Carrying extra baggage can take a toll on your well being, and while I'm not sharing this post to talk about mental health per se, I will always advocate for finding ways to improve your life. How we feel physically is intricately connected with how we feel emotionally, and I love connecting you with new ways to help with both!
Did you know that how you carry or care for your purse could be compromising your health? I'm sure you've felt the discomfort that comes with carrying a purse loaded down with too many items. My last blog post shared some pretty heavy stats (haha! see what I did there?), one of which was the average purse weighs nearly 7 pounds!
That brings us to health issue #1 - TOO HEAVY
Over time, carrying extra weight on your shoulders can lead to a myriad of health issues. Tension headaches or migraines are a real pain in the neck, but nothing compared to not feeling anything in your fingers thanks to pinched nerves in your shoulders! Other issues reported as being connected to carrying too much purse weight include compressed discs in your back, muscle spasms, neck and back pain, lopsided gait, and body lean.
-Carry less. I know, that's sometimes easier said than done. For some simple steps to an organized purse, check out my last blog post to help you audit out those unnecessary items.
-Invest in a lighter weight purse. Leather can be quite heavy, so choose a lightweight material (like cork eh?) Our most substantial bag, the Yvonne Convertible Tote is big on space yet weighs less than a pound and half. Yep, you read that right.
-Choose thicker straps on larger purses such as totes to help distribute weight across your shoulder. Speaking of dispersing weight, choosing a purse with compartments (or add your own with a lightweight purse organizer) can allow you to even out the weight you are carrying throughout your bag.
-Switch to a smaller purse. Much like the popular tiny house movement confines your belongings to only the essentials, using a smaller purse can help you identify that which you need for your day-to-day outings.
-Timeless designs not only let you stay on-trend no matter what is in fashion, it can also eliminate embellishments that add weight to what you are carrying. No matter how cute those tassels, chains, and extra pockets may look; I think we can all agree that health trumps haute couture any day!
**Fun Fact: Before I was an accessories designer, I was a personal stylist (actually, still am), and before that, I was a health and wellness exec, and before that, I was a personal trainer and group exercise coach. And stay tuned friends; because I have even more up my sleeve…due to repeated requests, I am launching a Style Curator section to my brand which will include home styling, and home accessory designs! I'm like the cat with nine lives...see what living healthy can do for you?
Issue #2 - SINGLE SIDED
Even if your purse isn't too heavy, carrying it on the same shoulder or arm can cause harm to your body. Some signs it's time to switch it up: indentations form on your shoulder, you are experiencing shoulder pain from hoisting your shoulder to keep the bag strap where it belongs, or you find your shoulder rolling forward and drooping.
-Sharing is caring...literally. Share the load by switching sides every 30 minutes or so.
-Take a load off. Put that purse down when you can!
-Take it back...way back to those school days! Opt for a backpack style, but keep it light and worn on both shoulders. Doing this will keep weight evenly distributed and less taxing on a single joint.
-Choose a crossbody style purse. Straps worn across the body allows the weight to disperse the length of your frame rather than placing the brunt of it on your shoulder. If you are looking for a stylish crossbody option, check out my Inizio, she is a stunner that is guaranteed to carry your load and feel light as a feather doing it!
Issue #3 - CROOKED CARRY
Tucking that bag into the crook of your arm to keep your hands free can be a dangerous way to carry your purse. It's known to cause tendinitis of the elbow, which is both painful and can cause long-term damage.
-Don't do it anymore! Haha! Really though, instead, carry your purse by hand, on your shoulder or across your body, remembering to switch sides every 30 minutes.
Issue #4 - FIND THE RIGHT FIT
Wearing a shoulder bag that doesn't fit your frame isn't just a fashion faux pas - it is potentially harmful to your health! Your purse should never be too short, or too long, as this can change your gait when you walk. Unless you want to be mistaken for Quasimoto when you are out and about, find a bag that’s not too large. Oversized bags can quickly fill up with unnecessary items and tend to overwhelm your frame at the same time.
-When worn on your shoulder or across your body, the top of your purse should align along your hipbone. Ideally, the size of your bag should match the size of your body frame. I have a whole guide on selecting accessories for your body type if you want some other ideas about what you should consider when pulling together an outfit.
Issue #5 - Cleanliness and Care
Addressing this issue feels especially timely during a season where the entire world is looking at their health habits. People are either patting themselves on the back for a job well done, or wondering how they managed to live as long as they have given their cavalier approach to cleaning their produce….
Let’s take a walk down memory lane...like waaaay back at the beginning of March when we all were still leaving our houses whenever we felt like it...you and your purse probably had quite the day together...car ride to Starbucks to grab a latte, where it slid off your chair to the ground when you sat down in the cafe. Then you head into the office, tossing your bag on your desk, or maybe the breakroom table. Then that purse went with you to the restaurant booth where you took your lunch meeting, even making a pit stop in their restroom before heading back to work. You probably made a stop off at Whole Foods on your way home, to grab a bottle of wine to have with dinner, tossing that bag into the cart while you shopped, and I bet you dropped it on your kitchen counter when you got home for the evening. Whew. No doubt you managed to do all that while washing your hands frequently and not touching your face.
But did you wash your purse after each stop? Yeah, I'm a self-professing germaphobe, and I have definitely been guilty of not thinking about sanitizing my purse but honestly, it touches just as many surfaces as my hands do!
Let's all start a movement to stop putting our purses on the floor! Also, wash them...and often! This is harder to do with leather; you will need to be careful and follow the recommended leather treatment from the bag manufacturer. BUT if you are looking for an option that is naturally antimicrobial then have I got a purse for you! Cork doesn't just have antibacterial properties; it is also soap and water washable! Just place your purse in the sink and gently scrub using warm water and mild soap. Natural baby wipes are also great for quick wipe downs or to remove marks left from wear and use. Check out my Instagram Cork Care highlights for some quick tutorials if you want some ideas for how easy it is to keep your cork looking like new!
Health and wellness isn't just a favorite topic of mine; it's a way of life for my husband and me. My mission has always been to help others pursue freedom, whether it through fashion or finding wellness through exercise and healthy eating. If you have a healthy tip to share, drop it in the comments below, you know I love learning something new!
PC: Melissa Ivy Photography