Productive Or Slowly Killing Yourself?

Productive Or Slowly Killing Yourself?

Katie Maycock | Anxiety and Digestive Health Specialist

Can stress ever FEEL like a positive? 

Stress impacts the body negatively, but are there times when it can be perceived as a positive? 

Can we trick our minds?

Let’s break down how stress can be perceived as a positive. 

Think about a time when you have had to reach a deadline or a target. Maybe you felt that push, that drive, that rush. Maybe all of a sudden everything became clear, you could focus and nothing got in your way.

Now, doesn’t that sound like a positive? It’s helping you to get you to your goal!

Seems like a positive, right?

It’s like tapping into an unimaginable amount of energy that gives you superhuman power. 

How could that be a negative? 

Let me walk you through my experience.

I’ve never been addicted to any substance or anything like that. However, I loved the rush, that mental clarity, that overwhelming feeling of achievement. 

Twelve hour days? Pfft. Sleep? Why sleep when I have goals to achieve? Rest day? Who needs one when I can be Wonder Woman and get everything done in one fell swoop. 

In the short-term, it felt fantastic. 

The downside is it was addictive. And like all addictions, they usually turn into huge problems. And this was no different for me. 

When I flipped that switch to fight or flight and lived off that adrenaline to be productive, that’s when I got myself into trouble.

That mentality led me to a chronic illness. My health took the toll for this seemingly positive addiction. 

That’s when a short-term success turned into a long-term problem. 

Was it quick? Absolutely not. Was I confused about why all of a sudden my body started to betray me? Absolutely.  

So the seemingly positive, non-detrimental stress turned into my nightmare. 

I’m not an anomaly. I’m not this randomly unfortunate person who got sick from my love of adrenaline.

No. There are so many people out there that live like that. They don’t recognize how stress can lead to bigger issues. Or even know that they are stressed.

Chronic illness from stress is becoming one of the number one killers of our time.

Take a moment. Have a ponder. Are you currently riding that adrenaline wave? Does a rest day mean nothing to you? Do you find yourself unable to truly relax because there is always something to do? 

If that is you, take a moment. This feeling does not last. I can attest to that. 

Take a close look at the cracks that could be starting to show. Is risking your health worth chasing that never-ending stream of goals? 

Recognizing this isn’t easy. Admitting this is even harder.

If you or someone you know is living life like this share this article with them or feel free to reach out here for more information.

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Monica Mathijs

Monica Mathijs

“Developing People. Developing organisations”

Monica is an ex-Big Four consultant and has worked with many businesses in the UK and UAE. She understands the needs of businesses to achieve results and support their workforce to be successful. She has many years of experience working across different functions of an organisation and uses her skills, structured approach, insight and hands on experience to deliver programs and workshops within companies.

Monica delivers bespoke corporate programs to provide staff with the tools and techniques to build upon their business and soft skills. The unique structured approach of the programs create a setting of learning which is immersive, hands-on, experiential and real-time.

She is passionate about helping people reach their potential and feels a sense of pride and accomplishment when the transformation takes place.

Being a change agent, Monica is able to support companies undergoing change and business transformation. People are afraid of new things and change so by working with companies on this journey, she uses consulting models and people development to support the change process through coaching, workshops and team building initiatives. 

A Survival Guide to Global Workforce Trends in 2019

A Survival Guide to Global Workforce Trends in 2019

Every year brings unique and sometimes wacky new workplace initiatives. 2018 brought us examples such as such as implanting microchips in employees and allowing them to only expense vegetarian food but there are also important trends that will help you become a better employer. Some of the more progressive initiatives we can learn from are Vermont offering an incentive of $10,000 for remote workers to move there and an insurance firm in New Zealand conducting an academically rigorous trial of a four-day work week with great success.

From welcoming a new generation into the workforce to embracing the growing mobile workforce, these are the five biggest workplace trends that your organization should be ready for as we move into 2019:

1. The competition for Gen Z talent is starting.

Gen Z is the first generation to grow up entirely in an internet-centric society and they rapidly joining the workforce, with the oldest members of the generation being 23 years old. They’re estimated to comprise up to 36 percent of the global workforce by 2020. Companies need to adapt their people strategies to attract and retain young digital natives who expect strategic use of software and technology in the workplace.

 To make yourself an appealing employer for Gen Z, have a software strategy and appropriate training to support it. Offer flexibility and wellness-oriented benefits, and have frequent conversations about performance and development opportunities with your young employees. If your company won’t engage them, they’ll find somewhere else that will. Listen to their ideas and be transparent with them from day one. Realistic job previews and employer branding also go a long way to make your workplace a good fit for everyone. 

