Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 15.26 – Short Circuit Second Hand Stress

Stress-wReflection: Members of a public service group once described to me the impact one of their leaders had on the entire team. This leader was highly unpredictable. One day he would arrive at work – all smiles and sunshine. The next day he would barge through the door with a heart of darkness – tossing glares, mean words and criticisms left and right as he made his way down the hall to his office.

Net result? Members of the team kept their heads down (literally cowering at their desks) until the boss arrived, and they knew which way the wind would blow that day.

I was reminded of this experience when I read Achor and Gielan’s article on Secondhand Stress in Harvard Business Review.

They describe how our brains are wired for emotional contagion. The up side is that this makes us empathetic towards others. However, there is a shadow side. We end up absorbing negative emotions, stress and uncertainty just like second hand smoke.

Being in the presence of someone who is highly stressed and stressful has a negative impact on our own nervous systems. We start pumping high levels of cortisol through our bodies just by virtue of being a bystander to someone else’s stress.

You might have noticed this phenomenon yourself. The challenge is how to deal with it.

 

Action: Here are three ways to inoculate yourself against second hand stress. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Wellness

This post was written by Pat Katz on September 16, 2015

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PAUSE – 15.24 – And Now For Something Completely Different

Wash Stand-wReflection: Last week was busy for me. Maybe it was for you, too.

I worked on the design for upcoming September presentations, met with clients to share info on programs, provided impromptu daycare for my 8 year old grandson, scanned and posted more of my sketches from Europe, and so it went.

There was progress on several fronts, and I loved it all. Still, by the end of the week, my brain was weary and my body was tired from too much time spent in front of the computer.

I found myself casting around for a weekend activity that would meet this criteria: ‘And now for something completely different…’ (Thank you Month Python.)

I found the answer hiding in my garage in the form of an old washstand that I inherited as a treasure from the farm. It was coated with varnish discolored over time. About a year ago I bought supplies to refinish and refurbish.

And that was how I came to spend three hours on Saturday morning laboring away in the garage where the airflow could blow away the fumes. Read More…

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

This post was written by Pat Katz on September 2, 2015

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PAUSE – 15.22 – What If? Life Lessons From The Road

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Reflection: After a vacation, I like to take a bit of time to reflect on the experience.

There’s an element of savoring involved – remembering people and places, incidents and moments.

And, for me, any kind of noticing usually triggers lessons as well.

As I thought about this summer’s travel experiences, it occurred to me that there are some lessons that might be applied to everyday life.

I’m sharing them here in the hope they might be helpful for you, too.

 

 

Action: When I’m traveling, it seems so much easier to dress for the day. Choices are limited to what fits in one suitcase. What if we simplified those decisions everyday by streamlining our wardrobes at home?

The touring days that are most satisfying are those where we narrow the focus to one or two places or experiences rather than trying to jam too much into a short period of time. What if we narrowed our everyday focus to a couple of high priority items and stopped trying to do it all at once?

Some of the most ease-filled moments on vacation occur when we give ourselves time and space to put up our feet and take a break. Whether it’s catching a nap, dipping into a book, or jotting a few notes in the travel journal, there’s something to be said for retreating and regrouping. What if we made a regular habit of stepping away from the press of everyday activity to refresh our energy and reflect on our experience? Read More…

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

This post was written by Pat Katz on August 19, 2015

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PAUSE – 15.20 – A Little Distance Makes A Big Difference

Reflection: What do you see when you look around? Burdens and responsibilities or delights and opportunities? And how much of a difference might it make if you could put a little distance between yourself and those everyday demands?

Vacations and time out matter. Not only for the richness of adventure and creation of new memories, but also for the perspective that comes with distance. Re-entry, after a time away, brings with it the opportunity to appreciate everyday life anew.

In our recent weeks of adventuring, we discovered that the Hermitage in St Petersburg holds some amazing artistic treasures. The fields of lavender and sunflowers in Provence are every bit as compelling in person as they are in pictures. The sounds of Paris are like nowhere else in the world – with the wha-wha of police sirens overlaying the bells of Notre Dame.

And now that we’re back, we’re finding that our time away changes our experience of being here. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines, Travel

PAUSE – 15.19 – Take Advantage Of Those Everyday Opportunities For Joy

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My Thoughts:

Much energy is given to contemplating the idea of a bucket list – the aspirations we have for those once-in-a-lifetime experiences (like sky-diving, canoeing the Amazon, or visiting the pyramids).

There’s nothing wrong with thinking and dreaming big. The challenge is that so much of our everyday life plays out on a much smaller scale.

Because of this, Jennifer Louden recommends writing yourself a Thimble List. That’s a list of tiny thrills and joys that you want to experience often – things like:

  • surprising a client with an unexpected kindness
  • savoring a bowl of juicy strawberries
  • sharing laughs and adventures with a two year old
  • reading a great novel while stretched out in the shade

Ticking items off the bucket list is great; and engaging in small pleasures can be every bit as satisfying.

 

Your Thoughts:

Pause for a few minutes this week with pen and paper in hand.

Start your very own Thimble List. Post it somewhere to prompt you to take advantage of those everyday opportunities for joy.

 

News Notes:

Travel Plans – Most years, my husband and I usually plan our travel adventures for ‘off season’. This year, we’re trying something different and adventuring across the pond to experience the height of summer in points European. While we travel, I’ll be taking a month-long hiatus from creating these messages. Look for your next Pause ezine in your mailbox on July 22.

