Oops, I Did It Again

December 21, 2011 at 9:45 am | Posted in Boots, self-care, Shoes | Comments Off
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By Dr. Paula Bloom

Just when I thought I had this problem licked it rears it’s ugly head again.  I’ve become complacent in the knowledge that dealing with this issue was in my past. The holidays seem to have triggered a relapse. The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. It is in that spirit that I make this confession.

In the past few weeks I’ve worn uncomfortable shoes. 

If you’ve been following these blogs you know that I made a commitment to wear comfortable shoes. Being that my office is  just a few blocks from my house I had promised to only wear shoes that would not hurt during my “commute.” I was not going to allow the belief that uncomfortable meant fashionable.

The other day, after a lovely weekday lunch date with my husband, he dropped me off at my office. I was booked solid with afternoon clients. That evening, we had an event at our daughter’s school so my husband suggested I just walk home to meet the family. “But Steve, I can’t walk home in these boots. Can’t you just come get me on the way to the concert?” As I spoke the words, I realized that I needed help. And my husband, one of the people in my life who readily calls me out, started to laugh. “Um, haven’t you spent the last year writing about the importance of comfortable shoes?” Yes, I have (and I plan on writing more in 2012).

There is pressure during this time of year to dress up. I get it–I like pulling out the fancier clothing. I love going to parties and reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones.  Standing arounding talking to people is way more fun when your clothes aren’t too tight and your feet don’t hurt. This I’ve learned. But, like with so many things, you can know something and yet not apply it.

Earthies Women's Halley Shoe BootsWell, this past weekend we attended a party and I was about to put on those uncomfortable boots. Anticipating that I would have to be honest with others I decided to wear a pair of chunky, comfy and fabulous shoe boots from Earthies. I’m so glad that I did! There were some fascinating people, great stories, and good food. As we walked back to the car, I realized that I had not noticed my shoes or feet during the entire party.

I wish you all a meaningful,  joyful and pain-free holiday season!

Gratitude, Black Friday and Crosby, Stills and Nash

December 14, 2011 at 11:40 am | Posted in self-care | Comments Off
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By Dr. Paula Bloom

Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude.  Families and friends gather around, eat a feast and name those things they are each grateful for.  Most often (except for maybe the kids), the gratitude list is filled with non-material things. “I’m grateful for my health”;  “I’m grateful for all of you”; “For me, I’m grateful to have a job.”

Now, like with New Year’s resolutions, how long does this recognition of gratitude last?  In my work with clients over the years, I have found that the practice of keeping a daily gratitude list is a powerful way to counteract feelings of loneliness, fear and low self-esteem.  You might want to try it!

Isn’t it interesting that, the day after Thanksgiving, many people’s attention goes immediately into the material.  Black Friday?

Listen, I like to shop.  I enjoy having beautiful things around me.  Love the feeling of soft bedsheets to climb into after a long day.  I am, by no means, “anti-stuff.”

There was time in my life where I felt that to be a truly mature and spiritual person meant letting go of all the frivolous stuff.  I’d tell myself, “If I truly accept myself, then I shouldn’t wear makeup.  I’d wear beige all the time.  Why can’t I be like my friend who doesn’t care how she dresses in the least?  Paula, you are so superficial.”

Now, I know that a part of who I am is an appreciator of aesthetics AND that that’s okay.  I am who I am.  There is a difference, however, between enjoying things and deriving all your purpose and meaning from the acquisition of these things.  Most people don’t become happier when they get the car, the handbag or the big screen they desire.  The good feeling tends to be short-lasting, and then our focus turns to the next thing we think will make us happy.

Enjoy what you have.  Be grateful.  And to paraphrase Stephen Stills (of Crosby, Stills, and Nash):

And if you can’t be with the one (car, handbag or big screen TV)  you love, honey

Love the one you’re with.

A Glimpse Into the CNN Makeup Room

November 11, 2011 at 10:00 am | Posted in Shoes | Comments Off
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By Dr. Paula Bloom

I’ve been doing TV appearances for the past few years. I really enjoy the challenge of being quick on my feet and having the opportunity to educate the public about a wide range of issues.  Knowing that I can use my expertise to help others understand why people might do what they do and hopefully, in the process, help them better understand themselves is quite a privilege.  But, if I am TOTALLY honest, though, there is another thing I really like about being on TV (and it isn’t, perhaps,  the most admirable thing to admit).

The CNN makeup room is one of my favorite places to hang out.  The makeup and hair professionals are probably the coolest and most fun people in the building. While the pace in there can be quite frenetic (the number of people they are able to make up in such a short time is truly amazing) it is always fun and relaxing. To me it feels like my wedding day each time I’m in there. It is so much fun to sit back and allow an artist to do what they do best.

