About Me · Balance · Observations · Positivity

Tips for When You’re “Under the Weather”

We all have days when we feel just plain icky. Sometimes, we’ve caught some nasty bug. Sometimes, we are experiencing the lovely side effects of allergies. Sometimes, our bodies are just tired and burnt out. All of these qualify as being “under the weather”. It happens and it’s okay. Despite feeling like all you want to do is crawl back into bed for twelve ours, you can still have a productive and positive day. Here are some tips for when you’re feeling sick, but you still have to get things accomplished.

1) Take a day off IF you must: If you are running a high fever or are experiencing intense fatigue due to your sickness, take a day off. It is better to take a day off from work than to persist and get sicker because you didn’t rest. Don’t feel guilty. It’s okay. Rest is a good thing.

2) If you can’t take a day off, try to work on low-power mode: This sounds like we’re a bunch of robots, but we humans can work on low-power mode, too! If you have to go to work, be kinder on yourself. Don’t freak out if you’re walking or typing a little slower. Take things at a more leisurely pace. Don’t rush yourself. Once you get home, take a nap or go to bed really early. Rest is ultra-important when you’re not feeling well.

3) Drink hot teas: Tea is one of the most calming and beneficial drinks you can have. Most teas (unsweetened and hot) can be helpful in alleviating sinus problems, congestion, and fatigue. A cup of tea is a gift to yourself. You’d be surprised how much better you’ll feel after a good cup of green tea!

4) Give yourself permission to laze about and chill: Most of us feel guilty when we indulge in leisurely activities. This is utter nonsense, but most humans I know are workaholics anyway. If you’re feeling a bit low, go ahead and watch a TV show. Read a book. Play a video game. It’s OKAY. We all have days where we just need to check out from reality for a bit and enjoy a fantastical escape. It is healthy. Do it.

5) Engage in positive talk and thinking: I don’t know about you, but when I’m not feeling well, I tend to get a bit depressed.  This isn’t a conscious thing on my part, it just is. I always feel a bit somber, tired, and low when I’m ill. So, it is extra important for me to be positive about myself, my life, and my relationships. I also have to be sure I’m engaging in positive talk to othersIt is easy to let our deflated mood affect those around us. Don’t let it. Bring yourself up and be positive when you’re under the weather. 

 

I hope these tips encouraged you if you’re feeling unwell today! Get better!

 

~L.M.

Balance · Writing

Writing and Wellness

Are the two related?

Answer: absolutely! How can we expect our brains to consistently produce creative and interesting writing ideas if our bodies aren’t prepared to supply us with energy and focus? We can’t, to put it simply. In order to be the absolute best writers (and people) that we can possible be, we must practice the art of wellness and self-care.

What exactly does “wellness” consist of?

Merriam Webster defines wellness as “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal”. Hear that? Wellness is not just a state of being, but a goal! It is a goal we should all be striving for. But what does wellness entail? What sorts of pursuits contribute to your overall wellness? It isn’t just physical wellness and health we’re talking about here. Being physically healthy will certainly affect our writing for the positive, but there’s more to it. To practice wellness, you must take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually! If you are constantly working towards balance in your life and wellness in these areas, it is my fervent belief that your writing will be better for it. As well, your daily life will significantly improve.

How can we tackle each aspect of wellness?

1) Physical Wellness

When I was 18, I started paying extra attention to my diet and exercise habits. At the time, I was on a very strict diet given by a doctor that included eliminating several food groups. After a year on this diet, I got underweight and had to start the long road of trying to gain weight the healthy way. Ever tried that? It’s harder than you think. Fast forward to the next three years or so. I somehow found a balance in my strange diet that my doctor approved. I maintained a healthy weight during this time, walked a lot, and started my martial arts training and yoga practices. Then, I got married. As most people know, when you get married, you get happy, and you EAT. So, I made it to the highest weight of my life–which , thankfully, is not obese or even overweight, but it is more than I would like it to be. At the same time, I began to have trouble with that balance of physical health in my life. How have I started changing my habits for the better? Through several practices:

>>Lose It!: This is a very helpful food journaling app that can keep track of your calorie consumption, exercises, and weight loss over time. It was recommended to me by the lovely Savannah of Maiedae. I have chosen to opt out of the account-based set-up where you can interact with friends and the community. I do much better when I am single-focused and not distracted by those elements. However, if that works for you, go for it! As well, there are lots of other really great food logging applications and websites out there! Check ’em out!

