Taking the Work Forward: Action plan/tool kit
If you have reached the end of this workbook, well done. You have put the effort into it this far. But what are you going to do now? This is a way for you to decide your areas of strengths and needs.
Let’s look at the key skills we looked at in this workbook. How would you see yourself now?
Put a score of 1-10 on each one on the lines that would rate the strength in each area for you. 10 is excellent 1 is poor Now join these points up and see what kind of diagram you have. A perfect and balanced life will have scores more towards 10. If your score is skewed in any way, then you’ve some more work to do!
The good news is we know that by putting effort into this work, people can and do improve their skills, supports and resources.
My action plan
What skills do you already have that you can use?
What skills do you want to work on?
What steps will you take to work on them?
To sum it all up
As stated in the beginning of this booklet, new skills don’t happen by themselves. They need to be practised until they become part of everyday life. To remind yourself of the steps to use this work use the word FRANKS
F = FEELINGS,
Our feelings are shaped by our thinking.
R = RELAX,
Being calm helps us ‘listen’ to what we are thinking. A = ANALYSE, What are we thinking? Is our thinking working for us?
N = NEGATIVE TO POSITIVE,
Change negative thoughts to more positive or neutral ones.
K = KIND,
Be kind to yourself. Have ways to look after yourself and your wellbeing.
S = SUPPORT,
We all need support – know who can help.
My Resiliency Plan
From this workbook I will include the following into my resiliency plan: • Things I want to remain aware off as I build my resiliency preparedness.
• Skills that will help me deal effectively with situations that call upon me to be resilient.
• Concepts that will assist me to understand the complexities of a situation.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
The basic practice is straightforward. In many of the studies, people are simply instructed to record five things they experienced in the past week for which they’re grateful. The entries are supposed to be brief—just a single sentence—and they range from the mundane (“waking up this morning”) to the sublime (“the generosity of friends”) to the timeless (“the Rolling Stones”).
But when you dig into the research, you find that gratitude journals don’t always work—some studies show incredible benefits, others not so much.
To understand why, I took a closer look at the research and consulted with Robert Emmons, arguably the world’s leading expert on the science of gratitude and an author of some of the seminal studies of gratitude journals.
Emmons, a professor at the University of California, Davis, shared these research-based tips for reaping the greatest psychological rewards from your gratitude journal.
In looking over this list, what strikes me is how keeping a gratitude journal—or perhaps the entire experience of gratitude—is really about forcing ourselves to pay attention to the good things in life we’d otherwise take for granted. Perhaps that’s why the benefits seem to diminish when you start writing more than once per week, and why surprises induce stronger feelings of gratitude: It’s easy to get numb to the regular sources of goodness in our lives.
Why should we ask for help? Have you ever heard a problem shared is a problem halved? Being able to ask for help strengthens our belief that we are not alone and that someone cares.
Some peoples’ core beliefs make asking for help difficult.
• Keep things to yourself
• People should be independent
• People will think less of me if I ask for help
How can someone ask for help if they deep down believe only weak people ask for help? If you don’t value yourself, you may think, “I don’t want to bother anyone.”
Another way to look at asking for help is to ask yourself this: How do I feel when someone turns to me for help? Do I feel valued? Is my opinion important? Asking for help is a way to make others feel valued as well as gaining support for ourselves.
Young men, in particular often have difficulty asking for help. Fathers have an important role to teach this skill by example. Being able to ask for help can be seen as strength. This sends out a powerful message. When faced with a problem, it’s ok to ask for help.
Some kinds of help are easier to ask for than others. To ask someone to help move a cabinet is often easier than wanting to talk because we are hurt, sad or angry.
Building your supports involves not only being open to ask for help, but also being willing to give it.
Up for discussion:
• When did I ask for help and found that help really useful?
• What type of help do I find easier to ask for?
• What type of help do I find more difficult to ask for? Why is that?
• How do I feel when someone asks me for help?
• What are the benefits of being able to ask for help?
Supportive relationships are a strength that helps build resilience. Who are the important people in your life you feel able to talk to or ask for help from?
Make a list of people who are supportive and in what way.
Write your name inside a circle below. Next, use the list you have just made to draw other circles representing each person in your life. As you draw each circle, write the name of the person in it. Draw circles of those you consider most supportive nearest to you and people less supportive further away from you. Add more lines if you need to.
Some questions to ask:
• Do you need to use the support you already have more?
• Do you need to stop seeking support from people that you find unhelpful?
• Do you need some more positive support?
• Where can you go to find more people who could help you?
The skills that help us move forward are:
• Catching that unhelpful, initial reaction.
• Putting on the brakes and stopping that chain of unhelpful self talk.
• Create thinking time. Be a detective. Examine what is really going on.
• Being flexible and creative in your thinking. Challenging negative thinking. Substitute more reasonable thinking.
Looking After Ourselves
Taking your health and wellbeing into your own hands helps build resilience.
Accepting who you are
Our beliefs, background, culture, religion, and sexuality make us who we are. Everyone is entitled to respect.
Talking about it
Most people feel overwhelmed by their problems sometimes. It can help to share your feelings.
Keeping in touch with friends and family
You don’t have to be strong and struggle on alone. Friends and family are important, especially at difficult times. Keep in touch.
Meeting new people and getting involved in things can make all the difference for you.
Regular exercise really helps if you’re feeling depressed or anxious. It can give you more energy too.
Learning new skills
Learning a new skill can increase your confidence whether it’s for pleasure, to make new friends or improve your chances of a job.
Doing something creative
Creative things can help if you are anxious or low and increase your confidence..
Try and make time for yourself. Fit things into your day that help you unwind - reading, listening to music, prayer or meditation - whatever you enjoy or find relaxing.
Asking for help
Everyone needs help from time to time.
It’s ok to ask for help.
When times are difficult, it is sometimes all we can do to survive. Take one day at a time and don’t be too hard on yourself. Take time out if you need it.
Setting goals can help you live life in accord with your values, and are a useful way to keep your resiliency plan on track.
Once you have identified the most important values and areas of your life to work on, as well as behaviours that you have recognised may be working against your resiliency try to identify specific achievable goals (outcomes) that are consistent with them.
Review the Resiliency Plan options and answers you have created in each of the workbook.
After careful reflection, compile a personal plan below.
My long-term goals
My short-term goals
My first steps
Skills I want to build
I want to know more about …
These are the resiliency competencies I want to cultivate …
Why Should I Mentor?
It makes business sense. The demand for skilled women professionals has been growing steadily. Companies cannot afford to lose their top talent. Mentoring is crucial to a company’s ability to remain competitive by retaining and promoting their best employees. Research shows that mentoring leads to higher job satisfaction, career advancement, work success, and future compensation. Employees who are mentored are less likely to leave the organization.
Mentoring also plays a powerful role in getting young employees up to speed on the organizational culture, accelerating their integration into the organization and enhancing their effectiveness.
Who Should Be a Mentor?
Any woman or man in a position of responsibility or influence may be the right mentor for a technical woman. It is important that a mentor be committed to leveraging the talent and furthering the career of protégées. A good mentor:
• Recognizes how a diverse workforce enriches the organization’s “gene pool” from which creativity and innovation spring.
• Is aware that women in technology face additional barriers to advancement and is dedicated to further breaking down these barriers.
Is my protégée ready
Your protégée is ready if she:
• Has ambitions to advance and increase her contribution to the organization
• Is interested in being mentored • Actively seeks constructive feedback and acts on it • Is able to commit time and effort to professional growth • Is willing to explore new behaviors and skills
The best mentoring relationship results come when the protégée “owns” the process and drives activity toward the results. If your protégée is not able to clearly articulate a goal for the relationship or has trouble creating the meeting plan, have her prepare accordingly before you start into formal mentoring.
What Are the “Dos” of Mentoring?
These tips are designed to help you think about what mentoring is and is not.
Do: Be clear on where the line is drawn between your responsibilities and those of the manager.
Do: Agree on goals for the mentoring relationship from the outset, and put them in writing. Frequently go back to your goals to measure progress.
Do: Act as a colleague first, an expert second. A know-it-all approach to mentoring is intimidating and will limit your successes. Strike an open and warm tone so your protégée will feel she can ask you difficult questions and take risks. Listen as much as you speak so her questions and aspirations are always the central focus.
Do: Set realistic expectations. You can provide your protégée access to resources and people, but make it clear you do not wield your influence over others. You may be a senior executive but that does not mean you fix problems for the protégée – you coach as you can but the protégée does the heavy lifting.
Do: Keep a time limit as part of the goal, and evaluate your progress periodically. Every mentoring relationship has phases – including the end to formal mentoring. This doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your relationship, but a change in how you interact and how often.
Do: Remember that mentoring is a process with a goal. Have a fun relationship but don’t get off track and lose sight of goals.
Do: Expect high performance from the protégée and accelerate her learning. Research suggests that the most beneficial mentoring is based on mutual learning, active engagement, and striving to push the leadership capabilities of protégées.
Do: Listen, listen, and then listen some more. Hear the concerns of your protégée before offering advice and guidance. Establish trust and openness in communication from the start.
Do: Strive to protect the protégée from what you see as major professional errors or missteps, but also leave room for her to learn from her own experience and mistakes. Remember that a successful mentoring relationship is one where the protégée eventually advances and no longer needs your support. Make sure the protégé is not overly dependent on your advice.
Do: Recognize that the protégée’s goals are her own and that she may have career goals that differ from the path you chose. Your role as a mentor is to guide; it’s up to the protégée to decide what to implement in her career.
The smallest positive change in your thinking can begin to unravel the biggest problem. When you ask the right questions of Life, Life will answer. There are many ways to make our changes. We could also begin to honestly look at our flaws NOT by looking at what is WRONG with us, but to see the barriers that we have put up that keep us from being all that we learned in childhood. They never were true for us. We merely accepted someone else’s belief system. If we learned these thoughts once, then we can now unlearn them. We acknowledge that we are willing to learn to love ourselves.
Be Committed to the Relationship
– You Have With Yourself We get so committed to other relationships, but we tend to toss ourselves away. We get around to ourselves now and then. So, really care for who you are. Be committed to loving yourself. Take care of your heart and soul.
Treat Yourself as Though You Are Loved
– Respect and cherish yourself. As you love yourself, you will be more open to love from others. The Law of Love requires that you focus your attention on what you do want, rather than what you don’t want. Focus on loving you.
Take Care of Your Body
– Your body is a precious temple. If you are going to live a long, fulfilling life, then you want to take care of yourself now. You want to look good, and most of all, feel good and have lots of energy. Nutrition and exercise are important. You want to keep your body flexible and moving easily until your last day on the planet.
– Too often we complain that we don’t know this or that and we don’t know what to do. But we are bright and smart, and we can learn. There are books and classes and tapes everywhere. If money is a consideration, then use the library. Find a self-help group. They are listed under Community Services in the yellow pages of the telephone book. I know I shall be learning until my very last day.
Fulfill Your Creative Side
– Creativity can be any activity that fulfills you. It can be anything from baking a pie to designing a building. Give yourself some time to express yourself. If you have children and time is short, find a friend who will help you take care of your children, and vice versa. You both deserve time for yourselves. You are worth it.
Make Joy and Happiness the Center of Your World
– Joy and happiness are always within you. Make sure you are connected with this place inside of you. Build your life around this joy. When we are happy, we can be creative, we don’t sweat the small stuff, and we are open to new ideas.
Have Integrity – Keep Your Word
In order to honor and respect yourself, you must have integrity. Learn to keep your word. Do not make promises you will not keep even to yourself. Don’t promise yourself you will start the diet tomorrow or exercise every day unless you know you will follow through. You want to be able to trust your
Why it's important
It's easy for your children and work colleagues to take up your every waking minute. But unless you look after yourself, you can exhaust all your reserves of energy and enthusiasm. Make time for the people and activities that help you feel positive, energetic and self-confident.
If these ring a bell, it's time to take more care of yourself:
• Are your meals often the children's leftovers?
• Is your main social event the parents' evening at school?
• Is running around after the children the only decent exercise you get?
Make time for yourself
It can be difficult, but make time for yourself and relax. Don't see this as a special treat but as something you deserve on a regular basis.
So whether it's a walk on your own, a meal out or a get together with a good friend, find a couple of hours for it.
Juggling work and home
Balancing your job with your home life can be tough and there's nothing worse than worrying about your childcare arrangements while you're at work. To find out more about childcare options see our childcare section.
You could also:
• Find out about family-friendly practices in your workplace. Up to 60 per cent of employers say they let their staff vary their hours and nearly half offer stress counselling.
• Take a few minutes at the end of the day to share the ups and downs of your day with your partner or a friend - but don't spend the whole evening thinking about work.
• Make the most of time off. Do something together as a family at the weekends.
Look after yourself
Although some mental illnesses may be genetically predetermined, or otherwise unavoidable, there are ways to keep the blues at bay and make sure your mind and body stay healthy and happy.
Eat well and keep fit
Regular, healthy meals and moderate exercise can make a significant difference to your moods. You'll feel more energetic and able to look after yourself. There's also the added benefit of looking fit and toned, which is a confidence booster.
Do something you love
Write a list of all the things in life that you enjoy, no matter how trivial they might seem at first. Now plan to do at least one small thing every day, and have bigger things to look forward to as well. A hobby or interest that totally absorbs your interest is great, even if it's just for an hour a week, but don't take it to extremes and let it take over the whole of your life.
Make lots of friends
Even shy people can have an active social life. Get out and meet some new people, and remember - they don't have to be identical to you to be good friends. Avoid people who drag you down all the time and never give anything in return for your support. Seek out the company of others who make you laugh, or feel inspired.
Learn how to handle stress
Don't be afraid of challenges, overcoming them will help to increase your self- confidence. Stress management is not all about being passive, or lying down in a darkened room with a wet flannel on your forehead! Learn some active techniques to help you relax, rather than slobbing out in front of the telly, or getting drunk.
Big yourself up
If you're in the habit of putting yourself down a lot, try making a list of all your good qualities. Get a friend to help you. You'll be surprised at how long that list turns out to be. Remind yourself of the list from time to time.
Stay out of the downward spiral
Be honest about your feelings, but don't go on and on about feeling bad all the time to anyone who'll listen, it will make you feel worse. Avoid sitting around and doing nothing for days on end, especially if you're feeling a bit down, keep busy or do something deliberate to relax yourself.
Keep your brain active Take an interest in what's going on in the world, or at least one area of it. Be enthusiastic about life and never stop learning.
Don't worry, be silly
Learn how to ignore the unimportant things that may niggle you, and break large unpleasant tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks. Keep a sense of humour at all times, and try to see the funny side of most situations.
Relaxation Learning Objectives:
1. Develop an awareness of the principals of the effects that stress and relaxation have on the body
2. Be able to try a variety of different, established, relaxation techniques
3. Appreciate which techniques work well for you and which you feel comfortable practicing
Many things can help us relax. Listening to music, hobbies, light exercise or just a good long soak in the bath are all great starts. Relaxing is important, but it is often overlooked in our daily routine. By taking time out to relax, you are giving your mind and body time to recover. This has obvious effects on stress and anxiety, but has been shown to increase your life expectancy too.
The Life Balance Pyramid is designed to guide you in creating a ‘recipe’ for developing overall balance and wellbeing. In principle, if you have a good foundation of daily activities and a positive outlook on life, you can build on this with emotional, physical and social supporting activities. Toping this up with more ‘emergency’ coping skills will help us to deal with all of the things that life has to throw at us in a more balanced manner that is less harmful to our own mind and body. By practicing relaxation strategies, such as the ones mentioned in this section, or Mindfulness, you are developing skills that will benefit you at every level of the pyramid.
Stress Learning Objectives:
1. Have a critical understanding of psychological stress and distress
2. Have an awareness of how psychological distress can greatly affect healthcare professionals
3. Understand how stress can affect your perception of the present moment
4. Develop an appreciation of what common triggers cause you stress and psychological distress in your life, and how you can identify and manage them.
Why is stress bad for you?
A little bit isn’t! Many people function well, especially in terms of producing something for a deadline, under a little stress. However, long-term exposure to low levels, or just short term exposure to high levels of stress can really take its toll on the body.
It is widely accepted that stress exacerbates a great many medical conditions, and it is argued that it may in fact be the direct cause in many others too. Stress is a fact of life, and it would be impractical to avoid everything that caused you the slightest amount of stress. It is important to note how you respond to it. Some stressors, such as a presentation may elicit behaviour such as biting your nails. Whilst this is self destructive, it is not going to cause you any long-term harm. However, if your response is to tend towards violence or panic then the longer-term implications are not so good. Therefore, stress in itself may not be particularly bad for you, but the way in which you react to it may be.
By being aware of this and that our mind is worrying away unnecessarily, we have the potential to control the way in which we manage feelings from the past and apprehension of the future in order to achieve a better control of our stress levels. Having a level of control over stress has numerous benefits to our physical and mental health, which highlights the importance of cultivating an awareness of how our mind creates stress.
Top Tip: Keeping a Stress Diary can help you to get to grips with the common causes of ‘Short-Term’ stress in your life as well as provide insight into how you react to and cope with them. By writing the details of these events down, you can analyse the feelings associated with the event and manage them. This is an important stage in learning to respond differently to similar events or to avoid them all together.
Try filling it in over the next week or two. This will help you evaluate what can be a key trigger for stress in your life. Repeat the exercise again in several week’s time to see how things have changed.
1. Stress is physiological and some helps motivate us
2. Psychological distress disproportionately affects healthcare professionals, increasing risk of psychological morbidity
3. We can control our thought processes by developing a meta-awareness so as to prevent rumination and reduce the impact that stress has on our experience of the present moment
4. By keeping a stress diary, we can develop an awareness of the common triggers that cause us stress in our lives and learn to manage, or avoid them.