NiaMassage

Musings from the Massage Chair & Table

It’s quiet…TOO quiet.

It’s that quiet time again. TOO quiet. Not quite in the holidays, but it’s getting close. The Christmas trees are ALREADY up in quite a few stores, and you haven’t seen frost on the pumpkins yet. PSL was already offered at Starbucks, two weeks ahead of schedule. Too many things are happening far earlier than they’re supposed to. You have enough time to plan to have a stress free holiday season, but you’re not ready yet. It’ll get here faster than you think!

Don’t let yourself get caught out there!

You have several weeks; let’s get a handle on your To-Do Lists, before they get a hold on YOU!

1. Finding meals on Pinterest can be the greatest source of new ideas for recipes. If you’re trying a new meal this year during the holidays, NOW is the time to try it out. You can make the mistakes ahead of time, and serve your new favorite meal with no worries. If you don’t have the skill to attack a recipe, ask someone who can help.  Also, do a quick inventory on all the spices and accessories that you’d need to do all the baking and cooking. Nothing is worse than finding out that you are out of baking soda in the middle of making cookies.

2. Even Martha Stewart has a team to help her have her house look fabulous. Find your own way to put your own fabulous spin on whatever holiday you wish to celebrate. The days of Norman Rockwell, although wonderful, can be a little canned and dated. Sometimes your best attempt at a traditional holiday event can look more like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Ask for help, and make it fun – this way you all get to decorate, and still be able to get together. If you are in the habit of making cards, get together with friends, and collaborate and craft together. If you want to have a Wrap Party, have everyone bring a little something, so that you aren’t doing everything all by yourself.

Don't just get through the Holidays! Have a "Time Out' with your friends.

Don’t just get through the Holidays! Have a “Time Out’ with your friends.

3. Get together with your friends and have a “Time Out” for adults. Create downtime away from running errands and take care of yourself! I was invited to do chair massages for a group of great ladies at a church event last year, where they also had makeovers, facials and just fellowship among friends that hadn’t seen each other for a good portion of the season. Everyone had a great time catching up with each other, and was relaxed by the end of the evening. Making time for yourself, even just a little everyday, will go a long way to helping you thrive!

Now is a good time to start thinking what you want to get out of the season – rushing around, stressing out or to be able to enjoy the time. What are you tips and tricks for dealing with holiday stress?

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How to Ace Your Next Exam

Exam time is approaching for many students of all ages. Everyone knows that this time of year can be very stressful for anyone cramming for multiple midterms, all to be completed in a very short period of time. It doesn’t have to be a time filled with hair tearing, energy draining, long sleepless nights it may have been before. Here are a few tips to ace your next exam.

Studying for Exams doesn't have to be a chore. Use these tips to ace your test!

Studying for Exams doesn’t have to be a chore. Use these tips to ace your test!

1. Use Peppermint – In either an essential oil or edible form, peppermint helps you to de-stress, as well as concentrate. Take a few pieces of peppermint candy when you are studying, and a few to your exam.

2. Study in Chunks – Studying everything all at once will not help you at all with preparing for the test. Your facts become jumbled, and the what you studied will literally go in one ear and out the other. Study several days before the test, and not the night before.

3. Write It Down – (I am NOT talking about a cheat sheet!)  As much as I hated it, out 7th grade Math teacher had us repeatedly write down tautologies and math rules. I’m also sure that you’ve had homework assignments where you had to write your vocabulary words multiple times. Oh, that was a pain in the butt, but there is a reason for that. The things your write down, you tend to remember.

4. Take a Stress Break – Get up from your desk that you’ve been poring over for hours, and move your body! Getting that blood moving will help improve oxygen circulation throughout the body, and dancing will help! Getting a Chair Massage will also help reduce stress, and get those knots out that you’ve

You’ve been studying for hours. DANCE IT OUT.

acquired during your study session. Ask your Campus Events Coordinator if they’ll have Stress Break Sessions on the calendar. If not, ask to have Chair Massage events throughout Testing Week. A few minutes of massage in your day will help immensely. There are even some campuses that have puppies to play with during a study break.

5. Get Adequate Sleep. Getting a great night’s sleep is essential, natch. But even taking a nap during the day, even for 30 minutes, can help with your alertness, and energy level.

You need all the positive vibes you can get. So, chill out, get a few Zzz’s. You’ll do great on this test. May the odds be ever in your favor!

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Just Blog It – Introduce Yourself!

Image Hi! My name is Sonia Hazard, and I am a self-described Positive Attitude Adjuster (otherwise known as a Massage Therapist). I am in my mid forties, and an empty-nester. I’ve been married for about 8 years now, and have my own business. 

