how to avoid burnout

How to Avoid Burnout

As we explained in our last post about How to Recognise Burnout, feelings of exhaustion, and alienation at work, coupled with a reduction in performance, are having a disastrous effect both on our mental health, and the economy. According to the Lancet, poor mental health is predicted to cost the global economy a staggering 16 trillion Dollars by 2030. It’s a sign of the times we’re living in. Our work culture seems to constantly demand more for less, while expecting us to be available 24/7, 365 days a year. The pressure is relentless, and without the right sort of release valves, things start to go south. Add to that a global health pandemic, working from home, homeschooling our kids, the removal of most of the things we used to do to relax, and you’ve got a perfect storm of stress. Today we’re going to be looking at ways in which you can avoid succumbing to this very modern malady. 

Act Early

Burnout doesn’t just suddenly arrive in your life fully formed and ready to wreck your head. It’s a result of the combination of all sorts of negative work-related feelings over time, amplified by our inability to switch off, relax and recover. Imagine yourself like a bath filling up with negative feelings. As long as you pull the plug out every now and again and relieve the pressure, everything can carry on as normal, but left for long enough, the sides start to overflow, rotting your floorboards, undermining your structural integrity, and eventually the whole lot will come crashing down. It’s no exaggeration, burnout can ruin years of your life. Catch it early, look out for the signs. If you start to feel like work is getting on top of you, if you feel like you:

  • You can’t keep up
  • You lack control
  • You’re being unfairly treated
  • You’re undervalued
  • Your work is out of sync with your values
  • There’s no sense of community in your work environment

It’s time to act. Don’t wait it out and hope that things will get better. Do something about it. These are red flags. These are the warning signs that burnout is around the corner. 

But what can we actually do to avoid burnout?

But what can we actually do to avoid burnout?

Be Good To Yourself

You can’t expect to deal with the pressures of modern work life if you’re not looking after yourself. The nicer you treat yourself, the better you will perform. Remember, burnout is a result of stress and pressure at work MULTIPLIED BY our inability to manage it, and how do you manage pressure??? By taking the pressure off.

Sleep properly

According to research done in 2012, sleeping less than 6 hours a night was the number one risk factor for developing burnout.(Söderström et al., 2012). Lack of sleep messes you up.  Go to bed early enough to get enough sleep. No phones or tablets just before bed. You know this stuff already but here’s a good one; take advantage of the morning light to synchronise your body’s circadian rhythm. Expose your eyes to at least 10 minutes of sunlight as soon as you get out of bed (don’t look right at it obviously!). Even on a cloudy day, the blue light will trigger the neural circuit that controls melatonin and cortisol release, which affect sleep. Similarly, get some of the good yellow light from the evening sun in your peepers to set your mind to evening mode. 

Get outside and exercise

Don’t even bother thinking about why. Just do it. You know it’s good for you. Physically and mentally. It’s also been proven to help prevent burnout. 

Learn to manage stress

There are plenty of good stress reduction techniques. Breathing exercises are very simple to fit into your day. We’d suggest learning to practice mindfulness. It’s clinically proven, it’s a break in itself, and it’s completely free. You can find a whole load of guided meditations in our app. There’s even one designed to teach you the absolute basics (incense and long white beard entirely optional).

Do something you love

Get stuck into a hobby. Creativity is a great way to ward of burnout. Just don’t go too far and develop hobby burnout. Yes, it’s a thing!

Find Purpose in your Work

Maybe you don’t like your job. It might feel drastic, but maybe the most important thing to look at if you want to have a fulfilling work-life is how much you actually feel like doing your job in the first place. You don’t have to be Mother Theresa, but when there’s a deeper reason for showing up at work than simply paying the bills, when we are emotionally invested in our work, when we feel that it serves some kind of purpose in the world, we become far more resilient to pressure and stress.

