Lessons for Living – 101 Tips for Optimal Well-being at Work and Beyond

This book, by highly respected author, educator and adviser, Neil Thompson, offers a much more grounded approach to the complex issues involved. Part One provides a clear and helpful overview of key issues relating to promoting well-being – our own and other people’s, while Part Two offers 101 practical tips. This book will be ideal for anyone wanting to make a positive difference, whether in the caring professions, in a management or human resources context or just in their own personal lives.This is not a book that gives you instructions. The main aim is to give you food for thought, to support you in thinking through a number or key issues, warning you of pitfalls to avoid and helping you plan your own way forward.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

How to Do Social Work: A basic guide from one of social work’s leading authors

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Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Everyone has 24 hours in their day

‘I don’t have enough time’ is a commonly heard claim in busy workplaces, and there is certainly a great deal of evidence to show that time pressures are very significant for a high proportion of people these days. However, what we have to recognize is that everybody has the same amount of time – 24 hours in each day, seven days in each week and so on. It is not the amount of time available that distinguishes some people from others in terms of work pressures; rather, it is what we try to do with that time. If we try to do too much, we can end up spreading ourselves too thinly and end up being far less productive than we might otherwise have been if we had planned our use of time more strategically. Similarly, some people respond to high levels of pressure by burying themselves in their work and do not take time to step back, plan, set priorities or develop effective strategies for managing that level of pressure. They risk getting stuck in a ‘hamster wheel’ of relentless pressure that does not get them very far at all. Managing high levels of pressure is a very challenging enterprise, but we very much need to develop strategies for doing so and not allow ourselves to try to do the impossible by being unrealistic about what can be achieved in the time available – for example, by internalizing, or colluding with, other people’s unrealistic expectations, rather than challenging them.

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Dealing with Stress: Important guidance on keeping stress at bay

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How to help people with dementia: A guide for customer-facing staff

By recognising symptoms and demonstrating understanding to someone who may be having problems, you can help improve the everyday lives of people living with dementia.

This booklet gives an introduction to dementia and how it can affect people. Easy-to-follow tips outline the important elements of communication and the guide also explains how other physical, environmental and sensory factors can cause difficulties, and suggestions of how to reduce their impact.

You can download a guide for customer-facing staff, or go to our online shop to order printed copies for your organisation.

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The Avenue Professional Development Programme: Join Neil’s online tutorial group

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Grieving the loss of a work identity

A recent conversation with a 67-year-old friend who found herself unexpectedly retired by a job elimination brought home a grief we often fail to acknowledge: the loss of our work friends.

“I used to talk to these people several times a day,” my friend said. “Now, I don’t talk to them at all.” When I asked if she’d considered reaching out to say hello, she shrugged. “I don’t see the point. We don’t really have anything to talk about anymore,” she replied.

The combination of losses — her job, her work friends, her daily flow of conversation — was doing a number on my friend’s head.

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Facebook: Connect with Neil Thompson on Facebook

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Coming together to fight inequality

Experts and international institutions now recognise that inequality must be tackled. And every government has pledged to reduce inequality within and between countries. But in practice not much progress is happening and in many countries we are even going backwards. When it comes to action they are still reaching for the same old failed solutions.

Only when people join together from the grassroots up, mobilising and organising to build power and demand accountability and greater equality, will things change.

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Sociological insights to help understand people’s lives and their challenges

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Lessons for Living – 101 Tips for Optimal Well-being at Work and Beyond

This book, by highly respected author, educator and adviser, Neil Thompson, offers a much more grounded approach to the complex issues involved. Part One provides a clear and helpful overview of key issues relating to promoting well-being – our own and other people’s, while Part Two offers 101 practical tips. This book will be ideal for anyone wanting to make a positive difference, whether in the caring professions, in a management or human resources context or just in their own personal lives.This is not a book that gives you instructions. The main aim is to give you food for thought, to support you in thinking through a number or key issues, warning you of pitfalls to avoid and helping you plan your own way forward.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