Even when the stories I discuss on TV are about violence, tragedy and mental illness, starting off my day at CNN with the women in makeup, helps relax me before going on the air. There’s a lot of laughter, serious discussion about current events and a few TV screens showing  different CNN stations. Talk can get very personal. When someone walks into makeup feeling stressed or sad, the room tends to swoop in and provide much needed support. Seriously, it’s not so unlike a support group in there.  And just like in any support group, there is an assumption of confidentiality. The makeup room is a lot like Vegas,“What happens in makeup, STAYS in makeup.”

I’m grateful each day to get to do what I love. And, a bonus, is getting to have a glamour squad to help me feel fabulous while doing it!

Dr. Paula hanging out in the CNN Makeup room, wearing her Sofft Savona trail boots

Worst Case Scenario Thinking

November 9, 2011 at 10:00 am | Posted in Shoes | Comments Off
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By Dr. Paula Bloom

While running during my workout, I felt something start burning on the inside of my foot. As the workout progressed, it started hurting more and more. When I got back home, the side of my foot was red and swollen, so instead of just googling every possible foot condition I decided that this time I would call my doctor. (This is progress for me!)  After asking me a bunch of questions to make sure that I didn’t need immediate treatment, she advised that I rest, ice, compress and elevate (commonly known as the R.I.C.E. method) my foot and scheduled me for an appointment first thing in the morning.

I have so much going on in the next few days, weeks and months that the minute she told me to rest I started worrying about all the things I might not be able to do because of my hurt foot:

  • “Oh no, now I won’t get to workout for a few weeks and I’ve worked so hard.”
  • “I have a few trips planned in the next few weeks that I’ll have to cancel.”

Why is it that the minute something happens  my mind goes into the future and  thinks about negative scenarios? Has it occurred to me that this will be just fine in the next few days? I’m not a doctor yet have already “diagnosed” myself with having a broken foot requiring months to heal. Seriously?

It is so interesting how our minds take a little bit of information and run with it. Most of what we worry about in life will never happen and yet we cause ourselves unnecessary suffering by imagining the worst case scenario. Our bodies don’t know the difference between something bad happening and thinking about something bad happening. This is why stress can lead to health issues.

So, next time you injure yourself don’t assume the worst.  When you get an email from a friend or family member asking you “to talk” don’t assume you are somehow in trouble. Optimism isn’t naïve. It just means believing the best outcome is not just POSSIBLE but that it is actually PROBABLE.

As I write this from the couch, I have my foot propped up and covered in an ice pack.  In the kitchen, I hear my two kids making a batch of brownies. Worrying about how messy my kitchen is getting isn’t helpful, though in this case, I imagine that the best possible outcome is likely not probable. As far as my foot goes, I’m sure it will be fine. If not, worrying about it won’t make it any better, now will it?

In Honor of Hilda

October 27, 2011 at 10:47 am | Posted in Relationships | 1 Comment
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By Dr. Paula Bloom

My husband’s 97-year-old grandmother passed away last week. We flew up to the funeral for the day. I’m so glad we decided to bring our kids. Funerals are difficult and sad but, honestly, what better first funeral for a 7- and 9-year-old to attend? Their great-grandmother lived a long, healthy life. She had diabetes for many years but managed it very well. She was sharp as a tack. We last saw her in July; it was wonderful for them to see that aging does not have to mean suffering.

My husband’s grandmother was a relatively quiet woman. She was a behind the scenes type person. During the funeral, her nieces and nephews shared about how her home was the place that everyone felt at home. She was a wonderful cook. If you needed a new dress, she would take you to the fabric store, pick a pattern, and, by the end of the day, you’d have your dress. She was more about actions than words.

As I sat and listened to stories of her life, I was struck by all the different ways that people show love. A wonderful book on the subject is The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. The 5 “languages” he identifies (taken from http://www.5lovelanguages.com) are:

  • Words of Affirmation

    Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

  • Quality Time

    In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

  • Receiving Gifts

    Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

  • Acts of Service

    Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

  • Physical Touch

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

As you can see people are different in how they want to have love shown to them and how they might tend to show love.  You can see how difficulties can arise when couples don’t realize that one person’s emptying the dishwasher is just as much a sign of love as someone else’s speaking of the words “I love you.”

I’m grateful that I got to know Hilda. She was a quiet woman who showed her love through Acts of Service. As someone who is more of a Words of Affirmation I dedicate this blog post to Hilda. Rest in Peace.

 

What Kind of Shoe is Your Life Right Now?

October 24, 2011 at 10:47 am | Posted in self-care, Shoes | 1 Comment

By Dr. Paula Bloom

Take a moment. Take a breath. Take a break. I want you to think of the first thing that comes to mind when I ask you this question. I’ll make it easy by making it a multiple choice.

What type of shoe best describes how you’re feeling about your life right now?

