? We can have a much better transition if we have a better understanding of menopause. We can learn to work with our bodies and find our personal path.

In this blog we will be looking at menopause in the workplace and why it is such an important issue. What needs to change about the attitude towards menopause and symptoms in the workplace?

How menopause affects women in the workplace

Did you know that 13 million women in the UK are going through menopause at any one time? 80% of them are at work? While we all know that menopause physically affects only women, when it comes to the workplace it can affect everybody. In any job where there are female employees present, it should be taken into consideration that the possibility of them having symptoms, while at work, is very high. There are a possible 49 symptoms of menopause, and any number of them can affect productivity and performance at work.

If you think about your current job, and whether you are going through the menopause, would you say you are comfortable in your workspace to cope with it? According to a survey by Forth with Life around 90% of women say that their workplace does not offer any help to menopausal women. 72% say that changes need to be made to accommodate menopausal women in the workplace.

How symptoms affect women in the workplace

If you have experienced menopausal symptoms, then it will be no secret that they can disrupt your daily work life. 41% of those same surveyed women said that their poor concentration and forgetfulness causes them to make mistakes and underperform. Menopause can also cause difficulty concentrating, depression and anxiety during work and employers can easily dismiss that too as underperforming. If your employer has experienced the menopause themselves they may be a little more uncerstanding. However, those who have not been taught how to deal with it can easily misunderstand how serious these symptoms are.

Managing your menopause is a great first step to coping. Finding natural solutions such as ones we have discussed in our Natural VS HRT blogs may really help you. Maybe you have a co-worker going through a similar experience? Could you ask anyone around you for support?

How does this affect you as an employer?

As of 2019 studies show that there is a huge rise in employment in women between the ages of 50 and 64. This is prime time for menopause to be an issue, and although some are choosing to stay in work, many feel as though they cannot cope with the symptoms and stress. This results in possibly leaving work or a rise in absence. One in four women have considered leaving work because of menopause, and according to BUPA around 990,000 already have. If a woman quits work due to unmanageable symptoms it will cost the company money. Replacing an employee can cost anywhere between 90% – 200% of what it originally cost to pay that employee. For exmaple, if they earned say £25,000, that could cost anywhere up to £50,000. This is before taking into consideration other elements such as:

  • Expertise, skills and experience lost
  • Recruiting, interviewing and training a new employee
  • The client relationships they built
  • Cultural impact
  • Loss of productivity

What can you do as an employer to help?

When it comes to the wellbeing of women in the workplace, topics such as menopause should be taken seriously. Simply talking about menopause, raising awareness to all employees and normalising it is extremely helpful. Especially when employees might feel embarrassed to address it or made to feel like it is a taboo subject. In addition, here are some things employees can introduce to better the help and understanding of menopause in the workplace:

  • Training for all line managers
  • Support groups
  • A safe place to talk in the office
  • A quiet rest area
  • Flexible work hours and shift arrangements
  • Facilities for physical symptoms such as showers, fans and clean bathrooms
  • Introduce a menopause policy

The government are currently investigating a manifesto for menopause at work. This was put forward by the CIPD in order to bring more attention to the lack of awareness and support surrounding menopause in the workplace. Bringing a menopause policy into organisations would ensure the wellbeing of employees, and help shed the negative talk surrounding it.

If you would like to stay ahead of the curve and think about your wellbeing strategy to incorporate a menopause policy now, contact Alison Charles, Wellbeing Consultant:

Tel: 07768 493157

Office: 020 3290 3157

Email: alison@alisoncharles.co.uk
Twitter: @alisonjcharles
LinkedIn: Alison Charles
Facebook: Alison Charles: Wellbeing in the Workplace


Over the course of six blogs, we are looking at Menopause. Why? Because so many women go through it, without understanding the changes, and how they can manifest. I was diagnosed with burnout back in 2011. I realise, with hindsight, that menopause was a major contributing factor to my symptoms and mental state. Are you in a similar situation? We can have a much better transition if we have a better understanding of menopause. We can learn to work with our bodies and find our personal path.

In this blog we will be talking about the “hidden gift of menopause” and what positive elements can come from the experience.

Why do we view menopause so negatively?

When many women think of menopause, it is most likely negatively. We always hear about the dreaded menopause and its nasty symptoms. Not to mention the changes and the stress it causes. It is almost like we view it as a tragic, inevitable end to our youth. But is it all negative, or are there actually some positive elements that the whole experience can bring to us?

One thing we might think about, when we approach menopause, is that we will lose our youth and beauty. By today’s beauty standards, it is almost as if we must stay young to be desirable. Western culture seems to glorify beautiful, youthful women and dismiss others, which consequently puts pressure on women to stay young and pretty no matter what. Menopause is seen as a threat to that, which is where the negative narrative surrounding menopause lies. It is important to remember that this is just how Western culture views it, and that in other cultures and countries it may be seen in a completely different way. And that also, it is not just physical beauty that matters.

How do other cultures view it?

While we may suffer with the negative views and taboo around menopause in Western countries are plenty of cultures that have completely alternative perspectives on what it means. For example, the Japanese culture does not worry about menopause at all. While we associate the word menopause with symptoms and unhappiness, the Japanese do not. In fact, their word for menopause is ‘konenki’, which broken down means something much greater than just menopause. Ko means “renewal or regeneration”, nen means “years”, and ki means “season or energy”. In English, it does not translate to something quite so inspirational as this. And in China they have a similar attitude, calling it the ‘Second Spring.’

