Kristin Emery is a meteorologist at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, an O-R columnist, and writer for Total Health magazine and other publications. Kristin is a Washington native and a graduate of Washington High School and West Virginia University.

It was a very busy week for me, and I was doing my best to meet every deadline for my editors, wake up before the crack of dawn to do the early morning weather broadcasts and still keep on top of chores around the house, such as mowing the lawn and doing laundry while trying not to find excuses to avoid exercising each day (that is way too easy for me.)

It was with mixed emotions I saw the entry on my calendar for my monthly massage. That’s right, a massage. I signed up for a membership at a spa a few years ago when I was going through a particularly stressful time and heard a friend describe how much it helped reduce his stress levels. At first, I felt guilty for spending the money, but soon realized it was an investment in myself and my well-being. I don’t get manicures or pedicures very often, don’t buy expensive handbags or spend money on things like eyelash extensions (perhaps I should consider those since they look amazing!) So I rationalized the membership with myself and went for my first massage. It was heavenly and really helped me to relax and forget about all of those things that weigh on our minds from day to day. The mixed emotions this time came because I knew I’d have to fight South Hills traffic to get there on time, thus leaving me even more stressed. Then there’s another issue.

The first few months brought a rotating cast of massage therapists who were all very good. However, one thing kept bothering me. I would get all cozy under the sheet, close my eyes, listen to the calming music and be ready to let my mind empty. Then, as soon as the therapists would start rubbing my neck ... some of them would start a conversation. How am I supposed to relax into a state of near meditation when you keep asking me how my day was and where I’m going on my next vacation? Is this standard procedure? I didn’t want to seem rude by asking them not to talk. It must get a bit redundant working on clients all day without saying nary a word. I finally found a wonderful therapist who just let me be silent – and that’s saying a lot for me. That’s probably the only hour of the month when I don’t talk! Imagine my disappointment last month when she was ill and they assigned me to someone else. As soon as the massage began, she asked, “So how was your summer?” I sighed deeply and responded politely. Halfway through, I pretended to fall asleep and blissful silence ensued. This month, I’m booked with my favorite therapist. If I wind up with a substitute, I’m prepared to play possum so I can reach a state of Zen.

Kristin Emery can be reached at

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