July 23, 2020

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    The legal profession isn’t known for nurturing, but Kim Simmonds is working to change that, leading by example.

    She not only provides the best IT and flexible working, but also offers all employees the opportunity to work with Executive Coach, Louise Otton, to ensure they have all the tools they need to succeed.

    Making physical and mental health a priority

    Kim takes employee physical and mental health seriously and, in addition to the monthly 1-2-1 executive coaching and the weekly team meetings led by Louise, she provides weekly PT, yoga and meditation sessions for staff.

    We want our clients to succeed too, so Kim has asked Louise to share some of the work we do with her here in this series of blogs. We find these tools help us to achieve our full potential and to provide the best service to our clients. We hope you find it useful too.

    Using mindfulness to restore calm

    I have used mindfulness and breathwork in my personal practice for years, through meditation, yoga and Pilates … I’m so passionate about how it can help us manage stress, it is wonderful to work with an organisation who enjoys it too.

    In fact, Kim Simmonds is a big advocate of the WimHoff method, she introduced me to this as alternative form of breathwork, which has had a profound impact on my daily routine and how I use my breath to support my own wellbeing. It is great to learn from my clients too!

    Louise Otton, Executive Performance Coach, Law 365

    Louise uses mindfulness a lot in her coaching, as it is one of the most accessible tools available to individuals and teams who want create a sense of calm and clarity in their thinking. We are all so busy doing things or thinking about what we need to do, or should have done, we rarely stop and spend time just being in the moment.

    Benefits of mindfulness

    Mindfulness has a holistic effect on both the mind and body and the benefits are multifaceted and far reaching. Here are just a few:

    • It can help increase focus and attention, improve memory recall and mental stamina.
    • It can also support better decision making, problem solving and creativity.
    • It can help you sleep better and therefore have more energy the next day.
    • Through better sleep and restorative rest, you are also supporting your immune system, which of course is fundamental in enhancing your longer-term health.
    • Practicing mindfulness can also help reduce the severity of psychological disorders and stress-related ailments, help with anxiety and panic, and improve your overall mood and sense of wellbeing.

    How does it work?

    From an emotional and mental health perspective, mindfulness can help you take back control of your stress response, as by focusing on your breath you are able to switch on your parasympathetic nervous system. This is your calming system, or sometimes known as your ‘rest and digest’ system. It plays a vital role in managing stress as it can help to conserve energy, slow down the heart rate, increase intestinal activity and aid digestion. This is turn helps to reduce the release of the stress hormones like cortisol, which can create a whole range of issues as discussed in a more recent blog post.

    If you spend too much time feeling stressed, in your Flight-Fight-Freeze mode, this can lead to being in a constant state of high-alert, which is often referred to as being ‘wired but tired’. You know that feeling when you are so tired by you just can’t switch off?

    This can leave you feeling exhausted but unable to sleep and reduce your immune system, which we all want to be protecting as much as possible.

    So, by bringing your attention to your breath and doing even just 5 minutes of a guided mindfulness session, you can switch on that parasympathetic nervous system and start to reset and restore your energy and focus.

    4 ways to build mindfulness into your daily routine

    1. Download one of the many mindfulness apps available to help you start to build it into your life. For example, Calm or Headspace. These can help you get started with practising for a few minutes each day. Find a quiet space either sitting or lying down whatever it more comfortable for you.

    2. Try joining a meditation group, put up post-it-note reminders around the house, or alarms on your phone as prompts, or ask a loved one to remind you to do it. In general, to build habits which stick it’s best to start with something really small and specific which you intend to do at the same time each day such as; ‘Before I go to bed I will sit on my bedside and take one deep purposeful breath’.

    3. Think about why you want to do it. What is your intention behind doing mindfulness. The more you can understand your reason behind it and what it will give you, the more likely you are to commit to doing it.

    4. Notice how it makes you feel, play around with different apps or methods and find one that works for you and is not a chore, it should be a treat.

    Remember self-care is not selfish it’s essential.

    Let’s have a go…

    One simple act of mindfulness is to notice what’s around you right now; focusing your mind into the present moment and tune into your current space using your senses, one at a time.

    • What sounds can you hear, where are they, how loud are they, or is it silent?
    • What can you see? How intense are the colours, where is the light or the shadow?
    • What can you smell, is it comforting or familiar?

    Tuning into your senses, like a child does with complete curiosity, is a simple way to be present and mindful at any time of the day.

    The key is not to put any pressure on yourself, but to bring your mind into the present, out of the doing and busyness of life and just be in that moment.

    About Louise Otton

    Executive and Personal Coach

    Bsc (Hons) PG CERT (Coaching) ICF ACC, MNCP

    As a post graduate qualified Executive Coach, Louise is energised by helping ambitious professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners and teams to optimise their performance, impact and wellbeing.

    By raising their self-awareness, leadership capabilities and getting clear on their goals, she helps them become more conscious, purpose-led and emotionally intelligent leaders.

    Louise is a post graduate qualified, ICF accredited coach and a psychometric practitioner in Myers Briggs Personality Type Index (MBTI) and Emotional Intelligence EQi-2 and EQi-360. She also holds a degree with a psychology background and draws on psychological theories that are vital in understanding how and why people think, feel and act, in order to become more aware of the impact they can have in their lives.

    Learn more about Executive Performance Coaching at Law 365 here.

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