2. Plan for the 100-year Life span.

In addition to focusing on young employees joining the workforce, a similar emphasis must be put on shifting career and life paths across all generations. More and more people in developed nations with access to effective healthcare are reaching their 100th birthday, meaning people will have longer careers than we’ve ever seen.

With people changing careers and jobs more frequently, companies need to prepare for a more dynamic workforce with workers looking to continually expand their skillsets cross-functionally. Consider moving employees horizontally across your organization instead of just thinking of them for the next promotion in their department. Businesses also need to plan for rising retirement ages by reviewing the role of pensions, benefits and physical or schedule accommodations for older and more senior employees. 

Japan, which expects half of today’s babies to live to or past 100, is taking the idea of the 100 Year Life seriously. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet worked between September 2017 and June 2018 to create a formalized structure for a Human Resources Revolution.

3. Be better than good. Period.

With a tumultuous global political climate, and governments responding glacially to crises with little accountability, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become more important than ever.

As a lot of tech and retail giants have seen recently, doing okay isn’t good enough. Societal expectations and employee demands are the rules by which companies operate. We must be willing and ready to respond to these new demands. We’ve seen livable wage initiatives, such Amazon and Target setting minimum wage targets of $15/hour following public outcry. Ethics also have an increasing presence in strategy, an example being when Google scrapped a Pentagon cloud computingproposal after employee outcry over the possible weaponization of AI.

Younger workers prefer companies with missions that align with their values, but there is a significant gap between society’s demands and corporate readiness. Fiftysix percent of organizations don’t have CSR as a priority and steps must be taken to bridge this gap. CSR comes in many forms — paying livable wages, environmental sustainability initiatives, facilitating community programs, or getting a certification of social responsibility (i.e. becoming a B Corp).

Wondering which initiative is best for you? Ask your employees to determine their values and keep up with current events.

4. Prepare for the shorter employee life cycle.

It’s no secret that many companies are seeing turnover increase. Between low engagement in many companies and younger employees who more likely to leave within five years than to stay beyond five years, it is evident that businesses must respond.

Some businesses, instead of trying to keep employees around longer, are reducing turnover costs by embracing the new shorter lifecycle of employees. Businesses that hire for high-turnover seasonal and low-skill jobs are putting more effort into cost-effective onboarding, training and offboarding processes to get the most out of employees while they’re still there. Some businesses have shortened the hring process to a single interview, or done away with interviews entirely.

Be cognizant of the risks of shorter-term employment, particularly with the rise of the gig economy and contract work. Contract work in low-skill positions often results in underpaid employees and less job security, resulting in lower levels of job satisfaction and engagement. Embracing high turnover can be beneficial but you don’t make your employees feel they can be easily replaced.

5. Embrace HR tech

Employees today expect good technology to do their jobs effectively and data is increasingly important for performance. With software-as-a-service (SaaS) business models prevalent in fast-growing businesses, you need to scale up software capabilities as your company grows. Single-purpose software won’t cut it anymore — end-to-end software suites are becoming a business necessity. When considering SaaS vendors or creating your own in-house software, ensure that systems are able to “speak” to each other and share their respective data sets to maximize value.

In addition, organizations are using technology to win the competition for talent. People analytics derived from these integrated systems can improve hiring and employee engagement, increase productivity and improve strategic decision-making. SaaS is surging in the people space by enabling companies to track and analyze data relating to workforce planning, recruitment, onboarding, learning, development and talent management, among other uses. Effective software reduces burdensome administrative work, gives employees more discretion over how they engage with HR and allows them to focus their efforts on more strategic initiatives that drive your bottom line.

Don’t get caught off guard. Staying on top of industry best practices will allow you to maintain an engaged workforce, attract and retain talent, foster innovation, improve productivity and build or maintain your competitive advantage.

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‘Motivation. How uncool that word just sounds. It somehow by default switches us into the procrastination mode…Procrastination is the biggest, greatest nemesis of motivation and to kill procrastination is the synonym to boosting the motivation. How?

“..action itself is the best starting point for more action while trying to think your way into more motivation is an unreliable and ineffective way to create forward motivation.” Stephen Guise

JUST DO IT! This Nike slogan says it all: the research into procrastination has identified practical ways that can help overcome the tendency to procrastinate and the single most important technique is called ‘the five-minute take off and is……simply, starting to do the thing you have been putting off, no matter how little you feel like doing it.

We often believe that to do something we have to truly want to do it—to be in the right mood, to feel inspired. Wrong! Usually, to get the job done, it is enough merely to begin doing it—the initial action kick-starts the process and often brings about more action.

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Plato

Remember Newton’s law from school?

“An object at rest tends to stay at rest; an object in motion tends to stay in motion”

MOTION, get yourself into that motion, just get going.

