Posted in pandemic, raising kids, Teen

Your Teen and Pandemic Stress

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and writing. I’ve started the dreaded treadmill season where I run on the treadmill instead of going outside. I’ve finally adjusted to this even though I still struggle with motivation.

But on a positive note, I had my blood work done and my numbers look much better than they did last year. So, I’ve accomplished my goal. I’ve improved my health. 😊

Enough about that, though. Today, I’d like to talk about helping your teen deal with the stress and anxiety brought about because of the pandemic. It’s a tough time for them. They can’t socialize like normal and their activities have become severely limited. I bring this up today because we had a fourteen-year-old boy commit suicide in our state during a zoom meeting with his classmates. No one saw this coming. None of his classmates or his parents.

Now more than ever, kids need to feel connected to their families. This is a good time to do forced family fun nights. We spend time either playing Uno or watching The Office. I know. It can get kind of raunchy, but there’s some quality stuff in the show as well. For example, when Jim and Pam went to couples counseling and illustrated how to communicate with your spouse. That was brilliant. Kids need to learn how to handle conflict and how to express their needs. I loved that about that episode.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIi8i3Pf3Ys&ab_channel=LaurenAmeruoso

The show also brings diversity to the forefront with the gay character of Oscar. I think this is important to show how to accept people who are different from us. It’s also funny. The different personalities of the characters are taken to the extreme to show how we can all get along using humor and sarcasm as a way of deflecting negativity.

Another way kids can deal with this stress is video games. I know. I know. I’ve heard all the negatives about video games, but in this time of no activities and no school there is still a way to connect with their friends. They can connect through their games. I like this because my boys can stay safe and still have a little bit of social interaction. They can do this without getting on social media. You still must take precautions. I advise them to not share any personal information with anyone online, but for the most part they play games with kids they hang out with in school, so it’s working. They can connect and stay safe at the same time.

I also encourage them to get outside for at least an hour a day. It’s harder to do now that it’s gotten cold, but they do get out and get fresh air and exercise. One of my boys has gotten into weightlifting and another has started running on the treadmill. Exercise is another healthy way to deal with stress, and it helps that both hubby and I run. We are modeling the behavior we want them to engage in. So, not only are we talking the talk, but we’re walking the walk also.

So, there you have it. Some ways to help your teens deal with the stress of isolation. How about you? Do you have any ideas? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear 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, quarantine, Writing

Have you got the Pandemic Blues?

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of vacation. I needed the break. It was a great week of sun, boat rides, and swimming. There’s something about being by the water that seems to calm my restless soul.

When we go up north, it’s easy to forget about the pandemic and the restrictions and the illness. We’re in our own little world of boating, swimming, watching sunsets, and just enjoying our down time. I think everyone needs to do this. Get out of the house and go somewhere and just have some fun.

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When you work from home, you tend to never leave. You don’t need to unless it’s   to go to the store or run a few errands. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut during these times.

To keep my spirits up, I’m exercising more. That means I’m running. I’m not fast. I won’t be winning any competitions, but it helps me keep a positive attitude and it’s good for my body. Did you know running is good for your bones? If you’re worried about osteoporosis take up running. I just had a bone density scan and my doctor says he can tell I’ve been exercising. 🙂

 

Blonde Woman Running Over The Pedestrian Crossing

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I’m also writing more, which helps me focus on something other than this pandemic and all the information flying around about it. I’ve finished one story and I’ve got another one going and it’s going well. I’m liking this new one almost as much as the one I just finished. The one I just finished has a lot of my heart and soul in the story. I’m very excited about it.

 

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I’ve also started collecting recipes to make some new and exciting meals. We’ve gotten into kind of a food rut lately, and we’ve been eating out more. Which isn’t the best for our health. Cooking with your family is a great way to spend some quality time together and cook up some new healthy meals.

 

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So, the point I’m trying to make is, use this pandemic to work on some projects you haven’t had time to start. You’ll feel productive and it’ll help get your mind off your circumstances. Make it work for you.

How are you spending your time during quarantine? Have you started any new projects? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health, mental-health

Strive for Balance

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a weekend of writing. I had a procedure done this week that left me exhausted. It was a routine procedure and everything came out fine, but it did wipe me out. So I didn’t get much writing done during the week, but I made up for it over the weekend. 😊

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However, today I want to talk about finding balance. It’s hard when you’re juggling so many balls like family, a full-time job, writing, and exercise. Sometimes, you must spend a lot of energy  helping your family. Sometimes you have to spend extra time for your job. When this happens, things like your writing, self-care, and exercise fall to the wayside. This is unfortunate, but quite natural.