Indigenous cultures, such as the M?ori in New Zealand, have a beautiful take on menopause. Instead of being something to dread, they see it as the transition from being a member of society, to becoming a spiritual elder. Mayan women believe that entering menopause gives them their access to shamanic abilities and healing powers. They have ceased to have children and will now focus on taking care of their children’s children and the community. Therefore, becoming a well-respected and useful member of the community. There is a quote that Native American and other Indigenous people say which is “The blood you no longer bleed is retained as wise blood.” Perhaps we could learn something from them and change how we personally view menopause? You can read more about different cultures surrounding menopause here.

What is the hidden gift of menopause?

We have all been through difficult situations that left us feeling stronger or wiser. Many women feel that menopause has the same effect. All the unresolved difficulties that we have papered over during our life, to be able to survive and carry on, are magnified in menopause, forcing us to deal with them. As a result, often relationship crises are a ‘side effect’ of menopause. And any past physical symptoms can also come up to be addressed.

Another way of looking at it is that we start out in life as a caterpillar. Menopause is the chyrsalis stage, where we transform into our original blueprint – a butterfly. The shift in hormones challenges us to give up old, unhealthy caterpillar attitudes and behaviours, and become our True Self.

This explains why many women come out the other side of menopause saying they’ve never been happier or more fulfilled. It’s when women come into their power, worry less about what others think, become more assertive, and find their voice. Some even make serious life changes according to what it is they need or want to really thrive. Some learn to stop giving so much of themselves to others and focus more on their own path.

Another medical term for menopause is ‘climacteric’. It is used to describe the decline in fertility in women during this time. And in botany this term denotes the time when a fruit reaches its full ripeness and sweetness. This is a perfect way to view menopause: A ripening into a mature, wise woman, full of life.

So really, there are many positive things we can take away from menopause. It is not all doom and gloom! I hope we can start normalising conversation about menopause, and teach those who have yet to go through it, that it is not something to fear. That it is something to embrace!

Thank you to Sarah Davison for the contribution and information. Sarah can be reached at thrivehomeopathy.com.

Sarah offers a free perimenopause assessment that allows you to check how many of the 49 possible symptoms you have. Click here to take the assessment. You do not have to suffer alone! You can also follow her on social media at @naturalmenopauseexpert

Staying resilient during the holidays can be challenging.

The holidays are a time when many of us feel added pressure and stress

This is especially true when we spend time with our families. If you find yourself feeling tense or wound up after spending time with your loved ones, you’re not alone. It can be tough to keep your cool around the people who know you best, but it is possible. Here are a few tips to help you manage holiday stress:

Holidays with family can be tough for a variety of reasons.

Maybe you find yourself reverting back to old roles or behaving in ways you did when you were younger. It’s easy to fall into old patterns of arguing or storming off when you’re around relatives. But there are ways to cope with these stresses so that you can enjoy your time with your family.

The holidays can bring a lot of joy, but they can also be stressful.

This is often because it’s the only time of year when families gather in one place, which means there are a lot of different personalities to deal with. People are also likely to spend more time in close quarters during the holidays, which can make it difficult to relax and take a break from all the together time. Plus, there’s often a lot of pressure to meet high holiday expectations, which can add even more stress.

If you find yourself getting stressed out this holiday season, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Feeling tense during the holidays is perfectly normal, and there are a few things you can do to try and keep calm.

Remember that it’s okay to feel stressed at times and that you shouldn’t beat yourself up for it. Instead, try to be mindful of when your stress levels start to rise, so you can take steps to care for yourself.

If you’re feeling stressed, angry, let down, or burned out, that’s OK.

These negative emotions are just information and data coming up in your nervous system. You can use physical symptoms of stress, like a racing heart or a flushed face, as a sign to take a deep breath or long walk. Mental cues, like feelings of overwhelm or frustrated, may mean you need to take a break. Awareness allows you to accept these emotions and then take aligned action so your feelings don’t drive your behaviors.

Here are some of the best ways to stay calm during the holidays:

Set Boundaries

If your family just will not stop asking nosy questions or making rude comments, you can shut it down by setting a firm boundary. You can say something like, “I understand you’re curious but I’m not ready to share that.” This will let them know that you’re not comfortable with the conversation and they should respect your wishes.

Stating your boundaries with family members, friends, or anyone else, for that matter, doesn’t always mean they’ll respect them – but you can set consequences if you feel like you’re being pushed too far. For example, if someone asks you a personal question that makes you uncomfortable, you can say something like, “You’ve asked me this several times now and if you continue, I’ll have to leave.” It isn’t easy to set boundaries, but it is the best way to handle a tough crowd. You do have to follow through with the consequences if they keep pushing though, so only set consequences you are prepared to carry through.

Do what you enjoy

One of the best ways to manage holiday stress is by only committing to the parts of the holiday that you actually enjoy. For example, if you love taking a stroll around the city to look at decorations, make that a priority on your list and skip the parts that tend to be more stressful. A lot of times, holiday stress comes from feeling like you have to do everything – and often with people whose company you don’t even enjoy. So by letting your family know that you won’t be able to make it to every event this year, you’re more likely to be able to maintain your peace.

Remove yourself from stressful situations if possible

Don’t force yourself to stay at any holiday gathering for longer than you’re comfortable with – whether it’s a family member’s house or your aunt’s holiday party. It’s okay to make an appearance and then leave if you’re feeling overwhelmed or the day isn’t going according to plan. Make the holidays work on your terms, not the other way around.

If you’re feeling stressed out or overexcited, offer to help with tasks that will let you zone out or take some time away. For example, offer to peel potatoes for the mashed potatoes — it’s repetitive, task-oriented, and likely to be away from the action. Not only will it give you a moment away, but you’ll also get bonus points for helping. It’s a win-win.

