Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Staying in the Present Moment

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing and working. I’m so excited because spring is finally here. I’ve been able to run outside a couple of times this week and it was wonderful. My tulips are starting to come up and I am so ready for summer it isn’t funny.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about staying in the present moment and appreciating it. We’re so busy trying to achieve our goals that we keep our eyes on the prize and don’t always appreciate the moment we’re in.

I find that when I focus on the outcome I’m trying to achieve; I get frustrated when things don’t go quite as planned or I run into obstacles. I have to remind myself that I need to focus on my goals for the day only. I know what the big goal is, but I have to focus on the steps I need to take to get there. That way I won’t get frustrated because I haven’t gotten to the big goal yet.

By doing this, I’m going to be happier with my present moment and I’ll appreciate it more. That way I won’t be missing any moments with my family and friends.

It’s hard to change the habit of always striving and focusing on the outcome of my actions. So, when I catch myself growing frustrated because I haven’t reached my goal yet, I take a moment and slow myself down. It’s going to happen just not yet. Then if I can, I practice some self-care. I drink some water or take a few minutes and just breathe. This is the way I reset my thinking and change my emotions from being frustrated to peaceful.

How about you? What do you do to change your mindset? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Balance and Perspective

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of working and working on my craft. I took some time off to read a craft book this week and I’m glad I did. It was a good book. It’s titled “The Secrets of Story.” If you’re looking for a book to help you with your writing, this book is for you.

The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers by [Matt Bird]

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about finding balance and perspective. I struggle with these issues daily because my passion is my writing, but I have a passion for my family, a passion for my work, and I also need to take care of my health by exercising and eating right.

Sometimes, I get frustrated because I can’t write. I have to take care of my kids, fix a meal, or work my day job. Then I have to fit in time for exercise. This is what I struggle with. Many times, I have to choose between exercising and writing. Sometimes I choose writing and feel guilty because I know I should be exercising for my health. It’s a constant battle. Sometimes I do exercise and wish I were writing instead. These negative emotions I experience detract from the enjoyment of my exercising or my writing.

Since I don’t want to have deal with negative emotions, I’ve got to change my attitude, because with my hectic schedule, I’m always going to have to choose between the two. So, when I choose to exercise, I tell myself I’m doing something that’s good for my body, my soul, and my brain. Exercise is a great way to fight depression, burn calories, and get your blood flowing so your brain gets the oxygen it needs. Instead of telling myself I must do this because I want to keep my weight under control or because I ate pizza for dinner, I tell myself my writing will be better if I exercise. This one little change in my perspective allows me to enjoy my exercise and my writing. After I exercise, I have the rest of the evening to write. Therefore, I don’t feel guilty when I’m writing because I know I already exercised.

I’ve also gotten better at defining exercise. I used to feel like I had to run four to six miles at a time before I could call it a workout. That’s not entirely true. I can do strength training and that’s exercise. I can do Pilates and that’s exercise. So is yoga. I’ve been adding these activities to my exercise routine to help build the muscle I’m losing as I age. By adding Pilates and Yoga to my regime, I’ve eliminated my sciatica pain. The difference is amazing, and my writing has improved.

So, there you have it. By changing my perspective about exercise and writing, I’ve been able to enjoy my exercise more. I don’t enjoy it in the beginning. It’s always hard to get started, but by the end, I’m always glad I did it.

I also enjoy my writing more. I don’t feel guilty when I sit down and take some time for my stories. How about you? How do you balance it all? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Ageism, Health, Personal

Ageism in Our Society

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing and working. The weather is turning warmer and the sun has been shining brightly which makes me hopeful for spring. I’m ready for some warm weather where I can get back to running outside. I like that much better than running on a treadmill.

I have been able to hike a little more this winter. Spurred on by my need to get fresh air, I’ve hiked with the hubby a couple of times and with a friend a couple of times. Which is about four or five more times than I hiked last winter. I’ve needed to get out of the house because I’ve been working from home, and those hikes by the beach have been a wonderful way to get some exercise and get some time with a gal pal or my hubby.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about ageism in today’s world. Almost 35 million Americans are over the age of 65 and this number keeps growing. In fact, studies have been conducted and that age group is supposed to reach over 20 percent of the population by 2030. I would think companies that manufacture products would heed these findings, but I don’t find evidence of this today.

