I've been away a while...

I'm feeling a bit sensitive about my blog on this site.  It hasn't been very frequent over the last 12 months.

This isn't to say I've been taking it easy. In fact I am just as full of ideas and enthusiasm for my work as I ever was.  But you can only spend your time once as my mum would say - and over the past year I've been focussing my energies on a new project.  Together with Sarah,  my good friend and colleague, I've launched Sprout - a fresh approach to personal development. From avoiding burn-out to changing career, from divorce to retirement - Sprout is all about helping you to navigate these life situations, providing inspiration, practical strategies and time out to refresh.

If you want to get a flavour of what we do at Sprout then you can follow us on Twitter @sprout.today and check out our blog

Which brings me back to my blog here.  On Monday , my first day back at work after the Christmas break, I  facilitated two sessions for the Midland Academies Trust, a consortium of colleges and schools. I'd been asked to provide practical advice on managing stress for teachers and support staff - in 45 minutes.

Now presentations are not my preferred style of working. I like to get my sleeves rolled up and help people really get to grips with  strategies that are going to make a real difference to their lives...

But I was determined to ensure that everyone received something of real value and planned the session accordingly.  I reminded people of how stress is very much an individual thing; different people will have different reactions to potentially stressful events. We then looked at how to manage, challenge  and change perceptions so that you can feel more in control when a stressful situation arises. Finally I guided the group ( all 60 of them!) through a mindfulness exercise.

I was really chuffed at the end of the session to see a queue of people round the room waiting to sign up for my free Relax and Refresh MP3 that I was giving away as part of the session.  I've decided I like presentations after all!