The Dangers of UV Rays

July 20th, 2021

How was your week? Last week I had a minor speed bump that caused me to slow down in the form of an injury to my fingertip. I was prepping vegetables, in an attempt to eat healthier lunches, when my knife slipped and nearly cut the end of my fingertip off! With that said, I hope your week went more smoothly than mine. It could have been a lot worse, but it was far from convenient. Through trials we have two choices -adapt/pivot or give up. Y’all should know by now that giving up is not an option for me. I kept busy learning new techniques and helping in the office. Over the past couple of weeks, we have discovered what UV rays are and the valuable benefits they provide, lets dive into the risks associated with UV rays.

First let me say this blog is not meant to be intimidating or sound doomsdayish, but to provide you with information associated with the risks of UV exposure. When we are informed, we can then take steps of precaution and know what risks are associated with that item or activity.

 According to the EPA, the risks of UV exposure include skin cancer, skin damage (i.e., premature aging), eye damage (i.e., cataracts), and immune system suppression. You may be thinking the last one is a contradiction as I just told you last week that UV rays can boost your immune system. It is all about moderation! Our skin is our body’s first line of defense and if that is damaged by overexposure, our immune system can, in fact, be weakened.

Caused by overexposure to UV rays, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US, according to the CDC. How do we protect ourselves from overexposure? Seek out shade in the form of a shade tree, umbrella, or shelter. Our clothing can help as well: long sleeved shirts and long pants, large-brimmed hats, and sunglasses. Sunscreen, when used correctly, provides a great barrier of protection from UV rays as well. You need to reapply according to the instructions and activity type/level.

When I was doing my research for this topic, tanning beds kept popping up in all articles. They are not a safe alternative to sun exposure. This may seem like a no-brainer to some and a complete shock to others. Tanning beds and salons were extremely popular when I was in high school and college, it seemed like everyone was doing it. This is yet another trend I did not follow, and the reasons are endless: lack of time, cost, claustrophobia, inability to be still for any period of time and I am very fair skinned and easily burn. It never appealed to me. I will touch more on this topic next week with my first interview for my blog! It is about an entrepreneur with a personal connection to the dangers of UV rays and a passion to make people feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin.

Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, I am so glad you tuned in this week! Do you have a friend or family member that could benefit from this blog? Tell them to subscribe!

Have a blessed week ~ Lacey

Benefits of UV Rays

July 13th, 2021

How was your week? Did you enjoy some UV rays over the weekend? I am staying super busy with work but am loving our cooler than usual July temperatures and the sunshine when I can. I do wear my sunscreen, limit my time in the sun and make sure to stay hydrated. Are you ready to hear about the perks of UV rays?

According to www.sciencing.com, UV light does have positive effects on us. The website confirms UVA rays spark our bodies to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to the health of our bones, muscles, and immune system. How cool is it that just a little safe sun exposure can result in more vitamin D?  Sun exposure also boosts our mood! Ever notice how grouchy people are in the winter or when it is cloudy for 3 days in a row? If you need a free mood booster, spend a little time outside in the sunshine. I find that if I can spend 5 or 10 minutes in the sunshine, I am happier and more energized!

Man-made UV rays are beneficial in disinfection and sterilization, as these rays kill bacteria and viruses. Hospitals, dental offices, and other medical facilities often use UV ray machines to sterilize their medical instruments. I have even seen some nail salons utilize UV rays to disinfect their manicure tools.

In my research for this article, several websites mention that sunlight/uv rays are beneficial in the treatments of certain skin conditions, including psoriasis, and in protection from infections. I can not speak to these individual treatments as I am not a doctor, but if you are curious about possible treatment plans, I encourage you to reach out to your dermatologist or primary care physician for more information.

Sunlight/UV rays are necessary for the growth and survival of plants. Without going into a lot of detail, plants create their own food by turning solar radiation into glucose. Without plants we would eventually starve from lack of food and run out of air to breathe.

Despite the positive effects of sunlight/UV rays, you should take proper precautions when enjoying the sunshine. Please wear appropriate sunblock, hats, sunglasses, and clothing. This was a challenging blog to write because of the precautions you need to observe while enjoying the benefits of the sun. I love warm weather and sunshine, but must remember to experience it responsibly.

Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, I am so glad you tuned in this week! Do you have a friend or family member that could benefit from this blog? Tell them to subscribe!

Have a blessed week ~ Lacey

What are UV Rays?

July 6th, 2021

How is everyone doing? Did you take in a firework show this past weekend or have a big family cookout to celebrate the 4th of July? The weather in Kansas was picture perfect and unusual for July. I’m still trying to adjust to not being at a rodeo over the 4th of July run, which is known as Cowboy Christmas because of the amount of money that can be won over about a 10-day stretch. The month of July is UV safety month. I will try to keep it interesting and relevant to your self-care plan as we learn more about the why behind sunscreen, big hats, and shade trees.

Before we can discuss the benefits and risks of UV rays we must first answer the question, “What are UV rays?” I wanted to find a simple and straight forward answer and found one courtesy of www.epa.com, where UV rays are separated into 3 categories:

Ultraviolet A rays (UVA)

  • Most UVA radiation reaches the Earth’s surface as the atmosphere does little to shield these rays.
  • UVA rays are linked to skin aging, eye damage and can also contribute to the risk of skin cancer.

Ultraviolet B rays (UVB)

  • The amount of UVB rays that reach the Earth’s surface depends on latitude, altitude, time of year, etc., as the Earth’s atmosphere shields us from most UVB rays.
  • UVB rays are responsible for sunburns, skin cancer, skin aging, and snow blindness.

Ultraviolet C rays (UVC)

  • None of the UVC rays reach the Earth’s surface as the atmosphere completely absorbs them.
  • The effects of UVC rays are minimal.

This can sound scary and intimidating, but there are benefits to UV rays and steps we can take to protect ourselves from the negative effects of the sun. We can not and do not want to avoid the sun completely, so make sure you join me next week as we explore the fabulous benefits of UV rays.

Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, I am so glad you tuned in this week! Do you have a friend or family member that could benefit from this blog? Tell them to subscribe!

Have a blessed week ~ Lacey

Communication – it’s impact on our lives

June 29th, 2021

Last week I had a chance to recover from a hectic schedule and my body was definitely telling me I needed to rest and recharge. Have you learned to listen to your body? Do you think I have gone off the deep end and have no idea what I am talking about? When I work with my clients, one of the first things I do is ask them what they have been feeling (what their body has been telling them). Some of them look at me like I have 2 heads, because maybe they have been in pain so long that this seems normal and they have learned to ignore it. If that is the case, you must relearn how to listen to your body. Your body is constantly communicating with you, all you have to do is learn to listen. Easier said than done, I know. Let’s get back into communication and explore the impact it has on our lives.

According to www.nobelcoaching.com, communication has many benefits, including:

  1. Fewer mistakes – clear explanation of expectations and questions, both help to eliminate or reduce the amount of mistakes made when performing a task or assignment. Do not let your fear of asking a question lead to making a mistake. Mistakes are not the end of the world, but you will work more effectively if you can avoid them.
  2. Improved workplace atmosphere – clear communication prevents unnecessary conflict and tension due to misunderstandings and/or presumptions.
  3. Good marketing skills – skills needed to convince people to help you/join your team and skills need to highlight your strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  4. Improved/more honest relationships – this may seem really basic but ask questions to find out information and be truthful about how you are feeling.  An important part of communication, that is often overlooked, is listening. By listening, I am talking about listening to understand, not just to respond.

Do these benefits provide you with a big enough “why” to work on your communication skills? What benefit are you looking forward to the most? Communication is a necessary life-skill that impacts every part of our lives and I feel that we are not provided with enough instruction on how to improve it. Don’t get me wrong, there are courses available, but you have to seek them out and know what you are looking for specifically. I will get off my soapbox now. I can’t wait to hear your feedback!

Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, I am so glad you tuned in this week! Do you have a friend or family member that could benefit from this blog? Tell them to subscribe!

