Archive for the ‘Ian Geddes’ Category

Step into Christmas! By Susan Chan and Ian Geddes:

December already!  Weeks ago I heard the first warning bells of Christmas.….the dreaded sound of Noddy Holder from Slade asking me if I was ‘hanging up a stocking on the wall?’

‘So here it is merry Christmas ……………..Everybody’s having fun’

Everybody’s having fun’. If only!

It is the season of goodwill. Yes, time for friends and family, good food, parties, exchanging presents and being able to forget about work and problems…well at least for a few days.  However I wonder if our expectations are not too high. We want it to be perfect. However there is a darker side to Christmas bringing levels of high anxiety. The Samaritans, recognise the two weeks either side of Christmas as their busiest time of the year.

I am Susan Chan, change and motivational coach, and I encourage you to identify the three common pressures at this time of year:

  • money and increased debt
  • relationships
  • high levels of expectation leading to stress and anxiety

I heard a mum saying that her three year old was getting a ‘Silver Cross Toy Pram’ for Christmas….at £320! Wow. It was easier when ‘all you wanted for Christmas was your two front teeth!

The media onslaught starts earlier and earlier every year. However on Christmas eve the adverts have moved to the ‘Sales’, ‘New Year’ and then losing weight and then booking up our summer holidays!

Have a great day, but don’t put yourself under financial pressure for months or even years.  Again as ‘Slade’ tells us, ‘Look to the future now………………….It’s only just begun’!

It is Christmas morning. The kids have been up since 04.15 and been feeding on chocolate and fizzy juice. They are as high as the Eiffel Tower! Dad opened the first beer at 09.20. Mum is frazzled. The turkey is still frozen and the tree lights have blown! Relax. The Visa  statement will not come for four weeks!

However we can do a lot to overcome the December blues and as Elton John said, ‘step into Christmas’.

So how can you survive the final two weeks leading to Christmas?

  • start your planning early
  • decide on a budget for food, booze and presents
  • post it up on a wall so you can see it and live within your budget
  • if folk are coming to your house, delegate. Who brings what? Who does what?
  • get all the taxi/car driving duties sorted out
  • talk with your loved ones about expectations. Get the reality check in place
  • compromises must be made. Everybody cannot be happy all the time.
  • track down the presents early. Amazon is great but don’t leave it for last minute delivery. You are just putting pressure on yourself
  • be aware of the early sign of emotional stress. (sleeping problems, anxiety, food and drink excesses, arguing)
  • learn relaxation techniques to help your mind and body
  • practise mindfulness relaxation techniques
  • buy some treats for yourself
  • if all else fails then have the telephone number of the United Nations peace keeping agency on speed dial if WW3 breaks out!
  • you can get help and support over this time and set yourself on a new path with promise and vigour.

Remember to have a great time!

When things settle and you are ready to make changes to your life, have a look through the pages of this site. There are a number of things that can help you…even contact Susan for information and direction


Posted in: Happiness, Ian Geddes, Living the dream, Relaxation, Stress Management, Work/ life balance
December 16th, 2017 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook

Steps you can start to take today to improve your work/life balance

Steps you can start to take today to improve your work/life balance

Ian Geddes and Susan Chan

Most of us choose to work. Most of us have to work to achieve the lifestyle we aspire to. Again for many of us we will work for a large part of our lives. There are many positive benefits to working including social, our relationships, mental, physical, emotional and financial. For some of us if we are in a good job which we enjoy, we benefit in all these areas. However when we are in a job that we don’t enjoy and don’t find a work/ life balance, we experience negative effects in all of these areas.

What are the risks associated with an imbalance? There are four key areas to consider:

  • Your health.
  • Your family
  • Your friendships
  • Your effectiveness

‘…never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life…’ source unknown

Our identity is often defined by our work, so it is important that we enjoy it and find a suitable balance between life and work.

So what can you start to do today to make that improvement? Here are a few work/life balance tips that may help you to manage your life more effectively:

These themes can be read in more detail in our book, ’A Mindful Compassionate Guide to a Happier Life’. We also have a bespoke course that tackles the challenges of gaining work/ life balance

Identify your priorities in life. The things you find important in life will become apparent to you when you change the way you think about your life. Life is very precious. Make time for the thing you really love and value. These things will be different for everyone, but they will all have the same result…. a happier you!

Make a plan. Once you have identified your highest priorities in life, make a plan for action. Make sure that you incorporate your management of time. Time is a finite resource, we have a certain amount and that is it. So really it is your most valuable asset and the thing that should be at the front of your mind when it comes to achieving a good work/life balance. Prioritise and manage time more effectively, allowing you to make time for yourself.

Dealing with stress and learning how to relax. Stress is real. It affects us emotionally and physically. Our blogs regularly cover what you can do to cut the causes of stress as well as taking steps to reduce the damage that it can cause.

Technology can have a positive or negative effect on your life. You need to decide the right time to address work voice mails, text messages and emails. Being ‘plugged-in’ all of the time erodes your personal life and it can hamper your effectiveness at work if you are constantly checking emails and answering phone calls. However, technology can offer the advantage of working from home to help both your personal and professional responsibilities. It is a balancing act.

