Relaxation Day

Busyness is the trend these days. People carry overpacked schedules like winning trophies. “I’m SO busy at work!” “How do you have time to do that? I’m too busy to read/watch TV/exercise/do anything fun.” “I can’t get monthly massages I have too much to DO!”

Too much “busy” could be making you tired, sick, and probably cranky.

When do you relax? RELAX. “Relaxation” is a word we hear often, but don’t know always know what it means. Here, I’ve compiled some options for you.

re∙lax verb \ri ˈlaks\

1: the state of being free from tension or anxiety.

2: a way to rest and enjoy yourself

3: recreation or rest, especially after a period of work.

4: the loss of tension in a part of the body, especially in a muscle when it ceases to contract.

5: something that you do to stop feeling nervous, worried, etc.

More importantly, what does relaxation mean to you?

If you’re not a “hot bath and good book” kind of person, you probably cringe at Calgon commercials and spa photos of people with stones piled on their backs. But here’s the beauty: You can make your own definition of relaxation.

It’s your job to figure out what you enjoy doing, what makes you smile, and what makes you feel like you are a hundred miles from work or home jobs?

Then, make time for that. You have a schedule.

Write in special time for a hobby, a nap, massage, your favorite show, a weekend getaway, a new class, ANY thing you enjoy can be relaxing. Need someone to give you a reason? Want permission? August 15 is National Day of Relaxation. Yes, it’s a thing! And it’s just begging for celebration. Here are some ideas:

● Spend part of the day alone. ● Spend part of the day with your family, doing ONLY fun stuff. ● Meditate ● Devote time to your hobby. ● Sleep in. Or get up extra early. Whichever excites you! ● Arrange for takeout or precooked meals all day. ● Schedule a massage! http://www.feizhealth.com ● If you’ve always wanted a day to “not leave the house” today’s the day! Wake when you wish, eat when you’re hungry, stay in your jammies and read a book.

Taking care of you is important. And, selfcare puts you in a better frame of mind to take care of the people who depend on you. So find the thing that mellows you out, and make it happen!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Four ways to keep stress at bay

As much as we enjoy the emerging flowers and warmer weather of April, there can be a bit of a dark cloud hanging in the spring sky. Often the first few weeks of the month are a rush of receipts and 1040’s as the April 15 Tax deadline looms, and a rush of new schedules as the kids’ sports seasons fire up. Maybe that’s why April is Stress Awareness Month; to remind us to take care of ourselves, and not let stress go unchecked.

Meditation
Meditation does not have to be about pretzeled legs, chanting, and reaching enlightenment. It can simply be about creating a moment of stillness in your mind as a way to become more relaxed. Just one minute, 60 seconds of meditation , can dramatically improve your mood, your productivity and the quality of your day.

Exercise
It can be tough to make time for exercise when the schedule gets tight and tensions get high. But that’s when it becomes even more important. Exercise can relieve the physical symptoms of stress like fatigue, pain, and moodiness. If you can’t make time for daily workout, try to fit a 5 TO 10 minute walk outside into some part of your day. A little goes a long way when you need it.

Giggle and hum
Both laughter and music can lower the blood pressure. In fact, this study in 2011 showed that 3 months of laughter or music therapy resulted in the same drop in blood pressure that could be achieved with a low salt diet, losing 10 pounds,or taking a blood pressure lowering medication. So cue up the “Who’s on first?” or dance around with your kids while making dinner and work some giggling and humming into your day.

Massage
Regular massage can improve sleep, relieve headaches, reduce muscle pain, and improve moods. Plus, massage feels good. When you feel good, you play more, work more efficiently, and take better care of the people you love. Schedule a massage now to prepare for a busy (and fun) spring!

Commit to taking care of yourself this spring! You may be surprised with the results.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What are you aware of?

