Where Do I Turn for my H&S Answers?

This latest blog is written by Colin Nottage. Colin runs a health and safety consultancy based near Peterborough and specialises in helping businesses challenge the attitude and behaviour of the workforce to improve health, safety, production and profitability.

 

This month’s blog is titled

 

Where do I turn for my H&S answers

 

I often get asked where is the best place to go for the answer to a site health and safety issue. I hear people say the HSE website -  yes there is some good stuff there but it probably won’t answer the specific issue you have. Other say a H&S consultant – Again yes some are good and understand your industry but they don’t necessarily understand your site and your employees. 

 

Where would I go? To the employees.

The people who work on your site have to deal with the issues day in day out. In my 30 years in industry I have met some amazingly resourceful people at the sharp end of the business. They know how the plant and equipment works, they know what has worked in the past. All they need is some good guidance and often a confidence boost to supply the answers. 

 

Good quality consultation and communication with employees can have an enormous effect on improving your health and safety performance. Ensure that:

 

·      There are good arrangements in place for consultation and communication within the workplace on health and safety matters (this is usually achieved by organising a safety committee);

·      Each area/sector of a site has representation at the safety committee meeting. Where a trade union is recognised on the site indicates a desire to appoint a representative under the provision of the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977. The site manager should accept the appointment to the safety committee;

Note:On small sites it may be appropriate to involve the whole workforce;

·      Minutes are taken for every safety committee meeting and to promote the effective discussion of health and safety, the minutes of the previous meeting and the new agenda are displayed on notice boards well in advance of the meetings;

·      A senior person attends the meeting so they can make decisions with the group;

·      Meetings are held regularly (at least once every six months) but if they are beneficial hold them more frequently;

·      Wherever appropriate, specialist advisors such as health and safety advisors, Occupational Health Consultants, etc. are invited to attend the committee; 

·      Regular Contractors and temporary workers and even visitors are involved

 

A safety committee can play an active part in the proactive management of health and safety on site.  Regular agenda items could include:

 

·      A review of the previous minutes;

·      What good stuff has happened since the last meeting

·      A review of any incidents and near hits/misses that have occurred during the previous period;

·      The top health and safety issues of all persons attending the safety committee;

·      An examination of current policies and procedures to ensure they remain effective;

·      An overview of any inspections and audits that have been undertaken since the last meeting;

·      A review of any health and safety training that has been provided since the last meeting and what training is planned;

·      Any changes in health and safety legislation;

·      Methods to promote the health and safety message within the workplace.

 

IF YOU NEED HEALTH AND SAFETY ANSWERS START BY ASKING YOUR EMPLOYEES.

 

And if you are still stuck drop me a line colin.nottage@influentialmg.comor 07799 656303.

Fire Safety

This latest blog is written by Colin Nottage. Colin runs a health and safety consultancy based near Peterborough and specialises in helping businesses challenge the attitude and behaviour of the workforce to improve health, safety, production and profitability.

 

This month’s blog is titled

 

Fire safety

 

I was thinking about how my business has transformed in the last few years. It was 2011 when I moved from Bristol up to Stamford. Bristol is a great city but Stamford has brought a great life. I have some cracking clients I work with and some really close associates. In 2011 things were much more chaotic and I remember reading about an explosion of an illegal vodka distillery on an industrial estatein Boston, Lincolnshire.

The incidentkilled five people and seriously injured one other. The investigation showed a person had been smoking near the hazardous chemicals.

The tragedy not only affected the families of those injured and killed but also those of the businesses working in the vicinity of the explosion. It is very difficult if not impossible to know every activity that is being performed around your own but this incident does show that turning a blind eye can have huge consequences.

 

The incident happened when most of the estate was empty but what if this had not been the case. Do you know how your neighbour’s activities could affect you? Are you prepared for an incident?

