Feeling overwhelmed? Dread the flurries of shoppers, wrapping, shipping, and exchanging? Do we really need more stuff anyway? Consider reinventing your gift giving this year. Here’s some starter ideas…
Choose a theme. Nostalgia’s a good one: give gifts that educate or (gasp) require face-to-face interaction. Board games, puzzles, legos (not just for kids), cards. Focus on animals. Give zoo tickets, a cat tree, or stuffed animals (endangered species are good) a bird house (or kit) or adopt a wild animal like a manatee or dolphin.
Foodie Goodies. Choose food-related gifts, gourmet treats, heirloom seeds for spring gardens, organic veggies or flowers. Gift certificates for local gourmet specialty store like a chocolate shop or a wine store. Ship some juicy Florida fruit to your freezing peeps in the North.
Keep It Green. Consider sustainable, recyclable gifts that are ethical, earth-friendly, locally grown. Consider gardening books, tools or seeds. Buy gift certificates for classes like cooking, gardening, kayaking or paddle boarding. (Let Google do the searching).
Practice Gratitude. Some of us already have so much. No matter how you choose to celebrate the Holidays, take a moment to breathe and reflect on all we have been given. And then give to others from that place, the space of gratitude.
Lighten up before you sling that heavy bag/purse/backpack over your shoulder. Keep it simple, pare down that bulky wallet or heavy purse. Moms and dads, avoid toting your babes and toddlers for long stents on just one hip or side. These habits often lead to chronic back, neck and shoulder pain. Your kids can develop pain too. Lugging heavy backpacks (equal to or in excess of their body weight) banging (and toting) drums and tubas. Musicians experience mysterious sore, achy muscles and back, necks and shoulders from sleppin’ gear, setting up and breaking down, sitting in one position or marching. (View Fashion Hall Pain slideshow at end of this article).
Over-Burdened? Heavy Bags & Other Accessories
Schlepping heavy purses, backpacks, and computer bags can a the source of neck, back and shoulder pain. When carried on one shoulder, the extra weight causes you to lean to one side, and the other side to contract, stressing muscles (especially in shoulders), resulting in chronic pain. Accessories like bangles, bracelets and/or large rings can put excessive pressure on the hands, fingers and joints.
Shoes: Going too Low or too High?
Flimsy footwear, strappy sandals, cushy flip flops and shoes with no backs affect more than just your feet. High heels tilt the pelvis forward, destabilizing the ankle joint, over-arching the back, placing excessive pressure on the balls of your feet. For example, 3” heels increase the pressure on the balls of the feet by up to 76%. Flip-flops, though iconic offer neither support nor protection for feet, and can contribute the development of plantar fasciitis.
Up-Dos Got you Down?
Up-dos are great for special occasions, but for everyday wear, tight hairstyles pull the head forward and tighten the skin around the skull, causing tension headaches. Routinely clasping hair in tight bands or braids can not only headaches but also hair loss.
What Are You Carrying in YOUR Wallet?
Guys notoriously stuff wallets into their back pockets. Sitting on bulky wallets torques the pelvis, forces one side to angle too high. This misalignment causes everything else to shift, but not in a good way. When the hips rotate, one side is more contracted than other, which tilts one shoulder and leads to chronic pain. Yikes. Yes, we do accept cards and Apple-Pay.
Got the “Too-Too Tights”?
Tight clothes can compress organs and impede efficient digestion. Tight clothing can restricts movement and also cause muscle strain. If your rib cage is restricted, shallow breathing can result. And remember, spandex can be friend or foe, depending on your body type, the fit and the occasion. Some of us can wear yoga pants in public, some of us should only wear them only in yoga class.
Since massage can work well to soothe aches, relief pain and release muscle tension and stress.. Let your therapist know about any any pain and stiffness you are experiencing. Together, the two of you may be able to determine the source of some of your chronic pain and help to relieve it.
Each new school year, parents and kids shift into “go-go gear”. Anticipation, preparation and time-juggling increases stress for all. Classwork and homework, extracurriculars, relationships and social media generate even more stress. A recent study found that teens now report stress levels as high as those of adults.
In the classroom, stressed brains have trouble learning. To reduce stress and improve learning, some classrooms are sprouting yoga mats, meditation pillows and soothing music stations. Activities such as mindfulness, yoga, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation are helping to calm students and contribute to more positive experiences and outcomes.
For fun, take day or weekend road trips this summer with family (or friends). Whether you’re a Florida native or visitor, you probably remember cruising around with your family, playing road-trip bingo and swatting mosquitoes, en route to some fabled Florida roadside attractions.
We sought out performing mermaids, dolphins leaping from small tanks, dinosaurs hanging out in the woods and graceful, water-skiing ballerinas. We swam, snorkeled and tubed in crystal springs and murky rivers. We flocked to alligator and flamingo farms. We hiked or camped in “wild Florida” state parks and wildlife sanctuaries. And we reveled and splashed on the beautiful beaches that frame our amazing coastlines.
Planning your Trip. If kids are involved, ask them to help choose the destinations. It may shock them to learn that before Google and the internet, we relied on billboards, signs and maps to guide us to these mystical places. Central Florida, a popular destination, hosted many roadside attractions before Disney. You may rediscover a few, although most have surrendered to competition, development or kudzu. When you hit the road, see if you can get your passengers to put down their screens and play bingo, “I Spy” or even sing.