Reflection activity: how to manage your lifestyle (adapted from the book, ’A Mindful Compassionate Guide to a Happier Life’ by Ian Geddes and Susan Chan

  • Take control. Make decisions and gain some power.
  • Never take your personal life and family for granted.
  • Be choosy. Adjust your work and life balance according to their value to you and not just what your employer demands.
  • Know your limits. Talk them over at work, after all it is only work!
  • Review your situation every 3 months. Review your priorities.
  • Allow space in your life. Stop and relax. Dedicate time for yourself every day.
  • Contemplate whether it is really all about money?
  • Don’t follow routines that are only there through habit. Allow your brain to be re-programmed to challenge these and find out what would improve situations, allowing you to thrive.
  • Accept that your life has many parts and be mindful towards them all.
  • Don’t be addicted to your work? What are you trying to avoid?
  • Be unavailable by telephone, pager or email for a part of each day and for at least one day a week. This will allow you to appreciate all aspects of your life.
  • Recognise that you need to look after yourself. Only then can you look after others. If you are healthy in mind, body and spiritually, then you will be happier. Show compassion
  • Practise relaxation, self-care and mindfulness with self-compassion every day
  • Remember you can say no! Why should you do something you don’t want or like?
  • Re-evaluate your perspective on life.
  • Remember the most that you can ever give is 100%.


Posted in: Coaching, Happiness, Ian Geddes, Living the dream, Relaxation, Stress Management, Work/ life balance
January 11th, 2017 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook

Addicted to Social Media? Do we need a ‘digital detox’? By Susan Chan and Ian Geddes

We were having a meal out recently. As we looked around the restaurant, there were people at 10 tables. Apart from ourselves, only 2 other tables had people actually talking to each other. The other 7 tables either had a single person, couples or larger groups where a smart phone or tablet was being used! So, are we addicted to our smart phones or tablets and constantly seek out ‘free wifi’ hot spots?

In their Communication Market Report of 2016, Ofcom, noted the impact of personal digital platforms on our personal and working lives. The sample survey, (2025 adults and 500 teenagers) indicated that both groups ‘spend more time on media and communications, on a daily basis’, than sleeping. Wow!

Society is split over the positive and negative impact of this modern trend. There are positives such as the importance of being connected to friends, access to knowledge, being entertained and feeling safe. The negatives mentioned included, not being able to spend enough time on other activities, (such as housework, homework, relationships, exercise…), neglecting face to face contact with family and friends, the stress of always being available and unable to forget work. It is so easy to forget what is happening around you. You forget about being in the present, being mindful.

We were watching a Panorama programme about Facebook and the impact it has had on social interaction.  Also an article by Nick Collins in the Telegraph, commented on the growing numbers of people affected by what has been labelled as ‘Facebook addiction’. Research by the University of Bergen identified a link between addiction symptoms of anxiety and insecurity and a compulsive need to use social networking sites. The University of Chicago investigated the ‘desires’ and ‘urges’ from over 250 people and found that alcohol and tobacco prompted lower levels of desire than the need to check social network sites! 80% of parents (as reported by Matt Warman from the Telegraph) fear that their children could get addicted to social network sites. 30% of parents stated that they believe that the web can ‘rewire’ a person’s brain. There is no evidence for this. Of course it can be fun and so useful when keeping in touch with friends and family.

I was in a school over the lunch interval recently.  The weather was nice yet the indoor space was packed with lots of students busy on their phones and Ipads, busy ‘networking’ away. Possibly they were checking up on their homework (!) However it does seem that for some young people it may be more appealing to do this than actually interacting with the person sitting beside them! Where will we be in 10 years’ time? Will the bubble have burst or will we be even more hooked into virtual interaction?

The Ofcom Report also commented on the issue that adults are aware of this and an increasing number are having ‘digital detox’ periods when the phones and tablets are left at home. As wellness and well-being consultants we have many clients who feel that open and free accessibility through their phones and tablets, leaves them with a negative balance when it comes to their overall work/ life balance and relationships.

So, is it time to consider a ‘digital detox’?


Posted in: Happiness, Ian Geddes, Living the dream, Stress Management
August 21st, 2016 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook

Top 7 Golden Rules for Healthy Eating by Susan Chan and Ian Geddes

We work with clients on a regular basis on issues relating to ‘weight control’ and healthy eating

Several techniques can work.

Mindfulness techniques can be successfully used to be more aware of your what you are eating.

Savour your food. Be aware of what you are eating. Eat calmly and be aware of your body becoming healthy.

You will need to break some habits.

The 7 ‘golden’ mindfulness rules for eating healthily

  • Give 100% attention to your food
  • Present your food attractively
  • Appreciate your food
  • Excite the taste buds! Take time to really taste your food
  • Eat when you are hungry
  • Chew your food slowly. Make the pleasure last!
  • Did you enjoy the experience? Do you feel good?

Mindfulness works most effectively when combined with regular practise.


Posted in: Confidence, Happiness, Ian Geddes, Living the dream, Mindfulness, Motivation, Stress Management, Weight Control
December 8th, 2015 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook

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