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 – 15.25 – It Only Take A Spark

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My Thoughts: “It only takes a spark to get a fire going; and soon all those around will warm up to its glowing.” That’s the opening line of a tune by Kurt Kaiser that may be familiar to many.

Once upon a time, in a life long ago, I adapted those lyrics in the form of a friendship song for a summer camp that I directed. From time to time, that tune still shows up as an earworm in my brain. I don’t mind. The words still ring as true today as they did back then.

When you are excited about something in your world, when you have a light in your eyes and even a most modest fire in your belly, the impact (on you and others around you) is both positive and contagious.


Your Thoughts: What’s lighting up your life these days? And if things are feeling just a tad dark and chilly, where and how might you find a way to strike a spark? Read More…

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

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 – 15.23 – Small Things Can Be Big Deals

Morrocan Pots-w-Lookclosely-small


My Thoughts:  Do you resist breaking into your happy dance – or cracking a big old toothy grin – until something REALLY important and UBER COOL happens?

If so, you’re missing out on a host of everyday opportunities to celebrate life’s good stuff as it marches on by.

So much is easily overlooked; but once noticed, it’s just as easily appreciated. I noticed these beauties perched on a shelf while waiting for lunch in Café Arabe in Marrakech. BUT, you don’t have to go halfway around the world to get the point or the picture.


Your Thoughts:  Why not get on it today? Right where you are!

Train your mind and your eye to catch and celebrate life’s small and beautiful – actions, things and experiences. They’re right here – right under your nose.

Now go ahead. Don’t be shy! Let loose your grin and your happy dance! Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life in General, Pause Poster Message

PAUSE – 15.21 – What Does Wishing You The Best Really Mean?

Best Things In life-wMy Thoughts: As you close a written message, perhaps you (like me) occasionally use the phrase: All the Best.

I recently looked at those words as I typed them on my screen and paused to consider what they really meant.

I know the phrase expresses my good intentions and positive wishes.

I also know that ‘best’ doesn’t refer to designer clothes, high-end cars, or big time paychecks.

The quote expressed in the image above does a pretty decent job of capturing the meaning: “The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and the memories we’ve made along the way.”


Your Thoughts: As we move through the halfway point of summer, how can you best use your time and your resources to appreciate the people you love, enjoy the places you visit, and make more memories along the way?


News Notes: Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Communication, Life in General, Pause Poster Message

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

Thimble Bucket Joy-w
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

Do something today -w


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