Think about your job. Does it align with your core values? Does it give you a feeling of purpose? If not, is there anything you can do to change your role? Could you take on responsibilities in an area you care more about? Can you shape your role at all? If you really can’t see any potential for purpose in your current position, don’t do anything rash, but it’s definitely not a bad idea to start planning and thinking of a way to switch to doing something you can find meaning in. Your older, more fulfilled self will thank you for it.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

But what if you’re perfectly happy with what you do, there’s just way too much of it? Planning your time better has a dramatic effect on the time we have to get work done. We have some great time management exercises in the App which can teach you all sorts of techniques for getting more done with less effort, in less time. The Pomodoro technique, for example, which has you splitting your work up in to 25 minute chunks, followed by strictly enforced 5 minute break after each, with a longer break after every 4 work sessions, not only increases your productivity, but forces you to take the breaks which help prevent you from burning out in the first place.

Planning Your Day Backwards, which you can try out for free in the app, is a great way of organizing your work around what time you actually have, rather than how much you need to get done, and can save you a whole load of heartache and self-recrimination. 

Delegation is a work super power. There’s a lot of pain and stress tied up in the idea that you  have to do everything yourself. Your colleagues are there to help. 

Discuss Problems

And last, but by no means least, keep up with your friends. 

We are social animals. We have evolved to rely on each other for emotional and social support. Call a friend. Go for a walk together. Tell them how you’re feeling. Chew the fat. A problem shared is a problem halved. Yadda yadda yadda. It’s cliché because it’s true. 

Another massive cause of burnout is the feeling that our work life is unfair. If you feel like you are being underpaid, or overworked. If you feel like something at your work is severely at odds with your core values, then it will eventually eat you up inside. If it’s a big issue, reach out and talk to someone about it. We know from psychology, repressed feelings just pop back up to trouble us later, often when we least expect them.

So there you go, the Mindshine guide to avoiding burnout. We hope it helps. If you’ve tried our suggestions and you still feel constantly down, there’s no shame whatsoever in reaching out to your boss, or HR department, or to your doctor for professional help. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of courage. 

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Download the Mindshine app (iOS or Android) for more mindfulness and happiness exercises that help you find out what you believe and who you are.


Transform your negative beliefs for more happiness and fulfillment

In our last article we discussed belief systems and what impact they can have on your life. Now it is time to dissolve them. First you have to recognize your negative beliefs and by asking the right questions and questioning your behaviours. This is how:

  1. Find the source of cognitive and emotional dissonances: Ask yourself when in your life do you feel stressed? What would you like to change? In what areas do you want to be different, to act differently? How do you want to feel different? And what is preventing you from taking the appropriate steps?
  2. Analyze situations: In uncomfortable situations, don’t look for someone to blame, but seek your part in it. Especially when you experience similar situations with different people, this could be an indication of a certain belief system.
  3. Ask for permission to change your beliefs: Some beliefs are simply adopted from someone else. These beliefs are based on loyalty to others and can only be resolved with their “permission”. Ask this person for permission to change your behaviour and feelings – you’ll feel better.

How is it possible to dissolve my negative beliefs?

When you’ve uncovered some negative beliefs, you should change them right away. Here are three options that are very powerful when used together.

Strategy

1. Develop a new strategy

Belief systems are strategies that have lost their positive function. But we can replace them with a new strategy with a positive function. We need to “implant” the strategy on all four levels of our belief system.

  • In our subconscious: Think about which new belief system you want to replace your old one. For example: “I have to adapt to the others” could become “I am allowed to be what I am”.
  • In our emotions: Feel what your new belief makes you feel. Example: Instead of having the emotion “fear of rejection” like your old belief, your new belief system will make you feel better and you are more able to trust in yourself.
  • In our thinking: How will the new feeling of love and trust in yourself change the way you think? Example: Instead of downgrading yourself and wanting to change yourself, your thinking will be loving and encourage you to be who you are.
  • In our behaviour and the resulting situations: How will this change your behaviour? Example: The next time you want to say “no”, you will. Then you no longer have to bend over backwards or make yourself small.

Let go and be grateful

2. Be grateful and let it go

Our belief systems are always “meant” in a positive way, even if they limit us. In order to lose it, it is important that we know this and that our belief system is heard.