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However, when things settle down, it’s important to get back into your routine and take care of yourself. Right now, I find myself out of my routine and I’m struggling to get back into it. Why? Because this procedure I had to do this last week left me exhausted. So, exhausted I didn’t have the energy to exercise. I also had a couple of nights when I didn’t sleep well and that has also wreaked havoc on my motivation.

So, I spent most of the weekend writing and I feel good about that, because my story is one of my goals, but I need to get back into my exercise routine because it’s important for my health. Taking care of myself is one of my goals, and  I’ve lost some weight. I want to keep it off, so I need to get moving again.

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The way I try to maintain balance is to set up a flexible schedule for myself each day. I actually schedule time for exercise and time for my writing. Some days, it’s hard to maintain my commitment to my schedule, because sometimes I don’t feel like exercising or doing housework during my allotted time. During those times, I have to fight the urge to get back to my story and do what’s best for my health.

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Sometimes I give in and write instead of exercise. When I do this, I just adjust my schedule and exercise another day. The flexibility is important because the routine can sometimes grow restrictive and boring.

So, strive for balance by scheduling the self-care you need to do into your weekly routine. It’s important, especially as you grow older and less active. You’ll be happier when you do. I know I am.  What self-care activities do you do? How do you balance them with your other goals? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Health, Women

Stress Relievers for Every-day Life

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a great weekend of writing and running. (I’m recovering now.) It was gorgeous this afternoon and a great time to get out and get some exercise. I forced my boys to get away from their video games and get outside, which they did grudgingly, but I’m sure they enjoyed it. I’m trying to teach them to take care of themselves. No easy task. Believe me.

I’m pushing for them to get outside because when winter flies, I’m sure we’ll be hibernating and it’ll be hard for them to get some exercise, but enough about that. Today I want to talk about dealing with the stress of every-day life and with the holidays coming up, well that can be stressful  too. So, I want to give you a quick list of stress relievers that I’ve used in the past, and continue to still use. Here they are:

 

Stress Relievers:

  1. Exercise: Exercise is my go-to stress reliever. Even a short walk gets those endorphins pumping through my brain, settling me down and allowing me to refocus instead of react.

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  1. Reading: Did you know reading for only fifteen minutes reduces your stress level by right around sixty percent? Reading is an excellent stress reducer, plus it teaches empathy, and improves your vocabulary. For more information on this, click here. 

 

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  1. Forest-bathing: Forest-bathing is another great way to relieve stress, but there are also other health benefits to taking a hike in the woods. The trees in the forest release phytoncides, that we breathe in and these little buggers help strengthen our immune system. For more information check out this post by clicking here.

 

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  1. Laughter:  Laughing is an excellent stress reliever. Take the time to watch a comedy or funny sit-com. It relieves your stress and can also improve your immune system.

 

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So, there you have it. Stress relievers for every-day life and the holidays. How do you manage your stress? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health

Finding Balance

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long weekend of writing and hanging out with my family. I’m getting closer to the finish line, and I hope I can do this story justice, but enough about that. 😊

Today, I’d like to talk about how important it is to find balance in your life. I’m sure you know that balance is important for your mental health, because the mind and the body work together.

Right now, I’m struggling with balancing everything I’m trying to accomplish, and making time for is exercise. Yet, I know I need to exercise to keep up my health. In fact, my doctor recommended I exercise at least six times a week.

Now, when I exercise, I usually run, and I dedicate an hour to it. The problem is that some nights I don’t have an hour. I get home late and want to hang out with my family for a while, or I’ve had a stressful day at work and all I want to do is sit down and relax, or I’d rather work on my story. So, there are times when I’ve blown it off. I started running in the morning, and I’ve found it increases my energy level for the day, but I still can’t seem to do more than two or three times a week.

 

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There is one drawback to running and that is, when I have to run on the treadmill, it is incredibly boring. I have a hard time motivating myself to do it. So, I decided I’m going to look into a yoga class. I used to do yoga once a week before the kidlets arrived and I enjoyed it immensely. There’s also that mind/body connection with yoga that I miss.  Whenever I finished a yoga class, I always came away with the feeling of being totally relaxed while also being fully aware. It was an awesome feeling that’s for sure.

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I’m going to count that as exercise even though it doesn’t increase my heart rate. I hear hot yoga is good for your body and helps build muscle. Have any of you tried hot yoga? I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

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There are some side benefits to yoga, too. It improves your circulation, strength and flexibility as well as your spine health. Spine health is important these days when you sit in front of the computer for most of the day.

