National Heart Health Awareness Month

58139_Social_Media_Images_FB_TW_physicalactivity

February is National Heart Health Awareness Month. Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States? That’s the bad news.

The good news is, there are things you can do to change that for yourself. Among those things are eating healthy, getting adequate physical exercise, and getting enough zzzz’s.

I have found that healthy foods do not have to taste less appealing than junk food. In fact, exactly the opposite. And making healthy food doesn’t have to be as inconvenient or time-consuming as you may think. Again, exactly the opposite. The closer you can get to eating food as it comes from nature, without all of the additives–and, yes, without the sugar–the better. Simple = healthier.

Heart

Physical exercise, too, can be easy. When are you supposed to fit one more thing into your day, you may ask? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get in a few extra steps by parking further away from where you’re going instead of circling for a closer spot. Walk for your 15 minute break instead of scrolling social media. Keep a set of weights by your desk and get in some curls when you have a couple of minutes to spare–or even if you’re on the phone. It only takes one hand to hold the phone. Zero if you’re using a headset. Instead of sending Fido outside, standing by the door and watching to be sure he does his “thing,” take him for a walk around the block. It won’t take any additional time and you’ll both be happier and healthier.

As for sleep–as an adult I used to dream of getting sent to my room for a timeout so I could nap without feeling guilty! Now I’ve dumped the guilt and take that nap if I need it and get to bed at a reasonable hour. And I’m all the more productive for it.

So turn off your computer–yes, stop reading this blog now–and get in some steps. While you’re at it, have a snack–a healthy one–and, heck, maybe just 30 minutes of rest. You’ll be happy you did. And your heart will thank you.

_You Have a Big Heart. Take Care of It!

 

Banishing Routine – Sometimes

My Adidas

I recently read a blog post by Katherine Valdez  called Cross-Training for Writers, and it got me to re-think my writing routine.
While I thrive on routine in most areas of my life, writing is the one thing that sets me free from routine that can suffocate living.

Creating stories is an escape from the real world of routine and from keeping all things on a schedule.  Not that the real world is bad.  On the contrary.  But my need to control the real world around me isn’t healthy.  And, in essence, creating a routine, making sure all things fall into place, is a means of control.

Writing gives me an escape from that control, because once I start a story, outline or not, it seems to take off with a mind of its own.  My characters develop their own stubborn personalities and develop as they want to rather than how I had planned.  Or My favorite pen runs out of ink and I have to use another.  Or my computer battery isn’t charged and I need to sit at my desk near the charger rather than camp out on the sofa or floor like I had planned.  Yes, I realize I could move the charger, but that would be too logical. 🙂

But I digress…

Katherine’s blog post made me think about how my writing life can even become mundane and a chore, rather than a joy and an escape, if I make it routine.  By feeling like I haven’t really written if I haven’t put a set number of words on the page or clocked a certain number of minutes at my computer.

Or telling myself I can’t really count it as writing if I’m not working on a piece in order to get it published.

What I’ve come to realize in exploring this area is there are so many creative ways to create.  Why try lock oneself in a box of expectations we place on ourselves?

Doodling/sketching is a creative outlet.  And that sketching exercises an area of the brain that is different from writing.

Mentally creating story lines, character traits, scenes, etc., while watching a movie or reading a book exercises the thought process part of the brain.

creativity

Listening to conversations on public transportation, in cafes or coffee shops, at work or in the park,  catching snippets of conversation, the tone of a voice, etc., teaches us to be attentive to our surroundings.  To listen like a writer, exercising yet another part of the creative process.

Reading books/blogs/articles/magazines/websites on writing teaches us what works and doesn’t work.  However, just because something didn’t work for one person doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.  One thing that does work for the majority, however, and would be wise to follow, is the advice to be persistent and never give up.

Never stop trying. Never stop believing. Never...

Just as cross-training in exercise works different muscle groups and keeps the interest alive, cross-training in writing exercises different muscles and keeps the excitement of the process alive.

All is Grace.