Archive for Stress Management in Healthcare

The Sweet Spot of Surrender

Controlling by Letting Go

I am sure that I am not alone in feeling at times that ‘my life has taken on a life of its own’ – that is, realizing that how my time and energy is spent these days is not at all by complete choice on my part.  Circumstances beyond my control- most recently related to aging and dying parents- have added an array of bitter sweet emotions, responsibilities, and yes, STRESS.  It is that ‘outside-in’ stress created by circumstances beyond our control that can sometimes hit like a wrecking ball.   However, I realize that I am the one responsible for compounding that stress, by my own struggle and resentment about this point in life -although temporary- where I am not able to fully dedicate time and energy to the creative and expressive endeavors and service that I want and that I most enjoy.That struggle and resentment creates even more stress- ‘inside-out’ stress -that only I can control…by letting go.  And so, it is only in the sweet spot of surrender that I find solace. 

Surrender: Abandonment, cessation, and letting go of  fight or struggle.Are there circumstances where surrender can create more freedom for you?

  • When there are events or circumstances in your life where you find you are hanging on to the way you think things ‘should’ be, practice letting go of expectations and realize that this time is only temporary-as are all things- and that this time too, is part of your soul’s journey.
  • Navigate through unwelcome or unfamiliar territory with an open mind and heart. Allow yourself to fully feel, experience, and move through the array of emotions- anger, grief, surprise, sadness, confusion, resentment- without judgement- and be willing to accept, adapt, and let go.
  • Inject moments of activities and endeavors that feed your ‘want to’ desires and bring you joy, pleasure and inner satisfaction.
  • Consciously surround yourself with individuals who accept, understand, and support you for who you are and where you are in life’s circumstances.
  • Find meaning in the mundane. Examine and discover how you may be of service to others in ways that you never imagined, yet that service is important and meaningful.
  • Always do your best.  You may find that an uninvited set of responsibilities are not necessarily in alignment with your interests, gifts and talents.  Simply do the best you can, which may be a ‘different level of best’ every moment of every day.
  • Love and appreciate yourself…everyday.

Stress, Wonder and Wisdom – Igniting Health in Healthcare Professionals

Hairstreak 3

Sadly, health care sometimes seems like anything but…especially for the professionals working within the healthcare industry.  Hours are long, stress is high, burnout comes easy, and it’s common for caregivers to give all their energy to those they care for, leaving little or no energy for their own self care.  Something needs to change, and the change must come from within.

Stress in healthcare is taking its toll on the industry from the inside out.  It’s been nearly forty years since the first studies were produced linking stress to illness and disease.  Still today, it is estimated that nearly 80% of illness and disease can be attributed to the effects on our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.  How are you managing your stress? Who better to lead the way to better health than healthcare professionals themselves?  I propose that we as healthcare professionals take “walking our talk” a little more seriously, and become the change we want to see in healthcare.  Nothing is going to change unless you change.

Just like disease, health can be contagious too-in families, among work peers and in social circles.  Becoming and staying strong and resilient to illness and disease is your best opportunity to enjoy and long quality life.  Whole health and happiness – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually – simply requires the desire and commitment to placing value on your quality of life. Why is it that we can effortlessly make deposits into our financial retirement account, but often ignore the need to make deposits into our “well-being” account so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor with ample vitality and energy?   Only you can choose to make your life a journey of happiness and discovery vs. illness and despair.  That’s what wisdom is all about.

“Wisdom begins in wonder”   -Socrates

I love this “wise” statement.  It is so true.  The more you wonder, the more you learn. The more you experience, the more you know, and the more your wisdom grows.  This expansive state of wonder is as applicable to our SELF as it is to exploring our world.

What if you approached learning about decreasing your stress and improving your well-being with a sense of innocence, openness, receptiveness, discovery and knowing?  What if your
well-being came from starting in wonder?

Try it over the next few weeks.  Begin by wondering…  “What would I feel like and learn if…”

  • I paused throughout each day to observe my breath and slow down?
  • I took regular stretch breaks during the day?
  • I ate only vegetables one day this week?
  • I gave up soda pop this month?
  • I invited someone I don’t know very well to lunch one day?
  • I scheduled meaningful time with a special friend or family member?
  • I gave up watching TV for the week or month?
  • I kept a regular bedtime/wake time schedule and got 8 hours of sleep each night?
  • I planned ahead and brought a healthy lunch every day this week?
  • I took 10 minutes each day to sit in stillness and meditate?
  • I made it a point to show appreciation for a co-worker each day?
  • I took time to reflect and write down what it is I really want in life?
  • I took time to cook a new vegetable or recipe?
  • I took the time to be fully present with my kids or spouse and really listen to them?
  • I finally tried a yoga class or that yoga DVD at home?
  • I got out and took a walk each day?

