Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find tips from the field, websites and information, home is where the hooch is suggestions, upcoming programs and events and follow our book club. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOaskUT@state.gov.

Monday, May 2, 2016


May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month ….Let's Get Moving

Barriers to fitness: Overcoming common challengesPosted  by Radhika Mathur

1. I don’t have enough time to exercise
Setting aside time to exercise can be a challenge. Use a little creativity to get the most out of your time.
·  Squeeze in short walks throughout the day. If you don’t have time for a full workout, don’t sweat it. Shorter spurts of exercise, such as 10 minutes of walking spaced throughout the day, offer benefits too.
·  Get up earlier. If your days are packed and the evening hours are just as hectic, get up 30 minutes earlier twice a week to exercise. Once you’ve adjusted to early-morning workouts, add another day or two to the routine.
·  Drive less, walk more. Park in the back row of the parking lot or even a few blocks away and walk to your destination.
·  Revamp your rituals. Your weekly Saturday matinee with the kids or your best friend could be reborn as your weekly Saturday bike ride, rock-climbing lesson or trip to the pool.

2. I think exercise is boring.
It’s natural to grow weary of a repetitive workout day after day, especially when you’re going it alone. But exercise doesn’t have to be boring.
·  Choose activities you enjoy. You’ll be more likely to stay interested. Remember, anything that gets you moving counts.
·  Vary the routine. Rotate among several activities — such as walking, swimming and cycling — to keep you on your toes while conditioning different muscle groups.
·  Join forces. Exercise with friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers. You’ll enjoy the camaraderie and the encouragement of the group.
·  Explore new options. Learn new skills while getting in a workout. Check out exercise classes or sports leagues at a recreation center or health club.

3. I’m self-conscious about how I look
Don’t get down on yourself! Remind yourself what a great favor you’re doing for your cardiovascular health, or focus on how much stronger you feel after a workout.
·  Avoid the crowd. If you’re uncomfortable exercising around others, go solo at first. Try an exercise video or an activity-oriented video game. Or consider investing in a stationary bicycle, treadmill, stair-climbing machine or other piece of home exercise equipment.
·  Focus on the future. Praise yourself for making a commitment to your health. And remember that as you become fitter and more comfortable exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.

4. I’m too tired to exercise after work
No energy to exercise? Without exercise, you’ll have no energy. It’s a vicious cycle. But breaking the cycle with physical activity is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
·  Try a morning dose of exercise. Remember the suggestion to get up 30 minutes earlier to exercise? Hop on the treadmill or stationary bicycle while you listen to the radio or watch the morning news. Or step outside for a brisk walk.
·  Make lunchtime count. Keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk, and take a brisk walk during your lunch break.
·  Be prepared. Make sure you have comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothes for exercising. Take them with you to the mall or when you travel.

5. I’m too lazy to exercise
If the mere thought of a morning jog makes you tired, try these thoughts on for size:
·  Set realistic expectations. If your mental bar is too high, you might give up without even trying. Start with a walk around the block. Don’t give up if you feel worn out. Take another walk around the block tomorrow. Keep it up, and eventually you’ll no longer feel worn out.
·  Work with your nature, not against it. Plan physical activity for times of the day when you tend to feel more energetic — or at least not quite so lazy.
·  Schedule exercise as you would schedule an important appointment. Block off times for physical activity, and make sure your friends and family are aware of your commitment. Ask for their encouragement and support.

6. I’m not athletic
Natural athletic ability isn’t a prerequisite to physical activity. Even if you’ve been sedentary for some time, it’s not too late to get more active.
·  Keep it simple. Try something basic, such as a daily walk. Start slowly and give your body a chance to get used to the increased activity.
·  Find company. Pick an activity you like, such as dancing or gardening, and invite friends to join in. You’ll have fun while helping each other work out.
·  Forget the competition. Don’t worry about becoming a superstar athlete or joining the hard-bodied athletes at the fitness club. Simply focus on the positive changes you’re making to your body and mind.

