One thing I think too many of us take for granted is our physical state. We're so busy that we don't worry about taking care of ourselves. I can see why, in a way. With all of our responsibilities, it can seem like self-care is a full time job in itself - and a job we don't have time for. You can't neglect it, though. And I think we all have to learn that lesson the hard way. We don't realize until we're flat on our back sick - or injured - that our health is the foundation of everything.
You know what I mean. You push yourself to the brink until your body can't take it anymore, and one day, you crash. Tell me, how many of you have been knocked out by the flu this winter? Come on, folks. Germs are only so much to blame. You're body can fight off a lot, if you take care of it. The problem is, we don't.
I'm just as guilty as the next person. I don't eat right all of the time. I'm on and off my exercise routine so much that I'm ashamed of myself. And I used to have a bad habit of staying up too late and skimping on sleep while I had novels in progress or during busy times, until the past year, when I realized I simply couldn't function on skipping on sleep anymore. That was one habit I had no choice but to break. In fact, I changed my work schedule late last summer to help in that endeavor. Extra time int he mornings has been the best thing I've done for myself in a long time.
The truth is that the body isn't going to tolerate neglect for too long. It will break down and fail you unless you take proper care of it. That's why it's imperative that you take care of yourself - because frankly, if your body isn't in good shape then you aren't going to be as effective and efficient as you could be. Taking the time to take care of yourself pays off by making the rest of your work and efforts more productive. You work better when you're well rested. You have more energy when you eat right and exercise. You concentrate better when you take time out each day to rest, relax, and spend time doing things you enjoy. All work and no play doesn't only make Jack a dull boy, but it makes him dysfunctional as well. Proper balance means taking care of yourself so you can take care of your responsibilities.
This is something I have to be reminded of from time to time. Rick recently asked me about getting back to my resolution of getting on the treadmill. I got sick with my sinuses recently, and ironically I slipped from that one, already. I reasoned that I might as well work on finalizing my novel since I couldn't exercise, but I got better and, well, finishing the novel was more interesting that the treadmill. And I do feel better when I exercise regularly. I know I need to make it a habit in my life again. I'm working on it, like so many other people are working on making themselves better so they can have a better life.
Yes, it's a struggle, I know. There's so much to do. But don't do it at the expense of yourself. There's just too much at stake, and when it come to mind or body, well, body usually wins. Because if you don't have your health, you don't have anything.
That's all today. Have a great week.
Ok folks, the holidays are over and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks pulled off an outstanding win over Nebraska yesterday. Today was back to reality. Hmm. Can we skip the rest of winter now and go straight to spring?
Didn't think so. Crap.
This is when winter starts to hurt. The excitement of the holidays are over and it's time to get back in our routine that has us out at sunrise and coming back at sunset as we muddle through the cold days of winter. Everything seems bare, dead, and cold. Yes, it's depressing. The trees and decorations are down. No goodies lie around the office to munch on anymore. No more presents will be given or received. And there were no Christmas lights to welcome me home.
Truth is, though, it's not all dead - it's merely resting to put forth that burst of energy that brings vibrancy and life during the other three seasons of the year. The trees and grass are dormant, not dead. Just as I needed the past 11 days off work to keep from getting burned out, so too does nature need to rest in order to bring us life and bounty through the rest of the year.
Truth be told, the season isn't without merit. I usually do my most (and best) writing in the winter. In fact, I wrote the rough drafts of Blurry and Anywhere But Here in January and February, and did major work on Splinter during that same time frame last year. My productivity with my writing seems to be at it's highest during the winter. I guess that makes sense. If everything is dull routine, then that means fewer distractions to pull me away from my computer. A resting world gives my muse time and energy to come alive. And I hope that pattern resumes this winter - considering that I haven't written anything new since November and am itching to create more new work in the new year! (All of the work on my writing has been in the area of publicity and promotion - good, but I miss creating new work too!)
Winter is a good time to catch up on indoor activities that seem to move to the back burner during the busy summer and holiday seasons. It's a great time to read, for example, or take up an art or craft. I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and I used to stitch a good bit in the winter when I wasn't working on novels. Cold days are also good fo DVD marathons of your favorite movie series or TV shows or playing games. I noticed yesterday when I went out that most stores are having some of their best sales of the season, so there are deals to be had on winter clothes. Treadmills and gyms make it possible to exercise indoors to keep you active. And, of course, the Internet is an endless source of information and entertainment to keep you occupied, from joining online groups that focus on an interest or hobby, finding new recipes to try cooking this weekend, or looking up entertainment in books, music, etc from independent artists.
Hmm. Suddenly winter doesn't seem so glum. In fact, it sounds like I could find plenty to do that will make the next two months pass painlessly.
Here's hoping your new year is off to a great start. Take care and I'll see you next time.
Two years ago, I opened my Open Salon blog with an entry on why most New Year's Resolutions fail. In retrospect, I believe I took the wrong angle on the subject. I should have taken a more positive and helpful approach by addressing what makes them work, instead of how they fail. In this final entry in the "Surviving the Holidays With Your Sanity Intact" series, I'd like to discuss this issue. Don't worry - it won't be a lengthy dissertation. In fact, in two years of retrospect and reflection on that entry, I see that there's really one secret to making those resolutions stick.