Take some time for yourself every day, even if it’s just a few minutes

If you find yourself in the middle of a stressful situation, try to hit pause and take a moment to yourself. Go to the bathroom or outside for some fresh air, and splash cold water on your face or wrists. This will help slow down your heart rate and give you time to respond in a calm and collected way.

One way to help you stay calm and focused when things get overwhelming is to remember that you can always focus on your breath. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take some deep breaths and try to focus on the present moment. This will help you to clear your head and calm down. Deep breathing is basically the simplest and quickest way to chill out, and it’s backed by science.

Don’t try to do everything yourself – delegate tasks and ask for help when needed

Do you find yourself doing all the planning for your family? Buying groceries or gifts? Or standing in the kitchen alone amongst piles of dirty dishes? If you’re feeling totally overwhelmed, remember to speak up.

It’s OK to be clear and direct about what you need. If you need a break or some help, say so. And if you need to say no, go for it. Sometimes you may feel like you need to sacrifice the entirety of yourself for your family, but ultimately, you’ll feel better if you take care of yourself along the way.

Learn to say “No” and be cordial!

It’s okay to come to the realisation that you and your family might never see eye to eye. When that moment comes, instead of trying to win arguments during holiday visits, be cordial instead. This will help prevent any additional stress or tension between family members who might have opposing opinions or beliefs. Smile, remain calm, and keep in mind that you’ll be back in your own home soon enough!

If all else fails, you can always take a step back and observe what’s happening around you. When you learn to observe rather than engage, it can make a world of difference. If you don’t feel like running the show or being the center of attention, take some time to sit back and enjoy yourself. It’s not easy, but it’s important to do what makes you happy and not let anyone else control your emotions.

Holiday stress doesn’t have to get the best of you if you remember that it’s okay to let go of some traditions in order to focus on the ones that mean the most to you and your family. Instead of trying to do everything, pick a few key traditions and stick to them. Remember that some of the best holiday moments are the ones that happen spontaneously, so just relax and enjoy the chaos!

Get plenty of rest

It’s important to take care of yourself physically and mentally during the holiday season. Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep in the days leading up to and during the holidays. Not only will quality rest help prevent crankiness and burnout, but it’ll also help you better process and cope with everything that’s going on. While the alcohol might be flowing, remember that it also dehydrates and can affect sleep, so limit the quantities and drink plenty of water.

Staying Resilient

Although you might feel like your family is the only one who goes off the deep end during the holidays, it’s important to remember that you’re definitely not alone. Almost everyone feels this way at times during the holiday season. It’s just part of life’s rich tapestry. Give thanks and feel grateful for the wonderful gift of family and give a thought for those that spend the holidays alone.

What is Well-being?

Well-being is the feeling of being well and being able to take life in your stride. Gallup encapsulated the breakdown of wellbeing in their book “Wellbeing at Work”, breaking it down into 5 key aspects of wellbeing, that I believe, describe the different elements exceptionally well:

  • Career well-being: You like what you do every day.
  • Social well-being: You have meaningful friendships in your life.
  • Financial well-being: You manage your money well.
  • Physical well-being: You have the energy to get things done.
  • Community well-being: You like where you live.

Work is such a significant part of our lives that it is a fundamental pillar and the foundation for all others.

A cost of £117.9 billion

Mental health problems cost the UK economy at least £117.9 billion annually according to a report published today by the Mental Health Foundation and London School of Economics and Political Science in March 2022. The cost of mental health problems is around 5% of the UK’s GDP. The report, ‘The economic case for investing in the prevention of mental health conditions in the UK’, makes the case for a prevention-based approach to mental health which would improve mental well-being while reducing the economic costs of poor mental health.

This is just mental ill health. This excludes statistics on physical and emotional ill health.

How do you create wellbeing?

As a former corporate businesswoman, leadership trainer, and well-being consultant, I have extensive experience leading discussions on well-being and the negative impact of toxic work environments. It’s not uncommon for people to feel micromanaged by their boss, undervalued in their position, and generally unhappy with their job – even if it pays well. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to try and change things up or find a new job altogether. Life is too short to be unhappy with your career! The impact of all of this on your well-being is too high a cost!

For most people, there are danger signs that they ignore, before they get help for depression and stress. Pain is a common one, especially neck and back pain. Also, headaches, migraines, and fatigue are all very common too. This is often the time that they come along and see me, and it takes a while to get to the real root cause of the problems.

Of course, all this means that the individuals are taking the time off sick. No one can be productive if they feel unwell. Then someone has to pick up the slack and then they struggle with their wellbeing too. It is a vicious cycle!

How this is managed and how leadership creates the culture of the organisation at all levels, is the key to how you create wellbeing. It does not stop there though, wellbeing is the responsibility of everyone at all levels of the organsiation.

Leadership has a profound impact

Leadership has a profound impact on the well-being of their employees which in turn positively impacts productivity, company profitability, and stability. When employees feel valued and are able to contribute to the company in a meaningful way, they are more likely to remain loyal, and creative and be team players – all of which factors contribute to a positive customer journey. This is especially important during times of talent shortages, being seen as a company of choice that values its employees. It has to be about more than just profitability and productivity. There has to be genuine understanding and empathy too.

10 Key tips to Incorporating Well-being into your organisation

  1. Conduct a survey to assess how employees feel about the company approach to well-being currently
  2. Form a focus group with employees at all levels of the organisation.
  3. Lead it top-down and design it bottom-up. Make sure all levels of leadership are on board.
  4. Announce the strategy and associated initiatives to all employees and explain how it will support them.
  5. Ask for feedback and adapt as necessary.
  6. Have a review board to keep energy moving and ensure the initiative is adapted and kept current.
  7. Train people to be well-being champions.
  8. Develop Key performance indicators from current metrics measured in the organisation like absenteeism and productivity. Work very closely with HR.
  9. Train leaders and provide ongoing support
  10. Conduct a follow-up survey every 6-12 months and measure progress.


