“I forgive myself for having believed for so long that I was never good enough to have, get, and be what I wanted.” -Ceanne DeRohan
Here we are folks, well into spring with summer working up the courage to knock on the door. The new year was something of a clean slate and now we’ve had a few months to write on it. Spring is a good time to revisit what we’ve created and decide what to keep and what to 86 or rearrange. Maybe that means dialing down our revamp and making smaller changes, maybe it’s making or keeping bigger changes and managing the after effects in bite size chunks. For most people, real change happens incrementally.
What follows are just a few little changes you can make to improve your health, life, and happiness as we embrace spring, shuck off the last vestiges of winter, and prepare ourselves for the busyness, travel and fun, fun, manic FUN! of summer.
Use your tools
You’ve probably got a computer and a smartphone (whether Android or iPhone, there are 1000’s of apps out there). And I bet you spend plenty of time using them. But are you using them well?
A great grocery list app can reduce the number of trips you make to the store, and the amount of cash you spend on groceries. Mint is a fantastic money app to keep track of your cash, create (and stick to) a budget, and plan for the future. Wave and Xero are small business accounting apps and Wave Receipts scans receipts through your camera’s phone and syncs them with Wave accounting on-line.
TripIt can keep your travel plans organized and makes it easy to share that info with the people who need to know. Waze can alert you to real-time road conditions, hazards, traffic and the best route to your destination taking those factors into consideration. Using Google Maps on your next road trip can help you locate hotels with info such as ratings by Google users, price, phone number, location (of course) and, in some cases, direct booking. It’s also pretty solid at navigation. Much like Siri for iPhone, you can ask it to navigate to a place (“Okay Google, navigate to Summer Lake Hot Springs). If you’ve got a commute or like to listen to something while you run, walk, or do chores, for Android users Podcast Republic aggregates podcasts that you can stream or download for offline listening (if you’ve got an iPhone, you might be stuck with iTunes…or maybe you love it).
Doodle can help you easily schedule group meetings (or just dinner with friends). If you’re balancing a family with multiple schedules, use Cozi to get everyone to the right place at the right time. Evernote and Google Keep are good for keeping a variety of thoughts, notes, lists, images, documents, and urls accessible anywhere and shareable. MileIQ tracks your mileage and lets you quickly and simply classify them as personal or business. Taking full advantage of the technology at hand can actually simplify your life.
You’ve heard this before, no doubt, and it sounded like a great idea. But if you haven’t yet, now is a good time to actually do that. Just say no. Your time and energy are valuable commodities, so spend them carefully. You do not have to say yes. In fact, if you are thinking “Oh wee, I’m sure this will work out some way,” if you feel a heaviness with the thought of saying yes to something or if your knee-jerk reaction is to say yes without thinking, these are all pretty good indications that you should strongly consider saying no. If you have trouble saying no (especially if it is a knee-jerk response for you to say yes), practice it. Really. It helps to be prepared with a reply that is kind, but still conveys a firm, “No.” You can find some ideas here. Something along these lines works well for me, “Thank you so much for thinking of me, this project sounds interesting, but I just cannot do it justice with my schedule right now.” You don’t need to apologize or even say “maybe later.”
Schedule regular massage (you had to know that was coming)
Massage is known to reduce stress, alleviate pain, and enhance the quality of sleep. All good things. If you think you can’t spare the time or funds for massage, consider this: what’s it worth to give your family, friends, and coworkers a happier, more productive YOU? (A lot. It’s worth a lot.) Regular can mean weekly, monthly, or quarterly. In a perfect world, everyone would get a massage at least once per week: you should come as often as your time and budget allow. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain as time goes by.
And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is a luxury or any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness, like dental care but ever SO much more enjoyable. Scheduling with me is super easy: just visit my schedule online here www.massagebook.com/mairemassage to see what works for you. Or, if you prefer to speak with me directly or have specific questions not answered on www.mairemassage.com, you can call me at 360-473-7516 or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Commit a random act of kindness for three different people:
- Someone you don’t know
- Someone you know
Someone you don’t know
This is pretty simple and can quickly become a habit. (That’s a good thing!)
Smile. When you’re in a tediously long line at the supermarket, watching a parent deal with their toddler’s public meltdown, or sitting next to another car in traffic, a kind smile goes a long way when you’re feeling a bit burnt out about the daily hassles in life. Here are some more simple ideas: 10 Ways to Help Your Community in 30 Minutes or Less
Someone you know
Take a moment to think about who in your life may be a little touch-deficient. Maybe you know someone who is recently widowed, a single parent with older children, someone who has difficulty leaving the home, or a new empty-nester. Maybe even a young teenager in an especially introverted stage of awkwardness.
Make it a point to touch someone. It could be a warm hand shake, high-five, or great hug, whatever is appropriate for that person and situation. Touch makes us happier and healthier, and it benefits both you and the receiver! Massage someone. I know, this sounds odd coming from a massage therapist, telling you to Do It Yourself (I even teach people how to do this). But massage doesn’t have to be an hour or two long with special oils, a massage table and complicated techniques. Just five minutes is a kindness.
Watch a video (or follow me on Facebook and watch out for my next class) and treat your partner to a hand or foot massage. Massage your pet. Grab a copy of this book, A Modern Day Guide to Massage for Children, written by an authority on pediatric massage, and learn how to help your kids through massage.
Give the gift of massage. You can pick up a gift certificate right here.
People depend on you, so it’s important to take care of yourself. If you’ve only got a few minutes, steal away and flip through a great magazine or book, Flipboard or Pinterest. If you can set aside some more time, try some of these potentially soul nourishing 8 Creative Ways to Approach Self Care, get that massage, go for a walk by yourself to recharge, draw, write or read some poetry, watch a funny movie, window shop or check out a new store downtown. If you need more convincing, think about what is written here Why Self Care Is the Opposite of Selfish.
Watch out on Maire’s Facebook page for information about an upcoming mini-retreat on top of The Ridge in Ellensburg, WA. Saturday morning, May 14 we’ll be hiking to the top of Manastash Ridge for some mountaintop yoga and massage! Your yoga mat will be shuttled to the top of the hill, unless you want to carry it up yourself. The cost will be $20 and limited to 20 participants. We’ve got fun stuff planned for you. Join us–it’s gonna be great!