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PAUSE – 19.09 – Take A Power Nap For A Power Boost

September 4, 2019

Reflection:  As a youngster, I spent more than a few summer days at my Grandfather’s farm. Each day after his noon lunch, Grandpa grabbed a scratchy red wool plaid blanket, and headed out behind the house.

There, in the caragana windbreak, he stretched out for a nap on a set of rusty old bedsprings he had strategically placed in the shade. Jack, as he was called by his friends, was definitely a man ahead of his time.

Research from Harvard (which I’m sure Grandpa never read) has proven what he knew from experience – that a mid day nap increases productivity and gifts you with the mental freshness of morning all over again.

As a student in elementary school, when we returned to our desks following the noon hour break, our teachers would read us a chapter or two from an ongoing novel.

We were encouraged to rest our heads on our desks to listen, and nobody cared whether you tuned in to the story or caught forty winks. I often thought that the teachers would have enjoyed putting their heads down on the desk and having someone read to them!

We’re learning more all the time about the impact of naps. (more…)

PAUSE – 19.08 – Invest In Prevention And Reap The Rewards

August 7, 2019

Reflection: About ten days ago, my left hip decided to let me know it still exists, and what’s more, that it was very unhappy with me. Maybe, from time to time, you get similar messages from various parts of your body.

I responded by returning to my practice of starting every day with 20 minutes of yoga, with special attention to stretching my back and legs. I’m happy to say it helped. My hip is still grumbling, but no longer sending hate mail and emergency alerts my way.

The experience has me thinking about prevention and its place in our lives – both for physical and mental wellbeing. (more…)

PAUSE – 19.05 – Banish Cranky to The Hills

May 1, 2019

Reflection: It wasn’t an unusual week, but I do remember it well. By the time Friday rolled around, I was good and cranky.

It hadn’t even been an especially demanding week. Just an event or three here – a project or four there – an errand or five elsewhere – and so it went. Not unlike a host of other weeks.

But I was tired and out of sorts all the same. Snappy – short tempered – restless! I recognize the signs more easily at this stage in my life.

The situation called for measures – not even drastic ones. I knew I needed time for me.

And so, I cleared the decks for Saturday. No commitments. No errands. No leaving the house to tend to anything for anyone.

What DID I do? I indulged in a series of simple, small and seemingly insignificant treats:  (more…)

PAUSE – 19.02 – Want Less Stress? Stop Looking For Trouble

February 6, 2019

Reflection: Do you have a solid sense of the ideas that are whirring through your mind at any given moment?

Are you aware of the impact those thoughts may be having on your experience of the day?

I know where my mind goes, and it’s not always to the most helpful places.

Join me on a little mental review and consider these questions.

  • What if we stopped scanning our world for bad news and no longer stayed on high alert for stressors just around the corner?
  • What if we thought less and talked less about the stress in our lives?
  • What if we stopped swapping ‘poor me’ stories that focus on how overwhelmed or exhausted we feel or poorly we’ve been treated?
  • What if we stopped concentrating on where and how we hurt – physically and emotionally?
  • What if we stopped holding so tightly to real or imagined slights and slurs?
  • What if we stopped picking at life’s stressors like a wound that just won’t heal?

 

Action: What if, instead, we started looking at and talking about these things? (more…)

PAUSE – 19.01 – Fine Tune For A Fine Year

January 2, 2019

Reflection: It’s the time of year when our thoughts turn to fresh starts – ways that we might improve our lives, change our habits, launch new goals. In the flurry of info about how best to accomplish these turn-arounds, an article by Tania Carriere caught my eye. I encourage you to read the full article linked from today’s Resource of the Week.

In short, Tania suggests that a shift in focus to something more and something new is not always necessary. In many cases we already know what works in our lives. We’ve simply distanced ourselves from the practices and choices that serve us well. Over time our shiny fresh intentions and actions tarnish and fade like a piece of good silver.

Like that silver, even though the surface may seem dingy and drab, the value still lives below. In her metaphor, what’s required most is not racing off in search of something new but simply finding our way back to what we already know puts a shine on our days.

 

Action: Over the last few days – as 2018 turned to 2019 – I’ve been pondering what I already know makes for a better life experience for me.

Here are a few strategies that would serve me well if I polished them off, and brought them back to life. They might spark some thoughts for you. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.11 – The Magic of Connection

November 7, 2018

Reflection: A friend and his wife did the dishes together every night. As she washed and he dried, they shared their news of the day, chatted about the kids, and sorted out plans for the days ahead.