 The importance of keeping the brain limber

brain resilienceWhen I took up the piano, little did I know the wonderful side effects! It is a great way to improve brain resilience! To keep our brains resilient we need to take care of our brain’s cognitive and emotional health.  Keep your brain healthy by stimulating it with activities that challenge it.

I took up the piano a few years ago. When I did so it was just for a bit of fun and enjoyment. I had dropped it as a child because the need for daily practice was too demanding. Several decades later I decided to give it another go. I’m still terrible and practicing, but I really enjoy the experience.

I am still only at grade 3 level, but I am determined to get to a standard in 2023, where I can sit and play some of my favourite pieces. One I am determined to play is Comptine D’Un Autre Ete by Yann Tierson. It is from the film Amelie. It is also one of my husband’s favourite pieces so I will learn how to play it for him. Now that is a great way to motivate progress! Goodness, I seem to be making new year resolutions already!

Why I keep up with learning the piano

Playing piano is particularly good because of the need to multi-task – reading and playing at the same time. Plus the need to be able to coordinate the left and the right hand with the different lines of music.

It creates strong brain activity in these areas and bridges the gap between the two hemispheres of the brain, increasing activity in various areas of the brain. Increasing the connections between different areas of the brain allows messages to cross through faster and via more diverse roots, improving problem-solving abilities and increasing their creativity. Of course this goes hand in hand with increased resilience.

The best part is that you don’t have to become a master pianist to take advantage of these unique benefits. Playing regularly for just five months at a beginner level at any age can induce positive changes in the structure of the brain, increasing IQ and making it easier to master skills used not just in front of the piano but throughout everyday life.

Here are some other ways to build brain resilience.

Ways to get your brain working harder and staying sharp longer.

Play Brain Games

Challenge your brain with mental puzzles, word games, and other puzzles. Switch up the challenge every day to keep your neurons firing. Perhaps learn a new subject. Expand your knowledge by learning something new. Whether it’s a new language, history, or science topic, keeping your brain active can help you retain information.

Make sure you remember to take brain breaks. Make time for yourself and take a break from work to do something that stimulates your mind. Go for a walk, read an interesting book, or take on a challenging Sudoku puzzle. I am sure you have experienced this; you try and try to come up with a solution to a problem, but nothing comes. You take and walk and think about something else and viola – problem solved.

Try some calming brain-boosting activities before bed. Get some zzzs by trying out some relaxation techniques, like deep breathing exercises or meditation.

Do you enjoy puzzles, board games, or other activities requiring coordination? Taking part in these activities regularly can keep your brain sharp.

Read Books

Whether you’re savoring a good novel or catching up on your favorite magazine, reading can help stimulate your brain. If you are reading a good novel, as tension is built in the story, more and more areas of the brain light up with activity.

A growing body of research indicates that reading literally changes your mind. Using MRI scans researchers have confirmed that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As your reading ability matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated.

In 2009 A US study found that 30 minutes of reading lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress. The same study found that yoga and a good laugh also had the same beneficial effects.

Brain-Building Music

Listening to music that is stimulating and upbeat can help keep your brain active and learning. Find music that appeals to you and stick with it! Personally, I love to play Workout Pulse from my Amazon playlist. I use it when I am working out and when I am in the kitchen cooking.

Get Active

brain resilienceIt is a long-established fact that exercise is good for our bodies but what about brain resilience? The evidence is very clear – leading a physically active lifestyle provides benefits for overall health and wellbeing. Studies have repeatedly shown that people who are physically active throughout their lives have a lower-than-average risk of a decline in thinking skills with aging.

The same goes for ‘purposeful exercise’ – meaning exercise that involves moderate to vigorous exertion that we take deliberately. In randomised controlled trials, people who took part in purposeful exercise showed beneficial changes in brain structure and function.

So if you want to keep your mind sharp and your body healthy, make sure to incorporate physical activity into your day-to-day life, and make time for some purposeful exercise too! You will see noticeable changes in brain resilience in just 6-12 months.

Take Classes

brain resilienceClasses aren’t just a way to pass the time – they can actually help keep your brain active and sharp. If you’re interested in a new hobby or want to improve your job performance, taking classes is a great way to learn new things and keep your mind fresh. With so many options available, you’re sure to find a class that’s perfect for you.

Take Music Lessons

Not only is it fun, but also taking music lessons can keep your brain active and learning. Whether you chose something challenging where you have to coordinate both hands, whilst reading 2 lines of music or something a little more gentle is up to you. Of course, singing is equally rewarding. Another one of my favourite pastimes.

Dancing Lessons

Another great one for building brain resilience but also for building coordination. It also checks the boxes for taking new classes, learning something new, and getting active. An all-round win, win.

These tips will help you keep your brain limber so you can think clearly and problem-solve effectively for the rest of your life. I’m off to do some piano practice now.

Over the course of six blogs we are looking at Menopause. Why? Because so many women go through it, without understanding the changes, and how they can manifest. I was diagnosed with burnout back in 2011. I realise, with hindsight, that menopause was a major contributing factor to my symptoms and mental state. Are you in a similar situation? We can have a much better transition if we have a better understanding of menopause. We can learn to work with our bodies and find our personal path.

In this blog we’re talking about natural ways to deal with menopause vs HRT. We spoke to acupuncturist and Shiatsu practitioner, Dan Thompson for his experience with using acupuncture and Chinese medicine to manage symptoms.

What is HRT and Natural Therapy?