Malaise News – Thanks to all who offered their opinions on possible titles for programs on the topic of malaise. These phrases were amongst the top runners:

  • From Bored to Restored
  • Engagement Is An Inside Job
  • Spark A New Journey
  • Moving Through & Moving On
  • From Tired To Inspired
  • From Deflated to Elated

Although I haven’t yet settled on the final title, your feedback was very helpful in sorting the list and advancing the cause. Much appreciated!

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

This post was written by Pat Katz on June 10, 2015

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PAUSE – 15.17 – Likely More Weary Than Lazy

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My Thoughts:

This is such a compassionate message. So often, I talk with people who do and have been doing such great things.

Yet they often say they are falling short of their ideal performance and not living up to their own expectations – much less the expectations of others.

Could it be, as Burchard suggests, sometimes we are simply tired? Worn out from pushing and pressing so hard for so long?

Or perhaps we’ve grown weary from going through the motions of life’s old familiar routines, and are just a tad too worn down to even consider something new? Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Pause Poster Message, Wellness

PAUSE – 15.16 – Are You Tending To The Tugs?

Vic Harbor Boat-wReflection: Seaports are fascinating places.

What I most enjoy watching are the tiny but powerful tug boats as they guide the larger Mother Ships in from and out to the sea.

Tugs are built for action not for show – rarely shiny nor streamlined in shape or finish. But despite their lack of polish, the port would be a mess without them. They’re essential in moments of transition.

Watch them at work and you’ll see they apply pressure in different ways. Some nose in at a right angle to the ship and nudge from the side. Some work in tandem from both sides at once.

Some tugs latch on up front and tow the ship in the desired direction. Some push from the rear – adding power from behind to guide the ship through the water.

Tugs help ships avoid collisions, come safely to mooring, navigate through tricky channels, and head confidently out to the open sea.

 

Action: As we navigate the murky waters of our everyday lives, we too rely on tugs. They may not be as visible as those in port, but they are present nonetheless. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.15 – Choose Today For A Better Tomorrow

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My Thoughts: 

It is far too easy to get caught up in the daily grind of responsibilities giving very little thought to how today’s choices affect tomorrow’s experience.

But impact the future, they do – one choice at a time. Minimize future resentment and regret by making at least one choice each day that honors your health, your relationships or your aspirations.

 

Your Thoughts:

  • What’s one action that will create a healthier you? Think movement, nourishment, or rest.
  • What’s one action that will enhance an important relationship you hope to enjoy well into the future? Think presence, connection, or appreciation.
  • What’s one action that will move you in the direction of your aspirations? Think experimenting, learning, or adventure.

Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Pause Poster Message, Wellness

Survey On Malaise

Asleep at The Wheel-wI know this invitation was included at the end of last week’s Pause blog post, but in case you might have missed it I want to make special mention of it in a separate post.

I’ve been doing some R & D  work on a particular aspect of engagement in work and life – the concept of malaise.

We’re all pretty familiar with stress and burnout – that dramatic stretched-to-the-limits, crash and burn phenomenon. Malaise is different.

Malaise is more like rusting out, feeling stale, bored, lethargic, restless, joyless or adrift – suffering the dis-ease of being under-challenged or feeling under-engaged. It can be every bit as challenging as burnout.

My interest was triggered by what I have been noticing in some individuals as they reach the latter part of their careers. Although I don’t think malaise is restricted to that stage of life, it does seem to be more prevalent there.

I’m interested in learning how we might avoid long stretches of malaise and move more quickly to light a spark and find a path through to a more joyful and enthusiastic experience of life and work.

To that end, I’ve done a number of interviews on this issue, and just last week I released a survey to start gathering more input.

Here is the link to the survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Malaise   I would be delighted if you could take five to ten minutes to respond to the survey.

I’ll be collecting replies up until the end of April. if there are other people in your circle whom you think may have an interest in sharing their thoughts on the issue of malaise, please share the access link as freely as you wish.

Although I haven’t reviewed all the 300 responses submitted so far, some of the early comments are showing that people are finding the questions intriguing and very helpful in guiding them to think about their own experiences with malaise in their lives and organizations.

I’ll keep in touch, and share more on this subject as my work unfolds.

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Wellness

This post was written by Pat Katz on April 21, 2015

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PAUSE – 15.11- Can You See It Now?

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My Thoughts:

Kazantzakis suggests we already have at hand what we need to create a more ideal future.

Could it be that our own lack of vision or lack of action are all that may be holding us back?

 

Your Thoughts:

What’s your vision of Paradise? What’s already at hand that could move you in that direction?

What’s your next step? And, when will you take it?

 

News Notes:

Uninspired. Unsettled. Uneasy. Lifeless. Restless. Joyless. Stuck. Have you been there?

I’m talking about malaise – that generalized feeling of being ‘out of sorts’. It grinds away and wears us down, robbing our lives of spirit, energy and joy.

As I mentioned in last week’s Pause, I’m doing some writing and programming on the subject of malaise.

Experience tells me that the more deeply I understand a phenomenon, the stronger my work, and the more helpful it will be to others.

To that end, I’m inviting you to weigh in with your thoughts and experiences. This link will take you to an online Survey on Malaise that will take 5-10 minutes to complete.

I’m most grateful for your help. A thousand thanks for sharing your insights and wisdom.

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