Recent Events & Articles (Our blog)


  • Building effective teams – Guardian Pharmacy is on fire

    Building effective teams in the workplace is an ongoing process.  You can’t simply offer a training, hand out an award and call it a day.  You might want to use a multi-faceted approach when it comes to ensuring your team is at peak performance.

    Recently, we offered a stress-reduction and teambuilding workshop for the employees of Guardian Pharmacy in Jacksonville.  Prior to the workshop, I visited their office for a tour and an overview of their work environment.  I sat down with Ismary Castro, a Client Service and Relations Manager, to learn more about their operations and employee needs.  From that visit and our subsequent drumming workshop, I learned a lot about what they’re already doing well.

    Making your employees as much of a priority as your clients

    The first thing I noticed before even entering the building was the shiny new parking sign denoting a spot for the Employee of the Month.  Ismary said she thought it was an important perk to give the chosen employees so they’re visibly recognized for their hard work.

    Throughout the rest of the building, it was clear that she’d made an effort to offer multiple ways to encourage wellness and appreciation:

    • A book nook
    • A candy jar
    • Stylish signs with encouraging messages decorating the walls
    • A pile of blank notes that managers can write to team members thanking them for something awesome they did

    Keeping the client top of mind

    One of the other first things I noticed when I arrived was a wall chock-full of photos of residents at the senior care facilities they serve.  Ismary beamed when I remarked how encouraging it was to see that out in the open.

    If you lose sight of who you’re working for, how will you know where to focus your energy?

    “The No Complaining Rule”

    When we scheduled the workshop several months ago, Ismary told me their employees were reading a book called “The No Complaining Rule.”  I should read it too, she said.  That would help me plan a session that was more in tune with the group’s needs.  I read it and wrote down several nuggets of wisdom to incorporate into our session.

    The office was filled with posters reminding employees of the No Complaining Rule.  The idea is to encourage people to be “problem solvers, not problem sharers.”  The book explains that the office can choose a system for receiving and resolving complaints of all sizes.  It sounds simple, but once implemented, can have a huge impact on the company culture.  By nipping negativity and mindless complaining in the bud, the whole office becomes one that seeks solutions rather than more problems.

    Drumming out stress

    Finally, we got to drum with the employees to help them reduce and manage their stress.  Ismary emphasized that the company’s departments each have their own unique demands.  We’d give them a chance to let off some steam and have fun.  They would connect with people in other departments, and learn some techniques for using rhythm on their own.

    After the session, one team member mentioned that this was his first day, so the drumming set the tone for his experience with his new employer.  He was all smiles before, during and after!

    There’s a lot that goes into building effective teams in a high-stress environment.  Contact us for a free consultation and learn how rhythm can help your team!

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  • Diversity, peace, and unity – drumming at the University of North Florida

    Diversity and unity were at the heart of the University of North Florida’s International Day of Peace event on September 21st, 2018.  Here are some activities we focused on for our drumming session.

    Highlight our common ground and diversity

    We started off with a short activity called “Rumble If.”  The facilitator (or a participant) asks a yes or no question.  If the answer is yes, participants rumble (play a drum roll) on their drums.  I always say this is an excellent way for the group to get to know one another and break the ice.  We find out things we have in common and what makes us unique.

    For example, some questions highlighting diversity and inclusion might include:

    • Rumble if you’re originally from Florida
    • Rumble if you were born in another state/country
    • Rumble if you’re a vegetarian
    • Rumble if you have any brothers or sisters
    • Rumble if you’re the oldest/youngest in your family
    • Rumble if you’ve experienced any stress this week
    • Rumble if you’re a Jags (insert city-specific sports team here) fan

    Set intentions

    Next, we did something called Rhythm Naming.  I invited participants to think of a focus word or goal for the session, or for the rest of the day.  They could focus on a word or phrase such as “reducing stress” or “meeting new people.” After deciding on a word, each person played a representation of that word on their drum.

    People chose phrases such as “peace on earth,” “love is a language,” “smile,” and “go away stress!” And, the rhythms they played on the drum to represent those words showed off their creativity.

