Archives for category: Holidays

The leftover turkey has been refrigerated. The Black Friday madness is over. And maybe you’ve patronized the webs on Cyber Monday and even remembered Giving Tuesday.

Don’t limit the love to Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is always the Tuesday after Thanksgiving; December 1st this year. It’s a chance for you, your family, community, company, and/or organization to give something more. But there’s no need to limit the giving to one day, we’re in a whole season of giving!

We’ve come up with a list of 4 ways to give – and they cost zero dollars.

  1. Give something you already have

Rummage through your cabinets and donate dry goods to a food bank. Ditto for your bookcases. Find some books and share them with a shelter, a school in need, or even a friend collecting stuff for a fundraising yard sale. Box up some old coats, hats and gloves and bring them to a homeless shelter or a local school (sometimes the school has to find hats/gloves so kids without them can play outside with their peers). Bring old blankets to an animal rescue, or donate blood.

  1. Make something

Bake some cookies and deliver to your neighbors or coworkers. If you are particularly gifted in couponing, gather up some free stuff and fill stockings. Donate them to a food bank or other program for holiday giving.

  1. Do something

Run an errand for someone. Smile at a stranger. Give a genuine compliment. Spread good news. Volunteer at a children’s hospital, nursing home, or anywhere you think another human being could use a smiling face.

  1. Write a letter/make a phone call

Leave a nice note on someone’s windshield. Even if you don’t know them. Call a friend or loved one you haven’t spoken to in a long time – especially if it’s someone you’re at odds with. Send an email to someone who has greatly impacted your life (and may not know it).

Bonus: And if you have a little money to throw around

Give a generous tip, whether you’re at the coffee shop, out to eat, or your often-unseen postal worker. Pay someone’s layaway anonymously. Sign up for a 5k that gives to a good cause. Bring some pet food or toys to a local animal shelter. Buy a gift certificate for massage for a person close to you and your family.

Giving doesn’t have to be a huge, elaborate and grand event. Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest splash. As a massage therapist, I know that sometimes it’s not the hands-on work that is most helpful to a client. Often it’s just being seen and heard and cared for that makes all the difference in the world.

Who says Thanksgiving has to be traditional? Maybe you’re the type of person who thinks out of the box or maybe you’re just tired of the same food, same people, and same thing every year. We’re here to help!

We’ve frolicked through the internets and found the most unique ways to celebrate Thanksgiving. Here are our favorites:

Change it up

Have a potluck, set up a cheese (or chocolate!) fondue, or try your hand at a vegan Thanksgiving spread. You could also have a contest with friends to create a turkey out of random food, like carved canned cranberry or sculpted mashed potatoes.

Reflection

Pass out some index cards. Have everyone write what they are grateful for on one side and their goals for following year on the other. Seal it up in an envelope with their name on it and have them open it the following year. (Mail cards to those who can’t make it.)

Go out to eat

Dinner and dishes shouldn’t be heaped on the host. Let someone else do the cooking and cleaning. Just enjoy the company. Easy peasy.

Invite a (sort-of) stranger

Consider extending your circle to include someone you wouldn’t normally see at Thanksgiving. Maybe a distant relative or friend. Go a little further and invite someone you know from church/library/grocery store who might have nowhere to go.

Travel to a faraway land

If you’re really frisky, start your own tradition and get out of dodge. Plan to go somewhere fun or focus on relaxation and rejuvenation. Or just have a close-to-home vacation in a nearby city or off-season vacation spot. Make sure you plan to get a massage! (Click here if you plan on staying local!)

Build a tree

This one works especially well with kids. Take a big piece of paper and draw a simple tree. Hang it on a wall. On November 1st, and each day after, write on a leaf something you’re grateful for and add it to the tree. By the end of the month, you will have a beautiful tree full of all the things you are thankful for!

Themed Thanksgiving

Plan a themed Thanksgiving dinner. Venture into another culture and see what surfaces.  Italian, Middle Eastern, Chinese to name a few.

Cocktail party

Mix it up with a mixology party, play charades, or sing karaoke. Plan to hang out in your sweats or get all dolled up in your formal wear. Anything goes.

As you can see there are no rules. If you feel some rules still apply, don’t you think it’s about time to break a few? The most important thing is spending time with loved ones and doing what makes you happy.

We hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

school_nurse

National School Nurse Day, May 6th, kicks off a week long appreciation for nurses worldwide. (National Nurses Appreciation Week ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.)

School nursing, as a profession, is such a unique specialty. If you have a relatively healthy child, you might not realize a school nurse handles more than the occasional bandaid. Being aware of the special qualities a nurse brings to a school system will bring a little more perspective (and gratitude) for what they do.

Here are five reasons to acknowledge and appreciate our school nurses.

They provide screening.

School nurses administer hearing and vision tests and often aid in early detection of hearing/vision problems and refer out as needed. They also serve as a liaison between the family, school, counselors and health care providers.

School Nurses administer much needed medication and monitor blood glucose levels.

And an assortment of other medical issues that need to be monitored and observed. This goes beyond paperwork, like immunization records. School nurses are also ahead of the curve when it comes to a possible communicable disease outbreak.

For some kids, school nurses are the only medical professionals they will see.

