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, 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!

Posted in Family, Health, mental-health

Keep Fighting the Good Fight

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of being busy at work and working hard on my WIPs. But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about the importance of exercise in your self-care regime.

The reason I’m writing this post is to remind myself to exercise. It’s getting colder outside and I’m at that point where I have to transition from running outside to running on a treadmill. I don’t like running on a treadmill and I do it grudgingly because it’s important for my health. So, as you probably have already surmised it’s very easy for me to skip my run during this time.

But I shouldn’t do that because exercise is so important for our bodies and our brains. It increases blood flow which helps in the absorption of oxygen and strengthens all our muscles including our hearts.

It also helps with depression and anxiety. I must remind myself of this during the winter months when it’s easier to slip into that seasonal funk. So, I’m making a concerted effort to continue my exercise routine, but this year I’m going to try something new. I’m thinking about adding another dimension to my exercise routine. I’m going to try Pilates. I’ve heard of it and I’m going to check out a new gym that just opened near my house. I’m not stopping the running, but I think it’s time to build up strength in my core, so I don’t have back issues later in life.

Our bodies need a solid foundation just like our writing does. Did you know running is good for your bones? It is. In fact, running can reverse osteoporosis, so can walking. Any weight bearing exercise is good for your bones.

I feel exercise helps me with my writing as well. All that extra blood and oxygen going to my brain gives my creativity a boost. Since being a writer is my passion, anything that boosts my creativity is good for me.

So, why do I find it hard to exercise when it’s so good for me? Because it’s hard work. I get hot and sweaty and I have to clean up. All of that takes time and right now time is precious to me. I want to spend it with my family. I want to spend it writing. I don’t want to spend it slogging away on a treadmill even if it’s good for me. So, there you have the dilemma I face when I must choose between exercise and writing or exercise and my kids.

It doesn’t sound like a tough choice, but it is. Because exercise is so important, and I must remind myself that I will have MORE time with my kids and MORE time for my writing IF I exercise. I’m extending my life because I’m putting time in now to take care of myself.

This post is a reminder for me, but it’s also a reminder for you to keep up the good fight against disease and illness and continue your exercise regime. What is your exercise routine during the cold winter months? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health, mental-health

Beauty Pageants, who needs them?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work, but I did something fun this week that kind of broke up my routine. I made a clock for my office, and I must say, I enjoyed it immensely. It’s pictured below and I must give a shout out to my friend, Paulette Carr. She taught the clock-making class and I wouldn’t have been able to make such an amazing clock without her tutelage. So, if you’re ever in Michigan you need to stop by Brave Art Studio and check out her work. It is amazing.

Image preview
My Clock

The Brave Art Studio and Gallery

1873 Lincoln Rd Allegan, MI 49010

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about a meme I saw on Facebook and it got me thinking because it’s so true. There’s been a lot of controversy over the new film “Cuties” on Netflix. The reason everyone’s in an uproar is because of the blatant sexualization of these young girls.

Cuties Poster

I’m glad everyone is upset about this. It’s about time we took a look at the messages we send to young girls. Instead of focusing on their beauty, let’s focus on their abilities. Let’s teach them to become a master in whatever their heart desires. So, the meme below makes total sense.

Image may contain: 4 people, text that says 'NateTalksToYou @NateTalksToYou With the controversy surrounding the #Cuties film ately maybe we can start talking about how disgusting child beauty pageants are.'

Let’s do away with all beauty pageants. Not just the ones for small girls, but the ones for grown women, too. We should all be so busy chasing our dreams that we don’t have time to stand on a pedestal and be judged for our exterior beauty. We have goals to accomplish and skills to master. Let’s teach our girls that we have better things to do with our time than to try and become an idealized version of ourselves.

Let’s send the message that they’re valuable no matter what their physical appearance may be. Instead of promoting beauty, we should be promoting health. Teaching our girls to take care of their body and staying healthy as opposed to reaching some idealistic version of themselves set by society.

What do you think? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in mental-health, Writing

Dealing with Disappointment

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of busyness with work, writing, and kids. The beginning of the school year is hard for me because I have to put my writing on the back burner and deal with back to school chores.

Even though we did virtual learning for the first three weeks, it was still busy. Next week, we start the in-person learning and I have to say, I’m nervous. However, both boys want to do in-person and I’m abiding by their wishes. They miss their friends and they need to get away from their computers. So, cross your fingers for me.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about goals. I want to get away from the virus for a short time, so I’m going to focus on something more positive.

