Thursday, May 20, 2010

Travel Tribulations

Recently I asked my Facebook Fans to share what their most dreaded part of traveling for business was.  Although I’m pumped for my next trip out of town I can’t help but be a little wary knowing my history.

I seem to give off a vibe when I travel which results in wackiness such as the time:
·         My hotel gave me a key for an already occupied room. (Thankfully no one was inside at the time I entered)
·         My hotel gave me a key for an already occupied room (and a couple was getting cozy- YIKES!)  Total mortification.
·         I went to London amidst a Tube-strike and still had to figure out how to get to and from various client meetings while fighting for a limited number of black cabs.
·         I was getting settled in my quaint London suite when I heard the toilet running. After jiggling the handle a few times to no avail, I lifted the porcelain tank cover and it fell to the floor into a million pieces. Total mortification (again). 
·         I went to Cleveland for a day trip and got stuck overnight unexpectedly. No toothbrush, no contact solution and it was so late when we arrived at the hotel that the hotel store was CLOSED.  Since my hubby was also out of town at the time I had to arrange for my cousin who lived 30+ miles away to check in on my dog 3x! Argh…
o       When we finally did touch back down in DC there was a security breach and our “people mover” bus was held up. When everything was safe and we were finally released, my Creative Director and I were in the Amazing Race to make a client presentation. Those were the longest 2 days of my life, and I really needed a long hot shower.
·         Vendors took a few of us ladies out for a night in New Orleans.  All I can write is that ‘What happens in Nawlins, stays in Nawlins.’ 

Amazingly I can now look back on these events and laugh more than cringe. The lessons they’ve taught me? Flexibility when you travel is key. None of these situations was under my control and despite the challenges; I still had a job to do. 

If I hadn’t been working on little sleep after the Cleveland debacle, my adrenaline for next days client presentation might not have been as high. We hit that presentation out of the park and I was so glad to get home, take the dog for a walk and have a glass of wine.

I also learned that sincerely apologizing diffuses most uncomfortable situations. Whether it be to the nice couple who didn’t expect company in their hotel room, or the hotel concierge who probably could have raked me over the coals for a replacement tank cover, I came out of it unscathed and with good stories to pass on to pals like you.

Wish me luck this week as I head out for my trip. Or don’t, and if you’re lucky I’ll have some funny story to share with you when I get back.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

When in doubt, clean

Woke up one Saturday morning knowing that after a long week my husband was off to another 14 hour day at the office. Boo.  I treasure our weekends together. Not only do I get a small break from being a WAHM and the main source of entertainment for our 4 year old, but we usually find some family-fun activity to waste away our weekend.  They always go by too quickly, but they re-energize me for our week ahead.

I could not have been grumpier when I woke up that day. After breakfast, the cartoons went on and I searched for something to motivate me.  What to do? What to do?

When in doubt, I clean.  There is something cathartic about cleaning that always brings me clarity. I do it when I’m bored, stressed, and angry. Almost for any negative emotion.  My husband knows the signs and usually steers clear.  Now don’t get any ideas like inviting me over to your house for a thorough spring cleaning. I’m usually in my PJs, sweating my butt off and not in the mood for conversation and/or help. It turns into a “get out of my way and let me scrub this floor until it sparkles… OR ELSE!” personal tirade.

But then… Ah. Sweet relief.  In my scrubbing, wiping, washing, organizing, vacuuming- somewhere in all of that mindless exercise, I gain clarity.  I have worked out whatever I’m stressed out about that day, or I’ve come to terms with whomever/whatever I’m angry about and figured out a solution.  It’s like therapy without the co-pay.

This morning the toys are (mostly) away, the kitchen smells lemony-fresh, the gifts for upcoming celebrations are all wrapped and I came up with a fun activity filled plan for my Mommy-daughter Saturday.  The ironing will have to wait.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bob Harper Would Be So Proud

Back in March we discussed the importance of nurturing your spine if you are stuck at a desk all day hunched over your computer.  I’m happy to report that after a lovely trip to Staples I am the new proud owner of a Fellowes® footrest , back support pillow and Handstands® wrist rest  (the soft wrap around micro beads, makes typing sooooo much more comfortable).

Having the right tools can make you more productive!  I’m already reaping the benefits. I can sit longer (comfortably). I don’t ache when I do get up (except for those unavoidable pregnancy pains).  And, best of all, I look forward to getting back to work!

Staying with this theme we wanted to share 5 exercises* that you can perform while you work. Just think how much more productive those marathon conference calls will be when you’ve snuck in a work-out!
Exercise 1 - Side Stretches
To help whittle your waist and keep your spine aligned and supple, side stretches are excellent exercises to do at your desk. With your arms raised over your head or akimbo with your hands on your hips, lean gently over to each side as far as you can safely go. Please use caution if your chair is unstable or if it is on wheels. You can do this a few times on each side at several times throughout the day.
Exercise Two - Arm Raises
In order to help protect against carpal tunnel syndrome, poor circulation, and weight gain, you should do arm raises several times a day. There are different methods of doing these simple exercises: raising your arms straight over your head, raising them to the sides, or even behind you. Each method works a different set of muscles, and all will temporarily increase your heart rate, keeping your metabolism revving.
Exercise Three - Butt Squeezes
The easiest exercise that you can do at your desk is butt squeezes. You can even do them while you are on the phone or typing up a report. Simply squeeze and release your buttocks muscles several times. This is the number one exercise that will help prevent "office chair spread" of your hindquarters.
Exercise Four - Leg Lifts
Of course, these are not the type of leg lifts that have you lying down on the floor and swinging your legs around. At your desk, you can easily straighten your knees and lift your legs out in front of you. You can also march with your feet in place. This will exercise the large muscles in your legs. For easy calf exercises, you can raise your feet up on the toes and lower them. Be sure to use your muscles when you do these exercises for maximum effect.
Exercise Five - Stress Relievers
Many of the exercises already described here will really help to relieve stress of your desk job. However, there are some other great stress relief exercises you can do at your desk.

Gently stretching your neck, or rolling your head around, will reduce neck and upper back stress. Lifting your arms in front of you and bending your hands up and down at the wrist will help to relieve the stress of  typing and help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

As you spend year after year hunched over your desk for eight hours every day, you may find your muscles atrophying, and your hips and waist spreading. Not only can you help prevent that weight gain and loss of tone, but you can alleviate stress with these five quick exercises. Exercising at your desk only takes a few minutes, and will do your body and mind a world of good.

These 5 exercises are really helpful for those days you are chained to your desk.  Afterall, Joan Price author of The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book reminds us that "We are made to move, not sit at a desk 12 hours a day.” Ain’t that the truth.