Yoga is a great alternative when you just don’t feel like pounding the pavement and it stretches the whole body, whereas running only works your legs. So, there you have it. My plan to work yoga into my already busy life, so I can create balance. Does that even make sense? LOL!

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How about you, what do you do to exercise your body? Any yoga practitioners out there? How do you add one more activity and create balance? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Health, Reading

I’m back and I’m talking about Self-Care

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I have to apologize, I’ve been hit with the Bronchitis bug and have been too sick to post on my blog. So, I apologize for my long absence and I’m finally back with a post.

Because I’ve just gotten over a bad case of Bronchitis, I thought I’d write a post on the importance of self-care. I tend to put myself last because I’m a mom and that’s what a lot of us moms do.

The thing is if we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything. Health is our wealth. It’s not money. You can have all the money in the world, but if you can’t enjoy it because of failing health, it’s worthless.

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So, take the time to cook yourself healthy meals. It’s a great way to bond with your kids and teach them healthy eating habits. In my opinion, good health starts with good food. Your diet is so important. Food fuels your body and builds it up to fight disease and sickness. If you’re filling it with empty calories and no nutrients, you’re not giving it what it needs to keep you healthy. So, start this habit while your kids are young and it’s never too late to take better care of yourself.

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Another element of self-care is exercise. Yeah, going to the gym is a great way to get those miles in on that treadmill, but if you can get outside, that’s even better. Getting out in the sun is so good for you. We all need our vitamin D and the best way to get it is from the sun. I believe a daily dose of fresh air and sunshine is good for all of us. Heart and Soul.

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And if you can somehow get out to the woods or walk near the beach, that is the best for you. Remember the trees in the forest emit tiny microbes that help us fight disease and the fresh air from the beach has many health benefits as well.

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So, diet and exercise are two of the key ingredients to good health. Another ingredient is stress reduction. Exercise is a great way to deal with stress, but there are others.  One of the activities I like to do when I’m too stressed is read. Yes, reading can drop your stress level within minutes of opening your book. It gets your mind off your stressful situation, your heart rate will decrease, and you’ll begin to relax. Reading is a perfect way to de-stress when you can’t make it to the gym or just don’t feel like exercising.

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So, there you have it, the three elements of self-care. What do you do to take care of yourself?  I’m always looking for new ideas, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Personal

Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. I’ve started a new job and it’s great to be back to work full time. I’ve missed it. However, I’m still committed to my writing. I’ve got two manuscripts I’m committed to finishing and a third one that I started a while back that I want to finish as well.

Today, I’d like to talk about self-care. Taking care of your health should be one of the most important goals an individual has. In my younger years, I took my health for granted and picked up some bad habits, like drinking too much pop. It’s bad for your bones and your body needs water. So, I’ve made a conscious effort to drink more water and limit the amount of pop I drink.

That’s just one example. Through the years, I’ve tried to be consistent about exercise as well. Exercise is so important for our body. It’s great for maintaining our mood and managing our stress.

So, when I think about self-care, I think about the basics. What does my body need to be healthy?

  1. A healthy diet

For me, a healthy diet is more salads and less sugar. I’ve tried to cut down on sugar, but I haven’t eliminated it all together. I’ve also developed a plan where I eat carbs only in the morning and at night, leaving my noon meal for proteins and vegetables. I’m trying to work with the changes that occur in our bodies as we age. I still need carbs, but I don’t need as many, and I feel the time of day I eat these things is also important.

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          Our bodies also need water. Lots of it. 😊

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  1. Exercise

Our bodies are designed to move so the more movement you can get, the better off you’ll be. It can be anything like walking, hiking, or cycling. I run, but I also change it up with hiking and walking so I don’t get bored. I also work out with free weights to keep my muscles strong. Exercise is also an excellent way to relieve stress.

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  1. Stress relieving activities

Besides exercise there are other stress relieving activities we can participate in, like yoga or reading or getting together with friends. All of these activities are important ways to maintain both our mental and physical health.

 

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  1. Setting boundaries

I list setting boundaries with people as a part of our self-care because we can get wrapped up into taking care of other people. This includes our spouse and children. Sometimes Mom needs a time out and that’s okay because you’ll be a better parent if you take care of yourself. Not only that, but your setting a good example for your children on how to take care of themselves without feeling bad about it. Go you!