And if your ego starts getting excited about the ideas of dropping 2 dress sizes by the end of the week, learning Chinese fluently within a year or sitting 60 min every morning for meditation – laugh at it, as attempting such ambitions will likely make your mind freak out and find excuses on how to never get started!

Instead, have a mini target, your defenses go down and you (easily!) take that first (and hardest!) baby step—creating momentum that will likely keep you going.

This applies to EVERYTHING.

If you dream of  bikini body – start eating more greens and find sport activity that you enjoy (or simply join one of our Wellness Designer Holiday or/and Wellness/Nutrition Programs)

If you’re procrastinating (getting overwhelmed) with your business planning or creating your lifestyle, break your target task down into the smallest possible chunk and just do THAT! You don’t need to come up with the entire life plan—just start writing down, step by step with focus and single-tasking, consistently adding the tasks and actioning them: 1 in and 1 out.

You don’t need to write your whole life script. You don’t need the whole marketing plan—just 1 idea. You don’t need to eat perfectly today—just start with making 1 healthy nutritional choice and observe how you feel?

JUST GET STARTED. Small steps for big results. Keep feeding your motivation and it will feed your goals.

Your Wellness Designer x Aneta

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2019 Year To Clear What Is Holding Us Back

2019 Year To Clear What Is Holding Us Back

With all our best intentions and hopes, why is it so hard to keep up and succeed with the New Year’s resolutions?

After all, we wish the good things: eating less to lose weight, quitting smoking, drinking less, exercise more to look better, meditate to ditch stress…what is holding us back from achieving all of this?

 Why do most all these efforts fall short after setting them up?

The reason is you. You are the obstacle to your goals, to your New Year’s resolutions.

How? Why?

When was the last time you gave yourself a chance to slow down, simplify, and care for yourself? When was the last time you listened to your body and gave it the mental or physical break it required, nourished it with the food it needed and treated it with the adequate recharging hours of sleep?

Before the new to come, you must acknowledge the old, accept it and then understand why you need to clear it and let it go in order the needed new change could settle in.

Why are we so afraid to let go?

Because old habits, patterns, and routines are safe, effortless and there is no failure! Our drive to attain and succeed comes at a great cost to the soul and such pressure. We are malnourished, if not starved when it comes to compassionate self-acceptance, awareness, and care. We yearn for simplicity but struggle to find it. We ache for balance but can’t sustain it.

It is impossible to keep up with all of it, with all the pressure and demands we put upon ourselves, all at once with the ambition to get it all first time around, let alone clear the things and thoughts that have caused us to feel so overwhelmed in the first place.

Most social and cultural New Year’s resolutions traditions  do not make room for us to feel the e-motions that come up when we clear, and they make us feel bad when we fail (yes, I’m using the word ‘fail’ here to show its positive and meaningful significance in the evolution of the change).

So how to acknowledge the deepest hunger, need and success of these resolutions?

  • Accept yourself, make friends with yourself and fall in love with who you are: acknowledge and accept every wrinkle, pigmentation and stretch mark, face with confidence and respect those love handles and any extra weight….start feeling comfortable with what you see,
  • Take into account the fight-or-flight response,  any time you face your challenges and crave for changes
  • Recognise what energy your thoughts and emotions carry? Learn to apply this energy to serve you – learn to choose what thoughts and emotions to hang onto

Now, if you still want to succeed with your New Year’s resolutions?

PUT YOURSELF FIRST: you won’t lose weight until you recognise what you are hungry for? What you are eating for? Is it the stress, emptiness, unfulfillment, not feeling enough?

Recognise, understand and clear what makes you feel unsettled and causes stress?

Clearing is an inside job that begins and ends within you. It is not something you “do” or squeeze into your life with a fixed timeframe: (you want a bikini body for the week of holidays in August, don’t jump on the fad diet in July but start applying healthy lifestyle from today!)

It’s a lifestyle– a journey – that doesn’talways make sense, or go in a straight line for the victory. It is not”getting rid of” but letting go of the things and thoughts that get in the way of realizing our true nature and best life. It is a journey to creating our new mindset, our best happiest self. The journey of going slower and lasting longer. Becoming more aware that slow but consistent is the secret to effortless success with our New Year’s resolutions 

WELCOME to 2019! A Year to Clear What Is Holding Us Back; To Do Less And Be More. A Year To Invest In You, To Nourish You and Be You

Aneta Grabiec, 

The Wellness Designer xx

Aneta is a Wellness Coach, Nutritional Therapist, Food RelationshipExpert, Yoga Therapist, Raw Chocolate Lover, author of “The Health Book ofChocolate”. She also runs wellness retreats, workshops and 1 to 1 coaching allaround the world, to get in touch with her or find out more, visit

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