How much do you really know about treatment in menopause? It is safe to say that there is a lack of education when it comes to why, when and what different remedies we can use for managing menopause symptoms. Menopause tends to blindside women when it hits because they know very little about it. So what is HRT? HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) simply replaces the oestrogen and progesterone that our bodies are no longer producing so much of with synthetic substitutes. It’s best known for managing hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. There are many forms of HRT such as tablets, skin patches or gel. These can only be prescribed by a doctor.

However, according to the Women’s Health Concern (the patient arm of the British Menopause Society) 95% of women would rather try natural alternatives over taking HRT. Although not risk free, it is most likely because there are fewer risks involved in natural treatment. It could also be that as menopause is a natural process, women like to get through it with natural or alternative medicine. Natural remedies do not replace hormones like HRT does. It relieve symptoms by balancing the hormones at their new lower level. Types of natural medicines for managing menopause symptoms include Herbalism, Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, Ayurveda and Naturopathy.

How do people feel about HRT?

The main concerns women have surrounding HRT are the risks and side effects that could possibly derive from it. Side effects can be anything from migraines to weight gain. The newer bio-identical hormones delivered through creams and patches are gentler on the system. It can take a little while to find the right dosage for an individual.  How your body reacts to it is important when deciding whether to carry on with the treatment.

When deciding to go down the path of HRT, a GP will take into consideration a persons medical history, such as high blood pressure, blood clots, liver disease and previously having or being at high risk of breast cancer. Although a very rare occurrence, HRT has been linked to women developing breast cancer.

Women who take HRT for more than 1 year have a higher risk of breast cancer than women who never use HRT. The risk is linked to all types of HRT except vaginal oestrogen. “The increased risk of breast cancer falls after you stop taking HRT, but some increased risk remains for more than 10 years compared to women who have never used HRT”. For Further information in this area see the link about HRT on this NHS Website.

Many women are scared off by these risks. But with good professional advice it can be a solution to managing menopause symptoms. HRT is a generalised medication. A single solution for a possible 49 different symptoms. It is not tailored to the individual, meaning that it may help some symptoms and not others.

Are there risks in natural therapy?

Just like HRT, natural medicine can be very hit and miss without professional guidance. While many women opt for natural solutions to manage symptoms, it could take some trial and error to find exactly what it is we need. How many of you have turned to google when looking? Who has self-prescribed evening primrose oil or  some herbal remedies? However, what works for one woman may not work for another. Ultimately, so much trial and error could ultimately end up making symptoms worse or lead to women giving up and turning to HRT. For instance, there are 551 possible homeopathic medicines for hot flushes alone. Finding the right one involves a complex case-taking process by a professional homeopath.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Acupuncturist Dan Thompson told us that he sees many women turning to Acupuncture and Chinese medicine to manage perimenopausal symptoms. Hot flushes, fatigue and irregular periods are just some of the many symptoms that people use Acupuncture for. It is a practice in which thin needles are placed in certain points of the body for a number of beneficial effects. Acupuncture is about stimulating the right pressure points with needles based on symptoms or diagnosis.

In Chinese medicine, the general aging of both men and women can be referred to as ‘Kidney Yin Deficiency’. Certain symptoms may also present as a depletion of Kidney essence. According to the Yin/Yang principles, Yin encourages the cooling process and Yang provides the warming function. Both Yin and Yang play a significant part in health, therefore diagnosing and treating signs and symptoms is prevalent in menopause. Stress and aging can cause disharmonies and depletion of our yin which can induce symptoms like insomnia leading up to menopause. Through this important stage of life, both yin and yang need nourishment to maintain a healthy balance of all symptoms during the menopause.

Why should we use them?

Our bodies and hormones are in a natural state of flux throughout the aging process. Symptoms will present themselves because menopause is a natural process. We have to go through it regardless! Managing naturally might come with a sense of accomplishment. But it is important to look after yourself with nutrition and exercise too. We have to adapt our health and lifestyle habits as we get older. The needs of our bodies change so it is important to change with it. So using different management methods that suit our individual experience with menopause is really good for us.

We should also keep in mind that symptoms are not just physical! Emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression can also be associated during this time. Managing emotional health goes hand in hand with looking after our physical health. One of the goals of using Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is to regulate hormones and reduce excess symptoms. Utilising all of these natural therapies to treat menopausal symptoms creates a healthy balance physically and within our mind.

Thank you to Dan Thompson from Southend Acupuncture for sharing his expertise with us. If you would like to know more about acupuncture and Chinese medicine, you can visit Dan’s website or contact him here.

Next week we will be looking at menopause from a scientific point of view.

Over the course of six blogs we are looking at Menopause. Why? Because so many women go through it, without understanding the changes, and how they can manifest. I was diagnosed with burnout back in 2011. I realise, with hindsight, that menopause was a major contributing factor to my symptoms and mental state. Are you in a similar situation? We can have a much better transition if we have a better understanding of menopause. We can learn to work with our bodies and find our personal path.

In this blog we’re talking about natural ways to deal with menopause vs HRT. We spoke to natural menopause expert Sarah Davison.

What is HRT and Natural Therapy?

How much do you really know about treatment in menopause? It is safe to say that there is a lack of education when it comes to why, when and what different remedies we can use for managing menopause symptoms. Menopause tends to blindside women when it hits because they know very little about it. So what is HRT? HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) simply replaces the oestrogen and progesterone that our bodies are no longer producing so much of with synthetic substitutes. It’s best known for managing hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. There are many forms of HRT such as tablets, skin patches or gel. These can only be prescribed by a doctor.


