one little change – multiple trips

Imagine this scene.

It’s 7:30 am and you are hustling to get yourself and everyone short you are in charge of out the door on time. After you drop the kids off at school, you’ll head to work. During lunch you have 2 small errands to run. If you’re really lucky you might grab 20 minutes to exercise before picking the kids up again. Then it’s back home by way of the store to pick something up for dinner.

If you’re like me or most moms I know, the scenario above implies that on your way from the house to the car, you have 20 bags of varying sizes, shapes and weights hanging from every appendage you own. There might be 2 bags on each shoulder, one under the left arm and 1-2 in each hand. On a good day your kid or kids might carry their own lunch bags, backpacks and favorite toy themselves. But if you’ve already had to wrestle them to brush their teeth and tie their shoes, you just might choose to skip one more battle and carry those items yourself to the car. To carry all these bags without dropping them, you probably need to hike your shoulders up high essentially making them pegs from which these bags can hang securely. As you deposit some of these items in the front seat, kids’ seats, and trunk, you’ll need to swing the bags left and right, contorting your body so the other bags don’t fall or tip. Can you imagine this scenario? I could throw a stroller into the scenario. You know, the kind that fold really easily (wink).

This is the first in a series I’m calling “one little change.” In this kind of post, I’ll suggest how making one little change in how you do something can make a difference in feeling comfortable in your body in some way.

My suggestion for this post is pretty straightforward. I hope I won’t insult anyone’s intelligence.

Make multiple trips. Ridiculously obvious, I know, but I often find myself needing to fight the urge to make one big huge hulking trip with everything I’ll need for the next 11 hours. It’s like a cosmic battle between efficiency and common sense. Act like a pack mule and you’ll likely feel a bit grumpy and sore. The one trip method overtaxes my body and its amazing appendages. Making multiple trips to the car to load up the day’s necessities has helped me stay sane this year. I feel less frustrated because I’m not taking the role of pack mule. My loads are lighter and I practically skip between the car and house (if coffee has already been consumed “tra la la!”).

Now if you live in a place where your car is far from your house, you’ll need some more clever solutions. Of if you are a beloved member of the public transportation community, God bless you! Roller bags, carts or light backpacks might be part of your solution set for keeping your body comfortable. If you’re a devoted bike rider, I am giving you a standing ovation right now. Right now! Panniers, of course, are fabulous for carting stuff without it hanging on your shoulders. Both bussers and bikers, by necessity, have learned to chose their loads strategically and keep them light.  I must admit, living in Southern CA has shaped me into quite the car-dependent person as you can see my bias as I write. And I realize not all my readers have short people they are in charge of, are moms (or even women) or have bad habits like me…but if you find this pep talk useful or transferable to your life in some small way, I’m happy.

The bottom line here is: please don’t overtax your lovely shoulders by carrying too much at once, even for short distances. Outsmart your task by breaking it down and your lovely shoulders will thank you. They are not truly intended to be pegs, hiked up to the ears to keep umpteen bags from falling off. Your SPINE will chip in with a hurrah too.

Cheers! Here’s to lighter loads for all!

the modern vacation

Times have changed, haven’t they?

I recently took a vacation with my little family. No two vacations are the same and this was a combination of fun, low-key family time and stay-cation, but at my brother’s house. My kid and his kid were in a morning day-camp program Monday through Friday. The morning camp gave the grown-ups time to get some things done. So in a sense, it was a combination of vacation in the afternoons and evenings with mild work expectations for the morning hours. Of course, I can’t really “work” in terms of doing actual massage unless I’m in town, but there are other aspects of being a business-owner that clamor for attention too. Things like writing blog posts about interesting stuff, reviewing my marketing plan, and organizing paperwork.

I’ll be posting a few things about stress in the coming weeks that I hope you’ll find informative and insightful. So….confession time….I brought a book about stress on my vacation. I was just planning to do some research. I’m not so geeky that I enjoy reading about stress. Well, maybe I am. Anyway, I lost the book about stress during my vacation. I had borrowed the book, so I was feeling rather frantic as I packed and unpacked trying to find it. I certainly didn’t want to purchase a book about stress to replace the one I lost on my vacation. You see my pickle don’t you?

I did find the book eventually and all was smooth sailing from there, but I could not escape the hilarity in the symbolism of this little mishap. The other thing I couldn’t help but notice on this vacation is that, as modern adults, we are really used to being plugged in. My family brought our laptop with us so that a) my husband could grade “papers” that his students had turned in on-line; b) I could work on my blog; and c) my son coud pay his favorite lullaby CD at nighttime.

Technology propels us forward. It’s difficult to go backwards or set our technology aside. We get so used to having access to information via the web and being able to make a call from the beach or the park, even when we’re on vacation. It’s not entirely bad. I had time to catch up with my mom for an hour on the phone during this vacation. That was a real treat. But it is healthy to realize every once in a while how plugged in we are, how instant our society expects us to be, and how we CAN set technology aside.

The thing I’m most proud of was that I put an outgoing message on my cell phone just letting clients know that I was out of town and when I would return their calls. I didn’t answer the phone when it rang all week and only returned calls that involved work scheduled for the weekend. That was my biggest break to myself and my family. And, of course, that’s the beauty of a small business – the world does not stop when we check out for a week.

So, the last morning of the vacation I had scheduled a pedicure and a massage. Sounds so decadent, doesn’t it? Pedicures are a tax-deductible business expense for me now because I use my clean, smooth feet to massage people. Trust me, you want me to get pedicures regularly! And getting a massage is good self-care. It keeps me honest.

I had found a neat little place for my massage the day before, stopped in and took a tour. When I returned the following day for my appointment, I asked if I had perhaps left my misplaced book there. “What is the book called?” the helpful proprietor asked me. When I told her, she just looked at me incredulously. “A book about stress? You must need a massage!”

Do you have any funny stories from this summer’s vacation? Perhaps you found it hard to set aside your technology. Share your thoughts in the comments beow.

couch po-ta-to

Recently my husband & I watched an entire day of movies. This is very rare, I’m happy to say. We were celebrating the end of his Ph.D. program. S-E-V-E-N years of studying is a long time! So, we wanted to celebrate in some very long way. His celebration of choice was a Lord of the Rings extended version back-to-back-to-back movie marathon. Fortunately, I like these movies too.

But I’m not used to being a couch po-ta-to (as Samwise Gamgee would say). And by day’s end my hip hurt after being enveloped by a couch all day. Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to mine a lesson out of the all-day movie marathon (such as)

  • how to sit on a couch for 11 hours in the most ergonomically correct way
  • how to slay the Nazgûl while engaging core muscles
  • how to toss a dwarf without straining one’s bicep tendon

I’ll just say that celebrating life’s accomplishments is very important and that watching 11 hours of TV in a day is very bad. So do the first, but not the second (at least not very often). That’s it for today! Now where did I put that lembas bread?