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.
Use all communication avenues
open between you and post. These days we rely on electronic mail and telephones
to provide speedy connections; with added equipment one can easily add photos,
videos, and even real-time communication via web cameras. If your family does
not already own a digital camera, computer, or web cam, this would be a very
good time to get one, or better yet, two.
However, good old “snail mail” is still a very viable option and most people
appreciate a hand-written note or drawing, especially from children. Buy
greetings cards and presents ahead of departure; stock
up on ‘Forever’ stamps if post has U.S. mail capabilities; make sure the computer,
phones, cameras are in functioning order; set family ground rules for
communications: e.g., length of calls; sharing air-time
when Dad/Mom is on the line with one person; agree to not draw negative
conclusions if one party misses a phone date; decide together which dates are
the most important not to miss: e.g., birthdays, anniversary, and set up a family calendar showing schedule of
calls, R&Rs, etc.
Have you ever started a fitness program and then quit? If you
answered yes, you’re not alone. Many people start fitness programs but stop
when they get bored or results come too slowly. Here are seven tips to help you
1. Set goals. Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range
goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable. It’s easy to get
frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious.
For example, if you haven’t exercised in a
while, a short-term goal might be to walk 10 minutes a day three days a week.
An intermediate goal might be to walk 30 minutes five days a week. A long-term
goal might be to complete a 5K walk.
2. Make it fun. Find sports or activities that you enjoy, then vary the routine
to keep you on your toes. If you’re not enjoying your workouts, try something
different. Join a volleyball or softball league. Take a ballroom dancing class.
Check out a health club or martial arts center. Discover your hidden athletic
talent. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery — and you’re more likely
to stick with a fitness program if you’re having fun.
3. Make physical activity part
of your daily routine. If it’s hard to find time
for exercise, don’t fall back on excuses. Schedule workouts as you would any
other important activity. You can also slip in physical activity throughout the
day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk up and down sidelines while
watching the kids play sports. Pedal a stationary bike or do strength training
exercises while you watch TV at night.
4. Put it on paper. Are you hoping to lose weight? Boost your energy? Sleep better?
Manage a chronic condition? Write it down. Seeing the benefits of regular
exercise on paper may help you stay motivated.
You may also find it helps to keep an
exercise diary. Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you
exercised and how you felt afterward. Recording your efforts can help you work
toward your goals — and remind you that you’re making progress.
5. Join forces with friends,
neighbors or others. You’re not in this alone.
Invite friends or co-workers to join you when you exercise. Work out with your
partner or other loved ones. Play soccer with your kids. Organize a group of
neighbors to take fitness classes at a local health club.
6. Reward yourself. After each exercise session, take a few minutes to savor the
good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help
you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. External rewards can help,
too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of
walking shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.
7. Be flexible. If you’re too
busy to work out or simply don’t feel up to it, take a day or two off. Be
gentle with yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on
track as soon as you can.
Now that you’ve regained your enthusiasm, get moving! Set your
goals, make it fun and pat yourself on the back from time to time. Remember,
physical activity is for life. Review these tips whenever you feel your
Nobody’s perfect, so there’s probably something about your life,
habits or routine that you’d like to change. Maybe you want to eat healthier or
exercise more. To improve your chances of making a long-lasting change, try
1. List the benefits of healthy change. To increase your chance of success, remember to pick just one or
two areas of your life that you want to change. Then write down exactly what
you could gain by making a change. You might note that you’d have more energy
if you exercised, for example, or lower your blood pressure if you ate
2. Evaluate your readiness for change. Behavior change happens over time, not overnight. Knowing where
you are in the change process can help you develop a plan for moving forward –
and ultimately achieving lifelong change. Which stage of change describes you?
Considering making a change–
You’re thinking about change, and see some of the benefits. You see a lot of
roadblocks, too, though. You’re just not sure if change is possible or will be
worth the effort.
Planning or taking some action –
Change now looks like a real possibility, and you believe that the benefits
will be worth the work. You have a plan for overcoming roadblocks and you’re
starting to lay the foundation for change.
Making the change – You are making
the change, and working hard to make it part of your routine. You are committed
to your goal.
3. Move towards change by creating a S-M-A-R-T
goal. A S-M-A-R-T goal is:
Specific – You know
exactly what you need to do.
Measurable – You can track
your progress easily and objectively.
Attainable – You have a
clear vision of the steps you’ll take.
Realistic – You are honest
with yourself about the challenges, and have a good plan for confronting them.
Timely – You have a
clear, reasonable timeline.
Example of a SMART goal: For the next three
months (timely and measurable), I will go for a brisk walk (specific, realistic
When creating your S-M-A-R-T goal, try to
frame your goal in terms of what you can control.
4. Stay on track. It takes time for a healthy change to become a solid habit. In
the meantime, you’re more likely to stay committed to your goal if you:
By MHN – for unaccompanied tour employees and family
member to log on to MHN go to and use
the company code: unaccompaniedtour
Are you experiencing the Post-Holiday let-down Don’t be too hard on yourself; as many as 1 in
4 Americans suffer from low-grade depression after the holidays according to Marie Hartwell-Walker, ED.D. at Psych Central. The adrenaline
was flowing with all the hype and excitement. It’s hard for even the most
resilient not to feel a letdown.
A few things you can do about it:
Take a meditative few minutes a couple time a day
Call a friend
Do something small, but positive for yourself every day