A. Flat
B. Loafer
C. Flip Flop
D. Sneaker
E. Slipper
F. Pump

Not sure? Here are some descriptions that might help you answer the question. (And, oh yeah, like on some tests, feel free to answer “all of the above“, “none of the above” “both A and C” etc. You can check off as any many choices as fit.)

Here we go!

Born Molly Ballerina FlatsFlat:You feel kind of ok. When people ask how you are doing you might answer “Same as usual. Nothing exciting going on. I’m fine.” You aren’t necessarily unhappy but you might feel a bit bored.

Loafer: You feel like you can’t really (or don’t want to) move.  You don’t have a lot of energy and can’t explain it as related to some kind of medical or mental health condition. You might be spending more time than usual on the couch watching TV.

Orthaheel Tide Thong SandalsFlip Flop: You’re struggling to make decisions. You sit at a restaurant and have to send the server away several times because you just can’t decide between the chicken salad, steak, hamburger or pasta dish. You stand in your closet, staring at your clothing. You might try on seven different outfits before leaving the house in the first one you tried on.

Sneaker: You feel like you have to hide to get the things you want. You might eat a cookie in the pantry so no one in the family sees. You might say you are working but really be out shopping or playing FarmVille on Facebook.

Orthaheel Gemma slippers in tan leopardSlipper: You’re having a hard time getting your footing. You might feel like the rug was pulled out from under you. You aren’t feeling too balanced.

Pump: You feel excited about life. You have energy, feel a sense of purpose. You feel “pumped up.”

At some point in our lives, we experience all of these  “shoes.”  The question is how quickly are we able/willing  to change the shoes we are wearing when they just don’t seem to fit us anymore. The hardest part, sometimes, is even knowing which shoes we have on.

So , take a moment. Take a breath. Take a break. Does the shoe you are wearing really fit? If not, which one would.

Can you think of any other shoe types that can describe how people feel? I’d love to hear from you!

Why Didn’t I Think of That?

October 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Posted in Boots, Shoes | 1 Comment
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By Dr. Paula Bloom

Suitcases with wheels on them. A brilliant idea that, once you see it, makes you wonder why no one had ever come up with it before. Apple slicer. Twist ties. Post-it notes. All things that may inspire the question “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Just when we think there’s nothing new under the sun, someone comes up with Velcro or a blanket with sleeves.

The other day I was wearing a pair of boots. It was a bit cold so I put on a pair of tights. I don’t like the way tights feel on my feet.  In the past I’ve worn my boots with leggings and socks or, when in a pinch, a pair of socks over my tights so that my shoes wouldn’t slide around. I know, in the scheme of life’s problems this falls pretty low on the priority list. But, if you’ve ever had a pebble in your shoe you know that something small and simple can cause a lot of unnecessary irritation, distraction and discomfort.

Bootights (mid calf in black)So, how to solve this problem? Enter (drumroll please) BOOTIGHTS!  I saw them on FootSmart.com while shopping and had to order them. Well, got them in the mail, put them on and all I can say is that they are exactly what I pictured and even better than I hoped.

Bootights aren’t the cure for cancer. They won’t end world hunger. But, having one less thing causing discomfort, makes for a better day. When we feel better we often do better!

What kinds of  inventions have you found that are so brilliant in their simplicity and obviousness that you might say “Why didn’t I think of that?” Would love to hear from you!

Save Money: Buy the One You Really Want!

October 19, 2011 at 10:00 am | Posted in self-care, Shoes, Shopping | 2 Comments
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By Dr. Paula Bloom

With the exception of very few shoes, I’d say that the whole “it will get more comfortable” thing is an excuse to buy things that just don’t fit properly. How often, really, does a shoe that hurts when you first try it on get better and better with more wear? How much pain is worth enduring?

In a recent blog post I shared about the ritual shoe purge that I go through every few years.  What I realized is that many of the ill-fitting shoes were bought on sale.  Do you realize that you often can spend more money buying several pairs of shoes that you’ll rarely wear than had you just paid full price for the shoe that you really want?

Listen, I like to get things on sale just as much as anyone else. But this reminds me a lot of what happens with “low-fat” type foods. If you really want that homemade chocolate chip cookie that is made with real butter and sugar why not have ONE? (I’m not talking here about people who have medical conditions where low-fat and low-sugar diets are recommended by their doctor in order to help manage their health condition.) If you say, “No, I can’t, let me just eat some low-fat packaged ones,” you are at risk of eating more and still may not end up feeling satisfied. After all that, you might STILL be thinking of the chocolate chip cookie that you wanted from the get go and might go get one. Now you have eaten the cookie you wanted plus all the ones you tried to use as a way to distract yourself. Had you just eaten THE cookie you really wanted you wouldn’t have consumed all those extra “low-fat” calories.

Buying a lot of shoes, because they are cheaper, rather than allowing yourself to purchase the more expensive pair you’ve been really wanting, can lead us to a closet full of shoes we don’t really like or wear.