In order for a New Year's Resolution to work, it has to be something that you believe in. Simple as that.
Ok, maybe it's not so simple. We live in a world full of voices that tell us what we should do, what we ought to be. You should diet and exercise, they say. You should get organized, they say. You should break a bad habit, they say. Good advice, except for one thing: Who are "they?" And what do "they" know about what's truly in your heart?
Perhaps this is harsh. Maybe "they" are concerned friends or family members. Maybe "they" are colleagues or neighbors or acquaintances. Maybe "they" mean nothing but the very best and "they" really and truly believe that these suggestions are for your own good. The problem is that "they" don't live your life every minute of every day. You do, and if you aren't happy with it then you'll only be able to force yourself to do something to make others happy for so long before you crack.
Don't get me wrong. It is helpful to be held accountable, but the fact of the matter is that people aren't going to be there every minute of every day to hold you up. Nobody is going to follow you around to make sure you get on the treadmill, or avoid the vending machine, or tidy up before you leave today. There's no substitute for self discipline and you're only going to have it if your resolution is something that is meaningful to you on a deep, personal level.
That's not to say that the common resolutions are wrong - just that you need to make sure you have a reason that is meaningful to you. Start the diet and/or exercise program to get in better health. Clean up to feed a personal need to get more organized and efficient in your life. Take that class in something that your passionate about. Write that novel because it's a story that you feel passionate about sharing with the world. Volunteer with that committee or group because it's a cause you believe in. You alone are the only one that knows what speaks to you, and I urge you to search within to find out what you truly long for in your life when making those New Year's Resolutions.
Thanks for joining me for another blog series! I hope this has been inspirational and helpful. 2012 promises to be another exciting year with my next novel, Anywhere But Here, scheduled for publication in 2012. I plan to take you through the journey to publication when it goes into pre-production in the coming weeks. I will also continue to work on publicity for my novels and will tackle another type of writing that I have long needed to improve in: Short stories. Stay tuned!
Happy New Year everybody!
I can't believe it: I twisted my ankle on the treadmill again. The last time I did this was almost 2 years ago, and I wound out with a sprain. Darn if it isn't the same ankle, in the same place, again.
I must either be clumsy, a special kind of idiot, or a little bit of both!But on the bright side, at least it's not the wrist. I got tendinitis in my right wrist a year ago. The sprained ankle hurt more, but the tendinitis in the arm was a lot more inconveient. Between my day job in professional licensing and my writing, I type a lot. That arm injury put me to a lot more trouble than dragging around a bum ankle did.
Ok, truth is that any injury is inconvenient. I guess the wrist injury just threatened me more psychologically because so much of my life depends on typing. Anyway, I'll pray it's not sprained and will heal quickly and make do until it quits pinching/aching.
In other news, I typically do my big, super duper season finale round up in my blog this time each year, but this year it won't be so big because, well, I didn't watch much TV. I guess between the mind-blowing changes of a new jobs and the in-laws moving, writing a novel, researching publishing and then promotion once I got the contract for Anywhere But Here, and Rick working on the church website, we just didn't tune it to much this season. In fact, all we really watched were our normal shows: Smallville and Supernatural. So here goes with my take on those shows:
Smallville - the final season was a good one, although I feel they really should have played up the Justice Society a lot more than they did. Still, they squeezed a lot in, and there's no denying that the finale was epic. I'd go so far to say that's the best finale I've ever seen - so well done. This show had it's ups and downs over it's 10 year run, but overall I say well done. I'm going to miss it.
Supernatural - not as good as the previous 5 years. I can't say I was overly enthusiastic about the turn they took towards creatures this season. It would seem to me that averting the Apocolypse would have bigger ramifications on the sides of angels and demons than we saw. Indeed, they built up to that late in the season, but I believe that's a story line they could have played all season, if they wanted. I also can't help but wonder if they couldn't have done more with the whole purgatory thing. I knew all along that the wall in Sam's head would come crashing down, but they did surprise me in how it happened, and that finale did not end the way I expected at all. So overall I was not as impressed with this season, but I do see potential for development next season. I would say to them to use it wisely.
Now I ask the question I ask every year this time: What am I going to do now that everything is in reruns for the summer? I should be hearing from my publisher on Anywhere But Here in the next month, so I expect that ball will be rolling this summer. More reading, of course, and more researching on improving my writing and promoting it. Hopefully this writer's block will life and I'll be able to get back to writing short stories like I planned this summer. And, of course, we have Netflix - so between that and a summer of super hero movies, I imagine I will be well entertained in the coming months (if Thor is any indication, amazing stories and special effects will rule this summer!). I don't believe there's any chance of me being bored during this long, hot summer - which, by the way, has already started. It was 97 degrees today. No joke! And forecast to be more of the same through mid week. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, summer has hit the Southeast U.S. whether we're ready or not!
That's all for this time. I hope you have a great week and will try to check in again soon. Take care and stay cool!