  • Feeling and confusing: Consciously remember your old beliefs and the feeling belonging to them. Thank them for distinguishing and describing you.
  • Farewell: Tell your belief that you will go on without it from now on because you have other, more effective strategies to protect yourself. You can stand up for yourself and no longer agree with your belief. Ask it to go away.
  • Letting go: Feel and imagine how your belief system is your system. To overcome the effect of letting go, you could perform various methods like writing your beliefs on a piece of paper and burning them.

Experience the future now

3. Experience your future at this moment in time

Our reality is created from within (believe, feel, think). So in order to change our reality, we have to change our insides. This means that in order to change our feelings and thoughts in the future, we must also change it here and now. Now that you know exactly how you will feel, think and act with your new belief system. Make this experience happen right now. For example: with a meditation in which you imagine exactly how different situations will develop with your new belief. What will you feel, think and do? Experience your future here and now. 

Dissolving limiting beliefs takes time and is a constant process of reflection and transformation. This shows how valuable this process is. With every step we get to know ourselves a little better. We learn to love and respect each other more and to create our lives in a better way instead of adapting to our lives and bending over backwards all the time. This will improve our relationship with ourselves. Let’s face it, we’re going to spend the rest of our lives with ourselves, wouldn’t it be nice if we could do that in harmony and love?

About the Author: 

Sophia Thora, Psychological Advisor

Sophia Thora

I am a Munich based Psychological Advisor and Yoga teacher. After my psychology studies and various study courses in stress management and neuro-linguistic programming I went to India to learn how to teach yoga. This  was the beginning of a long journey into yoga and my work as a yoga teacher, mental coach and founder of Kale & Cake. It’s my passion to find ways to a happy, balanced, and healthy life and to show others what inspires me. I am constantly exploring new approaches and developing myself, because I believe that the best teacher never stops being a student. I am happy about everyone with whom I can share my experiences and I love to support others in finding their balance and happiness. 


Download the Mindshine app (iOS or Android) for more mindfulness and happiness exercises that help you find out what you believe and who you are.

Check out how the first part about Belief Systems, or how to turn positive stress into personal growth.


What are belief systems

Beliefs are Your Key for Happiness and Fulfillment in Life

By Sophia Thora, Psychological Advisor and Yoga Teacher

When we become aware that some things in our life happen repeatedly, or our lives don’t go the way we wanted – we might need to face our subconscious beliefs and make some changes. But how exactly do these belief systems work and how can I become aware of them?

What are belief systems?

Belief systems help us orientate ourselves in our environment and to navigate through life

Belief systems are mostly subconscious rules and strategies that we have adopted from others or learned through experiences – often in our childhood and adolescence. You could say that beliefs are “if – then” strategies that help us to orientate ourselves in our environment and to navigate through life. Belief systems can be positive (“I am good enough”) or negative (“I am not good enough”). When we talk about wanting to get rid of our belief systems, we mean the negative and the restrictive ones. Restrictive belief systems are primarily rules and strategies that we have acquired to protect ourselves and to cope with stressful situations.

For example: As a child, I developed the strategy of being good all the time so my parents and other important role models didn’t always complain about me. 

However, this strategy may not be effective, and could be preventing me from gaining more strength. As an adult, I have the ability and authority to decide what I need and what I want. So resolving conflict situations by “being good” is no longer a suitable strategy , but rather one that “limits” my development. 

One of the most important things we should understand about belief systems is that they are actually here to protect us. They do not restrict us because they’re negative in origin. We just subconsciously apply an inappropriate strategy that is not effective. So it is not  that I am doing something wrong, or even that part of me is “wrong”, on the contrary. Everything about me is right. I just use the wrong strategies sometimes.

If I just have to change my strategy, why is it so difficult to get rid of my negative beliefs? Belief systems are not only subconscious. They have also been consolidated through countless situations on the way from child to adult. Of course it is entirely possible to resolve them. With the right strategies and continuous inner work. 

What impact do belief systems have on us?

In order to be able to understand more precisely how our belief system works and how we can dissolve them, we want to look at different levels on which belief systems work.

