Human Sustainability
for the 21st Century
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does My Sane Workplace differ from other Wellness Programs?
A: Most conventional Worksite Wellness Programs focus solely on weight management and exercise and especially target those employees most at risk. They are often content driven and may even offer the same information for all participants. My Sane Workplace, while including those health issues, focuses more on cultural pressures (lack of time, speed of change, information pollution, etc.) that impact our abilities to function, and challenge our good intentions to change. We teach participants a process of the 4 Rs—React, Recognize, Respond and Reflect—giving them tools they can use for a life time, to make good decisions each step of the way. David Hunnicutt, the President of Welcoa, so aptly expressed it, what we are doing is chess rather than checkers.
Q: Why should we bother with a wellness program at all?
A: Dr. Amy Arnsten, a Professor of Neurobiology at Yale University, adds a whole new level of insight to the effects of “frazzle” on our daily life. In her article, "The Biology of Being Frazzled," Arnsten describes what happens when we find ourselves in this worn-out state. In general, frazzle hampers the workings of the executive center. Arnsten goes on to report more specifically that frazzle handicaps our abilities for learning, for holding information in working memory, for reacting flexibly and creatively, for focusing attention at will, and for planning and organizing effectively. We can sum it up in two words: Cognitive Dysfunction. It is effecting the bottom line. Mitigating it will contribute to employee retention and engagement.
Q: What are the Lunch ‘n Learn Personal Sanity Policy Seminars all about?
A: Let’s answer this question by looking at each word...
Personal: Our culture’s gone crazy it’s not your fault. The data on overwhelm, exhaustion and isolation is that it is increasing at an alarming rate. On the one hand, it is bigger and faster and more powerful than you are and you may feel it is out of your control. On the other hand, while it’s not your fault, how you respond to it is most definitely your responsibility.
Sanity: Let’s briefly look at the example of clutter. Whether it is  piles on the desk, email in the inbox, or storage in the basement, everyone deals with clutter. I cannot tell you when your clutter is insane and you cannot tell me about mine. It may be that I have a very low tolerance for clutter. One pile more than three inches high and I can feel my effectiveness drop. For you, the number may be ten piles, ten inches high. The important part here is awareness - that you can notice when your effectiveness (sanity) is reaching a busting point - and that you then have tools and resources to restore the clutter to what is a sane level for you.
Policy: The power of declaring is palpable. For example, I state “It is my policy to have one day a week where I do no errands or chores.” That time becomes sacred for reading, talking on the phone with my geographically dispersed family, taking a longer walk than usual. By making it my “policy,” I give myself permission to manage sanity in my life.
Seminars: The PSP Seminars offer cutting edge research, cultural insights, and a framework through which you can view and shift your actions towards positive change. The goal of the Seminars  is to keep sanity on everyone’s radar screen. Through listening, learning and laughter, the Seminars effectively support employees in identifying and making critical changes - one by one, over time - that will help them increase their personal energy and ultimately contribute to the health of the organization.
Q: How will the PSP Seminars improve the bottom line?
A: One of the major themes of the PSP Seminars is that each person’s experience of what is sane and insane is unique to that individual. Therefore, there is no generic template to measure progress. We do, however, measure progress on an individual basis. Each PSP Seminar includes an interim and final follow-up to help employees measure and manage their own bottom line.
For example, when an employee who tends to clutter -  therefore wasting precious time either looking for resources or recreating them - reports that she is not starting any new piles (using the OHIO approach - Only Handle It Once - okay, sometimes twice), that is a measurable return on investment. When a working mother who is thinking of quitting because of time conflicts has the courage and confidence to approach her supervisor with a plan to come in an hour earlier and then be able to leave an hour earlier (allowing her an important hour at the end of the day to pick up her child), that employee has a greater investment in staying and the company has just saved on turnover costs - that is a measurable bottom line savings. When a manager who has fallen prey to “screensucking” shifts some of that energy to team building with ripple effects down the line, there is a measurable impact on productivity levels of that unit.
Q: How do the PSP Seminars work?
A: The seminars are designed to capitalize on what decades of research has taught us are the three significant factors that lead to successful change: easy access to appropriate resources, the motivated client as decision maker, and social support.
The easy-access factor is high by offering the PSP Seminars in the workplace. Every session is designed to elicit self awareness and client driven solutions. The social system is supported in two ways - the shared experience and common language in the workplace which keeps sanity on everyone’s radar screen, and the obligation in each session to identify a specific buddy with whom you will share your “One Sane Thing”.
Q: What does the full series of Personal Sanity Policy Seminars entail?
A: There are nine seminars in the series. The first is a half-day seminar, with subsequent seminars 60-90 minutes long.
Q: Why nine seminars?
A: The PSP starts with a half-day foundational seminar and is followed by seven shorter seminars - one for each Sanity Buster. The final session is one that brings it all together, reinforces the learning and supports next steps.
Q: Why is the first seminar a half-day?
A: Anyone who has built a house knows that the foundation is the critical first step. A roof can be repaired and rooms can be remodeled, but it is a very big deal to go back and work on the foundation after the house has been built. We’ve run the foundation seminar in many different ways and have found the half-day session to be the most effective.
Q: What are the seven Sanity Busters?
Under Stimulation
Consumption without Satisfaction
Q: How long does it take to go through the whole series?
A: We recommend that each group meets once a month. The whole series would then last nine months.
Q: Do we have to do all nine?
A: While the full series is where you will find the most value, there is the mini series which is five sessions. This would include the three hour foundational seminar, three Sanity Buster seminars (the big three are overwhelm, exhaustion and isolation) and a closing session.
Q: What does it cost?
A: The cost depends on a number of factors: Geographical location, number of employees, number of groups running simultaneously and package selected. Please contact us to determine the cost for your organization.
Q: What happens when the full series of PSP Seminars are complete?
A: It is common for the PSP Seminars to illuminate next steps for an organization. My Sane Life • My Sane Workplace offers a wide range of consulting services that can be tailored to the specific needs of an organization.