Have a blessed week ~ Lacey

Communication Styles Explained

June 22nd, 2021

Last week was a blur for me! I did a personal best of 21 massages in a week. This tells me multiple truths:

  1. Never give up on your goas, even if people tell you that you will never succeed or that your goals are unattainable.
  2. Your mindset matters! Choosing to start my days by being grateful and focusing on my goals set a positive tone for the day.
  3. To get the win, you must put in the blood sweat and tears every day! Your reward is directly related to your effort, so grind every day.

I tell you this to encourage you to strive for your goals, not to brag. Also, it is important to celebrate your victories no matter how small! Your small victories help you gain momentum and reach bigger goals and victories. I want to be a source of genuine encouragement for you in this journey we call life. Let’s dive back into the four communication styles!

The Thinker – This person is a problem solver. They ask a lot of questions to find the details of a situation and collect all the information so they can make the most educated decision possible. They are slow to make decisions, ensuring they know all the facts and details. They want to make sure everything is done correctly and may miss a deadline. For example, when purchasing a car, they will read reports, reviews and do their research before visiting the car lot for a test drive.

The Expresser – This person keeps everyone entertained. They are great speakers and great with their words. They are animated in their expressions and often use big gestures when speaking. They often speak their ideas without a filter. They are willing to take chances and are great brainstormers! Follow-through and organization are their downfalls. In our example, expressers would purchase a car based on the car that makes them feel the best.

The Director – This person makes things happen!  They are quick on their feet and often sacrifice small talk and pleasantries to move more quickly towards results. They are not afraid to make tough decisions and take risks. Since their focus is on meeting goals, they can come off as intimidating or insensitive. Directors are full of drive, vision, and decisiveness.  In our example of purchasing a car, they will walk in and quickly choose a car based on budget and needs.

The Harmonizer – This person is about making everyone feel welcome, important, and appreciated. They keep everyone working happily together, often bringing coffee in the morning. They tend to focus on others and defer attention. They are a team player, preferring to fit in instead of standing out. They tend to avoid conflict. Often, they will say yes to something even when they shouldn’t, which leads them to being overwhelmed from taking on too much. When purchasing a car, they may pick one based on input from others and weighing facts of environmental impact.

Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, I am so glad you tuned in this week! Do you have a friend or family member that could benefit from this blog? Tell them to subscribe!

Have a blessed week ~ Lacey

Communication styles

June 15th, 2021

How is everyone dealing with the early June heat wave? Have you found a good way to stay cool? Send me your ideas/tips for staying cool and I will share them throughout the summer! I’m not very creative when it comes to beating the heat, as my only tip is to stay in the shade and/or air conditioning. To be completely transparent, this past weekend I struggled with effective communication – listening and confirming what I have heard. The communication breakdown can happen rapidly and can spiral quickly from a slight misunderstanding to silent treatment and complete shutdown in the blink of an eye. I say this to remind you there is always room for improvement of communication skills and to increase your knowledge of all things communication.

To begin this week, I took this communication style quiz. Quiz – Communication Styles Survey | Straight Talk® Communication Tool (gostraighttalk.com) I found out that I am a thinker first and a director and expresser second. I agree with this except for those instances when my emotions take over and I am unable to see the whole picture (situation) clearly. The emotions that most often cloud my “vision” are anger and hurt. The good news is I can recognize the areas where I am weak, and the great news is I can now work to improve my skills in this area. Progress is reliant on awareness. In my massage business, I work with my clients to teach them to be more aware of their posture and to listen to their bodies. I invite you to take the quiz.

There are 4 communication styles, according to https://communicationstyles.org. I recognize that if you go to a different website, you will probably find more/different communication styles listed. I went with this site because of the amount of information offered and different topics covered.  As we go through each communication style, do you recognize traits that you or others display?

The Thinker – This person is task oriented. They live by a set of rules and believe there is a right way do to things and there is a wrong way to do things. They do things by the book. They make lists but may procrastinate. They speak deliberately.

The Expresser – This person is very people oriented. This person is animated, entertaining, easily excited and speaks rapidly. They may be imprecise.

The Director – This person is goal oriented. They speak crisply and directly. They tend to be busy and make quick decisions. They can come across as intimidating or insensitive.

The Harmonizer – This person is relationship oriented. They are soft spoken and loyal. They are sensitive to others and avoid conflict. They may over-commit.