In fact, I see evidence of the opposite. I find manufacturer’s targeting the younger generations. Especially clothing and makeup companies. They’re spouting the rhetoric that you need to look younger and feel younger to stay in the game.

This just isn’t true, but many older people are buying into this philosophy. Plastic surgeries have been on the rise for the last five years. This saddens me. We should be celebrating the fact we can grow old. It is a privilege denied to many. We should be honoring our elderly and respecting their wisdom. Just like many indigenous tribes did back in the day.

Instead of focusing on looking young, we should be focusing on staying healthy. We should be focusing on the internal and not the external. Experts say the best way to stay healthy is to get as much sunshine, fresh air, exercise, water, healthy foods, and sleep as we can. I agree. It really is that simple.

This would be a great time for a vitamin company to create a product that helps your body and brain stay resilient to the ravages of time. If I had the know-how, that’s what I’d be doing. I would take the focus off of staying younger, and focus on improving the quality of my life as I get older.

How about you? How do you feel about ageism in our society? Has it affected your life? If so, how? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Get Outside, it’s good for You

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week with work and writing, but I managed to get out with a gal pal and hike along the lakeshore. That hike was just what I needed since I haven’t been able to get out because of the pandemic. I’ve been working at home, working out at home, and socializing via the internet at home.

We have become the indoor generation. So, when the opportunity arose for me to get out for a hike, I jumped at the opportunity. It was gorgeous, but cold. The wind coming off the lake was invigorating. Now, more than ever we need to get out into nature. Being by the beach was so good for me. It cleared my head and got me back on track as far as my goals are concerned.

You see, being inside so much can be a little demotivating. I’ve found when I travel from the bedroom, that I’ve turned into an office, to the living room where I relax, and I get a little down. I do this every single day.

On a more positive note, I’ve been doing pretty good about keeping up with my exercise goals. Since I don’t have to drive to work, the time I would’ve spent on the road, I’ve turned to exercising. So, there is that. However, it’s the treadmill season right now because it’s too cold for me to run outside.

Like I said earlier, we have become the indoor generation. We’re losing our connection to nature and that’s not a good thing. We get so many positive things from nature. Just being out in it is a stress reliever.

It also strengthens our immune system. Did you know that being in the woods is good for us? The trees and plants release phytoncides. These molecules are released by the foliage as a defense mechanism against fungus, bacteria, and even animals. These compounds are good for humans as well. According to one study, they enhanced the destructive mechanism in our cells that kill the cell when its time has run out. It also enhances the anti-cancer protein production.

Even going to the beach is good for you. Especially, if you can get to the ocean or the sea. Saltwater has many positive benefits. The salt air is charged with negative ions that allow us to absorb more oxygen, but you don’t have to travel all the way to the ocean to get the health benefits of the beach. Just being near a body of water is stress relieving. It releases serotonin, which is good for our mood, and let’s not forget about that vitamin D. A vitamin our bones need, and if you live in the north, you probably don’t get enough of it.

So, this year, I’m planning to get outside more often. I plan on going hiking and going to the beach more often. Our bodies were meant to move not sit at computers all day.

Exercising outside is like a double whammy of health benefits for our bodies and minds. So, get out there and get moving! It’s good for you!

How about you? What kind of exercises do you like to do outside? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Is Yoga the new Wonder Drug for our Health?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work, writing, and reading. Yes, I needed to decompress a little bit this week and what better way to decompress than to read, right?

I thought you’d agree. 😉

Anyway, more about that later. Today, I’d like to talk about stress and how to deal with it. There are many stressors in life that we have to handle. Back in the olden days, when we had to run from predators, our body would send out the stress hormone cortisol and it’d get us moving.

