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”.
Massage therapy can prevent injury and speed up recovery and rehabilitation when an injury occurs. In upcoming Winter Olympic Games you may glimpse Massage Therapists working on the sidelines, the back stages of many venues plus the Olympic Village. It hasn’t always been that way. Massage therapy didn’t become an official part of the training and care of Olympic athletes until the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
Olympic massage has come a long way. In 1906, the top US athletes receiving massage were winning medals and championships. In a few years, the successful American methods of training with incorporated massage gained recognition and were adopted by the Swedes, the Germans, the French, the Australians and finally in 1912, the British.
Today US Massage therapists who meet the requirements work and gain experience in Olympic Training Centers and/or the Olympic Games. Massage therapists who find the work rewarding often return again and again and then bring their knowledge and experience back to offer their clients in their local practices.
If kindness is contagious, would you become a kinder person? Remember Random Acts of Kindness (thriving and now international) or the movie which taught us to “Pay It Forward“? Acts of kindness as simple as a smile or holding a door, or as profound as adopting a child or founding a non-profit DO change the world. Each act of kindness changes the world of the giver, the world of the receiver, and the world of the observer. (To learn the science about how this happens, watch the short video below).
Recently in a local café, we watched a baby grin repeatedly over his dad’s shoulder at a group of men in business suits at an adjacent table. Eventually they all stopped talking and smiled back at the baby. The baby’s infectious smile directed at strangers suggests that we start life with an instinct for kindness.
One of our customers recently shared with us that she keeps a pack of warm, fluffy new socks in her car to offer homeless people she encounters on the streets and sidewalks of Orlando. This cold snap amplifies both the kindness and the practicality of her act of generosity. She inspires us too.
So here’s our aspiration, if you want to join us. Let’s light up 2018, not with fireworks, LEDs and smartphone flashlights, but with the human warmth of kindness, smiles and generosity.
Pass the Potatoes, Hold the Politics. Thanksgiving 2016 diners straddled the great divide between vegetarians and carnivores. This year, diners will walk the plank that bridges the political chasm dividing America. Guests may welcome the chance to put aside differences, enjoy delicious food and have fun with friends and family. Whether you’re a host or a guest, help create that opportunity!
5 Peace-Keeping Tips
1. Vary the Guest List: Unrelated guests can reduce family tensions and enrich the conversations.
2. Set the Table: Use place cards to mix up the seating (Great project: give kids the supplies to create them).
A kid’s table is a useful tradition.
3. Focus on the Food: Much time and labor goes into a large holiday feast. Compliment the cook(s), ask for recipes, taste new dishes, offer to set up, clear and/or wash or load. If you have specific food needs, bring something with you that you can share and eat.
4. Minimize (or eliminate) alcohol: In some groups, alcohol can light a fire; in others, small indulges mellow the moment. Serve alternative drinks, teas or coffees – make them fun, fruity or seasonal.
5. Get ‘Em Outdoors: String up a net for badminton or set up Cornhole, a game popular with all ages. Lead a tour of your neighborhood or a park after eating.
If all else fails, separate the feuding folks, and slap in a good ole classic comedy (unless of course there are sports fans already glued to your TV. For non-TV folks, play Pictionary or Charades).
Create Thanksgiving memories that endure and sweeten with time, and everyone will thank you!
Let’s face it, 2017 is turning out to be a difficult year. In O-town, our stressors include the tangled re-construction of I-4 (the ultimate traffic maze), disappointing sports scores and most recently the long, frightening Night of Irma (succeeded by moldering piles of debris). While struggle and loss unite and strengthen us, they also can disappoint and discourage us.
It takes effort to envision a beautiful, functional, pothole-free I-4 coursing through the heart of Orlando, or a championship season (or two) or the restoration of our battered landscapes and green spaces. We can retreat, lick our wounds (nothing wrong with that) and then we can choose to shake off our lassitude and create our future with optimism.
5 tips to for Practicing Optimism:
Change of scenery: take a break, a road trip, plan a getaway.
Upgrade your personal spaces: paint, plant, restore, replace.
Pitch in: help a neighbor, volunteer, plant a community garden.
Boost your health: declutter your pantry and kitchen, enjoy more fresh food.
Laugh & smile: seek out comedy, music, art and friendships.
Still not convinced? According to current research optimists have healthier hearts, stronger immune systems and live happier and longer lives. So when you can, take a breath, relax, laugh a little, smile a lot and be optimistic.