 

I can remember doing a fire risk assessment on an asphalt plant near Preston a few years ago and when I asked who works around the site we found there was a timber yard, a paint factory and an coal power station within a few hundred metres. Now there is a cocktail… But more importantly if one of those caught fire what does their alarm sound like? Where is their muster point. If the paint factories muster point is half a mile away you don’t really want to be standing at yours……

 

Wherever you work it is good to talk with your neighbours and be comfortable about how their activities could affect you.

 

On small estates it may be beneficial to establish a muster point away from the units, preferably near the site entrance along with a simple emergency procedure for the people who work and visit the units.

 

On larger estates it will be down to each of the organisations to develop their own evacuation plans.

 

It is believed that 80% of companies go out of business who have been effected by serious fires in their own and neighbouring workplaces. 

 

Review your fire risk assessment immediately

If you haven’t looked at your fire risk assessment for a while I strongly suggest that you review it as soon as possible. 

 

 

Top tips

·   Fire risk assessments – get it done or get it reviewed. Consider your workplace hazards and those around you.

·   Electrical equipment – must be inspected periodically.

·   Fire drill – carry one out every year. Wait until it’s raining….much more fun!

·   Information – make sure your employees are aware of what to do in an emergency.

·   Fire alarm – Make sure it works. Make sure it’s serviced.

·   Fire extinguishers – make sure they are easily accessible and have been inspected.

·   Escape routes – check to make sure you can get out in the event of a fire.

·   Signage – Does it clearly explain the fire hazard to the emergency services at the entrance

·   DSEAR – Consider your duties and responsibilities under the Dangerous Substance and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations

 

Fortunately these huge incidents are extremely rare but fire in the workplace is very common. Whatever your situation don’t be passive, plan ahead, stay in control and keep your business and your employees safe.

 

Emailcolin.nottage@influentialmg.comfor more information and if you need to chat through things please call 07799 656303

The Wall of Opportunity

This latest blog is written by Colin Nottage. Colin runs a health and safety consultancy based near Peterborough and specialises in helping businesses challenge the attitude and behaviour of the workforce to improve health, safety, production and profitability.

 

This month’s blog is titled

The Wall of Opportunity

I have recently been doing some work near Plymouth. A company that runs 24 hours a day using four shift teams. In total there are around 70 people working ‘hands on’ at the site.

I got talking to the senior management team about consultation and communication and they mentioned they had undertaken an exercise at the end of 2017 where they had got the workforce to list issues on post-it notes and put them up on a wall in the office. They called it the ‘Battle wall’. Over 300 items were raised.

 

I asked one of the directors how were they getting on with the issues raised.

“well I can’t respond to all 300 can I” was his response. 

 

In reality he could if he wanted to, it is possible to write 300 replies, but had decided not to. 

 

However I’m not saying he should have responded to each note but it got me thinking.

I asked had anything been done with any of the items. 

“Yes” he said “we picked to 10 we thought were most important and have been working on them”.

“How many have been completed?” I asked

“About five” he replied.

“So you have room for five more” I said.

We chatted some more and started to formulate an idea.

Whether it comes from site meetings, discussions, audits, assessments start to put the things that need sorting on your wall. Don’t call it the battle wall, how about the “Wall of Opportunity”.

Maybe split your wall in to A, B and C categories. 

With your team pick out the first ten but make it a “Rolling top 10” and start to work through them.

When something comes off the ten then maybe consult with the staff on site and agree what goes on next.

 

Set some parameters.

·      Nothing will be on the top 10 list for more than a month or two – you decide what is feasible.

·      There will always be a top 10 list – Never get complacent and think everything is OK. Challenge, challenge, challenge

Give updates on how things are going to site employees and senior managers.

Maybe take a picture of your wall at the start and then look at how it changes every quarter. Are there more or less A’s

Keep track of what you have achieved.

I strongly believe we all achieve less than we want to on a daily basis but over perform on a monthly or yearly basis. Start celebrating your success.

In actual fact, send me a picture of your “Wall of Opportunity” and I will share it on my social media.

