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Posts tagged with: Women’s Health

MOVE…or at Least Get Up and Stretch!

Hello, friends, and welcome to a non-writing but necessary blog post that will hopefully have you up and toe-tapping. Or like mentioned in the title – at least stretching. 

The Rubies had a conversation a few weeks ago about our health, specifically about getting up and moving around. One of our little slippers got tied into a deadline, spent way too much time in the chair, and ended up with a medical emergency because she didn’t move enough. Yeah. That’s crazy scary considering how much we writers sit in front of the screen. So I’m bringing you some tips to help you keep yourself from…I don’t know…the ER! We’re not talking about drinking protein powder and getting back into your size 6 jeans. This is more about getting a little bit healthier.

Here are six simple tips to help you roll into summer feeling better (and maybe looking it, too):

  1. Move. Set your timer for a 20-30 minute writing sprint. When it’s over, reward yourself. Not with chocolate. With a nice walk, even if it’s only around the block. Raining or too cold? Have Alexa dial up some 80s party music and then dance. (you may want to close the blinds). Our bodies were made to move and to be productive. So make sure EVERY day that you do some sort of exercise whether it’s laundry Olympics (fold and put each item away so you’re moving constantly while doing this chore) or weeding the flower beds or walking your dog. 
  2. Dump the Sugar. I know. I know. I KNOW. I like sweets, y’all. I like skittles and Reese’s cups and cute little cookies that taste like heaven. But sugar is an enemy to your body. Not only does it add calories, but it causes inflammation and can make you sluggish. Try putting grapes or prepared berries in your fridge instead of calorie-packed, preservative-laced treats. Elect for popcorn in the afternoon or a delicious flavored hot tea. I’ll admit – this is the hardest thing for me to do. 
  3. Drink More Water. I don’t like water. There. I said it. It’s boring and tasteless and so not attractive. Where’s the color, the flavor, the little umbrella? But your body needs water. So get a fun bottle, fill it up and put it on your desk. I prefer having a straw because I tend to drink it more than if there’s a bottle cap. I can mindlessly drink more water if it’s sitting right there with a straw in it.
  4. Make a Date With A Friend. One of the best ways to ensure you’ll get up and get moving is to give yourself some accountability. Ask a friend to take a barre class with you. Or Zumba. Or whatever. Schedule walking three times a week. Not only are you forcing yourself out of a huge comfort zone – on the couch with your trusty bff (your laptop) – but you’re opening yourself up to plots, characterization, and the side benefit of getting healthy. I do Zumba twice a week, walk twice a week with my Plotting pals, and join the husband at the gym every Friday. I’m no gym rat, but I MAKE myself do it. It’s much easier when you have someone who tells you to get your butt off the computer and get to work (the other kind of work).
  5. Get a Massage. I know. You’re like Liz Talley’s lost her mind. I can’t afford that kind of luxury all the time! But what if it’s not a luxury? What if it’s a necessity? I messed up my back one time. It was like agony and pain had a baby…in my lower back. I tried all kinds of things including PT. Eventually, with the help of yoga stretches and therapeutic massage, I got over it. So now I go once a month for a deep tissue massage. It’s not an escape because sometimes it hurts, but it’s necessary for someone like me who sits a lot. It costs about $75 in my neck of the woods and I don’t miss it. 
  6. Moderation. I’m not going to tell you to dump the alcohol or coffee. Just try prying either from my cold, dead hands. But practice moderation in all things, even in exercise. You want to steadily improve your health, not sabotage it. So making tolerable changes will help you make being more healthy a reality. You can’t eliminate all the things you love (Reese’s cups!) from your world, but you can curb them. Like I let myself have a Diet Coke at the grocery check out. That’s my reward for clipping coupons and finding the perfect avocados. Yeah, I have ONE instead of a case. And I sometimes miss Zumba. But I don’t let myself fall out of the habit of going. So give yourself a break when you aren’t perfect. I swear moderation is my battle cry. A little bit is okay. Yeah, and that’s my motto. 

Okay, I could drag out a lot more health tips and talk about regular doctor visits (Fun! Right?) or how to do the perfect plank, but we’ve only got so much time before we have to get back to writing our best sellers. So why don’t you share your favorite ways to get a little bit healthier? Just don’t share any kale recipes. Yuck! LOL.

Ready, set….share your tips!

RUSH

We’re ten days into the Winter Writing Fest and I want to talk about stress. Appropriate? I think so.

Stress affects every level of our lives, including our writing.

I don’t know about you but the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning until sometime in the late evening I’m on the go. The list is endless.  Some days, I feel as if my feet will drop off at the ankles if I stop and propped them up and my mind is mush.  Let’s face it, women are caregivers and being a caregiver is stressful. Add extra duties (ie; taking care of aging parents or a love one, moving to a new house, remodeling) and you’re adding stress.

Recently, I read an article at Women’s Health (http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/stress-help ) which stated that some women need to be busy in order to feel alive, and I wondered if I wasn’t one of them.  I mean I always need to be doing something.  Even now, as I write this article, I’m multi-tasking.

Stress can lead to mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart beats, menstrual problems, and acne and other skin problems.  So what can we do to relieve stress?

 

It’s all about attitude.

•There are some things you do not have control over. Don’t worry about them.

• You don’t always have to be right. Pick your fights. It’s not worth the stress to argue. Give in or at least meet people halfway.  Be open.

• Get organized. Write a to-do list. Figure out what’s most important to do and do those things first.

• Set limits. We only have so many hours in the day. Set limits for yourself and don’t be afraid to say NO to requests for your time and energy.

 

Relaxation doesn’t take a lot of time.

• Take deep breaths.  Taking a few deep breaths makes you breathe slower and helps your muscles relax.

• Stretching can also help relax your muscles and make you feel less tense.

• Having someone massage the muscles in the back of your neck and upper back can help you feel less tense.

• Take time to do something you want to do. We all have lots of things that we have to do, but often we don’t take the time to do the things that we really want to do.  You know that priority list above, but your want to do on that list too.

 

You have one body. Take care of it.

• Get enough sleep. Doing so helps you recover from the stresses of the day and helps you think better so that you can handle problems as they come up.

• Eat right. Try to fuel up with fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Caffeine or high-sugar snack jolts, wear off quickly. That is why they’re called jolts. You’ll  wind up feeling more tired than you did before.

• Drink Lots of water.  At least eight glasses a day.

• Get moving. Physical activity will not only help relax your tense muscles but improve your mood.

• Don’t deal with stress in unhealthy ways, such as drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, smoking, or overeating.

 

There is nothing better than a friend.

• Share your stress. Talking with friends or family members can help you feel better. They could help you see your problems in a new way and suggest solutions that you hadn’t thought of.

• Get help from a professional if you need it.

• Help others. Volunteering in your community can help you feel better.

 

Long list, right?  Don’t stress. Pick one, do it, get good at it and then add another. Deep breaths.

2013 was a very stressful year for me, but through the events I’ve learned a lot. One being there will always be stress around waiting to knock me down, but if I’m prepared I’ll handle things much better. So I’m getting organized, making goals and lists to help make those goals, and I’m setting limits!

I’m drinking more water, making sure I eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, smaller portions and limiting the snacks. I’m stretching, walking and dancing. I’ve called a good friend more than once and laughed.

I think laughter should be on the above list. Don’t you?

Now, tell me. What helps you when you feel the world on your shoulders?

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