Tag Archives: careers

Building Lasing Work/Life Balance: Stress Management For Parents With Careers

What is Stress?

Many researchers define stress as events or situations which are perceived as negatively affecting your well-being. Stress can take on many different forms, and can contribute to changes in mental and physical health as well as illness. Common symptoms of too much stress include headache, sleep disorders, difficulty concentrating, short-temper, upset stomach, job dissatisfaction, low morale, depression, and anxiety.

How do our bodies respond to stress?

Perception of a stress activates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), a process known as the “fight or flight” response, which mobilizes energy to help us respond to the stress. For example, activation of the SNS diverts blood flow away form the stomach and digestion to the heart and lungs to prepare for a possible need to run away form a threat. Stress also increases release of cortisol from our adrenal glands, which further contributes to redirecting energy toward dealing with stress and away from other bodily functions. At the conclusion of the stress, all these reactions are reduced to normal levels, and the body quickly returns to its state or balance, or “homeostasis”. This is a normal pattern of stress responsivity and recovery, and when this happens, we remain healthy in our minds and bodies and, importantly, ready to respond to the inevitable stresses that will come our way.

If stress is normal, how can it harm my health?

Well, note that a critical part of the “stress cycle” described above is the stressful situation ending, and the body recovering. When stress does not end, or when stresses come rapidly and for a long time, one after another, the body does not have time to recover, and the stress becomes chronic. Chronic stress prolongs activation of the SNS and the cortisol response. This extended activity of the physiological stress response that these systems has been shown to have serious detrimental effects on mental and physical health, and this is where stress management and coaching for stress reduction can be really helpful.

The Good News: There are simple and practical ways to reduce and manage your stress.

Nothing I could write here can substitute for the personalized attention and rapid progress you can make working with a life coach to constructively deal with stress, but here are some of the top strategies my clients have found useful in dealing with stress in their lives:

1.  Identify and stick to your priorities: Take the time to make a list of tasks you must accomplish weekly, monthly, and longer (quarterly or annually). With each item on your “must” list, include a deadline or a clear time commitment.

2.  Keep communication open: As difficult as it may be sometimes, it’s essential to keep channels of communication open both at work and at home. For work this may mean talking to a Supervisor, Mentor, or even trusted peer colleague. Do the same with your spouse or partner, in fact, in my experience, this is even more important as in a relationship initially minor things can fester and turn into big problems if not addressed early.

3.  Expect the Unexpected: I know this is a cliché, but another cliché, “The best laid plans of mice and men are sometimes put asunder” is really true and makes flexibility necessary. Some morning when you or your partner has a really important meeting at work or a deadline, you’ll wake up to a flooded basement or a vomiting child and someone has to take one for the team. Agree in advance that you will trade off these sacrifice days, even though it will never be convenient for either of you. Of course, if its “your day” and your partner has a job interview for a new position and you’re not under the gun, be flexible open to switching things around- in other words, use common sense and be nice.

4.  Save time by spending a little more money—In the long run, you have only two things to spend-time and money. If you want to save on one, you’ll have to spend the other. Therefore, think seriously about investing in services that take care of some of the chores, such as housecleaning. Even having your house cleaned professionally once a month is a big help, and saves you a bunch of time!

5.  Pick your battles—Decide what things are non-negotiable for you and which ones really are not that big a deal at home and at work. There are so many things I used to get worked up about that I just don’t sweat anymore, such as making my kids make their beds before school each day.

6.  Learn to say no—This goes for work and your personal life. Clearly, there are some things you can’t say “no” to, such as when your boss asks you to do an important task or your baby needs to go to the doctor. One big one I’ve negotiated with my kids is the number of non-school activities they do.

7.  Be kind to yourself and others- Remember the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” Cliché as it may sound, I repeat this to myself frequently when I feel stressed, crabby, or ready to make a snarky remark. Be sure to take care of your relationship by making time together with your partner without kids, and without each other sometimes. Remember that everyone needs some “me” time, and no one more so that parents with careers!

Mary Coussons-Read, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology and Health and Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado Denver, and the founder of Powerful Mind Consulting and Coaching, LLC. Mary is a also certified life coach and an experienced executive, tenure, and academic coach. You can find her at her website at powerfulmindcoaching.com

Looking For A Job? Have A Great Resume.

The job seeker world is tough right now, in fact it’s always tough if you want a great job. So it’s important to know exactly how to write a great resume. That’s where landing a great job starts.

For every great job there is hundreds or even thousands of applications, and if your application doesn’t stand out then it will end up in the trash along with dozens of others. It’s your resume, together with your cover letter, that lands you the interview you need.

Your resume is your summary of your skills and job history. It has to be good to stay in front of the person who decides who gets the interview. Will your resume get you the interview? Or will someone else’s trump yours?

If your resume isn’t good enough you won’t get in front of anyone to impress them with the reasons why you’re the person for the job.

So when you sit down to start writing do you know how to do these all important things?

1. Do you know how to write a headline that gets read, and did you even recognize the importance of the headline?

2. How to best demonstrate the good parts of your job history, and minimize the parts that aren’t complementary?

3. Did you know how important an objectives statement was? Do you know what it is?

4. How you should present your qualifications?

5. Know what a reference sheet is?

6. How do you write a cover letter?

So has all that confused you even more about how to write a great resume? No matter, don’t worry.

There are certain principles that ought to be followed when crafting a personal summary and job application. A formula that, if you follow it exactly dramatically improves your chances of that all important person putting your application on the “interviews” pile rather than the “trash” pile.

Follow them and you’re way in front of most other job seekers. Fail to follow them and you’re in there with everyone else, fighting to get your application noticed.

So remember, having a great, eye catching resume and cover letter is the secret to job application success. Learn the correct principles, apply them religiously when writing, and you’re job application should be sitting right there on top of the pile. It all starts with your resume.

I’ve written a book about it showing you all the steps, get the book on my website to find out the secrets of writing a great resume.

Want to know more about how to write a great resume? Visit Peter’s website http://www.professional-resume-writer.com/ for his book of resume writing secrets.