  1. Our Subconscious: This is where our belief system is stored as strategies. If they are set in motion. E.g.: The belief “I have to be good”
  2. Emotion: Activated belief systems in our subconscious trigger a certain emotion in us (e.g. fear of rejection)
  3. Thinking: Our emotions influence our thinking. For example: “I have to protect myself from rejection so I have to be good”
  4. Situation & Behaviour: Our thinking influences our behaviour and our actions. E.g.: Be good by saying “Yes” to please the other person even though I want to say “no”.
    Although we could already consciously perceive what is happening to us from the second level, we often do not. If the belief system is very deeply anchored, it may even be that we do not even notice that we actually wanted to say “no”. What we just perceive is that we are not happy or that we are not doing well without knowing why.

The good news is that everyone is able to dissolve his negative beliefs. In our next article we are going to tell you how you can do it!

About the Author: 

Sophia Thora, Psychological Advisor and Yoga Teacher

Sophia Thora

I am a Munich based Psychological Advisor and Yoga teacher. After my psychology studies and various study courses in stress management and neuro-linguistic programming I went to India to learn how to teach yoga. This  was the beginning of a long journey into yoga and my work as a yoga teacher, mental coach and founder of Kale & Cake. It’s my passion to find ways to a happy, balanced, and healthy life and to show others what inspires me. I am constantly exploring new approaches and developing myself, because I believe that the best teacher never stops being a student. I am happy about everyone with whom I can share my experiences and I love to support others in finding their balance and happiness. 


Download the Mindshine app (iOS or Android) for more mindfulness and happiness exercises that help you find out what you believe and who you are.

Check out how Mindfulness can help you achieve happiness at work, or how to turn positive stress into personal growth.


Routines

How to benefit from the power of routines

What with lockdowns and homeschooling, health worries and endless Zoom calls, the last year or so has been a draining time for our energy and for mental resilience, but we got through it, and looking back it’s super clear to me that perhaps the most important thing that helped me to get through the days, and the year, were my routines. 

The science behind routines

Routines save a lot of mental energy simply by making things automatic. Getting things done without having to think about it allows us to use that mental energy on something else. They also give us stability and predictability, something that is often missing from our lives, especially in times that feel chaotic, uncontrollable, or scary. All the science points towards the fact that routines are good anxiety busters as well, freeing up the brain from worries which are bad for our health. And the benefits don’t stop with the mental and physical. Routines can be seen to have an effect on our sense of existential contentedness. One recent study concluded that: People who tend to engage in routines rate their lives as more meaningful (Heintzelman & King 2019)

“One aspect is a sense of coherence, of having structure and stability in daily life, that seems to help us make sense of the world around us,” Heintzelman says. “That helps us act in the best ways, the most adaptive ways.”

So it is about being attentive. In doing so, we become aware of all our daily habits – we experience them consciously and with presence in every action, in every movement, in every word. A well-known Zen saying sums it up perfectly: “Make every moment the best moment of your life.” This is the path to success and leads to a fundamental feeling of happiness and ease.

So routines save energy, keep us calm, allow us to practice and improve ourselves, and bring our lives structure and even meaning, but how do we get more of this goodness into our lives?

You already have routines – practice PIGGYBACKING!

morning brushing teeth

Whether we recognise it or not, we’ve all got routines. They’re unthinking behaviours that we perform in sequence every day. Often they look like this: 

  • Lights on
  • Pee
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash face
  • Look at self in mirror

OR

  • Coffee machine on
  • Feed the cat
  • Glass of water
  • Pour coffee
  • Drink coffee

We don’t really think about them, because there’s nothing really to think about… and that’s the point. We get stuff done without having to put in ANY effort. There’s a huge opportunity in that. We can hijack it to supercharge our personal development. If we can take what we do already, and add in a couple of extra beneficial steps, we can make a real difference to how we feel day-to-day. 

The simple inclusion of a couple of affirmations when washing your face, or some gratitude practice while the coffee drips out of the machine turn your everyday actions into happiness routines. And since happiness is a practice, every little bit of work moves us forward in the right direction.