It seems like every week and every month we’re exposed to (bombarded with)? New Awareness Campaigns. The internet has connected and educated us with ever-increasing speed and depth. Because of awareness campaigns we know more about brain injury, the need for clean water domestically and throughout the world, the importance of net neutrality, and how to support people with cancer. We can take action and be a part of causes that we care about.

It can also be overwhelming. It can be tough to choose what causes to support and in that deluge of need, we may choose to support nothing. Or we burn ourselves out supporting everything. Neither of those outcomes is desirable.

So how do we balance self-preservation with the desire to be good and helpful in our communities and beyond? I suggest a two level consideration of awareness, considering your world first, so you can be more useful to the rest of the world second.

Be aware of your world
Where you hold tension or feel pain in your body.
If you always have a dull headache, or your knee hurts, or you don’t sleep well, that’s a problem. You cannot be at your best at work, with your family and friends, or in your community. Take a moment to assess how you feel, maybe keep some notes in your calendar for a few days, and see if there are any nagging issues slowing you down.

Be aware of ways to improve how you feel
When you isolate an issue, think about how you fix it and who can help you do that. Wellness doesn’t have to be an expensive, time-gobbling production.

Maybe a few minutes of guided meditation at night could help you sleep better or a massage and some stretching http://www.feizhealth.com could improve the headaches. When you feel better, you’re more able to contribute to bigger causes.

Choose your cause in the bigger world
What cause moves you? For some, being a Den Mother or Little League coach is really important. For others, giving to a more global cause is key. There is no right or wrong, it’s just a personal decision.

Your priority may be to help a niece afford college or regularly help your best friend the kindergarten teacher prep for wacky arts and crafts with her 30 students.

Or maybe you feel your best contribution comes from being really great at your job and having time just for your friends and family. Causes needn’t be big organizations or structured to make a difference.

Make your actions match your priorities
If you decide that giving to a global clean water initiative or coaching a team is the most important cause to you, your actions should reflect that. This step involves a mental audit of your time and money. Maybe a cheaper gym membership will leave you with enough money to cover your niece’s books, or ‘catching up’ on fewer tv shows each weekend will clear the schedule for time with friends.

Full, happy lives come from conscious decisions about where we focus our time and efforts. It’s easy to get swept into the overwhelm and find yourself spread too thin, feeling like nothing you do makes an impact. A few minutes of awareness could make big improvements in your everyday life and happiness.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, (and they’re not what you think).

It’s February! We made it through the holidays just to get inundated with notions of chocolate, flowers, bling, and extravagant weekends in wine country to ‘reconnect with the one you love’.

But what if we pass on the chocolate and Ziggy cards and approach the day (or the whole month!) with a focus on connecting with the people we care about. Not just your significant other, but your best friend that you never have a chance to talk to for more than 4 minutes before a baby demands attention. Or maybe your favorite uncle who was always quick with a lousy joke and equally fast in sneaking you a cookie when your mom wasn’t looking.

Share some time with someone. If you can’t set aside that much time with everyone’s busy schedules, drop off a piece of cake from your favorite bakery. Or keep it crazy cost effective and have your kid finger-paint a very special valentine for their teacher.

Appreciate someone. Look your favorite dry cleaner/butcher/school bus driver right in the eye and say, “Thank you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate what you do for me. You make my life easier.”

Drop an email to your kid’s basketball coach and say, “Thank you. My kid loves playing basketball, and I really appreciate that you give your time to make that possible.”

Massage someone. I know, this sounds weird, huh? I’m a massage therapist and I’m telling you to Do It Yourself. But massage doesn’t have to be an hour long ordeal with fancy oils and a complicated routine.

Watch a video and treat your partner to a hand or foot massage.

Give the gift of massage. You can pick up a gift certificate right here http://www.feizhealth.com.

Not everyone schedules regular massage, and that’s okay. But if it’s been awhile, maybe it’s time to practice a little self-care and get yourself a massage, too. The best gift you can give the people you love is a happy, healthy you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Tips For a Happier Holiday Season

Happy holidays! Happy ‘getting stressed out, trying to do too many things and please everyone’ season. Oh, wait. That’s not promising.

