Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 16.11 – What Can You Do To Renew You?

Renew-wReflection: It’s been 20 or 30 years since we first started talking about work-life balance. The main challenge in the early days seemed to be that work ate up an inordinate share of our time and energy – squeezing out space for life’s other jobs and joys.

Over the years, the way we talk about this issue has changed. We’ve gone from balance as a distant objective, to flex as a decent workaround, to harmony as a desirable possibility, to integration as a reasonable compromise, to flow as a utopian ideal.

Although the language has changed, so has the culture and the technology. Expectations continue to grow, techno tools multiply, and multitasking runs rampant. The core challenge remains. There’s still not enough of US (that’s ME and YOU) to go around.

Here’s what I have noticed. We’ve become very good at injecting work tasks into what we previously referred to as ‘off-hours or down-time’. We check email while we tend the stir-fry. We fire off a text while keeping half an eye on the TV or the kids.

We’ve become better at wedging personal needs into our ‘working hours’. We take a mid-day break to ferry a parent to a doctor’s appointment. We leave work early to catch a youngster’s soccer game.

Sadly, we still fall short when it comes to working our own needs for R & R (relief and renewal) into the equation.

 

Action: Whether you pursue balance, flex, harmony, integration or flow, here are three strategies that are essential to sustaining yourself along the way. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Technology

PAUSE – 16.09 – Ain’t Brain Science A Wonderful Thing?

creative-brainReflection: I recall from my childhood that whenever someone did something my Dad deemed stupid or thoughtless, he’d declare, “That boy oughta have his head examined.”

Flash forward several decades, and lo and behold (love that phrase), having your head examined is a reality. Access to MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) has opened up the whole world of neuroscience.

Now we can see what actually happens in the brain as we experience the ordinary challenges of life. Each day, research sheds more light on mind-body connections.

A collection of findings on the neuroscience of happiness recently caught my eye. It suggests four actions we can take to create a more positive upward spiral of happiness in our lives.

 

Action: Here they are:

  1. Ask yourself what you are grateful for. You don’t even have to find an answer to the question to experience a positive effect. The simple act of searching for something to appreciate has the same impact on the brain as a dose of antidepressant. It boosts the ‘get happy’ neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin.
  1. Label negative feelings. Use a word or two to give these rumblings of discontent a name. Consciously recognizing negative emotions reduces their physiological impact and calms the mind and body down. It’s far healthier than trying to suppress them or pretend they don’t exist.

Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE 16.08 – PAT ANSWERS VIDEO: Malaise – Meeting The Challenge

Welcome to the fourth in a six part series of short (3 minute) videos that explore the new topic I’ve been developing: Rekindling The Spark – Navigating Mid-Life Malaise.

Today’s focus: Malaise – How do people meet the challenge?

Other topics in this series will be released in the weeks ahead. For details on what’s coming up, see below.

Just click on the image below to access the video for this episode. Enjoy!

 

Pat Answers- #4-400w

 

Watch for upcoming PAT ANSWERS Videos in this series:

  • Episode #5: Malaise –  What can you do to find your way through?
  • Episode #6: Malaise –  How do you help those caught in the grip?

If you missed the earlier episodes in the series, you can catch up here:

 

NEWS NOTES

Presentation Topics:
This reminder is for those of you who may be planning professional development activities and serving on conference planning committees.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been featuring a lot of the ideas from the programming I’m delivering on the Rekindling The Spark/Navigating Mid Life Malaise topic.

In addition to that topic, I continue to provide keynotes, concurrents and workshops in these two areas:

  • Wellness/Stress/Balance/Self Care/ Renewal
  • Appreciation/Encouragement/Recognition

Do keep me in mind if you have needs or interests that fall in any of these areas. At several upcoming conferences, I’m delivering multiple sessions on different topics at the same event.

 

Simple Pleasures Art Show Update

The Spring Thing Art Show & Sale held March 20th was a great success. Half of the images in the series found new homes – either with those who attended in person or those who made offers at a distance.

If you missed the event, know that it’s not too late. The remaining 13 images are still available. You can check them out at this link.

Thanks for all the live and virtual support for my art.