“We are what we repeatedly do”

It’s a phrase often misattributed to Aristotle, but it’s something that people interested in personal development have known for millennia. Repetition is the key to growth. Shakespeare didn’t just decide to sit down and bang out a play, Picasso painted every day, Eric Clapton probably spent his teenage years strumming in his bedroom. Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, doing it over and over again is the key. 

If you want to get big muscles, then you lift weights, repetitively.

If you want to be happier, practice gratitude, repetitively

If you want to get more comfortable with your feelings, you sit with them, repetitively.

Repetition builds thought superhighways

Repetition works because when our brains do the same things, over and over again, the neural links between the areas of the brain involved develop a sort of insulation around them called myelin, kind of like the rubber around an electric wire, which allow signals to pass more easily, and with less resistance and interference along their way. Essentially, the more you do something, the less resistance there is in the brain to that sort of thought in the future, and the more naturally that behaviour will come to you.

REDUCING RESISTANCE

Ultimately the secret to creating routines that work for you, and making them stick, lies in reducing resistance. To truly work, a routine needs to happen without thinking, just like brushing your teeth. These are our top tips on how to make your routines stick:

  1. Start really really small – micro action is better than no action. It’ll generate momentum and pride.
  2. Tie the action to something you already do routinely at around the same time. Affirmations as you brush your teeth, journaling with your coffee, gratitude at the train station etc.
  3. Write a “To Be” list – What kind of person do you want to be? What would that person put in  their routine? Put those things in yours and fake it till you make it.
  4. Celebrate small wins – did you nail your gratitude practice today? Give yourself a pat on the back. It’ll make it more likely you’ll do it again tomorrow if you show yourself some gratitude.
  5. Make it fun. Most of us are really just like kids inside, and as my school psychologist cousin told me (WAY too late in lockdown) “Kids aren’t motivated by consequences, they’re motivated by fun”. If it’s fun to do, we’ll do it more.

To save you the trouble of coming up with all the ingredients of your own routine, we’ve developed 16 fully functional routines working on everything from gratitude to mindfulness to productivity. You’ll find them in the brand new ROUTINES section of the app, and we’re so convinced they work, we’ve decided to make them all free, for everyone forever! Choose one, or do them all, it’s up to you. After all… it’s your routine.


Download the Mindshine app (iOS or Android) for additional mindfulness and happiness exercises. Start your mornings with “Mighty Mornings” “Morning Journaling” and “Morning Affirmation”.

Check out how Mindfulness can help you achieve happiness at work, or how to turn positive stress into personal growth.


happiness at work

Happiness at Work – How Mindfulness can help you

How can mindfulness and mental training help you become more successful and achieve happiness at work?

by André Genwa Daiyû Steiner

André Genwa Daiyû Steiner

Happiness comes not from doing WHAT makes you happy, but from doing what you do HAPPILY.” –André Genwa Daiyû Steiner

Practicing mindfulness is simple, but not easy. We become radically aware of the present moment, with all our senses. Mindfulness can be trained, like a muscle – but endurance and consistency are required.

In a time of quick and instant satisfaction – any information you want is available on Google, the craving for your favorite food can always be satisfied by 24h delivery service, muscles can be defined electrically without any active effort – a practice like mindfulness that requires practice may seem unattractive.

As in sports, a small step every day has a more lasting effect than a large step once. Fundamental attitude: There is no activity more important than the present one – being mindful is not racing off to try and find something better. Practicing mindfulness means returning to life in the present moment: 

“When I sit, I sit; when I walk, I walk; when I eat, I eat.” (Zen Master Nansen).

One aspect of mindfulness can be to turn our attention consciously to our senses or to our own body. We expect our bodies to do their job, day after day, but we seldom pay them any attention unless they hurt.

Everything we take in in terms of input and food needs to be processed. Everything we do, our posture, movement, tension, leaves its mark. Everything we feel emotionally has a physical equivalent. The body has its own way of knowing. A knowledge that little has to do with logic and much with truth, little with control and much with acceptance.

The practice of mindfulness can free us from the jail of perfection and release us into the gentle beauty of our imperfect yet wonderful human body.