 

If you need any help setting challenging, proactive objectives or would like to discuss planning for health and safety then please drop me a line at

Colin.nottage@influentialmg.com

Or call Tel: 07799 656303

Spring Clean Your Health & Safety

This latest blog is written by Colin Nottage. Colin runs a health and safety consultancy based near Peterborough and specialises in helping businesses challenge the attitude and behaviour of the workforce to improve health, safety, production and profitability.

 

This month’s blog is titled ‘Spring clean health and safety

 

Yes it’s that time of the year again. You get the urge to sort stuff out, have a good tidy up, empty the garage, chuck out those clothes that don’t quite fit like they used too. It can be very therapeutic I have been told….

So have you thought about doing the same for your business? Businesses do get cluttered and I attach a few simple ideas to help sort them out. These approaches can be applied to all of your business but I am focusing on health and safety.

Look at your overheads – What are you paying out? 

When did you last get a quote from another insurer?  Do they give you a discount for good health and safety performance, if not why not?

How much are you paying for retained health and safety support? Is it good value, when did they last call you. When you needed help where they there? 

How often are you getting fire extinguishers and portable appliances tested? I hear so many office managers tell me they are having kettles PAT tested every 6 months, why? 

Look at your health and safety policy and procedures – How long are they? Are they relevant?

I recently visited a company in Stamford who manufacture windows, they had been supported by one of the big health and safety providers recommended by their bank or insurers. This company turned up, dumped a thick management system on their desk, placed the invoice next to it and disappeared. When I had a look through what they had been given there was some good documents but there was also a lot that was not relevant or not needed. They had a risk assessment for working as a funeral director next to the grave. 

That tells me two things:

1)    They had no ownership of the documents as they had never had them explained;

2)    The provider was lazy and cut and pasted a folder together that had little bearing on their business

Most importantly look at your people.

In difficult times we need to ensure that we sweat all our assets and that includes our people. To do that it may mean you need to invest in them. What are their competencies, when were they last given any health and safety training? When were they last challenged to improve their and your place of work? 

Set up a housekeeping initiative, chuck out those items that you know you will never need, tidy the canteen, clean the fridge, get people to be a bit more proud of their place of work and you will reap the benefits.

 

If you need help with challenging your workforce, insurers or health and safety providers then please give me a call.

Colin.nottage@influentialmg.com

Tel: 07799 656303

What Does Good Risk Assessment Look Like?

This latest blog is written by Colin Nottage. Colin runs a health and safety consultancy based near Peterborough and specialises in helping businesses challenge the attitude and behaviour of the workforce to improve health, safety, production and profitability.

 

This month’s blog is titled ‘What does good risk assessment look like’?

 

It doesn’t matter at what level you work in a business you should stay involved in the risk assessment process. For me risk assessment is what good health and safety is all about.

If you do nothing else in your business than get people involved and engaged in the risk assessment process then things will improve.

But what does good risk assessment look like?

Here are a few things to consider:

 

Who is involved? If you risk assessments are written by management in an office then you are missing a fantastic opportunity to do it better. 

YOUR CHALLENGE:Talk to your management, supervisors and employees. Get them actively involved in the risk assessment process. In fact, even if you are the owner, managing director or finance director get involved. Take time to go out with the people in the business who are doing the jobs and get their input.

Ask yourself a couple of questions.

How comfortable are they with the process? When did they last get trained?

If you want to be good at anything you need to practice. As Gary Player, the South African golfer, once said. ‘The more I practice the luckier I get’.

If your teams have not had any risk assessment training in the last year then get it sorted.

 

Get rid of the ‘Annual Review’ mentality. I see loads of risk assessments on a site that have the same annual review date. This can indicate that people have not engaged with the risk assessment process properly and the documents are just bits of paper. Also, who could think anything more boring than spending a whole day reviewing risk assessments… Safety professionals don’t even do that….

Start to look at risk assessment as something that we do in our businesses all the time. 

YOUR CHALLENGE: Split your site or business down into sections. With your team members Identify the different jobs that go on in those sections and pick out the ones that have a potential to harm someone. Now set yourself a challenge to look at those jobs over the next 12 months. Start to set aside time every week to challenge what is going on in your business. It really is the best use of your and your teams time.

