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Common adjustments for staff experiencing mental ill health

Adjustments to the work schedule

  • Allow more breaks
  • Allow breaks to take place when needed, rather than a pre-determined schedule
  • Change their working day to start earlier or finish later
  • Allow them to use paid or unpaid leave for appointments related to their mental health
  • Offer a phased return to work
  • Allow part-time working on a temporary basis (or permanently if it is what the they want)

Adjustments to role and responsibilities

  • Review their workload and agree what duties they can do
  • Re-assign duties they may struggle with among the rest of the team
  • Discuss vacant positions in the organisation and temporarily transfer them to a different role they want to do.

Adjustments to working environment

  • Provide partitions, room dividers etc. to enhance soundproofing and visual barriers between work spaces
  • Offer a reserved parking space to make it easier for them to get to work
  • Offer homeworking for some of the week
  • Increase the size of their ‘personal work space’
  • Position them as far away as possible from noisy machinery
  • Provide a private space for them to use when they need privacy

Policy changes

  • Extend additional paid or unpaid leave during a hospitalization or other absence
  • Allow additional time for them to reach performance milestones
  • Allow them to make certain personal phone calls during the day

Ways to provide additional support and assistance

  • Assign a mentor or buddy to support and help them
  • Arrange a regular one-to-one with their manager to discuss and priorities tasks
  • Provide a personal computer to enable them to work at home when they do not feel able to attend the workplace
  • Offer additional training on the skills and duties their job requires
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The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage

A great Ted Talk by Susan David (Harvard Medical School psychologist who studies emotional agility) which focuses on society’s “tyranny of positivity” wich demands that cancer patients stay upbeat, that women never show anger and that boys never cry. Which according to Susan David, a dangerous denial of the value and complexity of human emotion.

Main Take-Aways

  • Many people judge themselves for having emotions like anger, grief or sadness. This “new form of moral correctness” denies many human emotions and dictates positivity.
  • Suppressing or denying emotions makes them stronger. Instead, embrace unpleasant emotions as part of your “contract with life.” Only the dead are free of such discomfort.
  • Practice emotional agility, a “lifelong correspondence with your own heart.” Be curious and compassionate about your emotions, and courageously act on your values.
  • Acknowledge and accept all your emotions, and understand what they reveal about your values. Label them precisely to identify their cause and to trigger your brain to act.
  • Workplaces that permit diverse emotional truths see higher engagement and innovation among employees.

Summary of the talk

When psychologist Susan David was 15, she dealt with her father’s death by becoming “the master of being OK.” However, a perceptive teacher handed her a blank notebook and urged her to write honestly about her feelings. The gift taught David to correspond with her emotions. People’s inner landscapes define how they “love, live, parent” and “lead.” Yet, a survey of more than 70,000 people found that one-third judged themselves for feeling so-called bad emotions, like anger or grief, or tried to deny those feelings. Despite life’s complexity, society classifies some emotions as legitimate and others as shameful. Such “rigidity in the face of complexity is toxic” and feeds a culture of tyrannical positivity. Moreover, people often force this “new form of moral correctness” on loved ones by shaming their difficult emotions or leaping into solution mode.

Bottling or denying emotions strengthens them. Indeed, “internal pain always comes out.” Only the dead are free from discomfort, disappointment, stress, and other unpleasant feelings. View these emotions as part of your “contract with life.” Embrace emotional agility, a “lifelong correspondence with your own heart” that starts with accepting tender, messy emotions. Stop thinking about what you should feel, and discover what you do feel. Acceptance will lead you to resilience and happiness. Precisely label your emotions: Are you truly feeling stressed, or are you disappointed? Naming your emotion helps reveal its cause and triggers your brain to take steps that are right for you. Your emotions are data about what you value, and they enable you to act according to your values. However, emotions shouldn’t dictate your behavior. Acknowledge and learn from them without letting them take charge.

For instance, avoid framing any emotion with an “I am” statement – for example, “I’m frustrated.” This conflates your identity with your emotion. Instead, say, “I’m noticing that I’m feeling frustrated.” Emotional agility means being curious and compassionate about your emotions and having the courage to act on your values.

“When we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity, we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.”

Normalizing human emotion in the workplace frees individuals to ask themselves vital questions:

“What is my emotion telling me?”

“Which action will bring me toward my values?”

“Which will take me away from my values?”

This “individualized consideration” propels people toward their best selves, making them more engaged and innovative. Thus, organizations thrive when they nurture emotional truth. The world remains an uncertain place, but emotional agility boosts resilience amid life’s vicissitudes.

