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Simple Tips to Manage Stress – Guest Blog Jane Keogh

What simple things can Business Owners do to help themselves and their teams manage stress?

April is stress awareness month so I asked the wonderful, Jane Keogh, to pull together some simple to implement tips to help us as business owners support our teams and ourselves to manage stress and she certainly delivered.


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About Jane

Jane Keogh is a deeply intuitive and empathetic personal development coach having gone through her own personal journey of trauma recovery.

She helps people navigate stress & anxiety, emotional trauma (PTSD) and focus on building true emotional resilience and wellbeing so that they can lead a happier more fulfilled life (in every aspect).

She is an NLP master practitioner, a core dynamics of human conditioning coach, a DiSC trainer (psychometric profiling) and a certified Havening Practitioner.

She has a great sense of adventure and loves being outdoors exploring the countryside with her two mad golden retrievers.

Jane spends the summer taking groups down the Zambezi River, Zambia in canoes, wild camping under the African stars to raise fund to support wildlife conservation and education of human/wildlife conflict.


So stress…

Stress is something everyone feels from time to time, and in the last 12 months, we have been catapulted into very surreal times where we have been tested to capacity.

Surviving this last year is no mean feat – and proof of just how versatile we are as human beings. Our primal survival skills have kicked in, and we’ve proved ourselves more adaptable and flexible than we probably give ourselves credit for. However, it’s really important to note the impact this has on people and their mental health.


What can you do to help?

Everyone is unique and, therefore, will react differently to situations and circumstance. So a key element in supporting your teams is to treat each person individually and exercise patience. Systems make businesses run more smoothly, but it has to be personalised when it comes to each person’s wellbeing.

Be mindful of behaviour that is out of character – this is usually a sign of some underlying issues/stressors.

Creating a safe environment where you encourage open, honest and transparent communication is vital. Sharing can be difficult, particularly with men, so reinforce the fact that being able to understand triggers and emotions is a strength and leads to true emotional resilience.

Focus on feelings and emotions – make it ok to talk about them. Pretending is a catalyst for disaster and has untold consequences for wellbeing.

There are plenty of things you can do to help cope with stressful events. Often, we can do nothing about the events, but we can do something about how we are reacting to them.

In the first instance, being aware of thoughts and managing unrealistic expectations is essential as they can lead to a void of unhelpful emotions and add to stress levels.

Developing a healthy mindset is my number one tip for dealing with stress.

There is much pressure to be positive, but it is an unrealistic goal to expect to be positive 100% of the time. We are human beings with a vast array of emotions and feelings.


Here are two ways to build a healthy mindset:

1) Practice awareness

Awareness helps us recognise the quality of our thoughts, whether good and or bad and meditation and journaling are great tools for improving awareness.

If there are negative feelings, acknowledge them. It’s not permanent.

We are not our thoughts, and our thoughts are not always the reality.

2) Develop a growth mindset

Those with a fixed mindset believe that they’re born the way they are and things can’t change. They also think that there are no better options.

Those with a growth mindset believe that things can always be learnt. They believe that they can achieve anything if they put in the time and effort.

With a growth mindset, you ask yourself how you can move on from negative experiences.

Rather than trying to force it into a positive experience, you ask, “How can I grow from this?” or “What is this teaching me right now?”

We’re all human, and we all experience dark, deep, and intense thoughts. Don’t be afraid to dig into them and see what you can learn from them.

When we are stressed and feeling uncomfortable, we tend to want to distract ourselves from the underlying feelings and emotions. We might get into unhelpful habits like drinking or excessive behaviours like intense exercise.

Drinking is fine in moderation, but when we try to block things out, we are merely avoiding them, and they will continue to niggle until they are addressed.

With alcohol, we initially feel better (more relaxed), but by the time we get through a few glasses, it can intensify the feelings/emotions and because the alcohol has numbed us, we are unable to process hence why some people get very tearful or angry and, worst-case scenario, violent.

Whilst exercise is great and stimulates endorphins, it is often used as an avoidance tactic (when it becomes obsessive/addictive), so it’s still important to acknowledge and deal with the triggers.


Developing healthy activities to keep us in a healthy mindset:

A healthy, balanced diet with plenty of water, exercise, walking in nature, social connection (particularly in current circumstances), asking for help, learning to meditate.

Meditation can bring up resistance, but there are many forms of it that may be overlooked. For example, walking in a forest, standing with your eyes closed, just feeling the connection with the ground under your feet, the silence is magnificent in the woods.

Or try fire gazing, from a wood-burning stove to watching a candle flame flicker, or sitting around a fire pit or campfire.

Also, yoga and, in particular, yoga breath, sitting in silence and guided meditation are all wonderful.

To name a few, there are apps like Calm and Headspace that are great for this and I have a couple of free guided meditations on my website: https://www.janekeogh.co.uk/meditations

Here is a link to a technique to help with stress and anxiety (click on the video): https://www.janekeogh.co.uk/havening

All of these teach us to be more present, and when we’re present, we do less dwelling in the past and less projecting about the future. And when we’re in the moment, it’s easier to let unhelpful thoughts go.

Sometimes business leaders are so busy that they neglect their own well-being. If you want to create less stress in the workplace, it’s essential that you lead by example.

Look after your own needs, learn how to manage your own stress and anxiety and introduce some balance so that you can recharge.