Maybe this is the year to mix it up a little and make the holidays a little easier.

Forget perfection
Sometimes gingerbread men will be missing a limb. The tree may have a bald spot. The kugel may not taste exactly like your grandma’s. Know what? None of it matters. Decide what’s truly important to you over the holidays, and focus on that.

Enlist help
Once you drop the desire for Norman Rockwell levels of perfection, it gets much easier to ask for help and delegate tasks.

Kids can sign the names and address holiday cards. Wrap gifts in plain brown paper and kids can stay occupied decorating with crayons and ribbon.

Stick to a budget
Much of the holiday stress people feel can be attributed to money woes. Make a list and check it twice, making sure the gifts you choose are within your budget reach. And when you’re tempted to overspend, remember that things are rarely as meaningful as a kind thought or gesture.

Shop local
Shy away from the average stuff you get at chain stores and Amazon. Visit your local bookstore, bakery and massage office (Hey! That’s me!) to get gifts and gift certificates that really mean something.

Look for a winter farmers’ market where you can buy jars of local honey or handmade ornaments. Keep a stash in your car with some gift bags for last-minute “I can’t believe I forgot to get a gift for my kid’s teacher” type situations.

Bonus: you’re supporting small business at the same time!

Get massage
Taking care of yourself makes you better able to take care of all the people who depend on you! Here’s to a wonderful holiday low on stress and filled with fun!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude and Joy

In a world that sells dissatisfaction, it’s almost heretical to feel happy about your body. And on the rare occasion when body satisfaction is socially acceptable, it’s usually in the context of “Dang, I look amazing in my wedding dress/tailored business suit/perm/bathing suit/whatever I just spent a lot of money on in order to make me feel this way for a couple of hours.” For all the sunshiny Facebook messages telling you “You’re beautiful!” there’s not much to make us feel legitimately joyful to be in our own skins.

So where does happiness come from, anyway? Psychological studies show that happiness stems not from being the best, most successful, or sexiest, but from gratitude. So telling yourself over and over that you’ve got a great body is less likely to leave you feeling happy than feeling grateful for the body you’ve got. It’s not always easy. None of our bodies are perfect. We often feel at odds with our bodies, feeling as though they’re betraying us in some fundamental way.

Still, it’s the season of Thanksgiving, and if there were ever a time to give thanks for the bodies we inhabit, it’s now.

You can give thanks that your body has seen you through many long years of life.

You can give thanks that your body is young and healthy and strong.

You can give thanks that your body has taught you important lessons about pain and the mental and emotional strength you have in bearing it.

You can give thanks that your body has survived the ravages of cancer.

You can give thanks that while your body contains the seeds of the disease that may one day kill it, it will not die today.

You can give thanks that your body has given rise to new life.

You can give thanks if your body honors your parents with features it received from them.

You can give thanks if your body honors your parents with its presence, against all odds, having been born to others.

You can give thanks if your body has the senses to know beauty, the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings of the world around you.

You can give thanks if your body includes a mind that can think, imagine, and dream.

You can give thanks that your body has built, dug, cooked, sewn, planted, and shaped the world around it.

You can give thanks that your body has held and honored and taught the bodies of others around you.

Massage therapists are lucky people. We get to see the wonder in the bodies around us every day. It’s an honor, and one we’re perpetually grateful for. On Thanksgiving Day, give thanks for food and family and friendship, those standards of the season. Express your gratitude however you normally do, through writing in your journal, phone calls to your loved ones, a reflective walk in the woods, or prayer. But don’t forget that inimitable body of yours, which has accomplished so many things throughout your life. If we all inhabited our bodies with an attitude of gratitude, who knows what might happen? Maybe that whole peace on earth business wouldn’t seem so far away.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

5 Tips for Active Aging

Everybody talks about active aging, but not everybody knows what it’s supposed to look like. Working to stay happy and healthy as we get older shouldn’t be a drag, something done to slow an inevitable decline into decrepitude. Some things get better and better with age! While the grocery store magazine rack offers all kinds of tips for getting a bikini bod or looking 20 forever, there’s not much actual health advice anyone ought to be taking. So here are five tips for keeping active with each amazing birthday.
1. Keep moving, in whatever ways work for you. Don’t limit yourself.