So it is about being attentive. In doing so, we become aware of all our daily habits – we experience them consciously and with presence in every action, in every movement, in every word. A well-known Zen saying sums it up perfectly: “Make every moment the best moment of your life.” This is the path to success and leads to a fundamental feeling of happiness and ease.

What are the benefits of mindfulness in a business context?

mindfulness in the work place

The benefits of mindfulness have been studied scientifically for years, and multiple benefits have been discovered when it comes to regular mindfulness practice in a business context:

  1. Improved memory: Keep the important stuff fresh in your mind.
  2. Improved concentration and attention: Pay attention in meetings, stay in the zone when working.
  3. Stronger decision-making skills: When we understand ourselves better, we see more clearly, feel more courageous, and make better choices.
  4. Greater self-esteem and self-confidence: When we’re not worrying about how the world sees us, we are free to act boldly.
  5. More serenity: Less friction… more trust and cooperation… new pathways open up.

4 tips that help you when acute self-doubts and anxiety come up at work

About recognizing anxiety in the mind

When expectations and reality differ, anxiety and self-doubt result in our mind. All of our biological systems strive to establish a calmness – called coherence – in which everything that is going on inside and outside work together as effectively as possible. And when we fail to establish coherence, the deeper layers of the brain are activated. This leads us into fight-or-flight mode.

Typical behavior patterns are anger or aggression on the one hand and withdrawal, sadness or depression on the other – and if both modes do not work anymore, we go into shock/freeze.

Anxiety and self-doubt can be difficult to combat even in the best of times. But with the world constantly changing and new problems popping up every day, it’s even harder to find moments of calm.

Exercises to cope with anxiety and self-doubt

Here are the most effective, breathing and relaxation exercises for anxiety and self-doubt compiled. 

Manipulating breathing on purposes is a small change that can have a big impact. Moreover, it can be done at any time and anywhere (for example, when you feel a panic attack coming on at the office or during a family dinner).

1) Box Breathing

Box breathing is an effective relaxation technique. The idea is that you imagine a box (with four equal sides, like a square) while doing the breathing exercise.

  • Breathe in through your nose while counting to 4.
  • Hold the breath for 4 seconds.
  • Exhale through the mouth for 4 counts.
  • Hold the breath for another 4 counts.
  • Then repeat this exercise. Try to continue until you feel your heartbeat and mind begins to slow down.

2) Deep Belly Breathing

If you are looking for a more meditative breathing technique, this exercise is great because it requires mindful concentration.

  • Inhale and focus on filling your belly, then your lungs, then your chest.
  • Hold your breath at the top.
  • Breathe out in reverse order: from the chest, the lungs, then the belly.
  • You can repeat this as many times as it feels good.

3) Body Scan

Doing a body scan can be helpful if you feel very tense during the day or if you feel too restless to sleep.

For this exercise, lie on your back and stretch out your legs and arms in a comfortable position. Focus all your attention on each single part of your body, one at a time, starting with your feet.

You can either do a scan of any sensations or emotions associated with your body, or simply relax each part as you come to it.

4) Writing a diary – Journaling

 Write to your inner you about worries, wishes and hopes and start a dialogue in which the writer is also the reader or listener.  In the Mindshine app you will find many journaling exercises to help you find inspiration and the right questions. However, you can also write “freely”.

To write freely, set a timer on your phone. Try to start with 5 minutes, but feel free to adjust it until you find the right amount of time for you.

During this time, you can write anything that comes to mind. When the timer goes off, put the pen down and leave the writing for a while.

If you want, you can come back to it later and read it and go over your thoughts and feelings.

About the author

André Genwa Daiyû Steiner is a ZEN master and sensei, a keynote speaker, management trainer, author, expert in the fields of mindfulness, meditation and mind training. 

He has been practicing the Zen way for 30 years under the guidance of Japanese Zen masters. He runs his own Zen school and several Zendos in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Experiencing the present moment with all senses leads to ease and serenity – that’s what drives him. 

