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In This Issue
Is "Work-Life Balance" an Oxymoron?
Beware of Saber Tooth Tigers!
Be Mindful of Your "Mind Chatter"
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January/February 2014

A Message from Sarah & Chris:             Shiny scales balance Life and Work lifestyle decisions              

The theme of this issue is "work-life balance."
  

For people in the retirement services industry, especially TPAs and recordkeepers, this time of the year is especially busy. Employees and managers often put in extra hours at the office, and some offices limit time off during this time of year.  The amount of work and impending deadlines can leave us feeling stressed and out of control.  Thus, it seemed appropriate to dedicate this issue to "work-life balance."  Read on and explore ways to regain control and bring some balance back into your life.

 

We hope you enjoy our free SCS e-newsletter.  Please send us your ideas and suggestions for future issues.  Have a great day!  

Where We'll Be

  
New Orleans, LA
03/23/14 - 03/25/14
  
Savannah, GA
04/23/14 - 04/25/14

Las Vegas, NV
04/27/14 - 04/30/14
  
Greater Twin Cities ABC Meeting
Minneapolis, MN
06/03/14
  
Wolters Kluwer Retirement and Benefits Customer Conference
Chicago, IL
08/03/14 - 08/05/14

Keystone, CO
08/17/14 - 08/20/14
Today's Quotes 

 

 

"Worry is a misuse of the imagination."

     - Zig Ziglar, Motivational speaker

 

"I've experienced many terrible things in my life, a few of which actually happened."

        - Mark Twain, Author

  

"Lesson not just karate only, lesson for whole life: Whole life have a balance, everything be better. Understand?" 

  - Karate Kid, 1984  

 

Today's Laughs

  

If a train station is where a train stops and a bus station is where a bus stops, then what is a work station? 

 

THE SHREDDER

 

A young administrator was leaving his job at 5:45pm when he found the CEO standing at the shredder with a piece of paper in his hand.

 

"Listen," said the CEO.  "This is a very important and sensitive document, and my secretary is not here.  Can you make this thing work?"

 

"Certainly," said the young engineer.  He turned on the machine, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button.

 

"Excellent, excellent," said the CEO as his paper disappeared inside the machine.  "I just need one copy."

 

Lesson: Never, never, ever assume that your boss knows what he is doing!

 

- InstantHumour.com

 

Power of 3 Workshop

  

power of three-small  

  
The 2014 Power of 3 Workshop will be held once again at the Andaz Hotel in Savannah, GA.  Workshop dates are April 23 - April 25, 2014, with a Welcome Reception on the evening of April 22.  Join Sal, Sarah and Chris for an educational action-packed event.  

 

Space is limited - register now! For more information, visit our  Power of 3 website.  

powerof3   

                                                Background concept wordcloud illustration of work-life balance international            

  
     Is "Work-Life Balance" an Oxymoron?

To enjoy "work-life balance," most people feel they must achieve a proper prioritization between "work" (demands of job; career) and "life" (family, health, leisure, spiritual, etc.). In today's fast-paced world, is work-life balance really obtainable - or is the term an oxymoron?
 
Let's explore the above question.  First, we must recognize that "work" and "life" are not mutually exclusive.  For most people, work is a necessary part of life.  Next, we must accept that because of technology and the ability to always be "connected," the lines have become blurred between "work" and "life outside work."  We check on work emails and respond when we are at home, out to dinner, or at our child's sports event. We participate in conference calls when we are on vacation.  We make personal calls during work to take care of family or household issues.  We feel guilty when we do any these things because we are not doing what we want to do or what we think we should be doing in that moment.  This guilt leads to stress, which then leads to feeling "out of balance."  
 
So how do we get some balance back?  Here are a few suggestions: 
 
(1) Realize that the "work-life balance" paradigm is shifting. Accept that we now live in an era of "work-life blending" or "work-life integration."  Then you can give yourself permission to not feel guilty when you have moments of "blending."  You can also re-define what "balance" means to you.  
(2) "Unplug" more often and live in the moment.  
(3) Get enough sleep (at least 7 hours each night).
(4) Use your support network when you need help or need to talk. (i.e., family, friends, professional resources, etc.)
(5) Identify what is causing you the most stress and determine what proactive steps you can take to improve the situation.
(6) Keep an "interruption log" at work for a few days.  We lose a lot of time to interruptions.  See if you can determine ways to minimize interruptions during your day.
(7) Brush up on your time management skills in and out of the office.  Look for things you can delegate.     
(8)  Laugh!
 