My business is NiaMassage, a mobile massage business in the Metro Atlanta Area, that brings stress relief through massage therapy to offices and homes for the past three years. ‘Nia’ in Swahili means ‘Purpose’, and that is what I feel my purpose in life is, to help make other people feel better! I’ve done massages at Launch Parties, Diva Parties, Ambush Massages at work (The only people that knew we were coming was the boss!), as well as appearances at store and community events.Image

Writing blog posts for me are challenging, because I want to entertain and educate. This is an opportunity for me to get in the habit of writing, and have FUN with it! I’m still learning, so bear with me.  😉  See you tomorrow!

 

 

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Tactical Operations Kit for Finals Week

Testing time, especially Finals Week can be especially stressful for any student of any age. Cramming over books or a computer doing research, can tie the calmest person in knots! It can almost feel as if the Hunger Games are a real event –

Sometimes, Finals week can feel like the Hunger Games...

Sometimes, Finals week can feel like the Hunger Games…

Here are some things that can help you not only stress less during testing time, but actually thrive-

  • Peppermint – This can be Essential Oil, candles, teas or candy. This can help with clarity, focus and concentration.
  • Lavender – This can be Essential Oil, lavender buds, teas or candy. This will help calm you, and relax.
  • Chamomile – This can be Essential Oil, chamomile buds, teas or candy. This also can help calm you.
  • Tennis Ball & Sock – This can help address knots that you cannot reach on neck & shoulders.
  • Golf Ball – Self massage for feet. Roll foot over ball to your preferred pressure. Pick it up after you’re done! 😉
These can help even the most stressed student stress less during testing period.

These can help even the most stressed student stress less during testing period.

Naturespace app for iPhone, Nature Sounds for Relax & Sleep for Android – Relaxing atmospheric soundtracks. You can ‘be’ at the beach or in the woods, for hours on end to help studying, or sleep!
My Thought Coach – Meditations, guided imagery and positive thoughts for varied occasions.
Get a Massage – You may not have enough time to get a full body massage during testing time, but getting a massage is a good investment on your stress level, and those knots you get from studying and doing research for hours on end. Check to see if your Student Activities Board has Massage Sessions set up at your college or university. If not, check out ‘Find A Massage Therapist’ on the AMTA or ABMP websites.

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Don’t Stress During the Holidays!

Alright, the days are getting ever closer to Christmas, but don’t let it stress you out! Here’s my best advice for enjoying the holiday –

1- Schedule time for yourself. Find a sitter service that will help you care for your kids, so you can have a well-deserved break. Or, if you have friends and family members that you trust that would LOVE to take care of your kids, take them up on it. You can return the favor when they need you to.

2- DELEGATE– don’t do everything yourself. You’d love to be Martha Stewart, but even she has helpers. If people offer to help, don’t refuse the resource. If people haven’t asked, ask them; maybe they don’t know how to help you the way you need them to.

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Take time to take care of yourself; your body will appreciate it.

3- Use the internet to your advantage. Don’t know how to spruce up your home for the holidays? Use Pinterest to spark an idea. You don’t have to go overboard. Many crafts are easy to make with stuff you already have on hand. 

4- Everyone has a skill. You may have a friend who bakes but your cookies might look more akin to hockey pucks. Ask them for advice. They’ll love to share the knowledge.

5- Get together with your friends, and do a craft together, or just hang out! I’ve been invited to do massages at an event where the ladies are going to get together and enjoy each other’s company, and just relax. 

What advice would you share about taking care of yourself during the holidays?

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Relax, Chill, Take a Breath…

OK, it’s almost halfway to the middle of November, and I am trying to avoid that space…you know what I am talking about- Not having nearly ANYthing on your “To Do” list done, but feeling like I just want to chuck it all, and stay home for the rest of the year. Now, that is an extreme idea, even for me, but one wonders…20131113-115129.jpg

What usually works for me, not always mind you, is to sit and take a breath. A nice DEEP breath. When we are stressed, our hormone response tells the body to take quick, shallow breaths. When this happens, our mental and physical decision-making skills are overloaded with too much information, and sometimes renders us into a huddled mass, down in the trenches, waiting to strike out at the right moment.

With the holidays looming, one way to enjoy the upcoming hustle and bustle is to take care of YOURSELF first. Have a get together with your friends (who are also probably as stressed out as you are) and share ideas – find out who has the best babysitting resources, coupons, recipes, etc. and do a Swap of sorts. Have a Massage Therapist on hand (hint, hint) to give those ever so needed stress relieving Chair or Foot massages, to get everyone in the spirit!

Understanding your reality (all of us are NOT Martha Stewart), prioritizing your lists, collaboration, delegating tasks on the list(s) and asking for HELP will also help lower those stress levels, as well. If you are trying out a new dish or project, try it out ahead of time, so you can make the mistakes without the ‘pressure to be perfect’ at any holiday event. Ask others for help – I use Pinterest as a resource for all kinds of ideas, so I can enjoy and not just endure the holidays. We still have about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, so we can send the DEF-CON Level back to 4.

Before you go ahead and run off the cliff, stop, take a breath. A nice, deep breath.