Not everyone is able to see a physician on a regular basis. School nurses can give children the health guidance, counseling and education they might not get anywhere else. They provide quality health care and will intervene with existing and potential health problems.

Many school nurses handle multiple schools.

Due to budget cuts and a variety of reasons, many school nurses must juggle multiple schools. More schools mean more kids. Think about it; In some cases, school nurses will enable a child with health conditions attend school. Such close and personal care can be difficult when spread out over multiple schools.  

They deal with our children’s boo-boos and illnesses.

School nurses are the first responders to incidents at school – whether it’s injury or illness.  Kids going to the nurse may be dealing with a physical or social/emotional cause. It’s up to the school nurse to communicate with the parents/guardians when further care is needed.

Children view a school nurse as a trusted adult and someone they can turn to when they aren’t feeling well. School Nurse Day is the perfect opportunity to show your appreciation, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Just like the teachers in your child’s life, it’s important to remember them around holidays too, like Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Show your school nurse that you value their contribution, care, and compassion. A massage gift certificate is a great way to thank a school nurse who promotes health and wellness year round.

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’s 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!

Patriotism-10-2014

Imagine a normal day. You wake up, grumble about not having enough sleep, and reluctantly get out of bed. Today your day is routinely filled with work, errands, and other ordinary tasks. It’s nothing you would consider special.

Between grocery shopping and getting the oil changed in your car, you have a laundry list of things to accomplish and Junior has a soccer game tonight. And that’s all before you have a chance to get dinner on the table.

A typical day for us is filled with seemingly mundane tasks that really are quite amazing when you compare to what other families – across the country, across town, across the street – are going through.

I’m talking about military families.

I’m talking about the families that live through all those mundane tasks but have much higher hurdles to clear. Each situation is different but they all hold a common thread; a spouse in the military.

When a serviceman or woman is deployed their spouse has to keep things together while they are away. They pick up the reins for every imaginable task. Household chores, wiping noses, paying bills, playing with the kids, vehicle maintenance…. every last project falls squarely on their shoulders.

In 2012, military families across America, more than 900,000 children experienced the deployment of one or both parents multiple times.[1]

When the a military member is not deployed, their spouse is subject to the schedule given to them; countless hours of PT, missions, and all the military work involved. In some cases, the spouse is forced to leave their job – reducing their household income – due to relocating, having children, no childcare, and other reasons.

Military families (also known as “dependents”) endure quite a bit of moving, too. Transferring from base to base can raise lots of challenges. Each new place requires learning the area, finding and making new friends, and countless other adjustments. Their lives are filled with change and uncertainty. And if there are children involved (usually there are), it creates instability sometimes leaving them feeling insecure.

A 2012 demographics report states active duty members with children shows 42.4% of those children are between the ages of birth and 5 years old. [2]

Military family members are faced with bittersweet moments too. Junior takes his first step and they can’t revel in the moment like you and I could. The excitement and thrill of this new feat can easily be followed up with a longing for the service member missing from the moment. And we’re not even talking about holidays.

Dependents are the built-in support system for our military members. They offer the connection to home, offering their love and a letter right when the troops need it most.  But it doesn’t stop there, military family members are there when those in service returns from deployment. They are the ones who help pick up the pieces. Like a behind-the-scenes crew, trying to clean up the mess and sometimes at a loss as to what they can do.

Military families are the backbone of this country.

They are constantly adjusting to someone else’s schedule and agenda, they pick up and move at a moments notice. And often they sleep in a half empty bed with a cold, vacant spot waiting for they deployed. Military spouses pick up every last toy, fold every last sock, and wipe every tear. They do whatever needs to be done and often they do it alone.

When I think of military families I think of strength, resiliency, and courage. I think of patience and an undying support system.

I also think of the heartache and sacrifices they make. Not an easy thing to do. Friends are often hard to find and keep. And most often relatives live far away – so I have to ask, who supports them.

During Military Family Appreciation Month, I want you to look beyond feeling gratitude for the mundane task you need to get done. I want you to reach further than recognizing the ability to lay your head down at night feeling utterly safe.

I want you to look at the people who support our military on every level imaginable.

Make an effort to show your appreciation for military family members. It might come in the form of dropping off a casserole, helping them plan a budget, fix a painted shut window, getting them a massage, or offering to take their kids for a few hours. Look at the many ways you can help out and DO it.

So, in honor of Military Family Appreciation Month, we’d like to say thank you to all the military families who are on the front lines of supporting the men and women who protect us.

[1] DoSomething.org

[2] National Military Family Association

national relaxation Day 2014

Busy-ness is the trend these days. People carry over-packed 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 take-out or pre-cooked meals all day.
  • Schedule a massage! 
  • 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, self-care 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!

February 2014 - Hearts SparkleIt’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. Make a pedicure date with your best friend. If you can each bring along your favorite mom, aunt, extremely sweet older neighbor who watches out for your kids, even better.

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. I even have a “How to Massage Your Partner Class” available if you want me to spend some time making sure you get the basics down!

Watch a video and treat your partner to a hand or foot massage. Grab this amazing book, A Modern Day Guide to Massage for Children, and learn how to massage your favorite little buddy.

Give the gift of massage. You can pick up a gift certificate right here.

Bonus: Connect with YOU. Not everyone schedules regular massage, and that’s okay. But if it has been awhile, maybe is 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.