However, according to the Women’s Health Concern (the patient arm of the British Menopause Society) 95% of women would rather try natural alternatives over taking HRT. Although not risk free, it is most likely because there are fewer risks involved in natural treatment. It could also be that as menopause is a natural process, women like to get through it with natural or alternative medicine. Natural remedies do not replace hormones like HRT does, but instead relieve symptoms by balancing the hormones at their new lower level. Types of natural medicines for managing menopause symptoms include Herbalism, Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, Ayurveda and Naturopathy.

How do people feel about HRT?

The main concerns women have surrounding HRT are the risks and side effects that could possibly derive from it. Side effects can be anything from migraines to weight gain, thought the newer bio-identical hormones delivered through creams and patches are gentler on the system. It can take a little while to find the right dosage for an individual.  How your body reacts to it is important when deciding whether to carry on with the treatment.

When deciding to go down the path of HRT, a GP will take into consideration a persons medical history, such as high blood pressure, blood clots, liver disease and previously having or being at high risk of breast cancer. Although a very rare occurrence, HRT has been linked to women developing breast cancer. Many women are scared off by these risks, but with good professional advice it can be a solution to managing menopause symptoms. HRT is a generalised medication. A single solution for a possible 49 different symptoms. It is not tailored to the individual, meaning that it may help some symptoms and not others.

Are there risks in natural therapy?

Just like HRT, natural medicine can be very hit and miss without professional guidance. While many women opt for natural solutions to manage symptoms, it could take some trial and error to find exactly what it is we need. How many of you have turned to google when looking? Who has self-prescribed evening primrose oil or  some herbal remedies? However, what works for one woman may not work for another, and so much trial and error could ultimately end up making symptoms worse or lead to women giving up and turning to HRT. For instance, there are 551 possible homeopathic medicines for hot flushes alone. Finding the right one involves a complex case-taking process by a professional homeopath.

A professional practitioner can help you find the right solution for your symptoms. Sarah offers a deeper look into homeopathy for menopause on her website, which you can access here. https://thrivehomeopathy.com/homeopathy-for-menopause/

Unfortunately I had not met Sarah when I started with my perimenopausal symptoms. I did not try over-the-counter medication. I went to Neal’s Yard in London, and they put together a herbal remedy for me, based on my symptoms. Not quite as tailored as Sarah’s offering, but I was lucky, it helped me manage my hot flushes. And when they came back, following and oophorectomy, I consulted with Sarah who dealt with them homoeopathically.

The importance of the liver in menopause

Another thing we must take into consideration when looking to treat menopausal symptoms is the function and state of our other organs. Menopause symptoms are not always caused by a drop in sex hormones, some can be caused by issues with tired adrenal glands (which produce our stress hormones), a congested liver, a low thyroid or an unhappy gut.

The liver is something that can greatly affect the way our bodies function during menopause. For example, if someone has spent their life not looking after their liver, perhaps consuming too much alcohol and sugar, then it can cause issues such as fatty liver. The liver gets rid of old oestrogen, it’s like the dustbin of the body. If it is not working properly, then it will retain that old oestrogen and exacerbate the hormonal imbalance, making symptoms harder to manage. This is why seeing a professional, perhaps a homeopath like Sarah, is really beneficial towards managing menopause properly.

There are pros and cons to both conventional and alternative treatment, and the different options each one offers. Being educated and informed is vital to making the right decision for our own bodies. We don’t need to suffer!

Thank you to Sarah Davison for the contribution and information. Sarah can be reached at thrivehomeopathy.com.

Sarah offers a free perimenopause assessment that allows you to check how many of the 49 possible symptoms you have. Click here to take the assessment. You do not have to suffer alone! You can also follow her on social media at @naturalmenopauseexpert

Next time we will be looking at menopause from an acupuncturists point of view.

Over the course of six blogs we are looking at Menopause. Why? Because so many women go through it, without understanding the changes, and how they can manifest. I was diagnosed with burnout back in 2011. I realise, with hindsight, that menopause was a major contributing factor to my symptoms and mental state. Are you in a similar situation? You can have a much better transition if you have a better understanding of menopause. You can learn to work with your body and find our personal path. I wish I knew then what I know now, and I wish I had met Sarah when I first started experiencing symptoms. My experience would have been very different. Your experience, if you are not post menopause already, still can be.

How should we deal with stress during menopause and what are the effects it has on symptoms? We spoke to natural menopause expert Sarah Davison to understand what menopause is, how to prepare for it and how to manage symptoms.

Why is menopause so stressful?

Menopause can be a very stressful time in a womans life. Coping with all of these mental, emotional and physical changes is difficult enough. It is not just the transition through menopause that is stressful. Menopause comes at a time in your life when you have a lot of stress for other reasons.

At the age when menopause hits there are also a lot of other factors contributing to how we deal with it.  Women do it all. We have children, raise them and care for them. We have to deal with the stress and loss of them leaving home when the time comes. Some women have children later on in life, so can you imagine dealing with young children and perimenopause at the same time? Another responsibility that seems to naturally fall on women at this age besides looking after children, is the possibility of looking after sick or dying parents or relatives. As you could imagine, or even have experienced, all of these responsibilities weighing on you can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re trying to balance work too!

Did you know that certain other organs besides the reproduction ones also have a part to play in menopause? As your ovaries are slowing down the production of progesterone and oestrogen, your adrenal glands (that produce the stress hormones) take over and produce those hormones. Your body is designed for survival, and will always put that first above anything else. This means that while your adrenal glands are producing a lot of stress hormones they can’t produce a sufficient amount of sex hormones.

So there is an overlap between symptoms of adrenal fatigue, which results from chronic stress, and symptoms of perimenopause. Such as exhaustion, depression, weight gain, insomnia, low sex drive, digestion problems and back pain.