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Calm your brain during conflict

Our bodies are designed to respond to all kinds of threats. Unfortunately, the self-protective “fight or flight” mechanisms that serve us well when we face physical danger can prevent us from dealing constructively with less-deadly situations such as a heated disagreement with a coworker. Nevertheless, we can develop better control in this circumstances with enough practice.

When we are in the middle of any kind of threat, both actual or perceived, stress chemicals flood through our bodies, causing our attention to narrow and our ability to see multiple perspectives to disappear. Unless we find ways to calm down, we may end up saying and doing things we regret. I always find that reserving your comments in these situation is never disappointing.

Instead of lashing out, try these techniques for maintaining calm and focus:

  1. Stay present. Look for clues in body language such as tensing of the shoulders, shallow breathing, or an impulse to flee signaling that you are feeling threatened.
  2. Let go of the story. When you feel as though you are under attack, your mind churns with thoughts and judgments. By refusing to get caught up in that internal drama, you allow your nervous system to begin to relax.
  3. Focus on the body. Notice the sensations in different parts of your body, without trying to change them. Where do you feel tension or perhaps pain? How do these feelings change over time?
  4. Breathe. Practice breathing rhythmically and smoothly. Count to four as you inhale and then again as you exhale. After a couple of minutes, your ability to think, listen, and relate should return. You can then decide how you want to handle the situation.

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5 Stressful habits to avoid

These are the habits that you keep on tolerating for a longer period of time without realizing that they add up to your stressful experiences.

Following are few such habits that we must avoid:

(1)Lying to yourselves:

Lying in general is bad but its worst when you lie to yourself. For attaining success in life, you need to be honest with yourself because you have to take chances and risks by being completely aware of the consequences.

Being able to stay truthful to yourself is key for personal growth.

(2)Not letting go of the past:

An important factor that stops you from reaching your goals is not forgetting the past. You need to adapt to changes and start living a life in present and should have high aims for future instead reading old stories of your past.

Carrying baggage from the past never help anyone. Let them go, and move forward with your life!

(3)Running after perfectionism:

There is no such thing as perfect and trying to be perfect creates nothing more than anxiety. The real world is full of people who became successful by facing setbacks. Always set your sigh on being better, but not on perfectionism. Being perfect robs you of being able to enjoy the joy of progress.

(4)Lowering yourself from your standards:

Talking down to one’s self creates feelings of stress. There is no need to lower yourselves to your standards. Convert your small-minded thoughts to achieving high goals. Maintaining is a higher standard in life is necessary to ensure that you continue to work hard on things that matter for you. Never lower your standard, strive to be better, always!

(5)Being jealous:

Watching other people living a successful life can make you jealous. These feelings can turn into a habit and can divert your attention from your own goals. Make your success about yourself and do not compare yourself with others.

These are the habits which you keep on tolerating without realizing that they create obstacles to your own success. Try avoiding them and you will a big difference in your life.

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How to Battle Difficulties with Patience and Perseverance

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We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and life and fruits of your toil. But give good news to the steadfast: Those who, when disaster strikes them, say, “We belong to Allah and to Him we will return”. Those are the people who will have blessings and mercy from their Lord; they are the ones who are guided.  ~Chapter 2, Verse 155-157

Problems are Universal— and Help is Always Near

Everyone in this world is facing some sort of trial or test. There may be some facing trials in education, others in their jobs, still others in their businesses, and still more facing problems with family or friends. But Allah (swt) says:

“Oh you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for God is with those who patiently persevere.  ” ~Chapter 2, Verse 153~

For those who exercise patience, Allah (swt) will help and show a way out of every difficulty.

And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out,

” And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.”                                                     ~Chapter 65, Verse 2-3

Allah (swt) in various places in the Holy Quran links patience and perseverance to success.

“Seek Allah’s help with patient perseverance and prayer. It is indeed hard except for those who are humble. “ ~Chapter 2, Verse 45

The Ingredients of Success

If we want to be successful in this world and the hereafter we have to be patient. Allah (swt) clearly sets out the ingredients for success: perseverance, prayer, steadfastness, and the fear of Allah.

If one does these things one is going to act according to the laws of Allah (swt). One will also accept and say that whatever happens is by the will of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) says:

“It may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah (swt) knows and you know not.”

~Chapter 2, Verse 216~

As Muslims we must remember that Allah (swt) says:

“Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.

Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.  ”   ~Chapter 94, Verse 5-6

The Promise

And for Allah (swt) to say this once is enough. But Allah (swt) says it twice, one after the other. This is how much Allah (swt) is kind towards us.

He says ‘O my slaves be patient. Be patient, because with any trial that you are going to face there will be ease. He tells us that for sure we all will be tested. We all will go through trials and tribulations but nevertheless we will be relieved.

Our burden, our trouble, our difficulty will be removed. How? Through prayers, through patience, through complete faith in Allah (swt).

“And be steadfast in patience, for verily Allah will not suffer the reward of the righteous to perish.” ~Chapter 11, Verse 115~

Dealing with Crises

So many times in our lives something happens to us and we feel that this is the worst thing that can happen to us. But then after the trial we realize that this is the best thing that could have happened to us. So we have to be patient and know that Allah (swt) is sufficient for us and is the best disposer of all our affairs. He will guide us to that which is good.

We must not say I believe and then think Allah is not going to test us. Allah (swt) says in the Quran:

“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).”   ~Chapter 29, Verse 2-3~

With Every Trial, a Solution

So whatever trials we are going through, we should know that we have already been told about this by Allah (swt) in the Quran. But we are not left alone with all the trials and difficulties. Allah (swt) gives us the way out.

“Patiently, then, persevere – for the Promise of Allah is true, and ask forgiveness for your faults, and celebrate the praises of your Lord in the evening and in the morning.”                                                                           ~Chapter 40, Verse 55~

” No one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune. ” ~Chapter 41, Verse 35~

We should always remember that our wealth— our family, our children, our wives and our status— is a test from Allah (swt).  Allah (swt) says

“Your wealth and your children are only a trial (fitnah). And Allah – With Him is a great reward (Paradise).” ~Chapter 64, Verse 15~

All Tests from Allah

Everything that we have in this world is a test from Allah (swt). A person is going to continue to be tested throughout his lifetime only to wash off his sins so that on the day of resurrection Allah (swt) puts him in jannah.

Whatever test we are going through in this world, we should remember that it is from Allah (swt) and that these test bring us closer and closer to Jannah, provided we deal with them with patience and perseverance.

The Reward of Patience

There is a beautiful story about patience in the Holy Quran of Prophet Yusuf A.S.

His brothers threw him into the well, but he was patient and so Allah (swt) raised him out of that well. He ended up in the house of one of the most powerful people of Egypt, but then Allah (swt) tested him again.

The wife of Al Aziz, the finance minister, tried to tempt him, but he was patient. Then Allah (swt) tested him again and threw him into prison. But he was patient for the sake of Allah (swt). And in the end Allah (swt) raised him to a lofty station and he became one of the most powerful people in Egypt. This is the reward of patience.

May Allah (swt) provide each one of us with this beautiful quality— patience.

 

 

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Contemplate and Be Thankful

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Let us take time for a bit of daily contemplation and a moment of thankfulness . . .

Remember the favors of Allah (God) upon you and how the blessings surround you from above and below –  indeed from every direction.

And if you would count the graces of Allah, never could you be able to count them

Quran 14:34

Among the blessing that we usually take for granted includes health, safety, nourishment, clothing, air and water – these all point to the world being yours, yet you did not realized it !

He has completed and perfected His Graces upon you, [both] apparent [i.e. Islamic Monotheism, and the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.] and hidden [i.e. one’s faith in Allah, guidance for doing righteous deeds and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in paradise, etc.].

Quran 31:20

You have at your disposal two eyes, a tongue, lips, two hands and two legs.

Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you deny?

Quran 55:13

Can you picture yourself without feet?

Should you take it lightly that you slumber soundly while misery disrupts the sleep of many?

Should you forget that when you fill yourself with both delicious dishes and cool water while the pleasure of good food and drinks is impossible for some?

Consider the faculties of hearing and seeing with which you have been endowed. Look at your healthy skin and be grateful that you have been saved from diseases that attack it. Reflect on your powers of reasoning and remember those whom suffer from mental ailments.

So, here is the main question …

Would you sell your ability and faculties to hear and see for a mount of gold?

Would you sell your ability and faculties to speak a huge seaside mansion?

Therefore,

Know that we have been given abundant favors and blessings, yet you feign ignorance. Notwithstanding warm bread, cool water, easy sleep, and good health, you remain despondent and depressed.

STOP ! Stop thinking about what you do not have and are ungrateful for that you have.

You are troubled by a loss in wealth, yet you have the key to happiness and many blessings.

So, let us take a moment, take a moment to contemplate and just be … thankful …