>>Reserving Sweets and Junky Treats for “S” days: I came across the No S Diet some years ago. While I don’t always stick to this perfectly, I really like reserving my sweets and junky treats for S days (which are Saturday, Sunday, or “special” days). It helps me to practice moderation and limit my sugar consumption by a huge margin. Also, I am trying to limit myself to two S treats per week. For some of us, sugary and salty treats are a major stumbling block. Limiting your access to them is a VERY smart idea. It allows you to enjoy them occasionally, but it takes them out of your normal life.

>>Finding exercises I can commit to and practice for life: I hate going to the gym. H.A.T.E. it. So I don’t go. BUT! I still try to exercise 4-5 times a week. How can you exercise without a gym? Plenty of ways. I discovered an intense passion for yoga and martial arts in college. Currently, I train two nights a week in Taekwondo and Hapkido (I do them both each night). As well, I am *really* trying to make an effort to wake up and do yoga in the mornings. I adore both of these types of exercise and would do them anyway, even if they weren’t good for me. They are fun, relaxing, and help me to learn valuable skills. I also love to walk and hike, and I try to do one of those once a week. Find exercises that you ADORE and would do even if they weren’t considered exercise. If you love to rock climb, go rock climbing! If you love to dance, go dance! Find what makes you happy in exercise and stick with it!

>>Have personal goals: Exercise and eating healthy requires motivation. It is difficult. It would be nice if being physically fit were easy and required little attention, but it doesn’t. Our bodies were designed to run on good, clean fuel, and to move around a lot! Don’t want to commit to a designated diet or program? No problem, but make goals for yourself. For instance, my exercise goals include: develop a daily yoga practice, and become a black belt in both Hapkido and Taekwondo. These goals won’t be over once I achieve them. I have to stick with them for life in order for them to be worthwhile. With food, instead of sticking to one diet or program, I make it a goal to include more fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein into my diet. I make it a goal to avoid sugar. Goals are not dreams. You have to work at them. Dreams are often not turned into goals and then are not achieved. If you turn your dreams into goals, they become realizable!

2) Emotional Wellness

Many of us can be very negative about ourselves–whether it be towards our abilities or self-image. That simply won’t work–especially if you intend to be a successful writer. In order to be successful in the writing world, you MUST believe in yourself enough to push yourself to greater things! You are worth the chance. You are worthy of love and respect. You are beautiful. Even if you think it is utter nonsense, start speaking these living phrases to yourself. You’d be surprised how much it can lift your mood. As a religious person, I find my strength in key Scripture passages or remembering to “speak life” about myself. If I am constantly negative about myself and my skills, I am setting myself up for failure. If I start believing good things will happen to me and start believing I can work towards them, my outlook will change–and so will my circumstances! Try writing down inspirational or positive affirmations and putting them around your desk where you work. I keep certain phrases on my desk that help me to think positively about life. Writing is hard. Trying to become an author is difficult. You have enough challenges. Don’t  be your own stumbling block. Be your own best friend and support! You know yourself better than anyone and it is up to you to feed yourself good, positive messages.

3) Mental Wellness

As we grow older, our brains don’t make connections or learn new things as easily as they did when we were children. In order to stay creative and healthy, we have to engage our minds in meaningful activities. This can be accomplished by developing hobbies like knitting, crocheting, or other crafts that require intricate patterns and small motor movements. As well, for the video gamers out there, games with lots of puzzles, defense strategies, or mysteries to solve can be extremely helpful in developing your decision-making skills and hand-eye coordination. Don’t care for games or crafts? Pick up Sudoku or word searches. Do SOMETHING that keeps your mind active. Also, probably the best benefits can come from READING. Reading is excellent for your brain. Pick up a book and get going!

