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QUICK FIX FOR MELT DOWN MOMENTS

As a coach I’ve seen a lot of trends in people’s needs over the years. As you can imagine thanks to the pandemic it’s been increasingly around supporting teams and businesses around agility, performance and productivity but fast on their heels are overwhelm, overloaded and overworked – or as I call it The 3 O’s. Burn out is no laughing matter costing business billions every year.

Mental health costs UK employers up to £45bn a year and this figure has risen 16% since 2016, costing an extra £6bn a year. This is made up of absence costs of around £7bn, presenteeism costs ranging from about £27bn to £29bn and turnover costs of around £9bn.

Accountancy Daily

I share lots of strategies to overcome these issues and my clients see results fast, but if you are in the midst of a very tough time and are ready to scream, kick the cat (please don’t kick your cat) drink the wine, eat the chocolate, swear and quit your job for a new life on a desert island here’s my strategy to help you stack up the support you need.

The acronym should help you remember it;

Stop and step away

Reading this blog article instead of finishing that report that's due in tonight!Looking at your to do list and wanting to explode with the stress?

To do this you need to start noticing what is going on.

  • Are you aware that you are mindlessly scrolling through social media?
  • Making your 10th cup of tea?
  • Reading this blog article instead of finishing that report that’s due in tonight!
  • Looking at your to do list and wanting to explode with the stress?

There is a wealth of evidence that suggest powering on through is not the answer. No matter how looming your deadline, step away. If you can’t face stepping away physically step away emotionally. Look away from your computer screen/desk. But please stop right now!

Take a breath

Ideally take three. Nice deep ones. And then notice what you feel? Pain in your neck? Achy shoulders?

I often think that people experience pain in their body that matches up to their words. It may sound bonkers but sometimes when I’m with a client I can feel their pain (even if they’ve not said anything – it can feel like chains around my chest – which then release when we work out what they need to do. It can feel like a clenched jaw – when I told a client I felt like they were clenching their jaw, I added “Can I ask do you feel like you’ve not said something you want to say to someone and it’s going over and over in your head?” They said “Yes, how did you know!” it was a huge eureka moment.). Have you noticed how people say “It was gutting” they usually have stomach issues too!

Look to notice (not do anything about) how your body feels, what emotions are running through your mind, what thoughts are whizzing around? This is a form of mediation. As I tell my clients you don’t need to sit cross legged on the mountains of Nepal saying “Om” to benefit from mindfulness and mediation. These tools enable your brain to get a moments peace to process everything that has been going on – it’s why stepping away even for 5 minutes is so good for you.

I also tell clients that the first thing teams like the SAS do before a big operation is….stop and breathe. Not go over the equipment for the 20th time, or scope the scene, but stop and breathe – they use the box method. 8,8,8,8 – hold your breath for 8 seconds, release your breathe for 8 seconds, then hold your breath for another 8 seconds and lastly inhale for 8 seconds (when you start you may not be able to do 8 seconds) and there’s a lot of science to explain why the box breathing method works.

Assess

This means that you assess the situation. Is it as bad as you think it is?

This is called catastrophising, where you blow things out of proportion. It’s one of the reasons I can help people to perform better, reduce their stress, overwhelm, and improve their productivity in just 2 hours because we start by adjusting their perception. So, assess in 3 ways (1 is not going to be for everyone).

1. Asses if this is the worst thing you’ve ever been through?

2. Then assess if this is a perceived tragic, disastrous, appalling, epic failure – or are your emotions and feelings giving you different ideas to what the facts are telling you? For instance, I had a client who felt like they were failing on a massive level.

They weren’t. They were doing amazingly well and growing an amazing company and team around them, what they were doing was assuming they would make a mistake and let someone down and thus fail – imagining something that hadn’t even happened!

3. (This is the one that’s not for everyone.) Asses who have it worse than you in the world? Think of the people who are suffering from some devastating weather related incident, facing war or persecution. Is what you experiencing worse than this?

