Word-Of-the-Week #951: Delight

October 27, 2022 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #951: Delight 

Delight something that gives great pleasure or enjoyment.

When was the last time you felt delight? How often have you taken time to take care of your own needs this past year?

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a tent with a mosquito.” ~African Proverb

The is the follow up to last week’s “8 Simple Ways to Brighten Someone’s Day,” By Krista Butler.

To recap:

1. Leave inspirational notes in random places.

2. Thank someone.

3. Be curious about someone.

4. Send a handwritten note.

5. Do something for yourself.

“Now this may seem a bit backward. How does doing something for yourself impact someone else?

Well, when you take care of your own needs, and give yourself some much-needed self-love, you fill up your own cup. And when your own cup is overflowing, that overflow is the love that flows to others. It’s a beautiful thing.

So take that bath, go to that dance class, go for a walk, and feel the goodness.

6. Make a playlist for someone.

Back in the day, I used to love making mix-tapes. I’d wait by my ghetto blaster, blank tape in the tape deck, and be on high alert to press the record button when my favorite songs came on.

These days, making music mixes are way less labor-intensive! You can make a playlist on YouTube in minutes. Make a specific playlist for someone in your life and send it to them. What an awesome surprise to both give and receive!

7. Take it to social media.

Instead of spending time lurking on Facebook and Twitter, choose three people to give a shout-out to! The guy you used to sit next to in science class, your cousin you haven’t seen in three years, the random person you connected with when you were traveling—post on their wall (or send a private message). Let them know you’re thinking of them.

8. Surprise with a gift.

Whether you send flowers to one of your friends at her workplace or buy a coffee for the person behind you in line, splurging and surprising someone else is a lot of fun.

Do you go to a coffee shop with a loyalty card? I collect all my stamps, and then once I accumulate my free coffee, I ask the barista to give it to the next person in line. It’s a thrill for me, the barista, and the person behind me who doesn’t suspect a thing!

When you brighten someone’s day, you are simultaneously stirring up positive energy within yourself. And you’ll carry this energy with you throughout your day. It’s a great feeling.

So I challenge you to ask yourself, how can something I do today surprise and delight another individual?”

This week’s focus is on bringing delight! Have you stayed in touch with friends and family this past year? When was the last time you surprised someone with a gift? Have you ever given a gift to a complete stranger?

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Word-Of-the-Week #950: Brighten

October 20, 2022 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #950: Brighten 

Brighten to make or become cheerful.

Do you know how easy it is to brighten someone’s day? When’s the last time you sent someone a handwritten note in the mail? When’s the last time someone sent you one? How did that make you feel?

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a tent with a mosquito.” ~African Proverb

Since I am on vacation, I am taking the liberty of re-running this. I don’t think we can be reminded enough the importance of being kind and thoughtful each day.

The week’s inspiration comes from “8 Simple Ways to Brighten Someone’s Day,” By Krista Butler. I will share her are eight ideas in 2 WOW’s

“I have a love-hate relationship with airports.

On the one hand, it’s the perfect place to people-watch. I mean, how can you not tear up when you see a kid running to give a returning parent a giant hug? Or two lovers reuniting and smiling from ear to ear when they lay eyes on each other? You are witness to perfect snippets of pure, genuine emotional connection.

On the other hand, airports can be a drag. Long line-ups, having to chug my water bottle because I usually forget to empty it beforehand, taking my shoes off and stepping on my tiptoes to avoid my bare feet touching the cold airport floor.

But on my latest visit to the airport, my negative attitude vanished all because of one airport security employee.

As I was standing in line doing a mental inventory of all the liquids I would need to empty out of my purse, she was directing people through the line up in the best possible way. She was yelling positive messages like, “Life is good!” and “It’s a great day!”

What a rare and beautiful thing to do.

It put a smile on my face and truly impacted my flight and rest of the day. Her joie de vivre was contagious.

I never would have expected this from an airport security employee.

Which got me thinking, how can I brighten someone’s day within my normal realm of work?

1. Leave inspirational notes in random places.

Books in the library, on people’s car window, under your lover’s pillow, wherever.

How awesome would it walk into a public restroom and find a sticky-note on the mirror that says something like, “Make it a great day”? I predict it will also be just as awesome and exhilarating to be the one to leave the note.