Photo credit: Mark Zilberman Photography on Visualhunt.com /CC BY-NC

 

  1. Setting goals

I list setting goals because part of taking care of ourselves is managing our time. If we set goals we know where we want to spend our time and how much time we want to devote to that activity. By doing this, we can eliminate all that unimportant crap that can demand our attention. We learn to say no to things without guilt.

 

So, there you have it. A blue-print for self-care. It looks easy, I know but, it’s hard to do. It’s hard to find the time sometimes for exercise and stress relieving activities when your family is demanding your attention. It’ll take some practice and some juggling, but I’m sure you can do it.

 

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What do you do for self-care? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, friendship, Health, Parenting, Teen

Let’s pull Together and Do This!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work and writing. I finally nailed a scene I’ve been struggling with and it feels so good! 😊

But enough about that. I came across this meme on Facebook and it inspired me to write this post, so I thought I’d share it with all of you. It’s mainly for us women, but guys can help with this too, so keep reading.

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For years, women have been trained to search for their physical flaws and try to fix them. We’re bombarded by ads for makeup, clothes, and physical fitness equipment that shows us how to improve our appearance. This has made many corporations and plastic surgeons rich while tearing down women’s self-esteem. The message we’re receiving is, the only way you’ll feel good about yourself is if you use this product, buy these clothes, and get this type of plastic surgery.

It’s up to us women to pull together and say:

 

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We’re a powerful force when we come together. A force to be reckoned with. So, let’s do it. Let’s pull together and create an environment of support against this onslaught that tears us down.

Instead of focusing on our faults, let’s focus on our health. Let’s exercise because it’s good for us, not to look better. We’ll look better because we’re healthy and we’ll feel better because we’re healthy.

 

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Let’s focus on our diet, not to lose weight and try to be model-thin, but because we want to take care of our health. We’ll feel better if we eat healthier. The outside will take care of itself if we focus on the inside.

Photo credit: CameliaTWU on VisualHunt /CC BY-NC-ND

This same concept can be applied to our mental health. Let’s change our negative self-talk to positive. Let’s forgive ourselves for our imperfections because let’s face it, everyone has them. Let’s practice giving some of the love we give to everyone else to ourselves. Let’s teach our daughters that it’s okay to think of ourselves. To take care of ourselves. To set boundaries. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go, too.

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Let’s make our health and happiness a priority. If we take responsibility for our own happiness and chase goals that we want to achieve, our relationships will be better. Our relationships won’t be the only source of happiness for us and it’ll take the pressure off our spouses. They’ll be able to work on themselves and pursue their own happiness.  Once we do that, we’ll find we’re happier and our relationships will be better. It’s like the ripple effect of tossing a stone in the water and watching the ripples float farther and farther away until they pass through the whole lake. We can do this. Who’s with me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Uncategorized

Technology: Friend or Foe?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of writing and vacationing. There’s nothing like heading to the lake when you’re experiencing a heatwave. My kids invited a friend along and that made it a little more special because they’ve been friends since my oldest was in kindergarten.

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I was happy the weather cooperated because the kids were able to get out and swim. Physical activity is so important for our young people. I remember when I was growing up we were outside early in the morning and only came home for meals. We rode our bikes everywhere.

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Unfortunately, it’s not like that in today’s world. Kids can’t ride their bikes all over the place because the traffic in our streets is heavy and the streets aren’t as safe as they were twenty years ago. Kidnapping and human trafficking are real issues and it’s happening in every state not just those close to the borders.

So we as parents keep our kids close to home because it’s safer. We have to arrange play dates and take our kids to trampoline parks so they can get exercise and develop face to face social skills. The internet has allowed us to connect to people from all over the world, but it has made our relationships weaker on the home front.

 

Photo credit: ldodds on Visualhunt /CC BY-NC-ND

Because of technology, our children are moving less, reading less, and losing opportunities to develop valuable social skills.  Parents need to be cognizant of this. Exercise, Reading, and Face to Face Social Interaction are good for our brains and our bodies. We need to help our kids develop good habits that include all three of the above and they need to do it every day.

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I make sure my kids get out on the trampoline at least a couple times a day when we’re home. I also try and get them to read for half an hour a day, and I try and make sure they have opportunities for social interaction. Some days I do a better job than others. Luckily, we do have neighbor kids they play games with outside where they’re getting their vitamin D.  I haven’t taught them the game Kick the Can, yet. But I will. 😉

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How about you? What do you do to make sure your kids are developing healthy habits? Do you have any suggestions for me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!