    The universal heartbeat

    After that, we got into the meat and potatoes of the session – the drum jam.  The jam is the opportunity for participants to really tap into their creative side and also tune into the others in their group.  We encourage everyone to “play whatever you want as long as it makes us sound good!”  We achieve that by listening to others and figuring out how our rhythm fits in with others’.  But first, we started off with a heartbeat – playing the rhythm of our hearts (“lub-dub” or “boom boom”) and gradually adding in other sounds to explore the rhythm further.  Playing this rhythm solidifies the theme of commonality – we’re all human, we all have a heartbeat, no matter who we are or what we believe.

    Pieces of 8

    Finally, this little game allowed us the chance to see how the rhythm changed the more sounds we added to it.  Participants started off by choosing a number between 1 and 8 (everyone chose their own number), and then they played one “boom” every time they heard their number during the counting aloud.  Then, they chose two numbers to play during the 8-number cycle, doubling the sound that we heard.  Afterward, we talked about what it meant to contribute (even in some small way) to the outcome of the whole.

    We ended the session with a “pair and share,” an opportunity to people to partner up and talk about their favorite parts and takeaways.

    Would you like to offer a unifying drum circle to your group or organization?  Get in touch with us!

     

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  • Try humming your way to health with these 4 tips

    Humming isn’t just for the birds.

    Here we are in spring – prime allergy season.  While there are many methods of preventing or alleviating allergy symptoms out there, here’s one you may not have heard yet – humming.  Studies are being conducted to demonstrate the link between regular humming and sinus health.  One nasty side effect that often accompanies allergies and colds is a sinus infection.  According to WebMD, “Sinusitis is an inflammation, or swelling, of the tissue lining the sinuses. Normally, sinuses are filled with air, but when sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, germs (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) can grow and cause an infection.”  Doesn’t that sound yummy?

    One thing you can do to improve sinus health is humming.  Keeping your sinuses healthy requires a constant flow of air between the sinuses and the nasal cavity.  One study reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that, when compared to simply exhaling, “humming led to greater levels of exhaled nitric oxide, a gas produced in the sinuses.”  Healthy sinuses have a high concentration of nitric oxide (NO).

    Another study in the European Respiratory Journal found similar results, and suggested that daily humming could possibly help reduce chronic sinus problems.  Below are several short and simple activities that take less than two minutes to perform daily to get you humming your way to health.

    4 ways to hum your way to better sinus health

    Ommmm…

    The yogis got it right.  Not only does chanting “om” help to focus the mind, it also produces the nasal “m” sound which resonates in the ‘mask’ of your face, or your sinuses.  Whether you practice yoga or not, simply chanting “om” (on any pitch in your lower register) several times in a row can produce a lovely buzzing sound in your nasal cavities that will have great benefits.

    If you’re feeling adventurous, try chanting this chant called Ra Ma Da Sa.  Not only does it include several nasal sounds (“m” and “ng”), it can also have a calming effect when repeated for several minutes.

    Brahms’ Lullaby  

    Even if you don’t have a baby, you still might want to brush up on your lullabies.  Lullabies are usually sung in the lower register and often utilize humming so your baby can feel the vibrations in your chest (it helps soothe them).  But, you yourself can get the benefits of these same lullabies!

    Hum the popular Brahms’ Lullaby or any of the other 6 on this list.  Or, check out my earlier post on lullabies for more suggestions.  The best part?  You don’t need to memorize the words!

    Mi-mi-mi-mi…

    One simple exercise that I as a vocalist always like to do in warming up is to sing on the vocables “mi-may-ma-mo-moo.”  Start out in a low voice, almost as low as you can go.  In between each vowel sound, insert an “m” sound so they all blend together:  meemmaymmammommoom.

    Sing it all on one pitch, and then try it a little bit higher.  Yes, you’ll sound a bit ridiculous (maybe don’t try this one in public around a bunch of strangers), but you’ll feel the effects when you’re done!

    Hum your favorite song

    It doesn’t get any simpler than that!

    Try any one of these suggestions for just one or two minutes a day and see how you feel.  Hopefully these exercises will help get you through allergy season with fewer sinus problems.  I often like to incorporate humming into my group drum sessions as a simple way to center ourselves and connect our minds to our bodies.  Happy humming!

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