Spring Time Yard Work

Warmer temperatures and sunny skies tend to coax people outdoors during the springtime. We want to tidy up our yards and create beautiful landscape scenes for our homes. And there aren’t too many things quite as delicious as vegetables grown in your back yard watered with the sweat from your brow 🙂

These spring time activities can be very rewarding! Gardening and yard-work can also make your aches and pains flare up a bit. Do a little bit of planning and time-management to help fend off unwanted injury and pain.

Raking leaves

  • Wear gloves to prevent blisters on your hands.
  • Wear socks and shoes to protect your feet and ankles from scratches and insects.
  • Take breaks.

Pulling weeds

  • If possible, get down on the ground instead of stooping over. Your back will thank you. 
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands from scratches.
  • Take breaks, stand up to move around occasionally.

Mowing

  • Have a riding lawn mower? Good for you! Just be careful 🙂
  • Push mowing? Wear socks and shoes to protect your feet.
  • Go slow and steady, no need to be in a hurry.
  • If you have a hilly landscape your legs will be working extra hard. Pay attention to your body and rest when needed.

All of these chores are great exercise. You’ll build up a sweat and work different muscle groups. Try not to do everything in one day, or you’ll be sore in the morning. Make a plan and use your clock to work. Set a timer while you work, when it goes off take a water break, grab a snack or move to a different chore to give your body a break.

When you’re  grooming your beautiful landscape reward yourself with a hot shower, a nap, then schedule a massage! You deserve it!

Do you like to work outside? Flower beds or vegetable garden?

 

 

How to Paint Your Ceiling Without Killing Your Neck

The last time you painted ceilings did you end up in painful misery? Did your neck and shoulders feel like a burning pit of agony? Yeah, mine, too. Until I adjusted how I held my body and arms while I painted. You, too, can change the look of your home without injuring your neck and actually having the energy to finish the job!

How to paint your ceiling without killing your neck.

1. Use a tall ladder, not a step stool. Put your paint tray on the tray holder instead of trying to hold it.

2. KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS RELAXED. I think this is the most important step. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class (or any other kind of work-out) you’ve likely heard the instructions “Keep your shoulders relaxed” or “Relax your shoulders.” Until you’ve really figured out that you are, indeed, shrugging you won’t understand this statement. It’s the shrugging and tensing of the top of the shoulders that causes quite a bit of the pain from painting. Just bring them down. Concentrate on letting gravity hold your shoulders away from your ears. It works. The muscles in your shoulders won’t tense up or cramp up so easily this way. If you are working and feel your shoulders burn just ask yourself, “Where are my shoulders?” Tell yourself to bring them down. You will feel a sense of relief every time you un-tense the tops of your shoulders.

3. Don’t over-stretch your paint strokes. Your arms will only reach so far. Paint the area you can comfortably reach from your ladder and then step down carefully and move the ladder. This is also a great time for the next step:

4. Take frequent breaks. Now, I don’t mean get down, sit around, watch TV and take a nap. I mean bring your arm down. Stretch for a minute. Do some shoulder rotations and neck rolls. Every time you get down to move the ladder you are resting your neck. Simply add about a minute of stretching and movement.  You’ll be ready for the next area of ceiling.

5. Listen to sing-along music. If you dread your task you should take steps to make it as fun or un-dreadful as possible. I chose music to help me. Sing at the top of your lungs. Bounce to the beat and be-bop your way to fully painted ceilings. Does it make the paint look better? Maybe not. But it makes the minutes that slowly tick off the clock a little bit more fun.

Do you have some helpful tips to painting ceilings or walls? Please share this with others, you never know who might need to un-shrug!

Stress [Relief] Awareness

How is your Stress [Relief] Awareness Month going? Have you thought of some ways that you like to unwind? Have fun? Here are a few more ideas!

Have fun!

Sing along songs

Plug in your favorite music and sing. Can’t think of anything on the spot? Think Motown, Disco, Classic Country, the top 40 songs from the year you graduated high school. Our new dinner clean-up routine (as a family) is to fire up a station on Internet radio, clean, sing and dance together. My 6-year-old loves it! Plus, the chores go by faster with rhythm and laughter.

 

Hula Hoop

A woman I went to high school with makes and sells adult hula hoops. That just sounds fun! You could get together with a good friend to combine the therapeutic benefits of laughter and exercise. You just may laugh until you cry (or tinkle!)

Read

This may not be for everyone. I love to read but in the last few years haven’t done much for pleasure. My idea of a nice morning is sitting outside with a fresh cup of coffee and great book. You could lose yourself in a trashy romance novel, travel back in history, soar to new planets or walk among the un-dead. Why, you could go or do or be anything you could imagine!

What do you like to do to unwind?

 

Stress Awareness Month!