2. Thank someone.

Who in your life has positively impacted you? A teacher, your mom, your brother, an old neighbor, a coach? Send them an email and share a memory and your gratitude for the positive influence they’ve had in your life.

3. Be curious about someone.

Make eye contact and smile. Acknowledge their existence and engage them in conversation. Learn something about them. A two-minute conversation can brighten the day for both of you.

4. Send a handwritten note.

Who doesn’t love getting mail? There’s a total thrill in seeing an envelope with your name on it. Surprise someone with a handwritten note just because. I can almost guarantee they will smile ear-to-ear when they receive it.

When you brighten someone’s day, you are simultaneously stirring up positive energy within yourself. And you’ll carry this energy with you throughout your day. It’s a great feeling.

So I challenge you to ask yourself, how can something I do today surprise and delight another individual?”

This week is all about brightening someone’s day! How often do you do random acts of kindness? How good are you at listening and finding out about someone? When was the last time someone brightened your day?

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Word-Of-the-Week #949: Tonic

October 13, 2022 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #949: Tonic 

Tonic an invigorating, refreshing, or restorative agent or influence. 

When was the last time you were outside in nature? How much time did you spend? How did it make you feel?

As you read this I should be totally immersed in wildlife on a trip of a lifetime! 

This week features Time in Nature is Proving Worth as a Powerful Tonic,”” by Jason Howland at the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Eating right and exercising are important ways to stay mentally and physically healthy. And instead of getting off the couch and hopping on a treadmill, you might want to consider going outdoors and reaping the health benefits of being in nature.

And don’t be surprised at your next doctor’s visit when you get a prescription for parks instead of pills. 

Being outdoors in nature is an important factor in staying healthy. It’s a concept called biophilia. 

“Biophilia means that we are wired to be connected to nature — that there’s something healthy about having nature either in our presence or us being present in nature,” says Dr. Brent Bauer, a general internal medicine physician at Mayo Clinic. 

“There’s actually a lot of research on this topic. So it’s no longer just, ‘Nature sounds good.’ We know it’s actually really good. 

Those studies range from evaluating people who are in a city and then taken into a forest. What happens to blood pressure? What happens to heart rate? And in many, many studies, we do much better in the natural environment.” 

Those measurable results are why some health care professionals are writing “park prescriptions.” 

“It’s kind of, I think, heightening the importance of getting out into nature. More than just saying we should. Now we actually have a prescription,” says Dr. Bauer. 

Studies suggest the best dose of nature is at least two hours a week. And if you can’t get outside, bring the nature indoors. 

“There’s still plenty of benefits to listening to bird songs, listening to nature sounds, having a water fountain — just having elements around you that are made of stone and wood,” says Dr. Bauer. 

This week’s focus is finding your tonic. Are you devoting at least two hours per week in nature? Is it time for you to get your “park prescription?” Do you have elements of stone and wood or a water feature in your surroundings?

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Word-Of-the-Week #948: Balance

October 6, 2022 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #948: Balance 

Balance proper prioritization between work (career and ambition) and lifestyle (health, pleasure, leisure, family). 

Do you feel you have the support of your family and friends? Have you created times in your day for taking a break? What is your favorite form of creative expression? 

This week features the second part, “What burnout really is. And ways to prevent it,” by Angela Haupt.

There’s a lot of overlap between burnout and stress, said Inger Burnett-Zeigler, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University. But burnout is the result of “exposure to prolonged stress,” she emphasized – not just one or two taxing days at work.

 The pandemic has been a perfect breeding ground for the syndrome to fester: “When we think about burnout in the context of COVID, I personally can relate,” Burnett-Zeigler said. “And I know a lot of folks I work with have been under extreme stress, working longer hours, balancing work with child-care responsibilities, having back-to-back meetings and adjusting to working in a different environment.”

Though most research has focused on burnout in the workplace, some experts, like Nagoski, are adamant that burnout isn’t just an occupational hazard: It can happen to anyone. There’s no estimate of how many Americans are burned out, but anecdotally it has become more prevalent during the pandemic.

