Get outside !

In Northern NE Today

Hi Folk’s – I am traveling today on a day off. I am in Northern New England looking at leaves, visiting a farm, do fall things. I love New England in the Fall it is one of the best places to be in October. So there isnt a formal post today just enjoying the day off.

You should plan something similar soon where you live, life is short GO OUTSIDE!

Somewhere north of Concord….

Your Pagan friend,

Karac

Remote work and Anxiety

Welcome to the new normal, whatever that is where you are, for this particular moment…. I know that’s ridiculous semantics start to the blog but the “New Normal” won’t be normal for long. However we have picked up some material changes along this Covid journey we are all on. One of them is the New Normal of working from home. As an example, myself, I haven’t been back to my office since 3/18/20. I work in a capacity now where I do a lot of meta data crunching, analytics and budget forecasting. As long as I have the data I can do this anywhere and my company as deemed people like me to be “flex staff” that means I can work from home, indefinitely. I’m happy about this, but many people out there aren’t.

I found a good article here That discusses some of the nuances with working from home and a new anxiety paradigm around the issue.

From the article: “Just as offices begin to reopen or at least contemplate doing so, a new study suggests that remote work is taking its toll on our collective nerves. Nearly half (47%) of workers say they are experiencing anxiety because of remote working — and among those, two-thirds (66%) say it has crushed their productivity.

The findings, based on responses from more than 1,000 remote workers in a survey by the Omaha-based insurer Breeze, is yet one more bit of concerning news for employers already working overtime to stay on top of the well-being of their people as the pandemic persists. Among other findings in the survey, 52% reported depression, while nearly as many (46%) experienced panic attacks. As a result of remote work anxiety, 57% have sought out professional and/or medical help. More than four in 10 said they suffered from remote work anxiety because they were working too hard or too many hours — worried their employers might think they are slacking off. Of those suffering from remote work anxiety, 43% said they planned to return to the office because of it.”

That’s a big quote and it says a lot. Now the sampling for this survey was 1000 workers which is a decent sample but I would have preferred 10K then we would have some very valuable statistics. One of the things that work does provide you with is an additional social outlet which is now, for many of us gone.

When life gives you Lemon’s, make Lemonade

Now I understand there are plenty of negative social interactions at work, it is a hub for humans to get together and interact. For those of us with Anxiety, work places can be a very safe place to be. You have social rules, there are many rules of engagement, you have clear expectations as to your role etc. We can’t minimalize this as a benefit as many with Anxiety thrive in structures social environments and work is one of those key venues.

For the last nearly 2 years now that has either been removed or altered and that has placed many of us in new situations which is uncomfortable. The article does a decent job of illustrating the issue and providing some guidance as to how to combat it. Couple this with the “Great Resignation” and companies scrambling to fill roles and the work dynamic has changed dramatically.

Is this the “New Normal?” I don’t know but I do know that the upheaval caused by Covid 19 is going to be with us for some years to come. As individuals with anxiety it is paramount for us to find a way to cope, survive and thrive. You can do this, remember, one day at a time.

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Squats

How I keep the weight off

This isn’t a weight loss and nutrition blog but on my blogging journey I have lost over 30 pounds. The hardest thing I have found is keeping the weight off. I think it’s easy to focus for 60 days and lose weight but what happens 6 months later? This isn’t going to be a long post but I wanted to share with you one exercise trick I use to help me keep weight off.

Every 72 hours, so every 3rd day approximately…. I do heavy squats. This one exercise gives me cardio, strength, testosterone boost on and on. I do 5 sets of 5 reps and they are gut busting. I do a good 30 min stretch and warm up beforehand but this is a progressive loading technique that Is designed to increase strength. You should barely be getting the 5 rep of the 5 set completed and failure to complete the 5 set is the ideal.

Anytime I complete the 5 sets of 5 reps, the next session I increase the weight 5 pounds. This progressive loading is extremely taxing and let me tell you, I am drenched in sweat and exhausted after this work out. This one compound exercise has an incredible impact on your entire body. It works your core, your legs, glutes and really ramps up your endro system. I do other workouts of course but this is the most gut busting one.

If you do this, every 72 hours you will see positive effects on your body I am convinced of this. Start light, and work up from there.