 

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines, Spark/Malaise, Video

This post was written by Pat Katz on March 23, 2016

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PAUSE – 16.03 – A Better Way To Bounce Right Back

Off Balance-wReflection: Loss of opportunity – imagined or real – small, medium or large – can be a stressful thing. More than once in my life I’ve been frustrated by an outcome – or lack thereof – only to discover that what ended up happening was just as good or better. Maybe that’s happened to you, too.

I recently ‘lost’ a potential speaking engagement that I was eager to undertake and thought was a sure thing. As it turned out, on the scheduled day of the event, the weather delivered freezing rain and ice-glazed roads.

Had the contract come through, I would have been facing a treacherous drive or a tough decision about whether to go or not. In the end, I was content to be spending the day in my office, safe and dry.

We recently made a special trip for breakfast to a top chef’s restaurant. Featured attraction: eggs benny on a salmon cake. Mmmmm. My mouth watered in anticipation and then soured in disappointment. A glance at the menu and a word from the server confirmed that this was a weekend brunch special. We’d missed it by a day.

After a brief pout, I reset my expectations and ordered another breakfast specialty: carbonara flatbread. It turned out to be a delicious treat I would otherwise have missed.

I could go on – as could you – with examples of disappointments far more serious and far more trivial. But, I’m sure you get the drift.

 

Action: The ability to make peace with disappointment and embrace what arrives in its place is a keystone of resilience and an antidote to stress. Too strong an attachment to preconceived notions about how things were supposed to go (or should have been) will keep you stuck every time. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines, Wellness

This post was written by Pat Katz on February 17, 2016

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PAUSE 16.02 – PAT ANSWERS VIDEO: What Is Malaise Anyway?

Welcome to the first in a six part series of short (3 minute) videos that explore the new topic I’ve been developing: Rekindling The Spark – Navigating Mid-Life Malaise.

Today’s focus: Malaise – What Is It AnywayOther topics in this series will be released in the weeks ahead. For details on what’s coming up, see below.

Just click on the image below to access the video for this episode. Enjoy!

 

PAT ANSWERS SERIES Malaise Episode #1-400w

 

Watch for upcoming PAT ANSWERS Videos in this series:

  • Episode #2: Malaise – Who cares? Why does it matter?
  • Episode #3: Malaise – Isn’t it just an ‘old folks’ problem?
  • Episode #4: Malaise – How do people deal with the challenge?
  • Episode #5: Malaise –  What can you do to find your way through?
  • Episode #6: Malaise –  How do you help those caught in the grip?

 

NEWS NOTES:

Engagement Series – I’m partnering with the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan to deliver three spring sessions as part of a brand new Engagement Series. Sessions include: Fueling Enthusiasm, Boosting Energy & Tapping Passion. Sign up for one or save a bundle by registering for all three. This link takes you to the Engagement Series Info.

 

Pick Me – Are you one of the 94 Pause readers who have already entered your name in the draw to celebrate my 30 years in biz? If not, you’ll find the scoop on the three prizes and entry details at Celebrating The Leap.

 

Posted under Life Balance, Pause E-zines, Spark/Malaise, Video

PAUSE – 16.01 – It Doesn’t Have To Be Forever

ExperimentsReflection: I’ve noticed that one thing that keeps me from saying yes to a new opportunity or direction (be it a volunteer request, work task, or membership) is the feeling that having signed on, I’ll be locked in F-O-R-E-V-E-R. The prospect of forever gets heavy in a hurry!

And, so, I’m playing with the idea of looking at life’s opportunities more as a series of projects – or experiments – each with a beginning, a middle and an end.

For example, I gifted myself with a pair of Nordic walking poles to start the new year. And, I set myself a project goal of taking them out for a hike on each of the first 28 days of the new year. Not forever – just for 28 days. And, so I did! And so it’s done. Not that I won’t do more…but it’s an option – not a burden.

I’ve set myself the goal of creating a series of 12 paintings under the umbrella theme of ‘Simple Pleasures. I’m halfway there, and enjoying the fact that experimenting with these images is neither a life sentence nor an endless commitment. It’s just plain fun at the moment.

This year, I’m planning to continue publishing Pause in the traditional format (like this) every second week. To spice things up, in the weeks in between, I’m going to play with a series of projects. First up will be a series of six short videos under the umbrella title, Pat Answers. They’ll explore questions readers have raised about the challenges of malaise and rekindling life’s spark.