Once they got a dishwasher and started taking turns doing dishes, they stopped talking. That simple shared habit had been their daily connection point.

A participant in a program recently told me that he and his wife tended to spend their evenings on their respective phones – physically present, but mentally absent.

They’ve made it a practice, every few days, to take an evening drive together and leave their phones behind. He says the conversation and connection in their lives goes up when they make time for shared adventures.

Last week, my husband and I picked up three coffees and took them to the viewing stands to squeeze in coffee and a visit with our very busy daughter while together we watched our grandson playing hockey.

In today’s nonstop world, it’s easy to grow distant from those we care about – occupied as we are with the minutiae of life and the lure of social media. Relationships suffer when we can’t find ways to stay in touch with those who matter in our world. And, that’s beyond unfortunate.

Research shows that strong relationships help us live longer and happier lives with fewer health problems. And by the way, it’s not the number of friends you have, or whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but rather the QUALITY of your close relationships that makes the difference. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.10 – T Times Three Can Serve You Well

October 3, 2018

Reflection: I mentioned this study a few years ago; and I’m going to share it again, because I believe it’s so significant.

The Energy Project stated in Harvard Business Review that employees who break every 90 minutes to pulse between work and renewal report: 28% better focus, 30% greater health and well being, and a 40% increase in thinking creatively.

I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that any practice that improves focus, creativity, health and wellbeing is good for us all. Yet there continue to be challenges in giving our selves permission to step away from the load. Those ubiquitous forces of guilt and fear prompt us to keep our noses to the grindstone – where we repeatedly crash and burn or live in a continuous state of blur and endure.

Even for those who are convinced of the value of pausing, it’s easy to get swept up in the work of the day and to forget that we had intended to take time for renewal.

 

Action: So, in support of those good intentions, here are three ways to move those intentions to action more often. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.05 – Building Resilience: Down But Not Out

May 2, 2018

Reflection: There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t stumbled somewhere along life’s path, been disappointed by something that did or didn’t happen, been let down by others they thought they could count on, or been blindsided by bad news.

Here, in Saskatchewan in April, it seems like the entire province was impacted by news of the death of sixteen members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team in a horrendous bus accident that no one saw coming. And, later in the month, the horrendous news of a van-pedestrian mow-down on the streets of Toronto

In the days following these incidents, there is a heaviness to the air and a weight to our conversations. There is sadness and anger, and also the chilling realization that these things could happen to any one of us, on any given day, in any location.

So, how do we get through the tough times that follow such occurrences, and find ways to come back from experiences that literally take your breath away?

 

Action: Here are a handful of ideas for cultivating resilience. Keep these in your back pocket for the next tough time that comes your way. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.03 – What Could Be Stealing Your Happiness?

March 7, 2018

Reflection:

How happy are you with your life these days?

And if you find things falling a bit short, who or what do you hold responsible?

This business of happiness is an interesting creature.

Throughout our lives, it’s often the case that we imagine we will be happier and more content when we reach some future state.

  • When we’re done school – or going back to school.
  • When we’ve landed an exciting job – or disengaged from a boring one.
  • When we’re married – or divorced.
  • When we have children – or when the kids leave home.

And so it goes on multiple fronts. I don’t know about you, but I continue to learn that future states are not always the glorious versions of bliss that I might have imagined them to be.

John Izzo’s latest book, The Five Thieves of Happiness, sheds some light on this experience. One of the messages that stands out for me is John’s observation that ‘We don’t need to seek happiness as much as we need to get out of its way.’ (more…)

PAUSE – 18.02 – Take Care Of You & Be Better For Others

February 7, 2018

Reflection: We’re three weeks into a kitchen renovation, so our home is a tad chaotic these days.

A veritable parade of tradespeople has been rolling through the house: demolition folks, electricians, plumbers, drywallers, carpenters, installers and those keeping track of what others are doing and how it’s going.

It’s been a lively, dusty, noisy experience. Happily, the reno is moving right along – even a bit ahead of schedule.

The fact that my office is in our home makes it doubly challenging for me. At the height of the hubbub, I took client phone calls hunkered deep in the closet of the master bedroom with two sets of doors between me and the noise.

Normally, my practice is to start my days with a walk along the river, a bit of yoga, an inspirational reading, or writing in my journal. Since the reno began, I’ve given that up so that I can be showered, dressed, and ready to answer the door when the first worker of the day comes knocking at 8 am.

I’ve recently noticed that I’m feeling a bit impatient, short tempered, even prone to feeling sorry for myself. That’s not my normal state. (more…)