Download the Mindshine app (iOS or Android) for additional mindfulness and happiness exercises. Check out “Worry Less” “Journaling for Joy” and “Say it to Yourself”.

Check out how defining your values can help you make better decisions, or how to turn positive stress into personal growth.


online learning

How to motivate your homeschooled kids: start by adding fun

It seems that young kids will need to continue learning remotely for at least some more months in 2021. Here, Tara Eddy, a licensed educational psychologist, CEO of Feelings in Motion and creator of Stomp it Out, gives us some tips to help our homeschooled kids survive the remainder of online learning.

Tara Eddy

Young kids respond consistently well to two things: fun and connection.

If your child isn’t doing what you want them to do, it may very well be because they are bored, or they need a few minutes with you

When kids are bored, the threat of future consequences won’t help them to pay attention. In fact, threats and consequences will cause more meltdowns. That is because, they don’t see into the future with goal directed behavior like adults. They want to play. To get kids to do their work more easily, they have to enjoy doing it more.

Start by adding fun

stomp it out

Find a way to make their online schooling assignment more silly or playful. For older kids, tie in their interest areas to make it more fun.

For younger kids, if they don’t want to break down a writing assignment, find a ridiculously large pencil or pen for them to use. If doing a science video, recreate the actual experiment at home. If they’re doing math, bring in some fun manipulatives (objects) from your house, such as toy cars, pom poms, stuffed animals, etc. This will make the work more tangible.

For the much younger ones, they might even have one of their stuffed animal friends help them come up with the answers to questions by sitting near by. Kids aren’t meant to look like small business people on computers all day and an injection of fun can do a lot of good

When your child wants you to do their work for them: do it absolutely terribly, really exaggerate. Make stupid mistakes. They’ll find it hilarious, they’ll correct you, and do the work themselves. They’ll quickly show you what they can do and will probably do it smiling.

If adding a bit of fun and playfulness doesn’t improve their motivation, here are a few other ideas:

• Make sure they aren’t hungry: a lot of behavior can be quickly resolved by meeting basic needs that kids don’t describe well.

• Give your child a movement break: kids need much more movement than adults. They’ll focus better when they receive it. Have a dance party to their favorite song, run around outside, do a 5-item scavenger hunt in their room (see how fast they can find 5 blue items), or do a race from one end of your living room to the next.

• Make sure they actually know how to do what they are being asked to do.

• Emotional Check-in: ask them how they’re feeling. They may be frustrated about something being difficult or length, or may need a little help with something they don’t understand. When kids are stressed they often don’t have the words to tell us, so they behave in ways parents tend not to like. Ask and find out more.

For reference, average attention spans are approximately:

• 2 years old: 4-6 minutes

• 4 years old: 8-12 minutes

• 6 years old: 12-18 minutes

• 8 years old: 16-24 minutes

• 10 years old: 20-30 minutes

• 12 years old: 24-36 minutes

• 14 years old: 28-42 minutes

• 16 years old: 32-48 minutes

You can find more about Confidence, Productivity, and Happiness in our Magazine.

Download the Mindshine App (iOS or Android) and check our personalized goal plans that give you the tools you will need to stimulate and maintain motivation.


relationship problems during covid

7 tips that will save your relationship during Covid-19

Is Covid-19 sabotaging your relationship?

With coronavirus keeping us at home many of us have taken a long hard look at our relationships. Our relationships have been stripped back. The scaffolding of support that relationships normally rely on are simply not available.

Our partner has had to be our gym buddy, confidant, extended family, best friend, work colleague and a constant companion with nothing new to bring into the relationship.

Our intimate relationships have been put under a huge amount of stress. This doesn’t take into account the uncertainty and high anxiety that we have all been living with. People are emotionally exhausted. Add to that home schooling, support bubbles and financial pressures.

We have the perfect storm of life events that can derail even the most solid relationships.

relationship issues during covid 19

This is a time to recalibrate ones relationship. The relationships that have weathered storms in the past or faring better than those that haven’t faced pressures. Navigating through this crisis needs support and it would be sad if a perfectly good relationship fails because one doesn’t have the skills to negotiate the changes needed.

