Noticing the terrible habits of others

IMGP3116I have never given the following advice, but here goes! I read a great article about the new posture challenges we face when using all our fancy technology – tablets, smart phones, etc. It’s a practical article with excellent photos of good and bad posture choices. It made me think about how we all want to have good posture, but don’t necessarily know how to get there.

Noticing the terrible habits of others is a clever way to begin. Haven’t we all seen people hunched over their cell phones tapping out a text? It’s so obvious when you’re watching someone else. “Wow! Don’t they realize how bad that must be for their backs?” Or, the other day a client was finishing a call in my reception area before her massage appointment. She had the phone propped between her ear and shoulder – right in front of me! That is sooooo hard on the neck muscles and joints. Yikes!

The problem seems to be that we are mentally engaged with the content of our technology to the point where our bodies and the alarms they may be trying to send us cannot get our attention. Sure, our necks might be sore and stiff at the end of the day, but we don’t necessarily make the connection to our specific actions during the day.

Next time you’re out, notice the terrible habits of others. Without the technology they have in their hands, try to assume the same posture and hold it for a few minutes. Really think about how your body feels in this position. Try taking some deep, slow breaths in this position. Scan your body head-to-toe and notice where you may be feeling discomfort. It can be a fun experiment. I can’t link to the article, but I’m happy to give you a photocopy if you’d like one. Just let me know.

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.