No matter what, you’ll share great fun and adventures captured in snapchats, insta’s, selfies and most lasting? Memories!
If you reach the point of thirst, dehydration has begun. The remedy for dehydration is deceptively simple: drink clean, clear water daily. Fortunately, our water supply is abundant and clean. (How the US compares to the rest of the world)
5 Tips Before You Sip
Drink slowly: (avoid “chugging”) to balance your hydration
BYOWB: Carry a refillable water bottle (Father’s Day gift idea)
Limit caffeine: it works against your hydration
Go for 6-8 glasses of water a day (adult dose)
Be wary of “energy drinks”: they pack in sodium, sugar & caffeine
Summer is definitely here! Stock up on watery foods, such as fresh fruits and veggies, which help boost hydration. Go for cool, sweet, juicy watermelon or frozen grapes on hot summer days. We’re big fans of hydration and it’s likely that we’ll remind you to drink some water after your next chair massage 🙂
The working moms’ debate still simmers: is it better to be a stay-at-home mom or a mom-who-goes-to-work? It’s all good. Recent research validates positive outcomes for moms who work outside of the home and opportunities for doing career work from home and/or work flexible, part-time hours have become more abundant. Now delete the image of stuffing envelopes at your kitchen table. Technology has punched a hole in the time/space continuum, creating opportunities to work remotely (full or part-time) and/or to jump into the gig economy. Potentially you can pick up work based on your skills, needs and schedule. Nearly every industry has (or is moving towards) more contract/freelance work, part-time work or telecommuting.
If you’re considering working “free range” it’s advisable to take some time to consider your benefits and retirement. Before you go the self-employment route, review your health and life insurance needs, do some retirement and tax planning, and consider resources for vacation and income gaps. With these factors in mind hit the web, talk to friends and colleagues. What you find out there may surprise you! Regardless of your family situation, you may discover that creating more flexibility with your schedule might just be the best work for you!
Multitasking is a thing, a progressive upwardly, exploding trend. And that little smart phone next to you? It lurks, ready to pounce on your productivity. You may be a self-declared Multi-tasker or a staunch skeptic, in either case, multitasking impacts your life.
Popular Multitasking Myths
MT is a viable choice
MT increases productivity
MT is good for your brain
MT makes you more alert and observant
MT doesn’t technically exist, it’s actually “task” shifting. You can do one or possibly two things at once. You can walk and talk, you can cook and listen to the radio, but you probably can’t add a column of figures, answer email and/or talk to your boss all at the same time. So at best, it’s really about switching back and forth, and at worse, bouncing from task to task.
MT actually lowers productivity (as much as 40%). If you open too many tabs on your desktop, POW your screen freezes or crashes. Same with your brain: engage the right side and engage the left side with two complicated tasks, and you’re done. That third task can crash your already engaged brain. (French study).
MT increases your stress level, and distracts you both during and even after. (That fact brings many of our customers into our massage chairs, and we recommend our headsets)
MT lowers the perceptions of your environs and limits your view. You can literally miss seeing even obvious things. In a recent campus experiment, 75% of college students failed to observe an unicyclist nearby while talking or texting on their phones.
Multitask for Good in Your LIfe
For Self-Motivation. For low level tasks, like exercising or cleaning, listen to music or podcasts.
Getting Unstuck. When focused on a project or deadline for too long and feel drained or stuck, take a break, switch tasks. Revitalize your mind, refresh your creativity. Simple repetitive tasks like knitting or gardening soothe the mind and body.
Enjoying nature. Be present and really see, hear, smell and sense your natural environment and surroundings. Your reward will be energy, fresh observations and creative, new ideas.
Multitasking is valuable and is clearly important to our survival as a species. If our parents hadn’t been able to multitask, some of us might not be here clinging to smart phones or anticipating self-driving cars!
Butterflies flit, flutter and gracefully weave through our landscapes. In some cultures are referred to as “flying flowers”, butterflies are an iconic sign of summer. In our part of Florida, however, they thrive almost year-round. Based on what you plant and where you plant, the odds are in your favor that you will attract butterflies from some of the 200 species of who call Florida home. Kids love the wonder of this mysterious renewal. Adults and seniors find peace, joy and beauty a simple and often therapeutic pleasure.
If you’re a beginner, choose a popular butterfly like a Monarch or Gulf Fritillary. Do your research and identify the right host plants plus some flowering nectar plants like Penta. Local nurseries are very helpful. A fav is Lukas Nursery in Oviedo (they even offer tours of their butterfly greenhouse) and Palmers near Leu Gardens. The Winter Park Farmers Market even has a vendor who sells butterfly garden starter kits. There are also butterfly gardening classes at Leu Gardens. Make sure NONE of your butterfly host plants or nectar flowers are treated with pesticides. Why? Cause butterflies are insects! Ask before you purchase. Sadly, the big box nursery plants are usually treated with pesticides. Applied or systemic pesticides kill butterflies.
Once your garden is planted (or set up in pots) your beautiful, flowering nectar plants will attract butterflies to your garden. The females will possibly lay their eggs on your host plants. The eggs hatch into hungry (but harmless) caterpillars that munch and munch away the host plants until they reach the size and time to pupate (form a chrysalis). After a week or two, the new butterfly emerges, dries and cures its wings, eventually taking flight. With a little luck your butterflies will return to your garden and begin the next generation and then the next, pumping your landscape and neighborhood full of these delicate, beautiful “flying flowers”.