However you choose to stay active, make sure it’s something you enjoy. Being miserable while you move is not a great way to stay motivated! If being happy in motion means finding a salsa dance partner who can keep up with you all night long, don’t worry about the fact that the rest of your friends are more into yoga or golf. Don’t let assumptions about your age keep you away from the judo dojo, skating rink, or climbing wall.

The other part of “what works for you” is feasibility. Walking is something you can do right on your own street, or even at the local Home Depot if there’s three feet of snow on the ground. No fancy equipment or gym membership necessary! If you’re really into dance but your joints don’t appreciate the intensity, think about water aerobics or even a synchronized swimming group. If an activity truly doesn’t fit into your schedule or lifestyle very often, there’s no reason you can’t try it out. But for the other 364 days of the year, do something that makes sense for you.
2. Not every health and wellness issue is about “just getting older.” Ask questions and get honest answers.

Sometimes, people like to wave away problems as a normal part of getting older. But just because people say it doesn’t necessarily make it the truth! For years people have passed around myths like the idea that sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) is an inevitable part of getting older. But recent studies people of all ages can maintain, even build strength and muscle. Flexibility and cardiovascular fitness don’t have to fall by the wayside either!

Of course, it’s no secret that our bodies do change over time. This is where the asking questions part comes in. So ask your doctor, a personal trainer, a massage therapist, or whatever experts you have at hand, and get the answers you need. Will swimming make the arthritis in my shoulder worse? How does this medicine affect my heart rate? Is it normal to feel this sore two days after lifting weights?
3. Don’t just ignore it.

You know what the “it” is for you. Those headaches that seem to be getting worse, the stress, the way you feel out of breath carrying groceries up the stairs. If you see a physician about it, you might find that it’s actually something quite fixable. Maybe all you need is a change of medication, better posture when lifting, or a massage. Maybe it’s something a bit more involved, like a change in your activity level or cutting back on smoking. But knowledge is power, and ignoring the issue just guarantees you don’t have the power to make those choices for yourself.
4. Health doesn’t just mean physical health, and “active” doesn’t just mean physically active.

So often we think about health and wellness as an issue of the body, and forget about the importance of mental health as well. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, depression affects 6.5 million Americans over the age of 65. This often goes undiagnosed for the same reason physical illnesses do: people assume that these feelings are a normal part of aging, and so they don’t seek help.

Being active in a variety of ways also helps fend off depression and anxiety. Strong friendships, regular touch, physical activity (yeah, that again), and working towards goals are all important for maintaining mental health. Be an active community member by volunteering, voting, and working to keep your neighborhood welcoming, safe, and clean. Keep your mind active by taking a class or learning a new skill. If you find yourself suffering from depression or other form of mental illness, take an active role in getting the right treatment; therapy or medication can be a huge help when it feels like nothing will.
5. Being active and independent doesn’t mean never asking for assistance.

Everybody needs help. Kids need help. Parents need help. Athletes and firefighters and librarians and piano teachers all need help. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like if you ask for help, everything you’ve built for yourself (and by yourself!) will crumble, leaving you at the mercy of those who would take on responsibility for your life. But worst-case scenarios are rarely useful in planning for the real world.

What kind of help would be useful in staying active and healthy? A walking buddy? A lift to the gym? An encouraging phone call once a week? Maybe a professional could help. A personal trainer, counselor, or coach might be just what you need. Sometimes help comes in the form of a holiday gift, an evening of conversation over a tasty meal, or a great book on indefinite loan. The greatest thing about accepting help is that it shows you how you can turn right around and help someone else most effectively.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment