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:

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

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.

Photo on Visual Hunt

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!

 

 

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Posted in Health

The Benefits of Forest-Bathing

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. We went on a quick vacation to Tahquamenon Falls and had a good time. We hiked along the river and got some great pictures. I love getting out into nature, it’s so calming and good for you, too! Experts are calling it Forest bathing.

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I mentioned it last week in a post and I thought I’d dig a little deeper. Forest bathing originated in Japan where it is called Shinrin-Yoku. Why is walking through a forest beneficial for us?

That is a very good question. The reason traipsing through the woods is good for us is because we inhale phytoncides when we breathe in the forest. These are antimicrobial volatile compounds derived from trees.

 

Photo via Visual Hunt

These phytoncides are released by the trees and plants 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 enhanced the anti-cancer proteins production.  Now that is good news.

To put this in layman’s terms, breathing in phytoncides enhances our own natural defenses.  I think this is incredible. It supports the theory that we’re all connected, with each other, and with nature. Wouldn’t you agree?

Not only is forest bathing physically healthy it’s also psychologically good for us, too. It has been found to be advantageous to people who are dealing with chronic stress. I can attest to the stress-relieving benefits of walking through nature, but now I have scientific proof. Yay Me! For more info about this, check out this post from Huffington Post.

Huffington Post

It’s important in our hustle and bustle world that we teach our kids how to take care of themselves, and one of the things we need to teach them is how to decompress. Not only is forest bathing a great way to relieve stress, it’s a great way to reconnect with your family. It’s important to reconnect with our loved ones. It’s vital to everyone’s psychological health.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

So get out into the forest and get moving! It’s good for your body and your soul. Thanks for stopping by, I’d love to hear your thoughts on forest bathing so leave a comment. Or maybe you have other stress relieving habits you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Health

Is Processed Food Poisoning Us?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the food we eat. I just watched a documentary titled, “What the Health.” It was eye-opening to say the least. To check out the documentary click the link below.

What the Health 

In this show, the producers claim it is the meat we eat that’s causing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. They feel the public has been misinformed by all the health organizations who encourage us to eat meat. Their spin on the whole thing is these organizations accept donations from the meat industry and therefore, act as advertisers for it.

Photo via Visualhunt.com

I watched the documentary in its entirety and it did make me question whether or not their claims could be true. There were people interviewed on the show that were taking all kinds of medications for diabetes and heart disease and after two weeks of eating a plant based diet they were either off all medications or on their way there. They interviewed doctors who all claim that meat is the cause of many of our society’s sicknesses.  The popular theory is that all the pesticides and preservatives in our meat are causing these life changing illnesses.

The way our food is processed has come under attack before. In the documentary, “Fed Up,” it illustrated how sugar is added to our processed foods, like canned tomatoes and other vegetables (See the link to the trailer below).  It’s added to our soda and cereals as well.Now sugar is just empty calories, so if we’re adding empty calories to our diet, what happens? We store those calories as fat and now that we’re a more sedentary society, we don’t burn off those extra calories. Where does that lead us? Obesity. What happens when we’re overweight? We’re at a high risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Trailer for “Fed Up”

 

Photo via Visualhunt

 

We are literally poisoning ourselves with the food we eat. How sad is that? So what’s the answer? Well according to the producers of “What the Health,” we need to eat a plant-based diet. But where will we get our protein you ask? From nuts and beans.

 

I’m going to try and eat a more plant-based diet and see how I feel. How about you? Do you feel the way our food is processed is making us sick? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

**** On a side note, there were some conflicting claims between the two documentaries so keep that in mind if you watch them. 🙂

Posted in Health, Personal

Self Compassion Goals for 2017

 

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you had a joyous and happy holiday season. I’m looking forward to 2017, I’ve got some lofty goals that I hope come to fruition. So cross your fingers for me!

Photo credit: James Marvin Phelps via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

This new year I’m participating in a Self-Compassion Group and I’m excited about it because I feel it will remind me to take better care of myself. Each member posts one thing that they did that day to take care of themselves.  It’s not my idea, it’s a friend of mine’s but it’s an awesome one and I’m grateful that she’s sharing this adventure with me.

Photo credit: Mary Brack ~ www.foundonbrighton.com via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

I think a lot of people get wrapped up in their tasks for their kids, spouse, and job, they put themselves last. I know I do it and that’s when I get burned out. So I’ve joined this group to remind myself to do a self-care task every day. It doesn’t have to be big. It could be something as simple as meditating or reading a book.

 

I feel if I do this. I’ll actually be more productive and my relationships will be better.  I thought I’d share some of my self-care tasks with all of you and maybe it will motivate you to take better care of yourselves, too. I thought the first day of 2017 would be a great time to start this.

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The Meme Above explains the Philosophy behind the Self Compassion Group.

 

Self-Care Tasks:

  1. I’m going to read more in 2017 and write more. Writing and reading are great stress relievers for me. 🙂
  1. More bubble baths. There’s nothing more soothing than a bubble bath with candles and soft music.
  1. More exercise. More running. This is a big one. I’ve been working hard on getting my sciatica under control and I’ve seen a big improvement. So I’m going to increase my activity and get back into shape.
  1. More walks in nature. It’s so soothing and calms my anxiety.
  1. I’m going to eat more fruit and vegetables. I need to stop eating so much sugar. I feel this will help me manage my weight and who knows, maybe I’ll even lose a pound or two. 😉
  2. I’m going to paint with a group of friends once a month just for fun. I find connecting with them over a fun activity is healing for me.

Photo credit: Tadie88 via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

So there you have it. Some of the self-compassion tasks I’ll be practicing at least once a day. I’m sure I’ll come up with more ideas from the other members as we share them. How about you? Do you have any ideas? I’d love to read them. Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Health, Uncategorized

Is our Food Industry Making Us Fat?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I have to apologize, I’ve been missing in action this last week. I’ve started a new job (in the library at the high school) and my kids have gone back to school, so life’s been a little hectic. However, as soon as we get into a routine, we’ll be good. I’m excited about the job. It should be fun, but it will take me away from my writing. Sob. Don’t worry. I plan to still write. I’m just not going to be able to devote as much time to it. However, it’s all good because I’ll be working with teens on a daily basis. I’m hoping it’ll help me create more authentic characters.

Photo credit: dhendrix73 via Visualhunt / CC BY-ND

Because my hours at the school occur during the lunch hour, I take my mid-day meal to school. I started out with sandwiches and by the first week I was already tired of them. I made egg salad and peanut butter and jelly. I’m sure I could make a more sophisticated sandwich, but who has the time? Certainly not me.

 Photo credit: Sakurako Kitsa via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

I’m also trying to watch my calories, so I’ve been buying these frozen meals for my lunch. At the grocery store, I’d check the total number of calories on the box and I was happy to find that many of them were within the three hundred to four hundred calorie range. So I bought them, thinking I’ll have this tasty lunch and be good to go. Wrong. So wrong.

Oh the meals were tasty all right. BUT they weren’t between the three hundred and four hundred calorie range.  What I’d forgotten about in my years back at home with my kids is, you also have to check the number of servings per package. This is what gets you every time. UGH!

It was glorious, this huge serving and only three hundred and fifty calories. I couldn’t believe it. Well. It wasn’t true. There are two servings per package. So I’m actually eating seven hundred calories. ARRGH!

How can you cook only half of a frozen dinner? So, I’ll be throwing half of it away or eating it, depending on how hungry I am.

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I believe this is another contributing factor to our obesity problem. Not only is our food filled with added sugar, we’re eating double portion sizes and not even realizing it. I mean really, how many people would think there are two servings in one package? For all intents and purposes, it appears to be a single serving. They don’t label the front of the package saying two servings for the price of one, do they? NOOOO.

Photo credit: colros via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

I feel this is misleading and I wonder why the food industry doesn’t label the front of the package. They also add sugar, and we all know that sugar is like cocaine to our brain. To read more about this click this link. Is our Food Industry Making us Sick?

I smell a conspiracy.  Don’t you? What do you think the food industry should do about this situation? Leave me a comment! I love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Writing

Why Writers Need to Exercise

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m kind of stuck on my WIP. I’ve got to rework a beginning and I’ve got two that I’ve somehow got to blend together.  I’m having a little trouble doing that. Sigh. So instead, I’m writing a blog post.  I know it’s avoidance at its finest. Don’t judge me.

Today, I’m writing about the benefits of exercise for writers. Writing is such a sedentary activity and it’s great for our brain, but not so good for us physically.

We all know exercise is good for our body, but did you know it’s also good for your brain?

Photo credit: A Health Blog via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

 It’s true. In a study done at the University of Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. To read more on this click the link. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

Exercise also helps the brain with memory and thinking. It does this by reducing inflammation, insulin resistance, and by stimulating growth factors. Chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells.

This is all well and good, but all I really need to know is I feel better when I exercise compared to when I don’t.

My sciatica was bothering me for the last couple of months, so I stopped my exercise routine to let it heal. Let me tell you, I was grumpy and just didn’t feel like myself.

I just started running again and two days into my new routine and I’m feeling great. My mood has improved dramatically, and I’m getting all kinds of ideas for my stories. That’s a good thing! 🙂

The reason we feel better when we exercise is because our body releases chemicals called Endorphins into our system. These Endorphins interact with receptors in our brain that reduce our perception of pain. They also trigger a positive feeling in the body, much like morphine.

Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood. These chemicals also play a role in combating depression. To find out more clink this link healthline.com

This is good for anyone who has to deal with depression, and I know a few authors who have to deal with that.

 

Photo via VisualHunt

Taking care of our bodies is really quite simple. I know what you’re thinking. Simple, yes, but hard to do, and time consuming. I know. I hear you. But once you make it a habit, then it’s not so bad. You can build your daily schedule around your exercise routine.

One thing that goes hand in hand with exercise, is eating right. I know you’ve heard this before, but I’m an author. I know how easy it is to get lost in your Work in Process and if you’re like me, you don’t always eat right. I no longer keep a bowl of chocolate by my computer when I’m working. I make myself take breaks and fix healthy meals. Sometimes, it’s hard to do, but it’s better in the long run.

Photo credit: vitamina.verde via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

 

So, writers, authors, and bloggers take time out to exercise and eat right. Get out of that chair! It’s good for your body and your brain. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? Do you have any exercise routines you’d like to share?

 

Posted in Personal, Slice of LIfe

Do Blondes have more fun? A Slice of Life Post

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life Post. Today, I’m discussing the question, do blondes have more fun?

Now, I can do a survey and ask a random sample of blonde women whether they agree with that age-old theory or I can tell you about my experience as a blonde versus my experience as a brunette.

I bet you’re wondering how I can do this objectively. Well I’ll tell you. You see before I went through chemo. I was blonde. I had some chemical help too, but that’s beside the point. 🙂

Anyway, then I started chemo and I lost my hair. It all fell out. I was bald. This was quite a shock for me, but my family took it in stride. So I bought a wig and I was fortunate enough to find one that matched my former blonde locks to a reasonable degree.

I finished chemo and to tell you the truth when I was going through it, it seemed like it would never end. Now that I’m done, and I’ve been done for about a year, it seems like it happened a lifetime ago. Isn’t the human mind a wonderful thing? It can take some horrific event and make it seem faraway and small.

Well, when I finished chemo, I started to recover and my hair started growing back, but it came back very dark, almost black.  It’s still in the process of growing in, but it’s long enough so that I can style it a little now.

Because of this experience I feel that I’m qualified to answer the question: Do blondes have more fun?  After all, I’ve been a blonde and I’ve been a brunette.

And the answer is: It doesn’t matter if you’re blonde or brunette. The people who have the most fun are the healthy ones. Take care of your health and you’ll truly have wealth.

This image courtesy of all thefreestock.com 

http://allthefreestock.com/

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Leave a comment and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from you.

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Slice of Life