What these three things do is enable you to move the scale of how bad the situation is. If you’ve read my books, you will know I talk about the What if game – where you imagine what if it was disastrous, what if it was amazing and what if it was beyond words bonkers. Adjust your perception before you move on to the next step.

Change the chemical

Our bodies come with a lot of cool kit but alas many don’t read the manual so miss out on using it. The chemicals in your brain don’t just spurt off whenever they fancy, they also can be turned on like a tap.

Need some happiness? Eat some cheese, tick something off your to do list, give someone a helping hand. They all help your body release dopamine. (1)

Feeling stressed and depressed? Get out in the sunshine, dark and dreary day? Reach for the complex carbs like greens or a banana or ask someone to give you a massage to help boost your serotonin levels. (2)

Need to get the endorphins going? (Not to be confused with dolphins – terrible joke, but I’ve been known to do that joke in front of large audiences – shall I apologise now?) Sex works a treat, but then so does laughter or aromatherapy oils – some of these are obviously far more appropriate for the workplace than others!

Not sleeping enough or feeling anxious? Give your oxytocin levels a boost by stroking your pet (not sure it would work with your goldfish, sorry) or practice some self-love. Although be cautious with this one, while increasing oxycontin can be good for you it can also lead to a feeling of them and us as latest research suggests it amplifies relationships. So, if you have people that aren’t seen as “in your crowd” it can make that worse. Other evidence suggests it could actually damage relationships. (3)

And the final step is K – for Kind, Kudos and Knowledge

Kind – as in be kind to yourself – do not wait for someone else to be kind to you or to notice your distress. True happiness has been proven to be an inside job so rely on you. What could you do to be kind to yourself?

Kudos – often in times of high stress people become very hard on themselves and don’t acknowledge their awesomeness. If you’ve attended one of my training days or read my books (or taking my confidence course) you will know I encourage all humans to write a “Why I’m awesome” list. This is a 2-page handwritten (very important – there’s science in my reasoning!) A4 document on why you are awesome. Some will find that easy and some will post to my mastermind group how much they hate me. That’s okay, I will help you find and appreciate your awesomeness. It’s so essential for a lot of success, performance, confidence, productivity, communication and happiness issues.

And lastly knowledge – do you have the knowledge you need to stop this extreme stress moment? Do you need to lean on someone? You know you can lean on me, right? I’m not joking. I have people from all around the world message me every week and I do my best to reply to every single one sharing advice, kindness and support. Who will give you the knowledge you need? Is it a factual thing you need or just a reminder of your awesomeness?

Don’t forget

This will take a few attempts to make it stick fast as a positive new response to high stress moments. Stick with it so that you can stack up the things that will support you when you are feeling overwhelmed and overloaded. Your brain is incredibly clever and will happily go down a new path with a little practice. I can get myself into a calm state and feel like I’m on the beach in the South of France in about half a second I’ve been doing this for so long. So stick with it!

And lastly if you need something to work even faster, try the half smile. Right now let your jaw drop slightly. Feel it slackening. Now turn just the very corners of your mouth up. How does that make you feel?

As always let me know how you get on, feel free to share and tag me, get in touch any time and if you want support to work on this post to my mastermind group where I will be happy to motivate, inspire and empower you. Learn more here.

(1) https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-dopamine-diet

(2) https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/serotonin-the-natural-mood-booster

(3) https://www.psycom.net/oxytocin

Let me know how you get on.

  • January 15, 2022

I know why you will work on a bank holiday – and you aren’t going to like it.

I know you have a mountain of things to get done and the bank holiday seems like a great opportunity to get ahead, right?

But here’s the thing, I once created a 10 day week for a client, and they could see that no matter how much time you create – you will fill it.

Mountains of research points to the benefits on your minds ability to problem solve, get creative, get productive and even sell more from having a bit of down time. Space.