Let SCS help you regain work-life balance.  SCS offers a series of inhouse workshops , brainstorming activities, and corporate retreat sessions to help bring harmony into the workplace, increase employee engagement, and promote work-life balance.
 

                                                 Computer generated 3D illustration with the Smilodon         

Beware of  Saber Tooth Tigers!

Understanding the "Fight or Flight Response"

 

 

The more often you feel you are "out of balance," the more often you trigger your automatic "fight or flight response." This response is our body's primitive response system that is designed to prepare us to "fight or flee" from real or perceived threats or danger.  In prehistoric times, this inborn response proved invaluable to humans against threats like saber tooth tigers.  The automatic response produces a surge of adrenalin and other stress hormones and sharpens our senses so that we are better able to deal with fear and threats. Once the threat has passed, the body returns to a more calm, relaxed state.

 

Today, our "saber tooth tigers" come in many different forms -  deadlines, family crisis, rush hour traffic, information overload, work overload, etc.  Although these things are not usually direct threats to our physical being, they threaten our emotional well-being and therefore, evoke the same fight or flight response. Because we can't punch our coworker or customer in the face ("fight") or beam ourselves up ("flee") from the office or a traffic jam, the fight or flight response often causes us to become aggressive or to over-react more frequently.  It is hard to be happy or keep a positive outlook when we are living in a constant state of "fear."  When too much stress triggers this automated response too many times, the stress hormones released become toxic to our body and begin affecting our physical and emotional health by attacking various internal systems and/or we experience burnout.  (Do you think you are experiencing burnout?  If so, click here to take a personal burnout test.)

 

By identifying our own personal saber tooth tigers and by recognizing the signs and symptoms of being in fight or flight mode, we can take steps to minimize our stress.  In fact, it is not the demands of our job or traffic jams that actually cause our stress. The stress is a result of our response to these things. With practice, we can become more mindful of what is causing our stress and change our response to it before it has time to evoke our automated fight or flight response.   

 

Click here to learn more about the fight or flight response.  

 

                                                 Yoga woman sitting in lotus pose on the beach during sunset, with reflection in water ...           

 Be Mindful of Your "Mind Chatter"
Turning Off the Noise
 
Our minds are always "on" - seeking solutions, searching for threats, thinking random thoughts. When our "fight or flight response" is overactive, the "mind chatter" frequently turns into negative thoughts and worries, which make us feel more anxious and stressed.  When our "mind chatter" gets too noisy, we can take a quick break.  In just a few minutes, we can find our "quiet place" through relaxation techniques and/or physical activity - and return to work in a calmer state of mind.  
 
Here are a few techniques to help you "turn off the noise:"
 
(1) Focus on a word or phrase.  (e.g., Peace, Love, Tranquility, Life is Good, God grant me serenity, etc.)  If you find your mind wandering, return your focus to the word or phrase that you chose.  Practice this 10 to 15 minutes a day, twice a day. 
(2) Do some form of repetitive exercise (e.g., walking, jogging, swimming). With each step or stroke, say, sing, or chant your focus word or phrase - out loud or silently in your mind. 
(3) Practice the 4,7,8,3 deep breathing technique.  Breathe in 4 counts, hold 7 counts, exhale 8 counts, repeat 3 times. 
(4) Do some form of activity for at least 5 minutes that will increase your heart rate and/or invoke a mild sweat.  (e.g., brisk walk; jump rope; 25 push-ups, jumping jacks, or squats; go up and down a few flights of stairs) 
(5) Take a walk by a lake or ocean or around a fountain.  
(6) Practice yoga.
 
 

                                                

What our Customers are Saying...
 

"This is the best session of all the four years of company retreats facilitated by people who know what we do."   

              - Brainstorming session attendee  

 

"The session was most valuable in hearing what the younger, recently hired employees had to say about improving communication and employee job satisfaction."

              - Brainstorming session attendee

 

 

   
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