Everyone is some combination of these 4 styles and there is no one style that is better than the other. Next week we will dive deeper into these 4 different communication styles, highlighting the benefits and challenges associated with each style.

Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, I am so glad you tuned in this week! Do you have a friend or family member that could benefit from this blog? Tell them to subscribe!

Have a blessed week ~ Lacey

Communication – what areas need improvement?

June 8th, 2021

June is here and the heat wave has begun. I realize that 90 degrees is not all that hot but after the lower 80’s it is quite an adjustment! Last week we found out the components of effective communication as well as a more complete definition of communication. This week we will continue discussing communication – how to recognize areas of deficiency and how to improve in those areas. Let’s dive back into all things communication!

How do we find our weaknesses, or as I like to call them – the opportunities for improvement, when it comes to communication? Ask those that we communicate with the most. I realize this may be uncomfortable, but growth rarely is comfortable. Who specifically do you ask? Coworkers, spouse/significant other, parents, children, and friends are all good resources to utilize in this adventure. The more people you ask, the more complete and better perspective you will have on your communication abilities. There are some websites that have communication quizzes, but to get the most out of these you need to be very honest with yourself and be prepared for the feedback provided.

Masterclass lists 6 areas to work on to improve your communication:

  1. Listening – Practice active listening by engaging with affirmative replies and asking relevant questions.
  2. Nonverbal – Focus on nonverbal communication as this is a major component of a first impression. Good nonverbal communication skills include eye contact with the speaker and positive facial expressions.
  3. Emotions – Manage your own emotions and express them appropriately for the situation.
  4. Feedback – Ask for feedback as I have already suggested above.
  5. Public Speaking – Practice public speaking to help develop good communication skills by the sink or swim method. The first time you speak in public will probably be scary, but it will get easier or at least less frightening with repetition.
  6. Filter – Develop a filter to help you express yourself in many different settings. I personally struggle with this one because I am an open book in most cases and my facial expressions (nonverbal communication) gives me away.

Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, I am so glad you tuned in this week! I am loving all the feedback, so keep it coming! Do you have a friend or family member that could benefit from this blog? Tell them to subscribe!

Have a blessed week ~ Lacey

Communication – what is it and how to become more effective

June 1st, 2021

How was everyone’s extended weekend? Did you take time to reflect on the reason for the holiday? I am so thankful for the men and women who gave their lives protecting this country. That is how much our freedom costs, their lives. This month we will be discussing communication – what it is, the struggles, and how to improve our skill level that will in-turn improve the quality of our lives. You may be thinking that is a stretch, but tune in this month as we learn together. Let’s dive into all things communication!

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines communication as “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.” The Free dictionary defines communication as “the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, writing, or behavior.” I believe the combination of these two definitions gives us a more complete picture of communication. We are all aware that our words are communication, but sometimes we forget or over-look the fact that our actions and behavior are also communication and can “speak” louder/send a stronger message than our words.

We have already identified that communication is more than just the words we say, so let’s identify the other components of communication:

  • How you say words – including the tone of your voice
  • Why you say words – the intention of the message
  • When you say words – point of time in conversation, time of day
  • What you do not say – words omitted that could paint a clearer picture
  • Your body language – facial expressions, posture, and gestures

For me, I know that I have room for improvement in the area of body language. I have been told more than once that I have no poker face. This means that I must focus and be more of an active listener to avoid miscommunication via my facial expressions. Can you identify an area where you need to practice good communication skills?

Another part of communication that we will cover later is listening. Listening creates two-way communication and completes the effective communication process as it allows you to receive information, not just provide information. Otherwise, you would just be giving a monolog and not be provided with feedback. Without feedback, we do not know if our message was received, received correctly, or understood.

Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, I am so glad you tuned in this week! Do you have a friend or family member that could benefit from this blog? Tell them to subscribe!

Have a blessed week ~ Lacey

Change your mindset and develop your routine!