That’s not checking your phone. That’s going for a bike ride. Painting a picture. Walking the dog. Yoga. The Gym. A barbecue with friends. Reading for no other reading than you love the book. Tinkering in your garage/studio/hobby room or garden.

Just real brain space from work.

The reason you won’t do it is because there’s a real fear hiding there;

  • The fear that you will let someone down.
  • That you will miss out on an opportunity.
  • That someone will think badly of you.
  • That you will look unprofessional.
  • That you won’t get it all done. (MYTH; No one ever gets it all done. Those that are looking to achieve big, that believe in more will ALWAYS be able to find something else that “needs to be done.”)
  • That you believe the only way to success is through agonising hours and making sacrifices (Assumptions are never good for success.)

The list of excuses for not turning off the phone and stepping away is endless. And I’ve probably heard them all;

  • You don’t get it.
  • It can’t be done like that tin our industry.
  • It must be done immediately.
  • I’m very driven – and it has to happen today.
  • No one leaves these.
  • Etc, etc.

In every case the client has been able to see the detrimental effect that needing to work 24/7 has on their long-term success, their happiness, their family and friends, their health even their ability to make more money.

So, trust me when I say, step away from the phone/laptop/report.

Escape.

If you want lasting success – Escape. It’s just one day.

But before you escape you need to;

  • Work out what fears stop you. Fixing one day won’t fix the fear – find it, take ownership of it and get a plan of action to fight it. (I’ve seen this work so powerfully, thus please do take action.)
  • Put into place clear structure to your working day – that others know and respect too. You may work at 7 am and 8 pm but is that 7 days a week? Is there an hour on a Thursday where you go to a class that is yours? Don’t be afraid to own time.
  • Put boundaries in place – if you will answer emails 24/7 do you expect everyone else to as well or is it just you that needs to be a superhero?
  • Know your goals. If your goal for this month is to achieve X – how will that still happen with 2 working days off? What needs to happen? Who needs to know? What adjustments do you need to make? (A great thing to remember here is if you can make 2 days disappear for fun this month and still achieve your goals, think how much more you could get done next month since you will be gaining 2 days!)
  • Trust – have faith. Don’t get me wrong I can still hyperventilate if there’s a lot going on at work about turning the phone off for 17 days (last holiday duration) but with the right processes, the right clients, the right team, the right attitude and the right believes – wow it’s good for you and your success.

Not feeling it?

Feel this is impossible to do?

I’m more than  happy to have a chat anytime. Well you know how it is right?

 

  • May 6, 2019

How to keep it simple and achieve more – this tips work powerfully!

A post on LinkedIn and then in a group created a lot of “Oh yes!” and “I’m so guilty of this! comments. It led to me thinking about my clients.

Already this year I’ve worked with some amazing coaching clients and because we are into February I’m starting to see people for a second time (a lot of clients like to see me every 4 to 6 weeks if we are working together long-term and not on a fear or a short term goal which we achieve so they don’t need me anymore.) And I love hearing about a client’s progress. Recently I have noticed a bit of a trend.

Not for the first time this week I’ve heard a client say, “Why did I make that so complicated!”

Because so often to achieve big in life we assume it’s got to be really tough, complicated or detailed. We think it’s got to be rocket science or brain surgery – beyond the capabilities of most of us.

So whether you are looking to;

  • achieve something big,
  • overcome a life long fear,
  • deal with that constant sense of overwhelm and overload
  • or just find the easiest way forward

Here’s a few tips on how to keep it simple inspired by my clients. In case this months budget doesn’t stretch to a couple of hours with me;

One client sat back, glared at me and rolled their eyes “I knew this would be hard” They said. “Well” I replied, “If you think it’s going to be hard guess what you’re going to get?” They laughed and scowled at the same time (because they knew I was right!) The fact is that before you get started assess what you think;

  • Do you think it’s going to be hard work?
  • Tough to find a solution?
  • That you’ve tried everything and there is no solution?