Now, our greatest stress isn’t running from predators, it’s dealing with stress from work, stress from over-commitment, family stress, and so on. In the past, when we’d get that rush of cortisol in our system, we’d run to escape the predator chasing us and we’d burn up the cortisol in our system. We’d run to safety, usually a short distance.

In today’s world, we can’t run from our stressors, so the cortisol builds up in our system. This leads to high cortisol levels, which leads to increased amounts of belly fat, which leads to diabetes, a life-threatening disease. So, the question is, how do we keep cortisol levels down when we can’t change the stressors in our lives?

My first thought was exercise. So, I’ve been running on the treadmill at least two to three times a week. I usually run about four miles, which is hard to do on a treadmill. (It’s winter right now and I don’t run outside in the winter because of the cold and ice.) While running is good, I did some research to find out what was the best way to reduce cortisol, and I learned some interesting facts.

First, extended exercise (more than sixty minutes) increased cortisol levels. It seems that too much exercise depletes our stored glycogen and when that happens our bodies release cortisol. So, what’s the best way to reduce cortisol when we’re dealing with stressful situations?

Short, high intensity workouts, such as sprints, HITT, or weight training are proven ways to reduce cortisol in your system. Another way is doing yoga. Yes, yoga has been scientifically proven to reduce cortisol levels. This is good news because yoga is a great way to quiet your mind as well. It’s good for you mentally, physically, and physiologically. Who knew?

It’s my understanding that you must make sure it’s restorative yoga and not hot yoga, or Ashtanga yoga. Anything that makes your body work hard will raise cortisol levels.

 So, there you have it. Yoga is the wonder drug when it comes to reducing cortisol levels in your body, and reduced cortisol levels means less belly fat. Less belly fat means lower risk for diabetes. Like I said earlier, it’s good for you mentally, physically, and physiologically.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about yoga? Have you ever tried it? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Connecting with your Intuition

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of editing and a busy week at work. I took a little break from writing my new story because I was editing, and I had to take Christmas decorations down. Boo. I wasn’t happy about that. There’s something about those twinkling lights that cheer me up. But, enough about that, today I’d like to talk about Intuition.

Intuition is your inner guide. That voice in your head that gives you a warning or direction without any evidence that it’s true. There are times in my life when I listened to that voice. It came through loud and clear and I’m glad I did even when it didn’t make any logical sense.

My gut has never let me down yet, and now even more than ever it’s important for us to listen to our inner voice. Why? Because our world is built on creating an image. People create this image for others for many reasons. To get attention. To get validation, or to manipulate.

Advertisements bombard us with celebrities expounding the benefits of exercise equipment or makeup, implying we’ll look like them if we just use this product. It’s not true. We’ll always look like ourselves. We all know this, yet corporations have made millions of dollars by selling us their products based on this implication.

Our politicians create an image, so we’ll vote for them. They work with the media to put a “spin” on an event, or outright lie about something to throw mud at an opponent. So, we the public don’t know what’s true and what isn’t. How do you make a good decision that way?

Look at social media. An individual shares what they want the world to see and keeps the unattractive parts of themselves hidden. When their friends compare that individual’s seemingly “perfect” life with their own, they become disenchanted with their own lives and this creates angst and depression. So, it’s more important than ever to trust our gut.

Image may contain: food, text that says 'Thought for the day- Social Media never shows the whole picture. Perfection is an illusion'

We need to develop our intuition and make it stronger. So, how do you do that?

Well, it’s quite simple but hard to do.

We need to spend time alone and meditate. Take some quiet time to listen to our inner voice. Have a dialogue with it. It’ll take practice, but once you make that connection, you’ll be able to make decisions that are best for you. When we don’t make that connection and listen to that inner guide, we can travel down the wrong path that leads to unhappiness.

Spend some time in nature. It’s so good for us. I was hiking for years before I knew there were health benefits, just because it calmed me. It will have the same effect on you. I guarantee it. Whether you hike through the woods, or along the beach, you’ll experience health benefits. Both are good for you and quiet your mind, so your inner voice can come through.