My last bit for this month is a final challenge

 

Does your risk assessment document have a further controls column?

Why is this important you may ask… I go around lots of businesses and have seen hundreds of risk assessments. Some have quantative measures with 1-5 matricies, some use High, Medium and Low and people get wound up by what is the score or what is the grading.

I want you to get wound up by what are the further controls. If you haven’t got a column then what are you saying? Everything is OK, we have this nailed? Really.

If you have a column and its empty what are you saying? Everything is OK, we have this nailed? Really.

Well I don’t believe you! 

Don’t use risk assessment to just list what controls you have in place, don’t use risk assessment to list every control that is imaginable knowing that you aren’t closely monitoring that they are in place. Don’t score risk assessment just so the risk rating remains in the green.

Complete risk assessment to really challenge what is going on in the business.

Complete risk assessments to try and find better ways of doing tasks

Complete risk assessments in the workplace with the people who do the work.

You will end up with ways to do the work that are healthy, safe, efficient and understood.

 

If you require any help with your risk assessment process then please drop me a line at

Colin.nottage@influentialmg.com

Tel: 07799 656303

What does good risk assessment look like?

This latest blog is written by Colin Nottage. Colin runs a health and safety consultancy based near Peterborough and specialises in helping businesses challenge the attitude and behaviour of the workforce to improve health, safety, production and profitability.

It doesn’t matter at what level you work in a business you should stay involved in the risk assessment process. For me risk assessment is what good health and safety is all about.

If you do nothing else in your business than get people involved and engaged in the risk assessment process then things will improve.

But what does good risk assessment look like?

Here are a few things to consider:

 

Who is involved? If you risk assessments are written by management in an office then you are missing a fantastic opportunity to do it better. 

YOUR CHALLENGE:Talk to your management, supervisors and employees. Get them actively involved in the risk assessment process. In fact, even if you are the owner, managing director or finance director get involved. Take time to go out with the people in the business who are doing the jobs and get their input.

Ask yourself a couple of questions.

How comfortable are they with the process? When did they last get trained?

If you want to be good at anything you need to practice. As Gary Player, the South African golfer, once said. ‘The more I practice the luckier I get’.

If your teams have not had any risk assessment training in the last year then get it sorted.

 

Get rid of the ‘Annual Review’ mentality. I see loads of risk assessments on a site that have the same annual review date. This can indicate that people have not engaged with the risk assessment process properly and the documents are just bits of paper. Also, who could think anything more boring than spending a whole day reviewing risk assessments… Safety professionals don’t even do that….

Start to look at risk assessment as something that we do in our businesses all the time. 

YOUR CHALLENGE: Split your site or business down into sections. With your team members Identify the different jobs that go on in those sections and pick out the ones that have a potential to harm someone. Now set yourself a challenge to look at those jobs over the next 12 months. Start to set aside time every week to challenge what is going on in your business. It really is the best use of your and your teams time.

My last bit for this month is a final challenge

 

Does your risk assessment document have a further controls column?

Why is this important you may ask… I go around lots of businesses and have seen hundreds of risk assessments. Some have quantative measures with 1-5 matricies, some use High, Medium and Low and people get wound up by what is the score or what is the grading.

I want you to get wound up by what are the further controls. If you haven’t got a column then what are you saying? Everything is OK, we have this nailed? Really.

If you have a column and its empty what are you saying? Everything is OK, we have this nailed? Really.

Well I don’t believe you! 

Don’t use risk assessment to just list what controls you have in place, don’t use risk assessment to list every control that is imaginable knowing that you aren’t closely monitoring that they are in place. Don’t score risk assessment just so the risk rating remains in the green.

Complete risk assessment to really challenge what is going on in the business.

Complete risk assessments to try and find better ways of doing tasks

Complete risk assessments in the workplace with the people who do the work.

You will end up with ways to do the work that are healthy, safe, efficient and understood.