7. I’ve tried to exercise in the past and failed
Don’t throw in the towel. You can’t see it when you lower your cholesterol or reduce your risk of diabetes, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t doing yourself a great favor. Re-evaluate what went wrong, and learn from your mistakes.
·  Pace yourself. Start small and build up to more-intense workouts later, when your body is ready.
·  Set realistic goals. Don’t promise yourself you’re going to work out for an hour every day, and then get down on yourself when you fall short. Stick with goals you can more easily achieve, such as exercising 20 minutes a day, three days a week for the first month.
·  Remember why you’re exercising. Use your personal fitness goals as motivation — and reward yourself as you meet your goals.

8. I can’t afford health club fees
You don’t need a membership at an elite gym to get a great workout. Consider common-sense alternatives.
·  Do strengthening exercises at home. Use inexpensive resistance bands — lengths of elastic tubing that come in varying strengths — in place of weights. Do pushups or squats using your body weight.
·  Start a walking group. Round up friends, neighbors or co-workers for regular group walks. Plan routes through your neighborhood or near your workplace, along local parks and trails, or in a nearby shopping mall.
·  Take the stairs. Skip the elevator when you can. Better yet, make climbing stairs a workout in itself.
·  Try your community center. Exercise classes offered through a local recreation department or community education group might fit your budget better than an annual gym membership.

9. I’m afraid I’ll hurt myself if I exercise
If you’re nervous about injuring yourself, start off on the right foot.
·  Take it slow. Start with a simple walking program. As you become more confident in your abilities, add new activities to your routine.
·  Try an exercise class for beginners. You’ll learn the basics by starting from scratch.
·  Get professional help. Get a fitness tutorial from a certified expert, who can monitor your movements and point you in the right direction. If you’ve had a previous injury, you may want to first see a sports medicine physician, who can evaluate you and recommend specific treatment, such as physical therapy.

10. My family doesn’t support my efforts
Remind those close to you of the benefits of regular exercise — and then bring them along for the ride.
·  Get your kicks with your kids. Sign up for a parent-child exercise class. Pack a picnic lunch and take your family to the park for a game of tag or kickball. Splash with the kids in the pool instead of watching from your chair.
·  Propose a new adventure. Instead of suggesting a workout at the gym, invite a friend to go to an indoor climbing wall or rent a tandem bicycle for the weekend.
·  Do double duty. Volunteer to drive your teens to the mall, and then walk laps inside while you wait for the shoppers. Try the same trick at your child’s school during lessons, practices or rehearsals.
·  If necessary, have a heart-to-heart with your loved ones. If they don’t share your fitness ambitions, ask them to at least respect your desire to get fit.

By Mayo Clinic Staff
2014-02-08
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Watch Online Today: Coping with the Stress of Change Webinar


The Family Liaison Office (FLO) and MHN (a Health Net company specializing in behavioral health) recently hosted the webinar, Coping with the Stress of Change

One of the greatest sources of stress can be change; change of location, change of routine, change of lifestyle, change of parenting skills, changes in relationships due to separation, and the list goes on. 

Watch the webinar online today to learn about coping skills for dealing with this stress. 

Visit FLO’s Counseling Resources and Referral Services webpage and email  FLOAskUT@state.gov with questions. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wednesday, April 27th

"Coping with the Stress of Change" Webinar

Coping with the Stress of Change

      Wednesday, April 27 @ 0900-1000 (ET)




S – T – R – E – S – S….it comes at all of us in one form or another.  However one of the greatest sources of stress is change
The FLO Unaccompanied Tour Support Team knows all about change.
 
Change of location, change of routine, change of lifestyle, change of parenting skills, changes in relationships due to separation, and the list goes on. 

This webinar is open to all employees and adult family members.
We hope you’ll join us to discuss coping skills in dealing with change and the stress that comes along with it at our next webinar.
Virtual participants will need a computer with a high-speed internet connection and computer speakers. The “chat” function will allow virtual participants to post questions during the presentation.
To participate in the webinar visit:  Department of State Webinar Enter as a guest; type your first name and your current or future post. 
A digital link to a workbook to accompany the “Coping with the Stress of Change” webinar is available upon request by writing to FLOAskUT@state.gov.

No matter what kind of change you’re dealing with there’s no reason to let it get the better of you. FLO UT Team is here to help! The webinar session will be led by our partners at MHN
 Any questions please contact us at FLOAskUT@state.gov or call 202-647-1076

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tough Under Pressure? Join the FLO Team!

