Relax and Refocus

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I sometimes get stuck in the middle of the day. My mind starts listing out any number of things I need to complete by six o’clock. This can lead to a near panic attack, I kid you not.

I always intend to go to an exercise class at the local gym at 12:30, but rarely take time for it because I’m too busy…you know, all those things I need to get done by six…

Yesterday, however, I unchained myself from my computer. I yanked on my tennis shoes and headed for the car. I arrived at the gym at 12:20 and perused the class listings for 12:30. (Yes, I knew there would be a class. But, no, I hadn’t a clue if it would be aerobics, muscle, or stretching.) It turned out to be Beginning Yoga.

How hard could that be?

Not hard at all, as it turned out. But, I was in for a few surprises.

The exercise room was dark, except for little battery-operated candles that were scattered on the floor throughout the space. Soft music played over the speakers. 

I stumbled to an empty spot near the back. I soon realized I couldn’t see the instructor from that location, so I moved to the front row.

Her soothing voice and the soft melodies soon pushed my myriad thoughts aside, as I focused on my breathing and sense of well-being.

Tranquility in the middle of a busy day! 

Stress that I carry in my neck and shoulders all but disappeared. My face relaxed. 

If there had been a bed nearby, I could have crawled into it and napped the rest of the afternoon.

Back at home, I grabbed a glass of iced tea and headed toward my office. My head was now clear of the “clutter” and I was able to complete four hours of more creative and productive work than I could recall doing in weeks.

OK. So, you’ve tried yoga and it’s just not your thing. I get it. Try going for a stroll, riding a bike ride, enjoying a massage, taking a drive up to the lake…

The point is: take a break.

Unchain yourself from your computer.

Relax and Refocus.

I’m betting you’ll find yourself doing the best work you’ve produced in a long, long time.

And, remember:  close it down at six o’clock.

 

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The Value in S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G

If you are given to exercise, you know that the experts say we need to s-t-r-e-t-c-h our muscles before we begin. Lately, they have said that s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g after exercise is just as important. It helps us exercise more effectively and reduces exercise-related injuries.

I have found that sitting for hours in front of the computer writing, also requires that I get up and            s-t-r-e-t-c-h, periodically. If I don’t, my back, neck, and shoulders suffer.

I’ve also found it necessary to s-t-r-e-t-c-h while I write:

I strive to hone my writing skills by requiring more of myself each time I turn on my computer.

I s-t-r-e-t-c-h to become more creative.

I s-t-r-e-t-c-h to use more vivid descriptors. .

I s-t-r-e-t-c-h to write in more depth.

I s-t-r-e-t-c-h to achieve more excitement.

I strive to tighten it up…to build it up.

S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g  while we write helps us write more effectively…say what we want to say in the way we want to say it.

If we don’t, our writing suffers.  We continue to write as we always have and our writing doesn’t improve.

S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g may mean that we change our style, improve our word choice, or try different techniques we’ve learned in workshops. But, what ever we choose to focus on, it increases our skills.

It we commit to s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, each sentence will be better than the last, each book will be an improvement, and we’ll be one step closer to writing that next best-seller.

I”ve Gained Weight on a Steady Diet of Writing

I have come to the conclusion that writing and dieting definitely do not mix.  If you have been writing for any length of time, you may have found this to also be true in your own life. If you have an answer for this problem, please let me know—seriously.

First of all, I find that when I am heavy into writing—especially when writing something that is very exciting—I find it difficult to get adequate sleep. I’ve tried 1) staying up late so that I am very, very tired when I lay down  2) stopping writing at least an hour before I go to bed so that I don’t have my story on my mind.

Both of those help…sometimes.

I also find that I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about my characters, and cannot get back to sleep. I give it a half hour. If I don’t fall asleep, I just go ahead and get up. What’s the use in tossing and turning for the rest of the night?

What does sleep have to do with weight control? The latest research says that getting a good night’s rest helps with weight loss. The reverse is also true. Not enough sleep results in weight gain.

Secondly, writing—again, this is especially true of writing something exciting—causes me to snack. The faster I type, the faster I shovel it in. The more suspenseful the writing, the more I am likely to go for something small and easy to pop into my mouth. My favorites are popcorn and nuts.

Finally, writing is a sedentary activity. We writers need to get up and move around every hour or so to clear our brains, stretch our muscles, and burn a few calories (especially if we have a snacking problem to counteract).

I belong to an exercise group which meets, daily. I feel successful if I get myself there twice a week. Because it meets at the beginning of the day, I often find myself skipping it and going directly to my writing, thinking that it is wasting precious time, when I know, in fact, that it is good for both my body and brain.

I guess I will never write a cookbook. I can just imagine what might happen to my weight if I focused on yummy recipes all day long!

Brenda