 

If you require any help with your risk assessment process then please drop me a line at

Colin.nottage@influentialmg.com

Tel: 07799 656303

Don’t put health and safety on a pedestal

I often see company campaigns that state that health and safety is more important than production, more important than profit. I usually tag another line on the end. When it suits…

Those lines are often a bit of knee jerk after something serious going wrong.

I don’t think business should be afraid to say they want to make money, they should be proud that they are efficient and have good production rates. After all without those things they will struggle to survive.

The smart businesses are the ones that state health and safety is as important as everything else they do.

·      As important as profit;

·      As important as production;

·      As important as their environmental impact and quality of product.

These businesses just do things right.

 

But was can ‘As Important as’ actually mean.

 

Talk the right way

For me it means you spend as much time talking about health and safety as you do other topics. Some companies put health and safety on ALL meeting agendas. But to an extent that is compartmentalising it. Surely there is a health and safety consideration in everything we do. I would rather see at the top of an agenda the line.

How will the things we talk about today effect our health and safety performance? Let’s consider it all the way down the agenda.

Be inclusive

Health and safety is often seen as an operational issue so spread it into the non-operational departments. Your sales team are going in to talk about a major contract, get them to discuss the health and safety impact on the business, more vehicle movements, unfamiliar drivers on site, longer hours of work. Get them to get some assurances from the customers on site safety.

I once investigated an incident where a fitter was injured working on top of an aggregate feed hopper. One of the factors that came out was he was rushing to get the job completed. It turned out he had been contacted over ten times by four different people to ‘See how he was getting on”. The calls came from his line manager, the sales office, the sales manager and even a client. Each call compounded the issue and he made a mistake.

One call not asking “How long is it going to take?” but  ”How long do you need?”was all that was needed.

Understand your risks

I was with a client in Grantham recently who wanted to look at the risks in their business. I use this simple tool that identifies the risks, challenges how well the risk is understood by the business. Identifies the best control methods and compares it to what is in place and then helps set a plan for the future.

We identified one of the biggest risks his employees faced was driving to and from site. Once on site things were well controlled but the company had nothing in place for driving at work, competence assessments or improvement, monitoring hours at the wheel or vehicle tracking.

It had been completely overlooked. Now I am not saying all the above was needed but what was needed was a good look at what the company expected, how easy they made it for employees to stay away overnight if their day ran on, how well they planned their workloads for individual site engineers.

So understand your business and the risks it faces and get control 

 

 

Plan for health and safety

How many of you have clear financial objectives?

How many of you have clear production objectives?

How many of you have clear quality objectives?

Where do your health and safety objectives sit?

If you don’t have any then start thinking of some but try and be proactive.

Rather than number of days without a lost time incident why not make the objective percentage of staff who really under risk assessment and contribute daily.

Rather than number of near misses reported make the objective number of positive improvements made after suggestions from the workforce.

And remember health issues, plan so personnel can work in a dust or noise free environment with minimal need for PPE. I recently saw a video of a Tarmac quarry in North Yorkshire and the cabs of these machines that were three or four years old looked like they had just come out of the factory. It was amazing and shows if you really, really want to control workplace exposure to silica dust you can. But you have got to want to do it.

Once you really understand what you are trying to achieve you can then develop a plan to get there.

If you need any help setting challenging, proactive objectives or would like to discuss planning for health and safety or the risk rating process then please drop me a line at

Colin.nottage@influentialmg.com

Or call Tel: 07799 656303

Sole Trader vs Limited company

Common questions when deciding which business structure to choose

 

When setting up a business, it’s vital to weigh up the differences between sole trader and limited company, as the structure you choose impacts everything, from your profits to how much paperwork you do.

 

We answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding how to structure your business.

 

Q. Can I go from from being a sole trader to limited company?

 

Yes, you can and it’s pretty easy to do so through Companies House. Alternatively, this is bread and butter stuff for accountants and they can incorporate your business on your behalf. This can be a complex issue depending on how you want to set the company up, so it’s always worth asking.