Our annual Halloween contest is a Take 5 Massage tradition. Our massage therapists work comfortably in their costumes, promise not to scare small children, and most importantly to not let the fun be a distraction form our important work: relaxation, stress relief and easing sore muscles.
Can clothing and accessories actually cause pain? Or do they simply exacerbate pain already present? Either way, if you experience pain when (or after) wearing or carrying certain clothing items or accessories, vary your wardrobe choices to determine what helps and what actually hurts.
Loosen up: choose clothing that doesn’t bind or restrict movement. Spandex can certainly be your friend.
Lighten up: clean out your bags, totes, wallets regularly, reducing their weight.
Mix it up: Alternate your daily styles and accessories so your body gets a break when you regularly shift the pressure on your back, neck, shoulders, arms and legs.
Stay centered: be conscious of clothing and accessories that throw you off your center of gravity and restrict your movement or breath.
Take the pressure off: If clothing or accessories bind or restrict, leave imprints or chafe, consider replacing with new styles that incorporate both comfort and style.
Congratulations parents, summer is over. Time to “supply shop”, re-set the alarm and tackle impossible schedule conflicts. Little kids are excited and anxious to meet new people, go new places and learn new things. Older kids anticipate reunions with friends, confront advanced academic challenges and navigate a whirl of extracurricular activities. Parents are adapting.
Although moms, dads, kids and teenagers share in their excitement and anticipation, they also share another experience, stress. Adults, sensitive to their own levels of stress, may not recognize the signs of stress in their kids such as: sleep disruption (including nightmares), difficulty concentrating, behavioral changes. Teenagers can become moody, withdraw, exhibit aggression or simply retreat and stop communicating. Get the school year off to a great start with open communication and collaboration. Make it a family project, convene a family meeting, involve your kids and any care-givers in the planning process.
We sometimes hear from our customers: “you can give me all you got” “I thought if it hurts, it would help more” “I wanted to say something, but didn’t want to hurt the therapist’s feelings.” Getting your massage right for you involves one simple technique: good communication.
Questions: Before starting your session, your therapist may ask: “How can I help you?” “Do you have any injuries?” “Are you taking any medications?” Your therapist also may ask you: “What level of pressure do you prefer – light, medium or heavy?”
Check-ins: Early in your session as you begin to relax, your therapist may check-in and seek your feedback. Don’t hesitate to honestly share any feedback you may have. Also let your therapist know if you would like more or less pressure. (Hint: more pressure does not always = better results).
The Close: At the end of your session, feel free to offer feedback to your massage therapist (if you can talk J). And your therapist may have some suggestions for you, such as: stretching or taking more breaks during deskwork. Better hydration may also be recommended. (Bear in mind these are only suggestions).
A relationship between you and your therapist is built on communication and trust, as well as results. And your shared goal is always an effective, relaxing massage with lasting results.
First you endure your morning commute, then you sit for hours in your office chair, and then you cap it all off with a couple hours of sofa-surfing, sound about right? Yeah, you know you need to mix it up: move, stand, walk, breath, stretch. The big question: HOW to create the time and space for self-care at work.
Don’t be a statue: If you stay in the same position for hours, you may develop chronic pain. Use a simple timer, your smart watch, your even-smarter phone and set reminders to move: stand, stretch, haul-it down the halls, is strident on the stairs, tap dance in the aisles.
Find a Break-Buddy: ask a co-worker to take a walk & talk, call a “standing” meeting, wander outdoors for breaks, join co-workers in gentle-no-pain stretching.
Do a desk audit. Does your work station work for you? Adjust your screen at the proper angle and distance to avoid both strain and injury. Simple monitor adjustments help prevent both slouching and eye strain. Is the lighting bright but not glaring? Here’s a cool app for tweaking your space, how get it just right for your size.
Chair Check. Since you might spend 1/3 of your life in your work chair, are you two a good match? A chair can be good to you if it’s adjustable, supports your back, and allows you to rest your feet comfortably on the floor, a cushion or a foot rest. Negotiate a “swap” if yours isn’t working.
Own Your Space. Web-surf to discover some stretches, activities, tools that can help you create a more satisfying work space that works for YOU. If your boss can’t spring for a new chair or lighting, explore what you can do on your own, for you! Here’s one to get you started.
Things to keep in mind. One size chair, desk, keyboard setup does not fit all. Each body has different needs. To avoid injury while stretching, be gentle and slow, especially to start. Clear new exercises with a trusted healthcare advisor or professional familiar with your goals and your health. If your co-workers think you have gone nuts, ask them to subscribe to our newsletter (sign up on at the bottom of our home page).