What ever you think will ripple though to your actions and results so choose wisely.

When you’ve finished creating a plan of action ask yourself “Can I remove something?” Be your life editor, just like a real editor who will always find something that can be cut question every action, pathway and choice. Is it really necessary and going to get to where you want to go or is it a distraction so you can feel like you got somewhere (even if you didn’t!)?

Do less. Sometimes people are shocked by how few hours I can work in a week and still achieve so much. (Okay some of that is Lupus) however ultimately, I work in a way that is so powerful that I know what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and what result I want from it. I don’t have a detailed planner, app mapping out of every detail, or chart, why? Because, well that’s the next top tip.

I’m an in the moment, live life to the fullest, go with the flow but make sure you are getting what you really want (and don’t let anything or anyone stand in the way!) kind of person. I know that I love nature and the sound of the sea instantly makes me breathe deeply and think of some of the happiest days of my life. I know what makes me happy. What makes me mad. What makes me stressy and what makes me demotivated just as well as I know what makes me get on with it. If you want to achieve more don’t jump onto the next populist band wagon on this years “Must have” way of working with this “must read” book. To truly achieve more look inside you. I know it sounds corny and from a cheesy TV ad, but hey its true. So deal with it. Literally. Stop right now and ask who am I really? When you know that you can work out the most natural way to work, think and get results. Simple right? But you will be surprised how many new clients tell me about this new trend or that book that is not working for them and yet they battle through thinking they are wrong and not the book! Not every book or trend was written for you. Well maybe Harry Potter is the exception.

Simplify your goals to mere words. My goals are researched, broken down, questioned, analysed, planned, and constantly monitored to check for results, accountability, focus and even productivity and impac ton my long term goals. But to really achieve I can tell you 3 words that sum up every thing I wish to achieve this year;

Breath                  Read                     Walk

Sounds too simple right?

However while this is simple to get to 3 words, I had 3 sentences that had all the coaching, research and back ground to ensure I’d do exactly what I would need to do. Ultimately if you can’t think of your goals in mere seconds then how aer you going to achieve them?

If you are struggling to achieve your goals, or don’t even know where to start please feel free to give me a call so we can find out if I can help you. There are many ways I can help including a confidential mastermind group that is accessible 24/7 for just £5 a month – I know you think “how can something be awesome that is that small a cost?” Right?

It’s because I genuinely care and aim to help 1 million people this year – which is why my online courses are the same price too. Simple right?

  • February 7, 2019

20 Coping Skills That Will Help You During Times of Stress

My latest article for Lifehack about stress and how to cope.

Stress impacts on us all.

No one is immune, and it's not all bad. However when it feels like it is overwhelming, impacting on your happiness, actions, results and personal and professional life, then you need to take action.

To read the full article click here.

If you would like to download a copy of this PDF to help you remember the top tips, strategies and tools to dealing with stress click here.

20 Coping Skills That Will Help You During Times of Stress
  • November 4, 2018

3 silly mistakes that damage your happiness

My client knocked at my door, totally dejected and like the metaphorically worlds problems were their fault and problems to solve all alone. They walked in looking like thunder and Cruella DeVille, grunted yes to a cup of tea and splurged on 3 conversations at once as they tried to deviate from the moment we would actually talk about what was making them so p***ed off.

They knew as well I did that it would take some work and honesty to find solutions, but that we always did, but it didn’t stop this person walking in like a dinosaur with a boil on its butt the size of Lithuania pulsating away destroying any chance of real thought and happiness.

I could practically feel their despondency, despair and lack of passion for anything. It was like a tangible thing trying to eradicate the happiness from the room. Black and oppressive. The person I knew seemed consumed by? Well? Crap, life, too much stuff and a sense of complete overwhelm.