The Professional Social Worker: An essential text for all social workers

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Accept what you can’t change

‘Facticity’ is the technical term for the things we cannot change, the things that are beyond our control. There will always be such things, and we have to get used to that. Some people have a problem because they tend to be defeatist. They accept things that they don’t need to accept – they fail to recognise that there are steps they could take to address their problems. However, the problem I am talking about here is the opposite of that. It refers to situations where people know there is nothing they can do, but they try to do it anyway. For example, someone who is interviewed for a job, but is unsuccessful may not be willing to let go of this fact. They may rail and rage against their potential employer, as if they have done them a significant injustice, rather than accept that, in the interviewing panel’s view, another candidate was better suited to the job. Not getting the job does not mean that you are a failure or that you are inadequate; it simply means you were not their first choice. Change what you can change, by all means, but railing against what you cannot change is a waste of time and energy and succeeds only in generating unnecessary bad feeling.

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Connect with Neil Thompson online! For Neil's blog and more resources

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World-first grief and bereavement app launched by Australian charity

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB) has launched the world’s first app specifically designed to support bereaved individuals and their family and friends. The free MyGrief App, which is being rolled out in Australia, the US and the UK … aims to support bereaved people, as well as those who are supporting them.

In launching the MyGrief App, the ACGB’s Chief Executive, Christopher Hall, said the App is designed to be simple to use, and uses uncomplicated language to support and guide users. Designed by industry professionals, the App is expected to be accessed by a broad range of Australians experiencing grief and bereavement, with the main user group initially expected to be 18 – 60-year-old males.

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The Avenue Learning Centre Learning resources from Neil Thompson and colleagues

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Social Farms & Gardens

Social Farms & Gardens was formed by the merger of two long established membership-based charities, the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens and Care Farming UK. Together, we have a combined history of over 60 years’ experience in advocacy, lobbying, membership growth, support and capacity building, and working with sector partners. By merging, we are able to offer a range of services for members, government and the wider sector. A key strength of Social Farms & Gardens is that we work with and support a diverse membership base across the whole of the UK, working across both urban and rural settings.

Our members operate across a wide spectrum, offering services including Green Care, community and social based activities. There is often considerable crossover in delivery different settings. For example, a city farm may be involved in both community development and care farming activities. By focussing on the services or activities delivered or facilitated by our members, rather than the physical form upon which our members operate (e.g. a farm, garden, school, orchard), we aim to widen the opportunities open to our members and the wider sector.

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Twitter: Follow Neil Thompson on Twitter

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Don’t be an ally, be an accomplice

I sometimes introduce myself as a “professional African American” when I travel the country to give ally skills workshops — often while looking out at a sea of white faces. It’s a joke, of course, but the point is serious. I’m using humor to disarm my audience, and to make some difficult and personal topics more accessible.

I recognize that every person walks into the room with a different set of experiences and point of view. Many folks have had uncomfortable and even traumatizing experiences talking about race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of marginalization. And many of the companies I work with have had conversations about bias go sideways. So a part of the learning experience in my workshops is making it safe for people to be present, both physically and emotionally.

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Ensuring every older person is treated with dignity as a unique individual

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Lessons for Living – 101 Tips for Optimal Well-being at Work and Beyond

This book, by highly respected author, educator and adviser, Neil Thompson, offers a much more grounded approach to the complex issues involved. Part One provides a clear and helpful overview of key issues relating to promoting well-being – our own and other people’s, while Part Two offers 101 practical tips. This book will be ideal for anyone wanting to make a positive difference, whether in the caring professions, in a management or human resources context or just in their own personal lives.This is not a book that gives you instructions. The main aim is to give you food for thought, to support you in thinking through a number or key issues, warning you of pitfalls to avoid and helping you plan your own way forward.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

A Career in Social Work: Part biography, part overview of social work careers

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Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Conflict can be constructive

