Tag: health

health

Self-Care is no mystery

 I’ve been focused on taking better care of myself these past couple of months, thanks to tangible evidence from my doctor that my sedentary lifestyle was putting me at risk for some serious health issues. My test results made me become more conscious of the need to take care of me. Now, I’m eating less and I’m making the time to exercise. I asked my fellow Missdemeanors, We spend lots of time writing, marketing, networking, going to conferences and book signings, taking care of family, working day jobs for some of us… How do you take care of yourself? Or do you? SusanI try to walk in the woods every day, and for the most part I succeed, unless it’s really icy. Though I have actually crawled up the slope leading into the woods on occasion.  I usually follow the same route, and there’s always something to see. My mind frees up and I invariably come up with ideas, but I’m not even trying. I always feel restored afterwards. RobinNo matter where I am, at home or traveling, I wake up an hour earlier than I have to in order to have a couple of cups of coffee in bed. It’s something my dad used to do when I was growing up. I didn’t understand why he did it until I started doing it, too. It’s a small luxury that’s easy to pull off. Once I get up, I typically operate at full-throttle so it’s nice to ease into the day. It’s like a morning meditation with a side of wake-up juice.
CateAgree about the Zen coffee thing.  AlisonAlexia, I love that you’re focusing us on self-care. I meditate every morning and manage to do some yoga most evenings. Both which have had major impact on my ability to be a calmer and more compassionate person. One other activity that I once saw as wickedly indulgent, but now realize is critical to taking care of myself, is going to sleep when I’m tired. My brain works better, by body feels better, and my mood is happier when I’m well rested. MicheleOne of the things I’ve learned is to honor my biological inner clock. I get up and rise and shine early in the morning when I am bursting with energy. I also go to bed early because I need to refuel. As simple as it sounds, it is the single best thing I do for me. I don’t eat junk food as a rule, which not to say I don’t indulge in good food. I also have a list of things I know help to de-stress me. Being near the ocean always works for me, but so can pulling weeks, cooking something that requires me to chop and smell the ingredients, and flipping through magazines with beautiful photos. I love yoga and solitary walks. And this is when I remember how much I miss my dog because a walk with her or just the feel of her coat as I patted her made me feel even better than she did.That should be pulling “weeds” not “weeks.” It simply proves my point that I am increasingly incompetent as the day goes on. It must be close to my bedtime. TraceePaying attention to ourselves, that seems to be the common theme. Whether it’s walking the dogs (which is an important part of my day) or getting up early when the mind is active or going to bed ‘on time’ let’s keep taking care of ourselves. That’s how we also make sure we can take care of the other important people in our lives. RobinAmen sister! PaulaFor me it’s all about building in time to rest and relax, and when I don’t have time for that, at least recognizing when I’m dangerously exhausted, and need to stop and chill out.A regular yoga practice helps. I do yoga at home, and I do it on the road in hotel rooms. I also go to a yoga studio for classes.If I’m not on the road, I give myself Sundays as a real day off. Which means that I only have to do what I want to do. That could mean binge watching HBO, or making a pot of chili, or reading something just for fun.Sometimes I want to work and so I do. But only if I feel like it. How do you take care of you? Share your ideas here or join the discussion on Facebook.

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In fiction as in life

 Yesterday, I posted about authors getting into shape. That got me thinking about the physical fitness habits of fictional characters. “Person versus nature” is a classic literary theme. A character engaged in an outdoor activity like backpacking, skiing, or trekking might find themselves combating nature’s fury in the form of a landslide, earthquake, or avalanche. A character might undergo physical training as preparation for battle against their antagonist. Even if you’re not a fan of sports films or boxing, when someone says, “Rocky,” you imagine Sylvester Stallone’s triumphant run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Dr. Strange” features several scenes of Benedict Cumberbatch enduring physical as well as magical training. Superheroes require physical toughness to fight the forces of evil. Two my favorite movies, “Stripes” and “Private Benjamin,” present the rigors of military physical fitness as both a literal antagonist to overcome and as metaphorical antagonist for the characters’ battles against themselves and others who are betting on them to fail. Christine Sneed, one of the authors interviewed for the article, “How the bookish stay in shape,” (William Hageman, Chicago Tribune, November 11, 2015) includes college athletes and distance runners as characters in her novels. Author Philip Brewer wrote a 2013 blog post, “Fictional characters getting in shape,” describing how he enjoys scenes showing the protagonist engaged in fitness activities. He lists Man on Fire, Wise Man’s Fear, Critical Space, and, of course, “Rocky,” as examples. Commenters on the post mentioned the Travis McGee, Doc Ford, and Elvis Cole series as others. What about you? Are you a fan of physical fitness in fiction? As a plot device to put a character in jeopardy? As preparation for the ultimate battle? As a metaphor for a battle against self-doubt? Or as a way to show that characters are as human as we are? Leave a comment on the blog or come over to Facebook to share and discuss. 

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Lifting a pen burns calories, doesn't it?

 I’m on a diet. Not some trendy, named diet that makes me give up carbs or give up fats or eat both carbs and fats but only on alternating Tuesdays. No cleanses or detoxes. I joined a free program, sponsored by my health insurance company, that combines good, old-fashioned calorie reduction with increased physical activity. I earned a free weight scale and pedometer for signing up. There’s online access to a health coach and video lessons on topics like, “Be a [Fat] Detective,” “Eating Out,” and “Manage Stress”. I confess the videos aren’t super-helpful to me. I’ve always known what I should do, I just lacked the motivation to do it. Then a visit to my doctor, and the resultant lab report, provided all the motivation I needed. My test results were only a point or two away from being diagnostic of a variety of illnesses. Time to change my sedentary ways. The plan seems to be working. Approximately 1200 calories a day and a combination of barre and Pilates three-to-four times a week translated to a six-pound weight loss since my doctor’s appointment. The temptation to sit and eat hasn’t left me. It lurks in the background like a prowling hyena. You don’t realize how much chocolate there is in the world until you’re actively trying to avoid it. When my motivation wanes, I pull out my lab report to remind me why I started this. Or I try on clothes that had been relegated to the back of the closet because they were too tight. Those adorable pencil skirts fit now. And the pants I bought several months ago in “the size I am now”? They need a belt to hold them up. Yipee! Although eating less doesn’t require juggling between my day job and my writing, physical activity certainly does. I have to be at the office between 7:30 and 8:00 am. The thought of getting up at oh-dark-thirty to exercise, shower, and change before reporting to work leaves me cold. I found barre classes in the evening and Pilates classes on Saturday morning. Pilates gets me out of bed on Saturday (buh-bye, sleeping-in) but barre in the evening makes for long days. I come home, eat, shower, and fall into bed. Writing on weekdays has suffered as a result. Fortunately, I’m between rounds of edits on book four right now so I have some time to get back on the writing track. I suspect I’m not the only author who struggles to balance a healthy lifestyle with writing. A Google search turned up an article, “How the Bookish Stay in Shape,” by William Hageman in the November 11, 2015 issue of the Chicago Tribune. He interviewed three female authors, all over-forty, who described engaging in a variety of physical activities such as cycling, hiking, weight training, and, in one author’s case, baling hay on her farm. Three authors. Only three. Did he only try to find three physically active authors? Or maybe he tried, but failed, to find more than three. Writing is a sedentary, solitary activity that lends itself to over-eating and under-exercising. Combating this tendency requires conscious effort. What are your tips and tricks for staying in shape in a bookish world? Leave a comment or visit us on Facebook to share and discuss.

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