April is Stress Awareness Month! Why did she use an exclamation point, you ask? Well, I was trying to add some cheer 🙂

What is Awareness, exactly?

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t need anyone to point out to me when I’m stressed out. I feel it, you know. It’s in my head and spreads throughout my body if I’m not careful. I know when I’m irritable, cranky, tired and fatigued. I can assure you that if someone pointed out to me that I was cranky the “awareness” wouldn’t improve the situation! So what is this “awareness?”

I think it is a great time to share some ideas for Stress Relief. They should change the name to Stress Relief Awareness Month! We know we are stressed, we need help relieving it!

What are some ways to relieve stress?

Massage. Yes, I put this first but I think it is a vital and wonderful method to ease the stress of the mind as well as the body. Massage therapy addresses more than one or two ways that stress can affect the body. Soft music, low lights, no talking, resting while someone rubs your back and places that may hurt. It’s relaxing. It feels good. And it relieves painful symptoms. Oh, and massage is GREAT at relieving headaches.

Exercise. Elevating the heart rate, moving, shaking, walking, running, dancing, yoga and sports are all forms of stress relief. A good sweat seems to clear the mind sometimes. Nothing but you and the pavement, step-step-step-step. Or a class full of friends dancing, sweating and laughing to better health. Maybe a pick-up game of softball, basketball or volleyball with friends is your way to unwind. Any of these things is going to relieve stress, improve your mood and even provide your body with benefits of healthy exercise.

Gardening/yard work. Yes, some forms of stress relief can have the word “work” in them. I’m not the gardening type, but I know many, many people who LOVE to bury their hands in the dirt. There is satisfaction in planting a seed or bulb, tending and cultivating, and then watching it transform into something beautiful. Plus it’s a great opportunity to get your hands dirty, do repetitive tasks, hang out by yourself and be outside. Some people like the results of their work, while others just enjoy the solitude and dirt. Either way some stress is being relieved and your body appreciates it!

Arts/Crafts. Splashing paint on some canvas just sounds fun! You may enjoy making things, crafting things, scrapbooking or photography. Making something out of nothing can be very fun and rewarding. If you are creating something then maybe, just maybe your brain gets a rest from the work/family/stress thoughts that seem to get stuck in your head. Again, relief. And fun!

These aren’t the only ways to relieve stress. I plan to write about more all month long. Meanwhile, what are some fun or creative things you do to relieve stress? Please share so we may try them 🙂

Spring Time Special Guest Post!

Kids throughout Arkansas are on Spring Break from school this week. My 6-year-old daughter, L, has given me permission to publish her first poem on my blog.

“All I can hear is the birds and me

The birds are singing beautifully

In the springtime comes the breeze

Tons of leaves hanging from the trees

Kids can come out and play

On this wonderful springtime day!”

L, 3-17-13

L is a brilliant Kindergartner who loves to sing and write. She has two previously unpublished books about cats and mermaids, respectively.

I hope you ALL take some time to enjoy the fresh, spring air this week!

Do the “Hokey-Pokey”

The other day I was reminded of a very important lesson. A lesson that I share with my dear clients every day. A lesson that I share with my dear readers quite often. I repeat this advice at least once a day, often once per hour.

Get up and move often during your work day.

The longer you sit still the more stiffness and soreness you might feel. I learned that this week! I spent 4 hours as a passenger in a car and 3 hours sitting in a meeting. My body still hurts a whole day later! I take for granted the freedom I have to move around whenever I become uncomfortable. And that’s exactly what I do, I move around a lot.

Move around whenever you become uncomfortable.

I spend most of my time focused on how to relieve pain or make people comfortable. I receive regular massage and notice the slightest little twinge of pain and immediately adjust my posture or activity to relieve it. The other day I couldn’t do that. I sat in mostly one position for most of the day. My body did not like this. My hip flexors were in pain and trying to cramp up. Have you ever had a cramp in your hip? Not fun! I really wanted to get up, stretch and walk around but I didn’t want to disrupt the meeting.

Sometimes you just need to stand up and do the Hokey-Pokey.

I realize that it may not be realistic to take frequent breaks at work. It’s so easy for the professionals to hand out advice like “take a break every hour,” “stretch at your desk,” and “walk around while you are on the phone.” I give this advice all the time but in reality your boss might not want you to stop working every hour. You may not have room to stretch at your desk.  Standing may not be an option all the time for your work. So what now?  Stand up when you can and make the most of it. Do the Hokey-Pokey! It covers every thing. This dance from your childhood is the perfect way to loosen up tight shoulders and get your blood moving. Plus it’s fun! Just don’t forget to shake it all about. Shake out your arms, move your head around and just move! You’ll feel better, I promise.

Do you take move around breaks at work? What helps you relieve or prevent tight, sore muscles?