Recently, I had a few clients share their joy and pain of having a social summer. The outside barbeques, laps around the lake, and birthday celebrations, in addition to the daily anxieties of life and F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out)! Fall is usually my time for a social detox and reset. Here are my three suggestions for you this week to reset and recharge:
1. It's always OK to say NO any time of the year.
I used to say yes all the time because I felt I had to take every opportunity that came my way (scarcity mentality.) But let's be honest: saying yes to everyone, and everything, is stressful! It's definitely not good for your mental, physical and spiritual health! Your happiness will be made up of the choices that you make and if you’re not thrilled about something, or have noticed you're consistently over-committing yourself with no time to recharge yourself; just say no.
2. Say what you need out loud to yourself and honor it.
It’s possible to feel a lot of things all at once. (Hey, we're only human!) It’s impossible, however, to decipher why we feel these things and where these emotions come from, or at least it feels that way. This is why expressing and sharing them can help us figure them out. When you say how you feel, you're acknowledging their existence and recognizing that they are residing within you. You’re allowing yourself to process the emotions, hear them back, and then organize your mind.
3. Say yes to solo time and that includes vacations too.
Even the most sociable people need some alone time every now and then. Of course, surrounding yourself with people who uplift you is great and essential. There are also many benefits to enjoying some time with yourself. Balancing friends, a job, family, and obligations is a challenge and takes a lot of energy. No one can be “on” at all times. Give yourself your full attention at least once a day for 5-minutes to recharge, and make plans for solo vacation even if it's spending the weekend at a local hotel.
Virtual reality is part of our new reality. If you weren't as comfortable with using technology or even connected to the internet before, I'm sure Covid has definitely changed that. As we spend more time indoors moving into fall and possibly even more time with technology, here are a few tips to help you adjust and stay well.
1. Personal Workspace
Wether you're working from home, the office, or have a hybrid work schedule, it's time to get serious about updating your workstation. Make sure you have an ergonomic chair because if you're sitting for a long period of time in one position that’s not natural, or a bad position from a postural standpoint, over time that’s going to break down your spine. A good office chair is going to help you maintain a neutral posture, which means sitting with your feet flat on the floor, your knees slightly higher than your hips, and your hips, shoulders, and ears all lined up with each other. Another important furniture piece to invest in is a sit-stand table, which can help offset and prevent a sedentary lifestyle (aka sitting disease).
2. Utilizing Apps as Reminders
With more than 8.9 million mobile apps out there to choose from for dating, gaming, entertainment and more, there are a few worth downloading to simply remind you to take a break, stretch, or go for a walk! For your computer (Mac and Windows) there is Stretchly, an app that reminds you to take breaks when working on your computer. A small popup will let you know before it's time to take a break, and then remind you when it's time. For your phone, there is Unhook (Android only) which not only reminds you to take a break, but forces it upon you! You set a daily time limit for different types of screen usage, such as social apps, video streaming, and games. Once you cross the limit you set, Unhook makes you walk to unlock more time. For every 100 steps that you walk, you will get 10 minutes of extra usage time on the phone.
3. Take Breaks From Technology
While working remotely has it's pros and cons, I often hear from clients that it's hard to breakaway from their work because they find themselves spending too much time online, or with their phone, to produce deliverables as well as staying in touch with their colleagues or clients. On average we spend about 8.6 hours per day interacting with technology (if you own an iPhone you probably receive weekly screen time stats and it might be more!) Try taking baby steps by putting your phone/computer away when you're having a meal, setting boundaries by not checking your email/text when it's outside of "office hours", or putting away your phone or laptop at least an hour or two before bedtime.
The old me struggled to accomplish everything I needed to get done in a day. There were days when it felt like my work was taking over and the work-life balance I dreamt of was out of reach. As we transition to a slower pace for fall, it's important to remember to add the following habits into your day during the week to ensure you're maximizing each day. With these tips, you can regain control, get more done with less stress, and find some time for the things you love!
1. Stop multitasking.
Yes, you read that right. Most of us have had to learn how to multitask on the job: googling four things at once, answering an email while you're on the phone, and writing a report while also trying to catch up on news topics. We've all been there and if I have to be sincerely honest, it's exhausting! But here's why you should stop multitasking: it's stressful! Every time you switch between tasks you pay a "switching cost": after a distraction, it takes approximately 25 minutes before you are 100% fully focused again. When you multitask, you are 40% less productive than when you single-task. So switching tasks constantly, you ultimately get less work done which causes you to experience more work pressure and stress.
2. Take mini-breaks.
I've been guilty of not doing this and I also know many people who are used to working indefinitely without taking a break. The justification I often hear is that they have a heavy workload, a strict deadline, a long-term sick colleague, or an urgent request from a hugely important client. But to stay sharp and focused, it is essential to take mini-breaks despite all those urgent matters. When you take mini-breaks throughout your day it helps you improve focus, concentration and provides the opportunity for mental and physical rest. After a break, work can resume with more energy and motivation.
3. Do something for yourself each day.
The idea of making time for self-care can be daunting. Most of us feel like we don’t have enough time, or there is just too much to do; it almost feels selfish to make time for ourselves. The truth is, the more we can find balance and take care of ourselves, the more we can give to others and the less likely it is that we will burn out! It can be the simplest of things like going out for a 15-minute walk, meditating, calling a friend to catch up, or giving yourself a self-massage.
It's finally September! Virgo season, my birthday is on September 13th, and it's a time for transition. Time for swapping our tank tops and shorts for sweaters and sweatpants, changing our orders from ice coffee to pumpkin spice lattes, and yes, this pretty much applies to everything else we do, including what time we go to bed. Many of my regular clients know that each season we must transition into the next phase of care for their wellness treatments. As part of this transition, we discuss what changes are happening in their lives and what they endure mentally, physically, and emotionally (don't forget seasonal depression is a thing, y'all!)
So enjoy the last few days of what's left of summer and start preparing to shift to a slower pace for fall. Speaking of, have you booked your massage appointments for fall yet? If not, here are a few reasons WHY you need to book a massage STAT!
1. You're more active during the summer.
Because the sun's out, you're most likely participating in summer sports and activities like running, swimming, hiking, kayaking, and doing more walking. Even though regular exercise is good for your health and helps keep you flexible, it can also lead to dehydration and improper positioning. After a season of participating in summer activities, it’s important to help your body recover before temperatures drop and joint pain can increase.
2. Summer footwear has been your go-to.
Summer is the perfect time for flip-flops, Birkenstocks, and other open-toe shoes or clogs, but too often we’re walking for long periods of time without the proper support. Summer footwear often allows for unfavorable ergonomics and can result in back pain and poor posture.
3. You might suffer from seasonal depression.
Remember what I said, seasonal depression is a thing! We, Seattlites, should know better than anyone else! The summer sun can help those with seasonal depression, but there may be anxiety about the upcoming change to winter. If you suffer from seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), regular massage can help.
4. You haven't been getting enough sleep.
With longer days comes shorter nights. Many people find it difficult to get their recommended 8-9 hours of sleep each and every night in the summer. Massage is proven to improve sleep and increase serotonin levels according to studies on backpains.