 

Q. What are the benefits of operating as a limited company over a sole trader?

 

Most entrepreneurs and prospective business owners choose to set up a limited company over being a sole trader because a limited company is a separate legal entity from its directors. Essentially, what this form of structure offers is limited liability and protection to personal assets should the business fail. Equally, for limited companies, there are tax savings, greater borrowing power, improved reputation and credibility.

 

Q. Can you change from a limited company to a sole trader?

 

Whilst this is rare, it is possible. If for example you’re looking to downsize or simplify your business, you might choose to go from being a limited company to a sole trader. Whereas with a limited company there is typically a lot more admin and more legal obligations to adhere to, setting up as a sole trader offers a far simpler business structure. If you’re considering going down this route, it’s worth considering using an accountant to ensure the limited company is closed down properly, not least because there are considerable tax matters to address, in particular capital gains tax.

 

Q. Can you be a sole trader and limited company at the same time?

 

You can be, but you will need to prove to HMRC that the businesses operate separately and you are not using the arrangement purely to avoid tax, eg. to get around being VAT registered for one of the businesses. 



 

How was GDPR for you?

Mulling through a few emails as I catapulted toward London on the 08:59, the thought struck me: “What effect had GDPR had on individuals and businesses?”

What effect has it had on you and your business?

First there was all the uncertainty of people, and consultants, telling us that we needed to be GDPR compliant, but nobody, even the lawmakers actually knowing what to do or what needed to be done!

Then there was a flurry of draft company policies covering IT, employment, suppliers and god knows what else – we all gladly accepted these and for the most part, probably blindly put them in place.

This episode was succeeded by what seemed like a million and one emails from companies asking us to agree to receive emails from them, that at first, I mostly did – as these companies were the ones I actually wanted to receive something from.

Then there were more and more. And more. I have to admit, a lot got lost in my inbox, so I never actually agreed to receiving anything from them – sorry to them.  Subsequently, I don’t think my inbox is any less bloated. I am plagued daily by emails from, particularly, retailers – some of which I am convinced I unsubscribed from but still carry on carrying on - I’m not sure what I should do in these circumstances.

Others, I have tried to unsubscribe from, and it is quite difficult.  Given that there are only so many hours in the day, I rarely get around to chasing these up to unsubscribe.

My junk snail mail post is generally very good – I took time to register with the Junk post preference service (Your choice scheme and Mail Preference Service) so I rarely receive junk these days, either at home or at work.

I do still keep receiving phone calls asking me about the accident I was involved in.  “Which one” usually gets rid of them quickly – but they are continuing.  I don’t get many calls about PPI these days or from Microsoft telling me of a virus on my computer (my favourite as I do have fun with that – I use mac.  It’s a matter of how long I can string them along).

I get text messages from some cowboys trying to get me to invest in motorhomes.  I block their number each time I receive mail, and then a few weeks later, I receive another from a new number offering the same thing.

I raise these comedy instances as it does relate to GDPR in that someone has some data from somewhere that allows them to identify and crucially contact me - even though I don’t want to be contacted.

We are particularly interested to learn how GDPR has affected your marketing efforts? Both cold calling and direct contact.  We have not had any negative feedback when we for instance are marketing a business for sale, then again, we use a focussed, targeted approach so we do know the recipient is likely to at least have some interest.

As part of the BIG group, we are lucky enough to have some experts in our midst – 

Nicky Robson of Breedon Consulting helped members with GDPR compliance from an employment perspective and Tim Rookes of TrueMSP helped with the broader GDPR IT compliance. We are also proud to have Mocha Marketing on our team to assist with all things marketing, including GDPR consequences.

I strongly recommend all of them for GDPR issues as well as broader HR, IT and mareketing advice.

Overall, I am not sure what has changed in all reality except costing time and money – a la YTK, and financial assistance for purchase of own shares – if anyone remembers those!! but please leave a comment and let us know.

Beating Anxiety

SOMETIMES YOU JUST GOTTA STOP AND DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY TO BEAT ANXIETY AND OVERWHELM

“You don’t seem yourself”, your best friend says to you.  “What’s the matter?  You’ve not been yourself for a while.  You’ve lost your sparkle”.