Managing stress

There are plenty of ways to manage stress, even in menopause, such as simple breathing exercises or meditation. It’s also a good idea to make sure your body is getting the right nutrition. This is different for everyone. Find a nutritional specialist if you need help finding out what is right for you. Perhaps monitor how much sugar you are consuming, and get a sufficient amount of protein.

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. However, if you overdo exercise you can release too much cortisol. Hard exercise is not for those with adrenal fatigue – it will make it and your menopause symptoms worse! Everything in moderation. Go for moderate exercise. Make sure you do something you love too. It can be a nice walk, a bit of gardening,  or maybe dancing is more you groove? Anything that gets you moving on a regular basis.

Thank you to Sarah Davison for the contribution and information. Sarah can be reached at thrivehomeopathy.com.

Sarah offers a free perimenopause assessment that allow you to check how many of the 49 possible symptoms you have. Click here to take the assessment. You do not have to suffer alone!

Over the next few weeks we will be exploring the other elements of menopause.

  • Taboo and Ignorance
  • Natural VS HRT
  • Menopause in the Workplace
  • The Hidden Gift of Menopause

Why are we talking about menopause

Over the course of six blogs we are looking at Menopause. Why? Because so many women go through it, without understanding the changes, and how they can manifest. I was diagnosed with burnout back in 2011. I realise, with hindsight, that menopause was a major contributing factor to my symptoms and mental state. Are you in a similar situation? We can have a much better transition if we have a better understanding of menopause. We can learn to work with our bodies and find our personal path.

Why is the menopause such a taboo subject? Is it the lack of accessible education and information, albeit that there is an abundance of information if we look online? We spoke to natural menopause expert Sarah Davison to understand what menopause is, how to prepare for it and how to manage symptoms.


There has always been somewhat of a stigma around talking about women’s bodies, and even more so when it comes to menopause. Perhaps, in a modern world, certainly in western civilisation, everyone strives to hold on to youth and no one wants to talk about aging. The word alone can be fear inducing to women, and even more so to men!

I was watching Breeders on TV the other day, and this was illustrated so beautifully. (Warning spoiler alert if you have not finished watching the series yet!) Ally, the main character is 42 and thinks she is pregnant. She is not sure she really wants another baby. She goes to see the doctor, only to find out that she is perimenopausal, which can give a false positive on a pregnancy test. Ally says she feels like an empty husk, mourning the baby that will unlikely never be born. She becomes depressed and start behaving erratically. It’s an important stage of our lives as women. We need information before we hit menopause, so that we understand what is happening and how to deal with it. What are our choices? We will talk a about treatment in more depth in a later blog.

Ignorance in the workplace

It is estimated that around 13 million women in the UK are currently going through the menopause at any given time. Around 80% will be in work. 81% of women have noticeable menopause symptoms. That means around 8.4 million women are dealing with symptoms while working! Employers should start thinking about providing help and support to employees as they go through menopause. It is not just women that need education and information but everyone around them too. Some women do not even know that they are experiencing menopausal symptoms. In our experience many, if not all women feel like they are unable to talk about menopause at work. The taboo needs to be broken!

Hot flush?

Have you ever sat in a meeting having a hot flush and a colleague said something about you looking embarrassed or made a funny comment about heat? I have experienced exactly that! This is why more education is required in the workplace, to help others comprehend some of the symptoms and be more understanding and supportive. I learned to make a joke before anyone else could comment, but I should not have had to do that.


There can be many symptoms during menopause. Some of those symptoms can include anxiety, stress and physical and cognitive symptoms that can interfere with our ability to work. For me it was hot flushes, feeling like I had an axe through my head and going to get something and then forgetting what it was I had gone to get, or forgetting a name or a word. Perhaps, if we had more information at a younger age, it would give us time to prepare. Even the medical profession needs more education. My GP did not even consider or discuss the possibility that I could be experiencing symptoms of menopause when I was diagnosed with burn out. While it might not have been the full story it was certainly a contributing factor.

Why don’t we talk about it?

There is a massive lack of knowledge and misinformation surrounding menopause. Women are unlikely to be given literature about it. Completely uneducated and unprepared, most women end up doing their own research to find more information. For instance, we get education around periods, pregnancy and the pill, so why not later life stages?

Clinically Speaking

Clinically speaking, the menopause is just one day. The day that falls a year after you had your last period. Did you know that? For around 2-14 years, women may have what is called perimenopause symptoms. Did you know there are as many as 49 possible symptoms you may experience? With the millennial generation now hitting 40 they are going into perimenopause without even knowing or recognising the symptoms. Perhaps you can help them by sharing this post!

Thank you to Sarah Davidson for the contribution and information. Sarah can be reached at thrivehomeopathy.com.

Sarah offers a free perimenopause assessment that allow you to check how many of the 49 possible symptoms you have. Click here to take the assessment. You do not have to suffer alone!

Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring the other elements of menopause.

  • Stress
  • Natural VS HRT
  • Menopause in the Workplace
  • The Hidden Gift of Menopause

What is a curveball?

A curveball is one of those times when everything is going well, and then all of a sudden, something unexpected happens. Not the happy kind of something either, one of those things that really knocks you off balance and was completely unexpected. This is exactly what happened to me recently. Not one but three, in quick succession, and they were both major and really threw me. Two seriously impacted my business and one was a health scare that had me in A&E.

Life can be like that though! Everything is going great and then you just have one of those months where nothing falls into place and everything feels wrong. It is called Life!

Knowing that I needed to take a step back and see what I needed to do to maintain my sanity and my business, I did just that. This is one of the keys to Real Resilience. Noticing when you are experiencing the stress response and doing something about it.

What to do when life gets difficult and stressful

Step 1

The first question I asked myself was, what do I need to do for my business and myself to stay resilient and not collapse under pressure?