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How to improve as a man – MGTOW Light

MGTOW (Men go their own way) is one of the new popular social movements born from several social dynamics. I am not here to say it’s good or bad, I think everyone has to make the best choice for them. I do understand why some men do this and they have legit reasonable rationales for doing so. Like most things in life the best solution is usually somewhere in the middle.

MGTOW has been ascribed a narrative of being anti-feminist, misogynistic and void of all female contact. Of course the definitions run the gambit but the main stream narrative has painted MGTOW in a negative light. I think writing off all females is ridiculous, but I think many modern men are doing MGTOW light. Essentially what that means is now making themselves the priority not the attainment of approval or attention of females.

Keep in mind this is written from a heterosexual point of view. I can’t comment on Bi or Homosexual tendencies, I am neither and while I do have people in my life who are both I can’t intelligently speak on either in a meaningful way. I can say though that MGTOW light is a positive outcome for everyone. Strong men are good things for society. Not physically strong but mentally and emotionally.

Now that isn’t to say you can’t achieve both with females in your life but its far better to achieve both PRIOR to have females a large part of your life. I believe in marriage, I am married. I believe in committing to one partner for the long term. Maybe you don’t and that’s okay. It’s also okay for you to focus on your health, your wealth and overall wellbeing as a man and making it your top priority.

Always treat people the way you want to be treated.

It’s okay to date several women, as long as you are upfront about it. There is no need to lie, you don’t have to lead anyone on. Women have more power and opportunity now than ever before and it’s a good thing. They can choose if they want to be involved with you or not. They get to decide what is important for them and if you fulfil it or not. The key to MGTOW light is be extremely clear and candid with women.

If your goals and priorities don’t line up, that’s okay. You don’t have to change for them, and they don’t have to change for you. You might choose to, or they may choose to and that’s okay. Gone are the days where we have to act, lie, woo and or court the opposite sex. We are equal now right? Let them do that, and if they don’t want too? That’s cool too.

Not having females in your life is a huge mistake. Its way beyond sexual, although for me that is important, they bring value and perspective to many situations we otherwise wouldn’t have. The problem with MGTOW is you are eliminating valuable people from your life. As the old saying goes “don’t throw out the baby with the bath water” There are plenty of great women who genuinely like men and want good relationships. They are out there if you look. There are also horrible women who treat men like crap in every way. You have to decide if it’s worth it or not.

In the end focus on improving as a man and often what you find is you attract like-minded people. You put “I hate women” vibes into the world you get “I hate men” vibes back. Put out good vibes, positive vibes, honest and upfront vibes and you might be surprised as to what you get back…

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Why do people leave jobs? Is it always money?

This is going to be an opinion post but in my opinion, an extremely important one for your career. If you have been in the “game” for a while you probably have figured this out already. For my younger readers you will experience this at some point in your working life. Now this isn’t industry specific, meaning most industries this is applicable too but some it’s never really going to apply. This specific advice is for those who work for companies. The capacity isn’t important, you can be a contractor, a temp, a full time employee. This advice isn’t really applicable to consultants, small business owners etc.

People don’t leave companies they leave leaders

Let’s put it this way, most companies offer the same thing, the magnitude of what they offer might be different but it’s really all the same. They offer:

  • Pay/Salary
  • Benefits
  • Steady employment
  • Job security (most of the time)
  • Holidays or Holiday pay

Basically they all have the same premise, they pay you for your time to help them make money. You get X, and they get Y. No matter where you go in your career this is true. I know its general but you get the point, all companies essentially offer the same outline of employment. What makes or breaks a job, or a career are the people you work with.

Toxic people at work are not hard to spot.

The most important person at work is your immediate report. That person largely determines if you stay with that company or not. People leave leaders not companies, the deal you have with the company is the standard deal you’ll get anywhere. Sure you might get more somewhere else, but the core of the deal is the same. The person you work for directly though can make it an absolute nightmare.

Always be mindful of why you feel the way you do at work. Consider carefully why you feel that way and what the catalyst is. 9 times out of 10 it’s your direct leader that is at the heart of your issue. That can be fixed and you should examine if there are opportunities to enhance that relationship. In the end your direct boss is usually the sole reason why you are unhappy. Maybe they are unfair, maybe they don’t do enough, maybe they are of poor character.

Remember, people don’t leave companies they leave leaders.

