Learn to listen to your body and recognize pain.

August 10thd, 2021

How are y’all doing this week? The heat has returned to the Kansas City metro just in time for the return of concerts and football. I have been in a very creative headspace lately, so make sure you are keeping up to date with me on social media as I will be posting a poll later this week. I want your feedback so that I can better serve my community! Continuing our exploration into pain, today we will learn how to listen to our bodies so we can better recognize pain.

We can feel all types of pain, but do we really feel it and recognize it? Stick with me! Let me explain it this way: we can hear somebody talking but this is different than listening. I can feel the pain of a headache, but if I learn to listen to my body, I can tell you that the pain is like a vice squeezing my head concentrated at both temples, radiating down to both sides of my jaw. Doesn’t this create a more complete picture of the pain? This can be helpful when you seek treatment from a massage therapist, chiropractor, or other wellness professional, because it hints at the origin and type of pain. I strive to teach every one of my clients to learn to listen to their body.

Listening to your body is great in theory, but how do you that? I’m so glad you asked! It is a process, but not an overnight process. I would suggest first setting aside 15 minutes today to do the following:

  • Lay down on the floor, use cushions if needed
  • Make sure electronics are on silent and in a different room, unless you need to set timer
  • Remove any distractions from room
  • Quiet your mind and focus on what you feel: any pain, the texture of the floor, your breath
  • Make mental notes of any discomfort or pain you feel and then explore that pain. Is it a dull ache, stabbing pain, hot fire poker, tightness/tension?

What did you learn about your body? If you need more help with this exercise, reach out to me and I will schedule a time to help you in your journey.

Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, Thank you! 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 is Pain?

August 3rd, 2021

How are y’all doing this week? Can you believe it is already August? This year is flying by quickly, but August means the start of one of my favorite seasons, football! I am a huge football fan and can’t wait to be back at the stadium for tailgating and games. I know for some, August is crazy because you are getting the kids ready to go back to school and start a new routine. I hope this a pain-free process, and everyone is able to transition smoothly into a regular schedule. August is pain awareness month, and I will be exploring what pain is, how to listen to your body, how to deal with pain and how to develop your personal plan when it comes to pain. Needless to say, August is going to be a busy month, but I hope you find the blogs helpful.

What is pain? Merriam-Webster defines pain as “a localized or generalized unpleasant bodily sensation or complex of sensations that causes mild to severe physical discomfort and emotional distress and typically results from bodily disorder (such as injury or disease).” According to the American Nurse Association, pain has seven core aspects: physical, sensory, behavioral, sociocultural, cognitive, affective, and spiritual. Wow, have you learned anything yet? I sure have, I am familiar with physical, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of pain but not with the other characteristics.

Let’s dive into how these characteristics of pain look. Physical is probably the one we are all most familiar with as this refers to current of recent changes in the person’s physical appearance and vital signs. Sensory includes quality and severity of pain, subjective information that only the person experiencing the pain can provide. Behavioral is the patient’s verbal and nonverbal behavior response to pain. Sociocultural refers to how the patient’s social and cultural background effect their perception of and response to pain. Cognitive aspect is the patient’s thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, intentions, and motivations related to pain and its management. The patient’s emotional feelings in response to pain, refers to the affective dimension of pain. The spiritual dimension could affect pain-management planning as this refers to the ultimate meaning and purpose the patient attributes to pain, self, others and the divine.

There are obviously more layers to pain than just the physical signs and what we feel or experience as a result of pain. Did you realize all the factors that go into our pain experience and how much we have trained our mind to listen to or ignore the pain signals? We can experience more intense pain if we have been taught that any pain is unbearable or if we have unresolved or trapped negative emotions. I recently began reading a book, The Emotion Code, that explains what trapped emotions are and how they can negatively affect our overall health. The book doesn’t stop there as it also teaches you how to find and release any trapped emotion that you may have.

I hope I have not overwhelmed you with information this week and that you will join me the rest of this month as we continue to look closer at pain. Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, Thank you! 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

Safe alternative to UV rays, without sacrificing the tan!

July 27th, 2021

*Just a warning – this blog post is long but packed with great information! *

How are y’all doing this week?  With summer in full swing, I’m curious as to what your tried-and-true tricks are to surviving the oppressive heat? I am so excited y’all! This is my very first interview for my blog and I am now brainstorming how to launch a second blog, as a result of the good vibes and overall excitement that came from the conversation l had with Heather. When I began my outline for this month’s blogs and knew I would be discussing safe alternatives to UV rays, as far as getting tanned skin, contacting Heather was the only logical option for me. I know Heather via her mom, and I follow her on social media. She is very inspirational, and I hope this blog entry does my interview with her justice.

To begin the interview, I asked Heather to explain her why. Her answer shocked me! She explained that she started going to a tanning salon and using a tanning bed, on a very regular and frequent basis, at the age of 11. This is something she would do with her mom. At the age of 17, she discovered that she had Basil Cell cancer and had it removed twice. This did not deter her tanning habit though, as she continued to go to the tanning beds. Skin cancer is, unfortunately, something she still deals with as recently as last month, due to the lasting damage she has because of her use of tanning beds. She no longer uses tanning beds and has not for several years, because her grandma asked her to stop. Heather also saw the scars that her grandma had from having skin cancer removed and she knew she did not want that to be her future. As a result, at the age of 20, she began spray tanning.

How long has Safely Sunning been in business? Courtney started Safely Sunning 9 years ago. Heather began working there 5 or 6 years ago and she bought the business 3 years ago.

Who gets spray tans? She says literally everyone – ages 4 to 97. Her young clients are pageant competitors or competition dancers and the more mature clientele are retired and she serves every age in between.

Do you offer any other services? She also offers teeth whitening at Safely Sunning. Heather is also a cosmetologist.

What is your rule about self-talk/body image and how did that come about?  I asked this question because she had mentioned it in one of her social media posts. I fell in love with it and had to ask her more about it. Her policy came about as she was tired of negative self-talk by her clients and all of the apologizing for life experiences, not to mention the awkward position that it puts her in and what response did people expect her to give? She decided to get a poster made – “House rules – no self-deprecation, no apologies for flaws or bodily functions.” How amazing is that! This poster automatically puts her clients at ease and keeps Heather away from the awkward position of not knowing how to respond. I think this is a great reminder to love your body and appreciate everything that you have gone through, whether it be childbirth, surgery or just life!

How did you pivot over the past year and a half?

Heather was shut down, along with most of the service industry, for 10 weeks last year at the beginning of the pandemic. Going through it and not knowing when you were going to be able to return or how that was going to look is terrifying!  After a freak out, with blunt encouragement from her husband, Heather came up with the catchy “Quarin-tan” kits. This included retail items that were just sitting in her shop. She offered 3 different kits at 3 different price points and only advertised them on her personal Facebook page. She sold out in 20 minutes! She personally delivered these kits to her customer’s front door. The kits were such a success that Heather reordered product several times from different companies and sold out every time. She decided that if she was going to sell that many products, she should be selling her own. After several trips to Dallas, she finally had her own products that she is still selling in her shop today.

After hearing how passionate Heather is about her business, I had to know what she enjoyed most about it.

Heather loves the day-to-day variety and seeing the transformation of her clients. For her it has always been about the clients. The built-in friendships and support system is a perk that she never expected when she started this journey. Please check out her website and follow her business on social media to be inspired on a regular basis.  

I want to thank Heather for taking time out of her busy schedule to help educate myself and my readers. Whether this is the first time reading my blog, or you are a loyal subscriber, Thank you! 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

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

Life with Lacey

Self-care is not selfish, but very necessary!