What do you do when you don’t reach your goal? Let’s say you don’t find that agent or publisher? Or you don’t get that promotion? What then? It’s disappointing for sure, so how do you handle that setback? I know what you’re thinking…this was supposed to be a positive post. Bear with me. It is. 😉

I’ve found a way to take the bite out of that disappointment. The way I handle it is…I feel the disappointment, but then focus on another goal. I have three or four goals I’m trying to achieve at one time.  For example, I’m trying to lose weight and maintain my health, so I have exercise and dietary goals. I am also trying to move up in my work environment, so I have professional goals. So, when one goal doesn’t come to fruition, I focus on another one until the disappointment subsides.

For example, let’s say I don’t get the job I applied for, so I change my focus and focus on the fact that I lost some weight, or I finished my novel, or I started a new one. By doing this, I move on much more quickly and don’t sink into that pit of despair. This technique works for me and I hope it’ll work for you, too.

So, how do you handle setbacks? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, mental-health, quarantine

Dealing with the Isolation

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a very busy week at work and working on my writing. I’m making progress on my new story and I’m enjoying the new characters, but it is in the beginning stages, so I have far to go. But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about dealing with isolation while we’re all under quarantine.

 

typewriter, keyboard, paper, letters, work, desk

https://www.everypixel.com/image-13191961344949175093

 

It’s hard. I haven’t seen my co-workers since January. I can skype with them, but it’s not the same as being able to read their emotions to see how they’re handling things. They’re the only ones who really understand about my job because they’re dealing with the same issues I am.

 

I also miss meeting my friends and my extended family for a quick bite or a movie. Last week was the first time I’ve seen one of my gal pals in forever. We finally got together for dinner and we talked the whole time. It was so good to see her. Even though we chat on social media, it’s not the same as getting together and being spontaneous. We shared all kinds of ideas and it was motivating. I wanted to follow through on some of those ideas as soon as I returned home.

 

Clinking with friends

https://www.everypixel.com/image-4178693924188971539

 

We were good. We both wore our masks until we sat down and the restaurant had us sit a couple of tables away from other guests, so it was safe. I wonder how long we’re going to have to keep this up.

Coronavirus - SARS - Free Medical Photos

https://www.everypixel.com/image-2499552987821980334

 

I’m still worried about school. My oldest wants to go, and who can blame him? He misses his friends. I’m still leaning toward online schooling. I just don’t want to take the chance with their health, but I can see the isolation is taking a toll on them as well.

https://www.everypixel.com/image-12193508721395095722

 

I am grateful that my family is healthy. From what I hear this virus goes dormant for a while and can come back with a vengeance. I know a few people who’ve caught the virus and they’ve been sick for months. I know the isolation is necessary, but I hope it ends soon.

 

On the plus side, I have been getting a lot of writing done, and that’s a good thing. It has also brought our family closer. We’ve had quite a few family nights and I feel fortunate that I have had this time with my kids, so it isn’t all bad.

Family taking selfie

https://www.everypixel.com/image-14296063665699200918?sp=1

 

How about you? How are you dealing with the isolation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in humor, mental-health, quarantine

You Might Be Addicted to NETFLIX IF…

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I thought I’d write a post about addiction. Now, this isn’t any kind of normal addiction like a drug or alcohol addiction. This addiction is what we call a NETFLIX addiction. It’s hard to tell if a loved one has this addiction so, I thought I’d post some symptoms and that way, you’d be able to help those loved ones who can’t help themselves.  So, without further ado, here we go.

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you’ve developed carpel tunnel syndrome from operating the remote and you’ve gained ten pounds.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

 

You might be addicted to Netflix if you can reenact whole scenes from “The Office” with the TV off.

 

You may be addicted to NETFLIX if you’ve watched “The Tiger King” in its entirety.

Tiger King, Murder, Mayhem and Madness publicity image.jpg

 

You may be addicted to NETFLIX if you believe Dwight Schrute is a real person.

Photo credit: @dino on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you think a mullet is a current fashion statement.

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if moving to the Ozarks and laundering money for the drug cartel is a viable career choice.

 

Photo on VisualHunt

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you have the sudden urge to buy tigers and open your very own petting zoo.

Photo credit: Chica Inglesa on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you want to dress up for Halloween as Joe Exotic.

 

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you want to introduce your neighbor who mows his lawn at seven in the morning wearing his black knee socks to Carol Baskin.

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you’re considering cooking meth in an RV in your underwear as a way to make some extra cash.

Photo credit: dave_7 on VisualHunt.com / CC BY

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you end another person’s sentence with “that’s what she said.”

 

You might be addicted to NETFLIX if you believe Michael Scarn Threat Level Midnight is a real movie.

You may be addicted to NETFLIX if you’re considering changing your last name to Heisenberg.

 

Photo credit: alazaat on Visual Hunt / CC BY

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my addiction to NETFLIX post. Do you have any symptoms to add? Leave them in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!