Conflict can range from mild disagreement to violent confrontation, and, especially in its stronger forms, can be extremely destructive. However, it would be a significant mistake not to recognize that, in the right circumstances and if handled skilfully and confidently, conflict can actually be constructive. This is because carefully controlled conflict can spur innovation, free people up from tramline thinking, generate considerable learning, provide opportunities for people who have previously been at loggerheads with one another to respect one another, allow us to see situations from new perspectives and so on. Conflict can be understood to be like fire. If it is controlled and handled carefully, it can be very productive and helpful, but if allowed to go unchecked, can be enormously destructive, raging out of control and drawing in a wide range of people who get harmed in the process. Developing the skills of handling conflict effectively is therefore a very important basis for best practice in working with people…

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LinkedIn: Connect online & join Neil Thompson’s HUMANSOLUTIONS discussion group

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The Human Library

The Human Library is, in the true sense of the word, a library of people. We host events where readers can borrow human beings serving as open books and have conversations they would not normally have access to. Every human book from our bookshelf, represent a group in our society that is often subjected to prejudice, stigmatization or discrimination because of their lifestyle, diagnosis, belief, disability, social status, ethnic origin etc.

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A fresh look at social work theory and methods

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Weaving MAGIC into your workplace

The World Health Organization describes the relationship between work, health and productivity as a virtuous cycle, where “improved conditions at work will lead to a healthier workforce, which will lead to improved productivity, and hence the opportunity to create a still healthier, more productive workplace”. From a logical point of view this makes perfect sense. When people thrive, businesses thrive as well. But are you still scratching your head, not sure what part of the puzzle is missing at your workplace? Have you considered what I describe as the MAGIC? When magic is applied, you just might find the missing pieces to your jigsaw.

Often, problems at work have the feel that I liken to when you are a child, putting the pieces of a favourite old jigsaw puzzle together. You realise once you are well into your creation that there are vital pieces missing. Similarly, at work, we are often confident that most pieces are in place. We have worked hard on our culture and we are doing the right thing in so many ways – yet we seem to be missing something.

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A practical guide to supervision of students & other forms of workplace learning

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Understanding poverty and social rights through lived experience

Too many people are falling through gaps in service provision in the UK today. Many have no choice but to sleep rough and resort to food banks. Given the growing awareness that poverty is multidimensional, it is crucial to ask the most affected people what that means…

… Our research has shown that poverty in the United Kingdom today is still experienced as a lack of material resources and opportunities and that it is also experienced as a stigmatising label that blights lives. Poverty is an affront to human dignity that excludes and punishes people and makes them ill.

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If you’re a social worker come join us in the Social Work Focus Facebook group!

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Lessons for Living – 101 Tips for Optimal Well-being at Work and Beyond

This book, by highly respected author, educator and adviser, Neil Thompson, offers a much more grounded approach to the complex issues involved. Part One provides a clear and helpful overview of key issues relating to promoting well-being – our own and other people’s, while Part Two offers 101 practical tips. This book will be ideal for anyone wanting to make a positive difference, whether in the caring professions, in a management or human resources context or just in their own personal lives.This is not a book that gives you instructions. The main aim is to give you food for thought, to support you in thinking through a number or key issues, warning you of pitfalls to avoid and helping you plan your own way forward.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

Learn with Neil Thompson: Sign up to Neil’s YouTube channel

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Find the right pace

When it comes to working with people and their problems get the pace right is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do, but do it we must. That is because if we are going to slowly we may miss opportunities to move forward – for example, ‘missing the boat’ when someone is in crisis and motivated to make important changes. If we move too swiftly, we may create (or exacerbate) insecurity and anxiety and thereby hamper progress in terms of whatever need we are trying to meet or problem we are trying to solve. So, how do we judge what is the best pace? There is no hard and fast rule but mainly it comes from looking closely at the situation, gauging reactions to our input and picking up the clues about how comfortable or otherwise the person(s) involved appear to be. Difficult though this may be, it gets easier with experience provided that we stay tuned in to the need to consider pace as an important feature of our work.

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Emotional Competence Learn to develop your emotional intelligence and resilience

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