May 25th, 2021

I am over all the rain and thinking about building an ark. I hope y’all are staying healthy and happy! I am staying busy with all things work and sneaking in a few hours of self-care in the form journaling every morning and making healthy eating choices. Mental health is a pretty heavy topic, but I will do my best to keep it light and provide helpful and practical tips to maintain good mental health each week this month. Maintaining good mental health is a vital component to self-care. So far this month we have identified what good mental health looks like, how to recognize problems in others as well as yourself and discussed how to improve and maintain good mental health. This week will look at ways to change your mindset and develop a routine to maintain good mental health. Today’s post might seem a little scattered because I am going to be throwing several resources at you. Buckle up because here we go!

First let’s talk about mindset. Having a positive mindset does not mean everything is sunshine, roses and unicorns, but instead it means having a positive outlook for the direction of your life and making positive thoughts a habit and your go-to thought pattern. This does not happen overnight, but you can change your outlook by focusing on positive outcomes and the silver lining in all situations. When you first begin this process, you will not immediately recognize the silver lining but the more often you practice it, the more it will become a reflex for you. For more information, I recommend visiting www.positivepsychology.com.

To create your routine and develop/maintain good mental health, you need to make sure you are in good physical health. This includes exercising, eating a nourishing diet that is free from toxins and staying hydrated. Exercising gives you a way to literally work through your problems and exert energy. Giving your body the nourishment it needs helps to balance the body. Staying hydrated ensures that your body systems are functioning at the optimum level for success. Please contact your doctor, a health coach, a trainer and/or dietitian for further assistance in these areas to make sure each is tailored to your specific needs.

According to Psychology Today, a study found that healthy sleep cycles are associated with better mental health. Shocking, I know! You may be asking how you can develop a healthy sleep cycle. Try an active daytime routine instead of an active nighttime routine. Uninterrupted sleep cycles also help maintain good mental health.  For help with your sleep routine, check out www.sleepfoundation.com or www.heart.org and search sleep routine.

Whether this is your first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, I am so glad you tuned in this week! Do you have a friend or family member that could benefit from this blog? Tell them to subscribe!

Have a blessed week ~ Lacey

How to maintain good mental health

May 18th, 2021

How is everyone doing this week? I hope y’all are staying healthy and happy! My schedule is staying crazy busy! I am learning to be careful of what I wish for, because what can happen when it becomes your reality. I love staying busy in my business, but I did not anticipate reaching my goals over 2 years early! I know this is a first world problem and am doing my absolute best to take it all in stride and give myself grace in this growing phase.

 So far this month we have defined mental health and learned some of the warning signs of mental health problems and this week we will learn some ways to maintain good mental health. *Maintaining good mental health is a vital component to self-care. As someone who has struggled at times with mental health, let me warn you that this is a sensitive and sometimes difficult topic to discuss. I promise to be as transparent as possible and give you solid information, but I am not a mental health professional.

The state of your mental health can directly affect other areas of your life, which is one reason for my emphasis on this important topic that is, for some reason, still largely taboo. If you know me in real life, you understand that I am not afraid to speak my mind even if it goes against popular beliefs. I have not always been comfortable in my own skin or speaking my mind, especially if it went against people’s expectations or perceptions of who I should be. Was it easy? No! I hate to break it to you, but life is hard. How did I change? Lots of hard work! Let’s highlight a few opportunities for growth:

  • Your circle – the people around you should be your biggest cheerleaders and offer you a reality check, in a loving way, when you need it.
  • Your self-worth – (candid moment, I still struggle with this) give yourself the same grace, kindness, and patience you extend to others and avoid destructive self-talk.
  • Your goals – goals should scare you because they make you stretch and reach but are not unattainable.
  • Resources – know what help is available in your area and when to ask for help.

You do not have to achieve all the things by tonight or tomorrow, it is a process and sometimes a longer and slower process than we would like, but the trick is to keep going. I did not build my circle overnight or even in a month. Your personal growth takes time, habits are not easy to break, goals worth striving for take time to develop and finding the right resources takes time to research. Unfortunately, this is not a process you can effectively speed up. Take the time needed and the results will be worth it!

Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, I am so glad you tuned in this week! Do you have a friend or family member that could benefit from this blog? Tell them to subscribe! Have a blessed week ~ Lacey

Life with Lacey

Self-care is not selfish, but very necessary!