Looking after my health and that of my employees is always my first priority. Making sure that I have the headspace and the personal space to think about what is happening. Then I can formulate a plan and think about what needs to be done to manage the various situations.

The first curve ball also felt quite personal, so it was really important to manage my mindset and stay positive. I did some deep breathing and got my brain and body out of panic mode.

Like most people, in stressful situations, I feel stressed when they have just happened. However, I notice my stress responses almost instantly and immediately start following the process to get back to balance.

Deep breathing sends the right signals to the brain to turn off flight or flight mode. You cannot think straight when you are in fight or flight, the body shuts down to only be able to manage essential body functions. Thinking rationally is not one of them. Such a simple step but so critical to maintaining Real Resilience.

Step 2

The next process I go through to manage whatever curveball has been thrown is a bit of root cause analysis. Basically, what I wanted to know was why these things had happened, and could I have done anything to avoid them?

For the first situation, I realised that my communication around expectations could have been more detailed. This was really good information to have. It meant that this was situation I could avoid in the future. While it did not resolve my current issue it was still a great lesson learned that would help me in the future. I am comfortable with making mistakes and learning from them, it is how we grow and develop as leaders.

For the second curveball, I understood that there really was nothing I could have done differently. It really was an unexpected situation. However I could make sure that I had all the correct processes and procedures in place to manage the situation. A quick call to my HR legal go-to person confirmed I had followed all the right steps and had all the right things in place. So the question now was, what could I do to minimise the impact on my business and not keel over with extra work myself? What was my Plan B?

Now I felt like I was in control and taking action. While I could not throw back the curve balls by having a plan and lessons learned, I still felt I was in control. This was a really important step. So often when we feel fear, anxiety, or want to resist change, it is because we feel we have zero control. That is a very uncomfortable place to be. However it can be a great place for learning and changing things around. Streamlining and coming up with new ideas. Never miss the opportunity to catch a curve ball.

While I could not avoid the situation, I could definitely take ownership of my response. Then I could make a plan and take action which put me back in control and able to move forwards.

So how could you apply this to your business or personal situations? What is keeping you up at night?

Take these simple steps.

  • Breathe.
  • Manage your mindset.
  • Carry out root cause analysis.
  • Plan alternatives,
  • Take positive action.

If you have employees resistant to change, you can also apply this process. People resist change because they’re out of their comfort zone and feel like they have no control. Talking to them, explaining things, getting them involved in the way forward. Can often resolve resistance.

Step 3

Personal health care. So after being in A&E and finding out I might have gallstones I immediately researched what I could do to manage the pain. A quick trip to my go-to acupuncturist and I feel much better. I have to go through a few more tests and will have to change my diet for a while. There is a silver lining though – weight loss. I’m sure this topic will be the subject of a future blog.

    In a nutshell no!

If you are looking for stress management techniques to stop stressful events from happening, then sorry, you are in the wrong place! The utility bills will still go up in October and the cost of living will continue to rise. So how do some people manage to take stress in their stride and others cannot? Essentially it is a matter of perception. What I consider to be stressful, you might be absolutely fine with it. And vice versa of course. A lot of the feelings of stress come from feeling out of control like life is happening to us. Feelings of insecurity, lack of options, and feeling overwhelmed are very common.

However, you will be glad to know that all of these feelings are totally normal. When you are under stress you go to our overextended place. You might find things more overwhelming than on a usual day. Or perhaps you might feel more emotional than normal. Again, all totally normal reactions. These are the warning signs to our body that you are feeling stressed. The good thing about having the warning signs is that it is our indicator of stress and now you can do something about it.

There are many signs that a person may be experiencing prolonged stress too. Some common physical signs include tense muscles, headaches, and upset stomach. A person may also experience difficulty sleeping, moodiness, and anxiety. If stress is not managed, it can lead to more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and mental health disorders. It is important to identify the signs of stress so that you can take steps to manage it.

However, let’s look at managing stress “in the moment”. That instant you experience those feelings of how you personally respond to stress.

It is how we respond to stress that is important

So you realise you are stressed. What do you do next? You can fall into a puddle of tears and be angry at the world or you can respond differently.

There are many different ways that people deal with stress. Some people try to ignore it and push through, while others may take a more proactive approach and try to find healthy coping mechanisms. Some helpful tips for dealing with stress include exercise, journaling, relaxation techniques, and spending time with supportive people.

It is important to find what works best for you when it comes to dealing with stress. For some people, exercise is a great way to release tension and clear their mind. Others may find journaling to be helpful in getting their thoughts and feelings out. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can also be very beneficial. Lastly, spending time with supportive people can help you to feel less alone and can provide a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on.

No matter what method you choose, it is important to be gentle with yourself and to remember that stress is a normal part of life. Try to find healthy coping mechanisms that work for you so that you can better deal with the stressors in your life.

If nothing else, a few deep breaths send signals to the brain to calm down and it will help you feel instantly better.

Mindset is also massively important for helping with stress

It has been said that the best way to achieve success is to have a positive mindset. This means believing in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals. It also means maintaining a positive attitude toward the challenges and obstacles you may face along the way.

There is a lot of truth to this statement. A positive mindset can be a powerful tool for achieving success. It can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals, and it can give you the strength to overcome any obstacles you may encounter.

If you want to achieve success, it is important to develop a positive mindset. Believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals. Stay positive and focused, and you will be able to achieve anything you set your mind to.

So actually “yes”, maybe it can help with life feeling less stressful?

Why do I conclude with the possibility that Real Resilience can stop life from being so stressful? Because if you manage your stress levels and go do something else, at that moment, it changes how you feel. The stress levels subside and you feel more able to cope. Does it change what is happening around you? No! Does it change how you feel about it? Absolutely!