4) Spiritual Wellness

As a Christian, spiritual wellness is top priority for me. Since I was twelve, I have participated in a daily devotional quiet time with God. This practice has honestly shaped much of my life and continues to bring me peace, comfort, and joy. Your spirit must be fed just like any other aspect of your wellness. Find time to be alone during part of the day. Pray. Meditate. Find comfort in finding time alone, spent in reading meaningful Scriptures, or books that edify your own personal journey. I, myself, love to recite the liturgies from Celtic Daily Prayer, read verses, and books that discuss spiritual growth or theology. If you don’t have a personal walk with the Lord or are of another religion, spiritual health is STILL extremely important. Start trying to think about your own spirituality to help you balance yourself. Spiritual health centers the rest of our life. It MUST be given priority.

What can it do for our writing?

If you bring those 4 areas of wellness into balance and consistently work on each of them every day, I think you’d be surprised by a surge of creative juices in your work. If our inner selves are healthy and well, our work, as an extension of ourselves, will greatly benefit. For writers, this might mean you are able to write more words each day or are better able to plan ahead for later scenes. You might even come up with your next few novel ideas! Whatever the benefits happen to be, I assure you they will come if you can bring the rest of your life into focus. Your are important. Self-care can sometimes feel like selfishness, but it isn’t. If you can take time to care for yourself properly in the four areas listed above, you will become a better person. You will be more fun to be around and you will be more productive and potentially successful. Give this whole wellness thing a shot! You may be surprised how much self-care can change your life and your perspective!

Action Plans

Don’t have a good, clear idea about what to do next? Take each item of wellness under introspective consideration. Sit and think about what you do in each of those areas already, what you would like to be doing, and jot down some ideas about how you could go about getting started. Look for local resources in your town. Maybe find a personal trainer, nutritionist, counselor, or wellness buddy! You don’t have to be alone in your journey unless that helps you to be more successful (and for some people, it might!) Find the time to care for yourself. If you are going to be a best-selling author, you must have the confidence, security, and self-love to believe you can do it!

I hope this post on writing and its connection with wellness was helpful to you! If you have any other great ideas on how to practice self-care, please share them below! We are all in this life thing together! Let’s support and encourage one another!

Thanks for stopping by!

~L.M.

Writing

Protecting Your Eyes


Since I’ve started working from home full-time, I spend most of my work-day sitting in front of a computer screen. Most of you are probably used to this, but I am not quite adjusted yet. One thing I am struggling with is eye-strain. I have the unfortunate disadvantage of having horrible vision + astigmatism (bad astigmatism). I wear glasses, of course, but my prescription could probably stand to be updated soon. Because of this, my eyes are already jacked up. On top of it, my eyes are getting tired more frequently and they feel dry a lot. Sometimes I get headaches. I’ll bet some of you experience this, as well, and I decided to do a post dedicated to protecting your eyes while writing.

You can Google this yourself, of course, but I’m going to sum up some of the best tips I’ve found out there:

1. Let your eyes take a break. I’ve read that it is good to look away from your computer screen every now and then. Suggestions differ on the time to do this, but most agree that you should focus your eyes on one object that is far away from you for about 10-30 seconds.

2. Eye exercises can help. Yep. That’s right: you can exercise your eyes! Move your eyes away from your computer screen and move them around in lots of clockwise and counterclockwise circles. Also, practice the focusing trick mentioned in number 1.

3. Blink a lot. Blinking helps your eyes to secrete tears and fluids to keep your eyes hydrated.

4. If you wear contacts, maybe consider transitioning to glasses during computer time. Contacts increase the chance of your eyes drying out. Also, many people experience irritation when wearing contact lenses.

5. Use the amount of light in the room that makes your eyes feel comfortable. Most people agree that it is good to have extra light around when you’re staring at a computer screen for hours. I am TERRIBLE at this tip. I like writing in a dim room, but I suppose I’ll have to start turning on lamps or something!

6. Limit TV and computer time outside of writing hours. Because your eyes have just been staring at a screen for six-eight hours, give them a break when you have some leisure time. Read a book. Go for a walk. Play a game with your spouse or children. Just take a couple hours electronic- screen-free in order to let your eyes rest.

7. Get regular eye appointments with your vision doctor. Eye appointments are extremely important–especially for those of us who work at computers all day. My vision consistently needs an updated prescription and yours might as well.

8. Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water! This one is good not only for your eyes, but for every other part of you, too!

 

I hope these 8 tips helped give you some ideas for taking good care of your eyes! I wish you all an eye-strain-free day and a happy weekend!

 

Thanks for stopping by,

 

L.M.