GP Partner. Peartree Surgery.
Peartree Surgery
The Challenge

It is well known that GPs suffer from stress and that this can affect our performance.  Under-perform in high level sport, or as a company CEO and you may get a slating in the press or even sacked.  Under-perform as a GP and you may get sued.  Knowing this just adds to the stress.

As a full-time GP partner working in a busy, urban, triage-led practice, Jim* is not immune to stress.  There are days when he feels utterly spent; overwhelmed by the sheer volume and complexity of his work.  The irony hangs heavily: he spends his life helping his patients, but acknowledges he is woeful at helping himself.

He was sleeping terribly, drinking too much caffeine and alcohol; he was overweight and rarely exercising.  He was turning into a problem patient, heeding none of the advice he was dishing out on a daily basis.  He was surviving at work, but he wasn’t thriving.

*changed name for privacy

Solution

Jim was invited to confront his stress – which was leading to poor lifestyle choices – through the basic six-session Mind5 course. He was intrigued by the idea that we’d be using exercise to highlight his own responses to stress and we’d also touch on key themes relevant to the work of a GP: maximising energy, fostering teamwork and retaining focus. He would learn about something for which he now strives for every single working day: flow.

Impact

“I was sceptical that Charlie – or any non-GP – could simulate the stress we feel.  What I’d forgotten is that we are just human beings with innate physiological responses.  Whether you’re triaging hard in a bustling surgery or negotiating hard in a city office, stress will make your heart rate rise and your breathing quicken.”

These responses can be distracting and cause anxiety.  Exerting some control over them means we are better equipped to deal with the pressure of the job.  Jim learned about how conscious breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system.  The technique pushes back the impulse of fight or flight and he even used it during a frantic on-call the following Monday.  “It felt a little odd amid the chaos to take a moment to take control of my breathing.  Sure enough, it helped me de-stress and regain control.”

“GPs get stressed at work; we all know that.  We’re not good at understanding how we work and why this makes us stressed.  Nor do we have strategies to help us.  Elite sportsmen also suffer stress, but clubs spend thousands on sports psychologists, precisely so they do understand why.  They are then equipped with the tools to help.

Charlie’s use of the Mind5® M.E.T.H.O.D© has been enlightening.  The idea of practising mindfulness to retain focus when I’m up to my eyeballs on a Friday night was anathema to me.  Likewise, I’d probably have chortled at any suggestion that focused breathing could alleviate acute stress.  I’ve used them, they work.  There’s not a GP in the land who couldn’t benefit.  I’m more energised, more focused, now I just need to stay in flow.”

Operations Director. Capita
Capita Logo
The Challenge

Paul came to us looking for help with managing his levels of stress, its effect on his life and how to manage to reach optimal performance. He acknowledged that he was ridiculously busy at work and this was not only having an impact on productivity, but it was limiting the quality time he spent with his wife and children. He also understood that his emotional reactions to situations could impact relationships with his team and the wider organisation.

Solution

Paul was invited to start the 6 session course in late 2019. We met every 2 weeks, and each session ended with a slightly longer reflection period. This gave him a platform to speak about the session itself and to work out what action steps he was going to take moving forward.

Impact
40
decrease in measured stress
50
decrease in digital distractions
40
decrease in other distractions
10
increase in his ability to deal with stress in the moment

“After an initial introduction, I was keen to work with Charlie for three key reasons:

  • He wasn’t interested in that “touchy-feely” approach that so often goes nowhere.
  • He immediately understood my situation and made clear, tangible and enduring recommendations about how to proceed.
  • The approach is very different to any other coaching or training I have seen or experienced.

Like many people I know and work with, I have attended courses and coaching sessions to achieve better leadership behaviours and work/life balance, but until your brain truly understands it, these ideas don’t take root.

This is a different and authentic approach that works if you are prepared to engage your whole self in the process. The use of physical activity to recreate daily stresses and activity resonated really well with me as it takes you out of your work environment and allows you to understand why you react and behave in certain ways. Doing this allowed me to specifically focus on changing my thought processes to improve outcomes, and it was fun along the way too.

Participating in this course has changed my quality of life, my stress management and productivity immensely. Charlie’s role and experience is indispensable. It was like seeing an x-ray of my life and I was able to quickly and clearly see how I was essentially coping with the daily rigours of life – not always setting myself up to thrive.

My experience of the Mind5 course exceeded all of my expectations and I have continued to use the techniques that he has taught and consulted me on.

Charlie is the kind of coach who can foster both action and ongoing change in others.

Thanks again Charlie!”

It can be stress that leads to poor lifestyle choices. Yet our lifestyle choices can often lead to stress!

Please get in touch to see how I can help.