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Be Your Own Cheerleader

When things don’t go your way, disappointment does happen. When things don’t go your way for a LONG time, depression and stress can set in. As much as you’d like to have others cheer you up, sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader.

Instead of focusing on the failure, focus on what you have learned instead. The more likely you learn the lesson, you are less likely to repeat the outcome.

Are you standing in your own way?  Self-doubt and negative thinking can help you create your own obstacles.  As soon as you recognize your thoughts going negative, catch yourself. Never get into the habit of rooting against yourself! 64 year-old Diana Nyad finally made her goal of swimming from Cuba to Florida – that’s 103 miles in jellyfish and shark infested water. She started at 28 years of age; It took her FIVE times to do it, and she never gave up!

Cheerleader

Are you trying to please other people, or listening/ worrying what other people are thinking? Everyone has haters, they’re there to let you know you are headed in the right direction.  Listen to your inner cheerleader – at your center, your own soul is rooting for you to succeed!

You have your own cheering section. Don't root against yourself!

You have your own cheering section. Don’t root against yourself!

Also, quit comparing yourself to anyone. This race you are running, your competitor is yourself and time. You have the same amount of time as everyone else; how you use it makes the difference. (This is a reminder to myself as well.)

I hope that these help you change the way your see your situation, and begin to cheer yourself on!

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Hug Someone!

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Body Language, Body Language…

Body Language, Body Language...

You know it’s coming…it’s almost the end of the day, and you’re looking forward to getting out of the office, and someone comes up to you and asks,

“Can you stay late/ finish the project/ start a new project? OK, thanks!”

You tend to notice that that doesn’t usually happen first thing in the morning, right? People can tell when it’s the best time to ask you for things, because your body is telling them!

When you arrive in the morning, you tend to look alert, shoulders back, head up, eyes alert. People who want to stress you out aren’t coming to mess with you, because they know they can’t get away with it. You’re on to them, and they may get a ‘NO’ right off the bat.

As the day progresses, and you’ve been sitting at that desk all day. You’re tired, you haven’t been stretching, and you are ready to just go home. That’s when General Foolishness wants to strike! Your shoulders are rolled forward, head bowed in near defeat – you are just asking them to give you grief!

Take time throughout the day to stretch, and take a walk to get the blood moving! The stretching will improve your posture, and reduce tension.

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What Do You Do to De-stress?

You cannot avoid negative stress, just like you cannot avoid breathing. You can deal with it, abate it, ignore it, or increase it. Getting rest in the afternoon is great, but can disrupt your sleeping habits, if you sleep too long. Complaining about it, especially to people that cannot do anything to change the source of the stress, can abate it, transfer the stress to the person that you are complaining to, but it does not do much to change the source of the stress.

What do I do to reduce my stress levels?

  1. Laugh my butt off – Sometimes there is nothing funny about certain stresses in the immediate moment, but later on, there can be something funny about it. I had someone close to me die at age 104. She babysat my sister and me as children, our kids, and the neighborhood kids. She was a staple in the neighborhood, and she will be sorely missed. As I was relaying this message to a friend that knew the woman, she asked me how the woman died.

      “Really?!?” I replied, taking a page from Bill Engvall, “She wrecked her Harley at Bike Week. She was 104!!!” I burst out laughing, knowing that Ms. Pryor would have laughed too, upon hearing that.

Laughter releases all sorts of endorphins and helps increase immunities, and reduces other hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, a ‘fight or flight’ hormone, which can lead to adrenal fatigue. Having a good laugh also engages the core abdominal muscles and diaphragm, gives the heart a good workout, relaxes the shoulders, and increases the oxygen intake throughout the body. If you ever meet me, ask me what songs are on my Mp3 to help me de-stress.

2.   Exercise – Taking 20 minutes out to just get away, to take a walk, workout, yoga, tai chi, Wii, PS3 Kinect, just getting out there and MOVE helps gets the body to reduce stressors. Boxing on my Wii is my de-stressor of choice. I can work on my stress, and get some exercise done in the process. Personally, I hate to sweat, but the after effects of working out outweigh the not moving of it all. I get over it, and get going.

3. Finding different ways to say “No” – Someone’s always going to want your time. There are going to be times that you are going to want to scream “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO” at the top of your lungs, but you don’t. You can say, ”Let me get back to you”, or “Let me sleep on it”, etc., so that you can take a breath before you commit to something. Find several different ways to say no, and reply to the request accordingly.

4. Meditation – Taking a few minutes to clear your mind will help decrease stress levels and may give you a new perspective on the very thing that stressed you out in the first place. There are many ways that one can meditate, which is great, because one always cannot do Downward Facing Dog in your cubicle.

5. Massage – Massage releases muscles that have been overworked and taut due to stress, also releases endorphins, reduces anxiety and increases calm, but I’m sure you knew that already.

These are only a few ways that you can de-stress. What do you do to reduce your stress levels? Can’t wait to hear from you!

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