 What do you wonder about, but have yet to try?  Why not now?

True happiness and well-being can only come from within.  There is no job, raise, praise, big house, child or grandchild, number of friends, or perfect outfit that can make you truly happy. Caring for your SELF and the resultant sense of well-being leads to more wanting and desiring what is good for you– which will continue to expand your well-being.  This is “right action” – action that is good for you, good for those you love, care for and serve, and good for the world.  What could be better?

Nature’s Course Runs Deep

Bear with me here. I am feeling compelled to share yet another “body message” with some meaningful analogies personal growth and transformation. It all started with slippery steps and a fall. I landed hard on my upper right thigh with a bruise the size of a cantaloupe! (I have pretty large thighs!) Anyway,  as I have observed the healing process, I notice that my skin color is returning to normal or balance from the inside- out, to where now I just have a discolored ring around the “landing area”.
So I realized that this relates to the process of integrative wellness. In other words, “quick fixes” for discomfort -physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually- are like putting a band aid on the surface without allowing the deeper, inside-out healing to occur. It’s so easy to grab onto fad diets, energy drinks, busy-ness, withdrawal, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and collecting stuff for the quick “feel better” affect rather than increasing awareness and working with the long lasting tools of a lifetime. Transformation starts deep – with meaningful choices and changes- one at a time. And yes, nature once again shows us how to return to balance…from the inside- out, lasting for the long haul.
The key is to know who you are, what you want, what you need, and what is true for you. Then go after it! This is where I have found the help of a coach or mentor paramount. Someone to guide and support you in ways that matter to you. That’s how long lasting lifestyle transformation occurs.

How does stress or “wake up calls” show up in your life?


to begin your process of “inside-out” change and healing.

Stuck, Stressed, and Sick of It

I really hate the feeling of being stuck – especially when I know in my head what I want or need to do – but just can’t seem to get any momentum going in the right direction. When I’m stuck I often feel unproductive and incapable of creating any positive output or change, and I don’t feel so good about my self either! And that stresses me out!

So, do you notice how nature always moves to restore inner balance. Sometimes it has to go to extremes, sometimes it changes with subtlety – but it always changes toward balance and never gets completely stuck. As humans, we know that change is the only thing in life that is certain. Yet why is it that we can’t seem to make those changes that we know will improve our self care, personal or professional effectiveness and our quality of life? We dig our heels in, procrastinate, become indecisive or just settle for less than we know we are capable of. Is it fear of the unknown? Is it laziness? Is it complacency? For sure, it is most often way less than is truly possible for us and our future health and happiness.

Not being able to move and change can stress us out – and magnify our distress and unhappiness. Here are some key ingredients to getting unstuck…the simple steps are worth it.

Watch the video.

“I was stuck, in both my body and my head. I knew I needed to make changes in my life, but I didn’t know where or how to start. Carol helped me get moving again both physically and between my ears. Facing major surgery, Carol showed me how and where to get started moving to prepare myself both physically and spiritually. In a supportive and completely non-judgmental manner, she helped me make positive changes in all aspects of my life. The recovery from that surgery was nothing short of miraculous. Anybody realizing the need to improve themselves physically, spiritually, or both can benefit from working with Carol.” MM – Integrative Mentoring Client

How “Rich” is Your Health Account?

span style=”color: #003469; font-size: 14px;”>Like many people, you most likely have a plan and a routine for saving money for future life events – like vacations, celebrations, home improvements and even retirement.   The habit of making  regular “deposits” into this account can help you feel more at ease about your ability to enjoy the future and the fruits of your labor.

How often are you making “deposits” into your personal health and resilience account?  Do you have the same habit of taking care of yourself now so you can have the health and energy to enjoy the very events you are saving money for?  All it takes is one major health crisis to send you into financial challenge, with deductibles, co-pays, and medications.  There are ways to fortify your overall health and resilience so you can enjoy the results of your saving habits.  Here is a list of positive lifestyle factors that increase resilience, decrease stress, retard aging, and contribute to a “rich health account”.

  • Happy marriage or satisfying long-term relationship
  • Job satisfaction
  • Feelings of personal happiness
  • Ability to laugh easily
  • Satisfactory sex life
  • Ability to make and keep close friends
  • Regular daily routine that includes movement, rest, good nutrition
  • Regular work routine
  • Taking at least one week’s vacation every year
  • Feeling in control of personal life
  • Ability to adapt to change
  • Enjoyable leisure time, satisfying hobbies
  • Ability to express feelings easily
  • Optimistic about the future
  • Feeling financially secure, living within means

How “rich and abundant” is your health account?

Be Well,