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Leif Erikson

Ode to Leif Erikson

For my international readers today is Columbus Day in the U.S. and for some of us get a paid day off. As most of you know Columbus is the man who sailed west from Europe in 1492 (his first of three voyages) and “discovered America”. Well he actually ended up somewhere in the Bahamas and it is true that he as the first European that we know if in that part of the world.

Columbus is given credit for “discovering” the new world and setting in motion a series of events that would ignite colonialism, slavery, the Napoleonic wars on and on. Of course he couldn’t have known the consequences of his voyage, it was over a century later when many of the European colonial power finally fought things out. It was nearly 500 years that the European colonial powers were finally dismantled into the modern countries we have now, it took two world wars but we got there.

I’m not sure why we celebrate Columbus honestly, I mean I like having the day off but Europeans coming to the new world had, in a lot of cases horrific outcomes.

Yet, 500 years before Columbus “discovered” the “New World” a man by the name of Leif Erikson, a Viking explorer was blown off course enroot to Greenland and stumbled upon what is today Newfoundland in Canada (curious name choice eh?). There was no colonization, slaughter of the indigenous people, no slavery (although Vikings did take slaves). He sailed home and wrote about it.

Now there was a settlement and trading fort set up by Leif, again centuries before Columbus birth. It was found recently (in archeological terms anyway) in the 1960’s it is called L’Anse aux Meadows

The view from L’Anse aux Meadows

The site in of itself is proof that Europeans were in the “New World” centuries before Columbus, yet we still celebrate Columbus Day. So here is my tip of the hat to my Norse ancestors and my Viking ancestors and to Leif Erikson the true first European to visit the Americas. I think as time passes and we look at what we celebrate and why we gain more historical perspective. In writing this piece and reading about Columbus and Erikson I am perplexed as to why we celebrate Columbus at all, by all accounts he was a horrible person and his actions created horrific conditions for South America.

This isn’t a history focused blog, from time to time I do pieces on all sorts of topics. Columbus Day has always been one of those odd holidays in the U.S. it’s the kick off of fall, people are gearing up for the holidays, and the 4th quarter of the year has officially begun. I never questioned it or wondered about it, maybe it’s time to revisit whom we are celebrating and why? If we know Columbus wasn’t the first European to visit the Americas why celebrate him? Further, why celebrate the exploration at all? Once you delve more into the history of the outcome the more you might ask the same question.

Vikings were not great people, they were brutal like most peoples in antiquity. Life Erikson doesn’t come with the baggage Columbus does. If we are bent on celebrating discovery and the human drive to explore, I think that’s a positive thing. Why does it have to be any one person’s day then?

Anyway I’m don’t rambling. If you are celebrating Columbus Day this year, however you chose, perhaps you’ll tip the hat to Leif Erikson, I know I will.

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You miss the shots you don’t take

Ever play basketball? Last time I played I hit a big 3 point shot in a pickup game that was a beauty. I was covered and I just pulled the trigger on it and wasn’t expecting much. I could hear a team mate groan as I hoisted that brick up, nothing but net, lol.

If I never took that shot, I couldn’t have succeeded.

In the game of life this is true too. Is there something you want to do but just haven’t taken the shot yet? I was the same way when I started this blog, I never thought anyone would give a poop on what I had to say. Here I am a few years later and I am getting visitors from all over the world.

Same with my small gaming channel, I am a gamer it’s my hobby so I started a gaming channel. Nothing special but it’s my little channel. If I never posted a video I never would have had a view or a subscriber…

IF there is something in your life you have been going back and forth on, stop and take the shot. IF you miss, you miss. If you do nothing, then you have a 100% chance of not getting anything at all. Let me put it this way, if you never ask the question you never have the opportunity to hear “YES”

Give yourself the opportunity to hear the “YES”. Take the shot, you might hit it and you will be so happy you did. You are doing awesome; you can do this.

Your Pagan Friend,

Karac.

Warning signs from your child about anxiety

Another anxiety piece on the blog today. We have discussed this topic at length here and one of the many issues in the anxiety sphere is how anxiety impacts children. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a child today, when I was a kid there was no internet everywhere, no smart phones, heck we just got cable but I concede I am ancient. Now? Any news you want, framed the way you want to see it is available 24-7. I wonder do the adults in the room who create these silos of affirmation and fear consider the impact on the very young?

