Dear Stress, lets break up!
Our leaders are half way through the OT process and they are all playing a blinder. Every year its the leaders honesty and raw emotion that make the show such compelling viewing. Partly because we see ourselves in all of them. But this year in particular, it seems the leaders lives and their struggles are really connecting with the viewers on another level.
I think it was proven on last nights show that Operation Transformation is not just a weight loss programme. Rather an all round health show where the leaders well being is at the front and centre of everything we try and do.
If you ever wondered about the stresses that come with being self employed, where you feel constantly under pressure, week in and week out just to try and keep things afloat, Id advise you watch Paul’s very frank and honest interview that went out last night. The stress he is under is something I think thousands of people around the country who work for themselves, particularly in small towns or rural locations can completely relate to. He is trying to keep all the balls in the air, keep people employed, keep investing in his company in order not to sink. It is a full time job which comes with full time worry. He said himself that he needs help but does not know where to turn.
Being self employed, I understand to some degree, although not to the same extent as Paul, what it feels like to never be able to switch off from work. To feel the need to succeed and grow and be proud of how far you have come, yet never have the time to concentrate or appreciate those aspects of business because you are constantly in the thick of it. I was accepted onto a business mentorship programme last year called Going for Growth which is part of an Enterprise Ireland initiative for female entrepeneurs. Established by a brilliant woman, Paula Fitzsimons, the goal is to help and support women who run their own companies to grow and succeed. There are round table meetings held every month where 8 or 9 women meet up with their mentor and discuss what is happening internally in their companies. Honestly, to know that you are not on your own, that every company regardless of turnover has issues with staff, finance, investment, sales was a god send for me. To have people I could talk to, get advise from and learn from, in a confidential space, was invaluable.
Women talk, men need to talk more. Because suffering in silence is never good on any level. Stress is a killer. Cortisol is often referred to as the stress hormone. And elevated cortisol levels of cortisol interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, and increase blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease. We are seeing on a daily basis how fast living and the increased mental anxiety that comes with it, is effecting the world we live in.
Eddie suggested Paul take 1 day of 7 per week off work and that actually made him more anxious. But if we don’t switch off, burning out or worse is inevitable. For some people, myself included, we need to train ourselves to switch off and it is not easy. Different things work for different people and that is why the panel on Operation Transformation covers all areas of wellness; Karl for fitness, Sumi for medicine, Aoife for nutrition and Eddie for psychology.
Yes, our leaders are there to lose weight. But at the very core of weight loss, generally we find other internal or external issues which need to be dealt with in order to set people up for success. I am sure, that by Paul opening up, he is going to get the help he needs. Not only that, I am sure he will have inspirited countless others to do the same.