There was a time in my life that I would not buy ANYTHING that wasn’t on sale. When someone would compliment me on something I was wearing I always felt compelled to tell them, “I got it on sale. It was a great deal.” After some time reflecting on why this is, and noticing that many other women tend to do the same thing, I came up with a theory.

For many women, especially mothers, spending money on themselves seems frivolous. They’ll buy tons of clothing for their kids, spend money on lessons, sports teams, tutors, etc, but not give themselves the pleasure of buying a handbag, a pair of shoes, or that “special” jam they’ve been eyeing for years yet feel they don’t deserve. Telling someone, “I got it on sale,” is somehow a way to feel justified in making the purchase.

I’m not suggesting we spend above our means. I just think that indulging in some small pleasures can enhance our experience in life.  It reminds us that we are worth having what we really want instead of putting everyone else’s wants first.

Think about that the next time you buy something you don’t really love that you know will sit in your closet unworn. Why not buy the ONE you really like and will enjoy wearing? You’re worth it!

Can you relate? I’d love to hear from you!

“I Could Never Do That”

October 17, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Posted in Shoes | Comments Off
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By Dr. Paula Bloom

A few years ago our daughter went to circus camp. She was fascinated by the unicycle but was told that she wasn’t old enough to take the unicycle class. She became determined to learn. For her next birthday, we got her the unicycle she had really been wanting. She spent hours and hours holding herself up between chairs trying to find her balance. She’d come home from school every day and practice. Finally, after several days, she began to be able to balance on her own. She started riding slowly. That was over two years ago.

Now, our daughter rides everywhere. She rides to school sometimes, she’s been in parades and often rides when we are walking into town to go to dinner or a festival. As you can imagine, seeing a nine-year-old on a unicycle tends to draw a lot of attention and comments. THE most common one is: Wow, I could NEVER do that.

I wonder how many other things people see and assume that they could never do. Someone changing the world through persistence and patience? Getting in shape and running a marathon? Go back to school at a late age to get that degree they always wanted? Just because something LOOKS impossible doesn’t mean it is.

As if her first unicycle wasn’t enough our daughter campaigned for many months for a giraffe unicycle.

The "cool" parent helping his daughter stay balanced

It is, gulp, five feet tall! My husband (the cooler parent) convinced me that we should get her the tall unicycle. So, we did. You can imagine what kind of attention she draws on this thing.

Listen, I have no plans to get on a unicycle and learn to ride. But, watching my daughter ride reminds me that many things are possible that we imagine aren’t.

Has there been something that at first you thought was impossible and yet, with persistence, were able to achieve? I’d love to hear from you.

A Heartwarming Arctic Tale

October 14, 2011 at 10:00 am | Posted in Boots, Relationships, Shoes | 2 Comments
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By Dr. Paula Bloom

I know very little about people who live in the Arctic regions. As a child, I remember hearing that Eskimos had many different words for snow. Come to find out that this is a myth.  Apparently, they have just as many words rooted in the word snow as we do in English. There are so many assumptions I’ve held based on things I’ve heard and never examined.

Mama, Do You Love Me?My favorite board book to read to the kids when they were little was Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse (illustrated by Barbara Lavalle.) It’s  an Alaskan tale about a little girl who is testing to see what the limits of her mother’s love might be. In a series of questions she wonders if her mother would love her even if she dropped some eggs, threw water on their lamp or even if she ran away. In each scenario, the mom says that she would still love her little girl.

One of the my favorite exchanges is:

Girl: What if I put salmon in your parka, ermine in your mittens and lemmings in your mukluks?

Mother: Then I would be angry…But still, I would love you.

I have to confess that before reading this book I had no idea what ermine (a short-tailed weasel) or mukluks (a soft boot for cold weather originally worn by Arctic people) were. I’ve always been fascinated by people who live in Arctic weather. I grew up in South Florida so I can’t imagine what it would be like to have snow for more than 5 days a year!

During a recent search for another book I came across our copy of  Mama, Do You Love Me? As I sat there and read through it I was flooded with warm memories of cuddling up with my kids and reassuring them that even when I’m angry, I still love them. Some days it’s easier than others to remember how much you love them, isn’t it?

Cushe Women’s Manuka Fawn WP BootsThis tale about the coldest of regions warms me to my core. Having not read the book in several years I had forgotten how beautiful the illustrations are and how much I like the colors and clothing. I realize that  a thick parka with a fur-lined hood would probably never be appropriate for the weather here in Atlanta.  But, a cute pair of boots that resembled the mother’s mukluks would be. So, inspired by the book, I ordered  a pair of  Cushe Women’s Manuka Fawn WP Boots. I’m excited to try them out. Hopefully, I’ll never find lemmings in them.

What children’s books warm you up? I’d love to hear from you!

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