Attention family members returning to Washington, DC, FLO 

has an opening for a full-time Crisis Management Officer 

(GS-12). Help design and run programs for employees and

their family members facing evacuations from post,

 separation from family members, and other issues. 

The application deadline for this position is 11:59 p.m. ET, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

For details and application instructions, please visit FLO’s website.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Relocation, On The Move


Whether you’re moving back to the U.S. or across the world, WorkLife4You knows all the shortcuts.

Receive a free personalized relocation packet.
Get tips, checklists, and in-depth articles to help with every aspect of your move.

The team of highly qualified specialists at WorkLife4You is available 24/7.
For additional  information, please contact them by calling 866-552-4748 or by
Specialist@LifeCare.com.

Please note, this service is only available to Department of State employees; those outside of the State Department should contact their respective agency to inquire about the availability of similar programs


Monday, April 18, 2016

FLO Website Feature: The Unaccompanied Tours Decision Tree


As you are preparing for or thinking about bidding on an Unaccompanied Tour (UT) post, check out FLO’s Decision Tree, a guide to help you decide where your family will live while you are serving on an unaccompanied tour. FLOAskUT@state.gov with questions and visit www.state.gov/flo/ut for information on all of FLO’s UT support services.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Transition Center Training Division


FREE Evening Seminar – Encouraging Resilience in the Foreign Service Child (MQ500)

May 4, 2016, 6:00pm–8:30pm | This evening seminar is a valued added resource for all parents in the foreign affairs community. Participants will hear from both parents of children who were raised overseas and the Third Culture Kids themselves. Discussions will address the characteristics of an internationally mobile childhood; influences on cultural identity; characteristics of families living overseas; and strategies for raising resilient children.

FREE Evening Seminar – Legal Considerations in the Foreign Service (MQ854)

May 18, 2016, 6:00pm–8:30pm | The mobile foreign affairs lifestyle gives rise to unique legal implications for foreign affairs agency employees and their family members. This seminar includes a panel of experts provided by the American Foreign Service Protective Association to discuss contingency planning. Participants will learn steps in creating wills, trusts and powers of attorney; as well as identify legal responsibilities in owning real estate.


Career Transition Center


Early/Mid-Career Retirement Planning Seminar (RV 105)

Note new name: take this course early in your career!


Are you in the early-to-mid stages of your career and more than ten years away from retirement eligibility? This two-day future-oriented seminar is for you; it covers TSP, annuities, financial management, estate planning and more!

Course Dates
May 3–4, 2016
June 8–9, 2016
November 7-8, 2016 (FY 2017)

Retirement Planning Seminar (RV 101)

Do you have between one and ten years until you leave federal employment? Don't wait; prepare by attending the four-day seminar as soon as possible.


Course Dates
April 11 – 14, 2016
June 20 – 23, 2016
July 25 – 28, 2016
September 26 – 29, 2016
November 28 – December 1, 2016 (FY 2017) 

Friday, April 8, 2016

"Coping with the Stress of Change" Webinar

Coping with the Stress of Change

      Wednesday, April 27 @ 0900-1000 (ET)




S – T – R – E – S – S….it comes at all of us in one form or another.  However one of the greatest sources of stress is change! 
The FLO Unaccompanied Tour Support Team knows all about change.
 
Change of location, change of routine, change of lifestyle, change of parenting skills, changes in relationships due to separation, and the list goes on. 

This webinar is open to all employees and adult family members.
We hope you’ll join us to discuss coping skills in dealing with change and the stress that comes along with it at our next webinar.
Virtual participants will need a computer with a high-speed internet connection and computer speakers. The “chat” function will allow virtual participants to post questions during the presentation.
To participate in the webinar visit:  Department of State Webinar Enter as a guest; type your first name and your current or future post. 
A digital link to a workbook to accompany the “Coping with the Stress of Change” webinar is available upon request by writing to FLOAskUT@state.gov.

No matter what kind of change you’re dealing with there’s no reason to let it get the better of you. FLO UT Team is here to help! The webinar session will be led by our partners at MHN
 Any questions please contact us at FLOAskUT@state.gov or call 202-647-1076