You stop. For a moment you feel teary because you know they’re right but you don’t know what’s wrong.  You don’t know where your sparkle has gone and you don’t know when it left. What you do know is that something isn’t right.  You don’t feel happy although in theory have nothing to be unhappy about.  You chastise yourself daily (if not hourly!) saying in a stern tone “come on, focus on the positive and try harder”.  You might be telling yourself to try harder in your work – you used to love it but now it feels like a hamster wheel; you might tell yourself to try harder in your relationships – you are always short tempered and just need to lighten up. Whatever it is in that moment you’re convinced you just need to be more positive and try harder.

The problem with that approach is that often it can feel like you’re going into battle within yourself – one voice trying hard to let you know they’re not happy. Something is wrong.  Listen to me and make it right again.  The other part is getting angry and telling you stop whinging and to try harder.  That critical voice jumps in all too readily which means we never really hear the tiny voice saying I’m not happy and I need you to hear me.  Instead we carry on, every day saying try harder, be positive, what’s wrong with you …. So of course, nothing changes.

Nothing changes because what we are acknowledging is only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath there is a lot going on. First, there are a whole set of thoughts and feelings that we are denying.  Something isn’t right; that’s a fact.  We may feel overwhelmed at the idea of facing some of these feelings and whatever it is that isn’t right or we may feel overwhelmed and scared by the fact we have no idea what’s wrong.  If we have no idea then how do we start to even make it right?  That’s scary because it suggests there is no end to it and that the black cloud that follows us around will continue to steal our joy. All of these emotions can overwhelm and lead to anxiety and panic attacks which leaves us flooded with cortisol, irritable, living on our nerves and struggling to sleep.  So what do we do? Maybe shout louder at ourselves to pull ourselves together.  So again, nothing changes.

At Wellbeing4Life we say please stop.

Re-set and begin a new approach that might serve you better. Begin to listen to your mind but also to your body.  You’re likely to also be experiencing a lack of energy, maybe eating more comfort food and perhaps gaining or losing weight.  Your skin may look dull and your eyes flat.  You may feel bloated and you may have a permanent knot or churn in the stomach or in the chest.  You may have no energy and yet can’t settle and be still.  Our mind and body are inextricably linked and if we stop and look and listen long enough we find that our body will speak to us.  That’s the beginning of the journey back to wellbeing: self-awareness.

  

So how to re-start, quieten that critical voice and approach this differently?

How about trying the following approach instead?

  • Notice your thoughts and feelings and name them – don’t deny them or hide from them. Writing them down instantly gives you more clarity as the process of writing takes you from child ego to adult ego and with that comes a sense of control.

  • Consider why you may feel that way or have those thoughts and recognise legitimate reasons. Acknowledge that critical voice as trying to protect you but then re-frame with a new compassionate voice  For example, instead of “what an idiot I am for getting impatient with my partner today” try “It’s normal and understandable that I would be impatient today given the pressure I am feeling under.  I’ll discuss this with my partner which will also help me to get some perspective and help”

  • Practice self-care to connect with joy, increase self-awareness and practice compassion

  • Connect with others – even when you don’t feel like it. Call a friend or better still meet in person for a coffee away from your normal home environment. Laugh, cry and share and you’ll see things with a fresh perspective.

  • Get moving – take a walk outdoors every day no matter what the weather. As you walk practice mindfulness by noticing your surroundings, the sights, sounds and smells. This will help to take you from focusing on your internal thoughts and give you some inner peace.

  • Journal daily. Include 3 things you are grateful for today and periodically read your journal to spot patterns in your thinking.  You can then choose to take action and to feel back in control.

  • Write a list of things that you are doing that don’t add to your wellbeing, things that drain you or threaten your sparkle. Alongside the list write down things that you could do differently. There may be things that you just can’t change. This list will help you to regain control of the areas you can change and this exercise encourages you to think creatively about what you could do differently to get out of the rut and to experiment.



I you’d like help then why not start taking back control with an informal chat with us about how we can help. Contact Wellbeing4Life on 07894 659675.