This client is not alone in bringing me their despair and despondency and from the years of helping people to stay on track, achieve more and feel damn good about it, I know a lot of things that really work to get you back to happiness and away from hell.

Here’s a quick read guide to 3 things that could make today better (and probably help you steer clear of some crap too);

Got it sussed!

It’s tough to look at your life and be honest and say “Mmm, things aren’t good, are they?” to be fair that’s a pretty bland quote, usually it’s more along the lines of “If I don’t sort my Sh*t out I don’t know what’s going to happen” or something similar.

The ironic thing is that as a coach and someone that people naturally talk to (my children are always complaining I talk to everyone and can always find a commonality to have a chat over!) I know that my clients are not alone. The amount of times I’ve shared a Facebook Live and then been inundated with people saying “thank you for your honesty Mandie, My life has been plagued with this” or “I thought I was the only person that feels like this!”

The fact is that you are doing your best and while that doesn’t always feel like enough trust me when I say you are doing fine. If you can be bothered to read an article about being happy and achieving more you are not going to fail in the long term. When I first wrote Fight the fear, I would have some people come up after a speaking engagement and say “I thought I was fearless” (to which I would usually sigh) only for them to admit that they had the very fear I’d been talking about. We are all human. Remember that.

It means that we don’t learn a new algorithm and never slip back. It means that we don’t have it all sussed and only by being honest will we be able to. You don’t’ have to know everything, just remember, most people don’t have the same solutions you are looking for either, reassuring isn’t it! (Unless of course, you employ a coach, then “magically” you seem to have it sussed.)

What a beautiful life!

It is an intriguing state of affairs that a client can be honest and divulge their deepest darkest dooms and yet they have never considered that they are not alone in feeling like this. The crucial

Mandie Holgate coach and author flat out

No really, I was the only person on this beach. (And I’m not telling you where it is. I share that beach with seabirds, mammals and my family!)

point to always remember about social media is people only share what they want you to know. They may have taken 30 photos to get the one that makes them look like they are sat at the infinity pool on their own and there is not some annoying kid splashing everyone that is trying to swim leisurely admiring the rainforest around them.

We assume that everyone else has a perfect life. No cat sick, no broken phones, no shrivelled plants that you hide out of shot, no stroppy kids, no partners leaving their dirty washing on the floor, no bank accounts that make you sweat because you are too close to being red hot for all the wrong reasons. Trust me as a coach, people come to me when they are desperate. And they are so often people that look like life is perfect. I was taught from a young age, that a flashy car and big house does not negate riches. (Real or spiritual) I alas have been at the door of a business associate that has had the bailiffs arrive and everyone was shocked for weeks that this could happen to XXX. Which leads us nicely too….

Look what I’ve got!

We can spend our life planning for the future, looking over our shoulder and wishing for more. We are in an age where we believe we can do great things, change the world and still read our children bedtime stories, and have the energy to whisper sweet nothings into our loved ones ears and go to sleep on a blissful bed of passion and contentment. While all of that is true, it takes more than just dedication, passion and determination. It takes a lot of work, and not everyone on this planet is made to work 24/7. That doesn’t make you a bad person. And if you can eat a 12 hour day before lunch, then go you. The point is that we are individuals and you need to appreciate you.

Really really love who you are and what you have. We are a society that is intent on achieving more, creating big goals and going for it, however never forget what you already have.

Sometimes even I have fallen foul of this. I remember at my book launch I sighed and said “Next door to the Savoy but not quite there”

“Oh no, I’m only next door to the Savoy!”

My husband pointed out that my book launch was with the UK’s leading non-fiction publisher in a building next door to the Savoy on the 10th floor, overlooking the Thames with panoramic views of London (It made for some awesome PR!) Not bad for your first book Mandie I had to remind myself. You see we can all forget how far we’ve come and how much we have. Take a moment to look around and really notice what you have got. It does tons for your motivation, happiness, determination and action’s results!

  • July 1, 2018