Pay attention to your Dreams. That’s right, our sub-conscious talks to us through our dreams and so does our intuition. Try to remember your dreams upon waking and write them down. Think about an issue you’re struggling with before you go to sleep and see what your dreams tell you. I’ve found solutions to problems through my dreams. It’s amazing when that happens.

How about you, do you listen to your intuition? How do you tap into it? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, kindness, Love, mental-health, nature, pandemic, Personal

Let’s be like the Trees

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week with work and Christmas shopping and plans. It’s the last weekend before Christmas and we’ve finally got a vaccine being delivered. So, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for this pandemic. But I don’t want to talk about any of that today because frankly, I’m sick of the pandemic. Today, I’d like to talk about connections. I read an article yesterday and the jist of the article was that trees in a forest communicate with each other through their root systems, and they can even recognize their offspring.  To read the article click this link:

Trees Talk to Each Other

Their root systems are kind of like their own internet. 😊

To me, this is evidence. Evidence that we’re all connected. That the actions of one causes a ripple effect in the universe. Now, the thing about the trees is that they take care of each other. They don’t spew hate along their root system. They send nutrients and healing vibes to their neighbors. Of course, they take extra special care of their offspring which coincides with us taking care of our family.

This is something we as humans need to emulate. We need to resist acting on our negative emotions. I know this is hard. I have negative emotions, too. But what if we resisted and tried to focus only on the positive. When something negative comes up try to give the other person some grace. They may be dealing with some incredibly difficult issues that they haven’t shared with you.

I also believe we need to practice forgiveness. It’s hard to forgive especially when the person who wronged you doesn’t believe they’ve done anything wrong. It’s hard to forgive someone like that, however, you need to forgive them for you. Holding a grudge is poison. It doesn’t mean you have to continue to take their abuse. You have to do your best to protect yourself even if it means removing yourself from the situation. But do it with grace. Try not to damage the other person too much. They’re already damaged. They wouldn’t have done what they did to you, if they weren’t. Remember that. We’re all broken. Some of us a little and some of us a lot.

I know this seems to go against the theme of this post. Connection, but, I it really doesn’t. If someone who’s abusive to you loses you. Maybe they’ll get help. Maybe they’ll become healthier because you’re leaving was the catalyst for change. So, even when we leave a relationship, we can inspire another person to change and grow. Then when that person gets into another relationship they can do better. It’s the ripple effect.  Let’s try and be like the trees and send positive ripples through our root system and see what kind of world we can create.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you stay connected to your loved ones? Leave a comment, I love hearing from you!

P.S.

I saw this on Facebook this morning and thought it was appropriate to add to this post!

Image may contain: text that says '05 Good BE LIKE A TREE. Stay grounded. Connect with your roots. Turn over a new leaf. Bend before you break. Enjoy your unique natural beauty. Keep growing Joanne Raptis'
Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Hiking. It’s Good for You

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing and work. The kids are back to doing school virtually, so we’ve overcome that hurdle of change.

I had a request from one of my followers to show some of the photos of my hikes, so I thought today, I’d share some of the benefits of hiking and share some of the awesome photos I’ve taken. Not that I’m a great photographer or anything like that, it’s just our world is amazingly beautiful, so not even I can take a bad picture. 😊

So, without further ado here’s my personal list of the benefits of hiking.

  1. It clears my mind. Whenever, I have a tough decision to make or I’m having trouble with my manuscript. I get out into nature and my mind clears and problems get solved.
  • Hiking is a great stress reliever. Whenever, I’m having a hectic day, I take a quick walk through the woods and it calms me and clears my mind.
  • Hiking is also great exercise. It burns calories and strengthens your muscles including your back muscles. It’s also a great way to improve your circulation.
  • It’s a great way to focus on gratitude. When you’re out in the woods and taking in all the beauty, it’s hard to be in a negative frame of mind. It’s a great place to reset and change your attitude.