I found a good article here that may help you recognize in your child some of the common behaviors for childhood anxiety.

From the article: “Basically, what we have found is that childhood anxious behaviors related to social isolation and sadness appear to carry risk for developing an anxiety disorder in later life” says Mr. Monk. “In contrast, behaviors related to situational fears and anxiety around adults do not appear to carry the same risk.”

The article does give examples of said behaviors but the gist of the article is the increased isolation of younger people has increased the likelihood of social anxiety disorders later on in their adult life. We already had isolation issues due to our increased reliance on the internet but we now have Covid 19. It’s reasonable to be fearful of the consequences of Covid, it’s a serious issue. The kids? They were out of school for months, many places don’t have group activities (sports, school functions, dances) and they are bombarded constantly with fear.

The poke for millions of people = Anxiety

Enter environmental issues, social issues, body issues, racial issues, gender issues… on and on and on and on. It’s no wonder kids are starting to isolate, what else are they supposed to do? They don’t have the resources, material and emotional to handle things any other way. Yes, they do have adults in their life that are supposed to help but where are we? Online in the social justice war arguing with anon people on twitter?

Maybe that isn’t you and that’s great, your kids are still exposed to toxic levels of information that are shaping their perception of others and the outside world. We used to be able to shield them better, now? They have access to everything instantly, it’s a scary new world and they lack the experience and wisdom to navigate it. Of course their anxiety is spiking. There are no easy answers here, no matter what though you have to keep talking to your kids and providing them a safe place to talk about their fears. In the end that’s one of the best things you can do, for them and for you.

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Surviving 2020 & covid

How Anxiety can impact your career

I found a great article here that discusses how anxiety impacts your career. The article in of itself is a great read it covers a pretty broad swath of issues. First let’s get to an excerpt from the article:

How anxiety impacts you at work

As well as affecting your physical and mental health, anxiety can also result in a decline in your work performance. According to Street, the most common signs that you may be struggling to manage your anxiety in the workplace include the following:

🔹 Difficulty making decisions.

🔹 Poorer relationships at work due to mood changes (eg irritability, tearfulness, agitation) and behavior changes.

🔹 Procrastination and inefficiency when completing tasks.

🔹 Increased absenteeism due to recurring physical symptoms (for example, upset stomach, headaches).

🔹 Ongoing feelings of dread about deadlines or specific work tasks and worrying about these in your free time, when away from the workplace.

I have been both an employee and an employer/manager in my career. I can tell you that absenteeism was one of the worst issues I faced as a manager. There are laws that govern what you can and cannot say to an employee who has excessive absenteeism. The biggest issue for me was, the work still had to get done whether that person showed up or not. We got through it, but it always put a strain on the department.

That person ended up being resented by other staff who had to pick up their work. An unintended consequence of anxiety sadly. For me as a manager I had to get production out of my people, I always tried to temper that with as much understanding as I could muster. Often though, corporate demanded results, I had to push, it sucked. I’m not in management anymore, I miss the money but am much happier.

If anxiety is affecting your work place performance the best thing you can do is talk to your boss. It may be a challenging conversation but once you have it you relieve yourself of a tremendous burden. You see, what happens is, your boss and co workers have to speculate as to why you are out so often. 9 times out of 10, unless we know you well, we are way off. By letting you boss know you have an issue, you empower them, you relieve yourself, but you also invoke whatever coverage you have under your company’s personnel policy.

Mental illness/anxiety isn’t often specifically covered by policies, but chances are there is something in there. When you let your boss know, you provide them and yourself coverage. Otherwise, as in my example, I had to get the work out of other people. Had I had a clear picture what was going on, I would have a reason for department performance (not an EXCUSE a REASON). Your employer isn’t your enemy, they need you for whatever it is you are producing for them. If you can do it, make sure they know what is going on, it will help your career in the long run.

The Importance of Sleep

Just Relax

From time to time it’s prudent to take a day and relax. Call in to work, cancel an appointment, shut the screens off. Go outside, maybe go to a river those are always soothing. Maybe take a nap? Maybe you can cook your favorite meal.

This is a short post, because I want you to shut the PC/phone off and stop looking at the screen. Go ahead take a day for yourself. No apologies, no regrets just relax.

Your Pagan friend,

Karac.