What projects and experiments will follow remains to be seen. But there’s one thing I know for sure. I feel lighter already! Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 15.37 – Me & Fred & A Date With TED

Katz TEDX 5w

 

My Thoughts: Well, truth be told, there is no Fred. It just rhymes so well, I couldn’t resist!

However, there was indeed a date with TED. On October 24th here in Saskatoon, I delivered a TEDX talk titled: Lighting A Spark – Navigating Mid Life Malaise.

My gift to you today, is the link to that message. A click of either the image or the title will take you to the video.

What’s it about? Causes of malaise, common responses, a three-step process to help you navigate your way through life’s transitional fog, and examples of others who are making their way to what comes next.

Grab a coffee. Take a look and give a listen.

 

Your Thoughts: I hope the ideas in the video help you think more deeply about rekindling your own spark when your fire grows dim.

I welcome your comments, reactions and insights. Fire away!

 

News Notes: Since delivering this 17-minute TEDX talk, I’ve expanded the message into a 60-90 minute keynote. With more time, I’m able to explore how this issue plays out in organizations, how we can support others as they attempt to rekindle their sparks, and to share more real life examples of ways that people restore excitement and engagement to their lives. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Pause Poster Message, Wellness

PAUSE – 15.35 – There’s More To Life Than Choosing Happy

Pick Happiness-w

 

My Thoughts: I’m all for optimism and uplifting thoughts, but sometimes they don’t come easy, and sometimes simply choosing happy may not serve us well in the long run.

As we’ve seen with the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and so many other places in the world, frightening and unexpected events drop into people’s lives with no warning and dire consequences.

Those experiences fuel reactions and feelings that aren’t easily sidelined by substituting light and uplifting thoughts. Nor should we expect that to be the case.

A wise friend recently reminded me that sometimes we need to pause in the shadows to touch a fear that is all too real and oh so present. It matters that we take the time to be with those tougher emotions and not just speed through them or try to avoid them on our way to a lighter, brighter place.

A deeper understanding of what matters most to us springs from being present to both the dark and the light. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Pause Poster Message, Wellness

PAUSE – 15.34 – Ditch the Digital Dipsy-Doodling

Time Sink-wReflection:  When I deliver sessions on overload and overwhelm at work and in life, these are questions that often arise. Maybe you’ve asked them yourself!

  • Why can’t I focus in the midst of distractions?
  • Why do I keep interrupting myself, even when I’m on a roll?
  • Why do I feel exhausted at the end of my day?

The answers vary. But there is one modern habit that definitely contributes to these experiences – our 3D habit of Digital-Dipsy-Doodling. (I love that phrase – and wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. See resources of the week for the origin and two articles that say more about this experience.)

You may well be familiar with 3D behavior, yourself. It’s the practice of jumping around between email, twitter, facebook, instagram, and the many other diversions of the web at large.

Why do we do it? It could be FOMO – fear of missing out. Or, it could be (as neuroscience suggests) that fresh doses of info send zingers of dopamine to the brain. Dopamine feels good. And, so, we Dipsy-Doodle – again and again – moving ever further away from what we had initially set out to accomplish.

While we are busy jumping around like grasshoppers on Red Bull, we may not even be aware that all this switching takes energy. The more we leapfrog, the less we accomplish, and the more exhausted we feel.

Doped up and depleted was probably not how any of us envisioned our days unfolding. Welcome to the downward spiral of digital distraction!

 

Action: So what’s a busy body to do? Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Technology

PAUSE – 15.33 – Not Every Task Is Yours To Do

don't have to do what evrybody is doing

My Thoughts:

Peer pressure can be a formidable force through childhood and the teen years. And, it continues to be a presence as we move into our careers and through our adult lives.

As colleagues deliver webinars, package on-line learning, crank out manifestos and e-books, and travel hundreds of thousands of miles a year … I find myself pressed to join in the frenzy.

Then I remember to listen to the voice of my own longings, and realize that I don’t really want to do all those things. I remind myself that I can pick and choose the ones that fit, and let the rest flow by. Not every task is mine to do.

 

Your Thoughts:

Are there things you find yourself grasping for that you know at your core you don’t really want?  Could you make a different choice? Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause Poster Message, Wellness