So, there you have it. Five great reasons to get out into the woods and get moving. It’s good for you both mentally and physically! Here is a photo of the beauty that’s waiting for you out there! 😊

Posted in Health, Personal, Women

What is your Standard of Care?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after having a couple of guests for the last couple of weeks. I hope you enjoyed them, but I’m back today after a stressful week at work and trying to work on my writing at the same time.

It has been a week of trying to find balance during an incredibly stressful period. These are unprecedented times. What with the election and the pandemic, it has been hard to focus on my goals. It’s during these times that we must focus more than ever on where we’re going. We can’t let the world events deter us from our path, no matter how much anxiety they cause us. By focusing on our aspirations, we’ll alleviate our anxiety. Moving forward is one of the best ways to deal with worry.  

I forgot this concept this week. I put my self-care on the back burner. Something I do when I’m stressing out. I don’t eat right, and I don’t exercise as much as I should. However, I saw the signs quickly and pulled myself out of my funk. I did this by deciding on a standard of care for myself. You see, I want to be healthy and active in my old age. I want to be one of those women who’s still running in her sixties. So, to do that I have to exercise a standard of care today.

I’ve been running and I’ve dropped my weight. I’ve also changed my eating habits and I’m watching how many carbs I eat a day to keep the weight off. Well, that’s my goal. This week, I veered off my path and started eating some sugary sweets and not exercising because I was stressed out. Because of this, I’m thinking I need to do some yoga to help alleviate the mental stress of trying to work, raise a family, and write during a pandemic. The exercise is awesome for getting those endorphins surging, but if it’s raining or too cold out, I struggle with jumping on the treadmill. It’s not the same as running outside. So, I’m going to add a couple more activities like yoga and Pilates to my exercise regime. I’m trying to do two things by doing this, strengthening my core and improving my mental health. Yoga is a great way to calm the turbulent seas of my emotions, and by increasing my activity, I’m changing my focus from things I have no control over to things I can do something about.

So, in a nutshell, I’m taking the standard of my self-care up a notch and I recommend that you do, too. I don’t think this pandemic is going away anytime soon and there are whispers of a shut-down. You don’t have to go gym to do Pilates or Yoga, there are plenty of YouTube videos out there. Check them out. It’ll be good for your health, both mental and physical.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What is your standard of care? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Take a Hike!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of editing and work. I’m excited about my story and I’m close to the finish line. I’ve got another story I’m just as excited about that I’ve put on the back burner so I can whip my latest project into shape.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about taking down time to enjoy the little things, like taking a hike. I love walking through the woods. I love the smell of the leaves as they fall mixing with the scent of soil. It grounds me. I feel our society needs more time outside. We’re all stuck in front of our computers. We’ve become the inside generation. We’re not getting enough fresh air and sunshine.

We’re not getting enough exercise. I see my boys sitting in front of their computers doing their virtual learning then gaming, and it worries me. I must become quite the Napoleon to get them outside, but they grudgingly do it.

There was a movie we watched when they were little that left quite an impression on me. That movie was Wall-E. It was the story about what happens after we’ve abused the earth so badly it has become unlivable and the humans create a home away from home. It’s a huge space station and everyone on the station is lazy and overweight. They’re so fat, they can’t walk very well, so they have these devices that transport them everywhere.

Sadly, I don’t think this future is far off the mark. Unless we get off our rear-ends and get moving. I’m trying to get outside more myself. I’m trying to set a good example for my kids, but even I fall short. Especially with winter right around the corner where we rise in the dark and get home from work when it’s dark. This not only affects my motivation but makes me want to hibernate, to hunker down and stay inside.

I think I came from a tribe of hibernators.

But I digress. Taking a hike through the woods is great exercise and it’s good for yourself mentally. It gets those endorphins running and we get something from the forest. The trees emit phytoncides.

These little guys are good for our immune system. They enhance our anti-cancer protein production. To learn more about Forest Bathing click here: https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/the-benefits-of-forest-bathing/

So, getting outside is good for our body and our souls. Let’s get moving America and get healthy again!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any outdoor activities that you like to do? Please leave a comment! I love hearing from you!