  • Dealing with burnout 

Though the onus primarily is on employers, there are still ways for burned-out folks to recharge and recover. Here are some tips from experts: 

  • Seek support from friends and family. “Self-care cannot be the cure for burnout,” Nagoski said. “Burnout is all of us caring for each other.” Aim to be surrounded by a “protective bubble of love,” she said: people who will remind you of your value and who you can lean on as you work through your burnout. 
  • Take breaks. Build these into your daily schedule, Burnett-Ziegler said. Spend your breaks resting or doing something you really enjoy, like reading a favorite book or going for a swim. Take vacations or, when needed, even longer time off from work.
  • After Sides felt like she hit a wall last year, she took a “massive step back” and temporarily shut down her online business. Within a few months, she said, she felt like she had the clarity and energy again to resume working.
  • Prioritize exercise for well-being. We often exercise because of social pressures such as achieving the so-called perfect body. In that context, working out might not help relieve stress, Nagoski said. But judgment-free exercise can. Think “dancing to Beyoncé in the kitchen or punching something in the basement,” she said. Do it for yourself, not to meet anyone else’s expectations of you.
  • Build transitions into your day. At the end of every workday, Weiss knows she could easily log a few more hours – but she’s clear about her values, such as spending time with her kids. She recommends implementing a routine that can help you transition from your work persona into home mode.  “Maybe that’s walking the dog or putting on a soundtrack as you close your work for the day or taking some mindful breaths,” she said. “It’s something that reminds you why the rest of your life matters and not to sacrifice that.” 
  • Get creative. Painting, writing poetry, sewing and any other form of creative expression are terrific ways to push through the chronic stress that defines burnout, Nagoski said. Working with your hands helps you “burn up all your feelings,” she said, by allowing you to channel your emotions into an object or process. 

This week’s focus is on balance. How good are you at transitioning between work and home life? Have you prioritized exercise for your well-being? Do you feel your friends and family surround you with a “protective bubble of love”?

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Word-Of-the-Week #947: Burnout

September 29, 2022 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #947: Burnout 

Burnout physical or emotional exhaustion, especially as a result of long-term stress. 

Has the pandemic caused you to experience heightened personal and professional demands? Have you felt a diminished sense of personal accomplishment? 

This week features excerpts from Washington Post, “What burnout really is. And ways to prevent it,” by Angela Haupt.

“Summer Sides is a go, go, go type of person. But by late last year, all the fitness instructor wanted to do was pass mindless hours in her home, undisturbed – venturing no farther than her backyard. She was suffering, she said, from massive burnout. 

Sides, 37, who lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, had opened a yoga studio on March 1, only to shut it down 18 days later and pivot to the Wild West of online programming. At the same time, she was taking care of her dad, who had suffered a stroke the previous year. 

She started getting migraines, and brain fog clouded her days. By winter, she was utterly depleted. 

“I didn’t mentally have the capacity to figure out another piece of spaghetti to throw at the wall,” she said. “It was like a pressure cooker: One thing after another kept getting added in, and all of a sudden there wasn’t enough space, and the lid was going to blow.” 

As weary Americans emerge from a harrowing global pandemic – and, in many cases, a period of heightened personal and professional demands – experts say burnout is a common affliction. 

“People are overwhelmed and exhausted and still feeling like they ought to be doing more,” said Amelia Nagoski, who wrote the 2019 book “Burnout” with her sister, Emily Nagoski. “I think it’s almost everybody everywhere. 

  • Defining burnout 

Burnout has become a popular catchall phrase in the “language of the people,” said Christina Maslach, a professor emerita of psychology and a researcher at the Center for Healthy Workplaces at the University of California, Berkeley. 

“Some people use it to mean they’re bored – like, ‘Oh, I’m getting so burned out on Pilates.’ Or, ‘I haven’t had a creative idea all week.’ So, it’s like a lightbulb has burned out as opposed to a fire that has burned out,” she said. It makes sense that people have latched on to the term: “It’s very catchy – the visual imagery of flames and ashes and all that kind of stuff.” 

According to the Maslach Burnout Inventory, burnout occurs when three factors are present at the same time: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a diminished sense of personal accomplishment. In 2019, the World Health Organization recognized burnout as an occupational syndrome – not a medical condition – based on those same three components. 

Emotional exhaustion is characterized by feeling depleted and like you don’t have any energy, Maslach said. Depersonalization, which is also referred to as cynicism, is “a hostile, take-this-job-and-shove-it attitude,” and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment means, well, exactly that. People experiencing professional burnout will be overwhelmed by their own alleged inadequacy and notice that their productivity plummets.

This week’s focus is on burnout. Do you ever feel depleted and like you don’t have any energy? Are you feeling cynical with a hostile attitude about work? Do you feel overwhelmed and stressed out often?

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