The one thing that we hear at The Relationship Practice is that we keep on arguing. How do we stop? The truth is all relationships have disagreements.

Conflict is not necessarily a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Even the most successful relationships argue. Unless we are in a relationship with our clone we are likely to have disagreements. It’s honestly not surprising to have arguments and in truth it’s not the arguments that are the undoing of a relationship it is how we manage it.

We also need to be aware of the impact the level of anxiety we are living under. Health anxiety has shrunk our window of tolerance and our brains are wired for fight and flight. In truth we are already primed to pick up on anything we may perceive as threatening and that includes issues within our relationship. As a result,  we may find our partner more readily irritating.

Here are 7 steps you can take to support your relationship over this time

1) Accept that disagreements are inevitable.

2) Take full responsibility and decide to recalibrate the relationship. Changing times requires changes to how your relationship operates. (Try the Mindshine exercise “Journaling for Joy”).

3) Have “we” conversations. E.g. “We are struggling with X, how shall we manage this?” works better than “You are doing X, and it’s a problem”.

4) Focus on a solution. Research has shown that solution focused discussions create harmony (Try the Mindshine exercise “Uncover Anger”).

5) Give each other space. Go for a walk apart or have a conversation separately, this literally brings air into a relationship. (Try the Mindshine exercise “Mindful Walking”).

6) Start and end the day well. Five minutes of undivided attention at the beginning and the end allows a couple to feel reconnected.

7) Seek support. A non-judgmental conversation with a counsellor can help turn a relationship around.

Article by Pam Custers, founder of The Relationship Practice.

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Personal growth and mental training helps to be happy

“My saviour and anchor in times of need” Yoga and Mental Training

Personal growth. Development. Achieving goals.

My life is shaped by the longing for self-fulfillment, realizing plans and letting reality develop the way I imagine it. However the path to this goal is not always easy and even today we achieve it with great effort.

Holistic work

Yoga has been my faithful companion for a long time, my saviour and anchor in times of need.  Working with my body supports me, enabling me to pursue my goals in a healthy way and live my dreams in a gentle way. Feeling the body, giving space to the soul and calming the mind – this is the goal of yoga. 

When I opened the yoga studio Om und Company in Munich in February 2020, I wanted to create more than just a platform for physical exercise, and I wanted to offer more than just yoga classes. I want to share my experiences with my students and take them on a journey of balance, health, and self-realization.

Physical practice and mental training 

For me, contentment has always been one of the biggest challenges in my life. It is not always easy to accept myself as a human being and to accept the external circumstances as they are. But allowing change often costs me strength and energy.

A big and helpful part of my spiritual work is also mental training. Since my second yoga training, which I completed in 2019 in India, meditation and pranayama (breath work) have become a big part of my daily routine. I start the day with a self-love practice, in which I learn through physical exercise and also mental alignment how I am doing and what I need. Every day I learn through listening to myself, but I also get help and support from outside. I find possibilities to develop myself mentally and emotionally. 

Creating a space and conveying understanding

My yoga studio is a place where physical practice plays a major role, but the mental guidance is not to underestimate. The yoga classes are also characterized by a holistic approach with a focus on self-love and positive thinking. I teach my students that a healthy body can only function with a healthy mind – and vice versa. I experience this every day anew, and it is important to me to pass this on. 

Offer support and coaching

After the crisis, digital interaction will probably play a greater role than before – especially in the field of yoga. Digital helpers can provide perfect support in this respect. 

I offer my participants this wonderful, digital coach as a valuable product to complement my yoga classes. The combination of bodywork and mental training is an important interplay in everyday life today.

With the possibility of a daily Mindshine training in connection with a valuable yoga practice, I create a great added value for my customers.

Achieving goals in a healthy way

For me, yoga is one of the most effective ways to feel yourself physically – the Mindshine App is a wonderful supplement for the alert mind.

For my participants a big benefit, for me a great opportunity to offer an additional bonus for personal growth. 

A connection that helps you to become physically and mentally strong. The perfect combination of physical and mental movement.