Have you read Jennifer’s post yesterday about Christie Craig being sued by the Texas Department of Transportation? If you haven’t, scroll down and take a look- an amazing waste of tax dollars when you consider what they could be focusing on in this state. I want to talk about the stress I’ve watched my friend, Christie, being put under while this has been happening.
It’s weighed heavily on my mind. Couple that with going to two funerals recently and turning 50 and you have the perfect moment when you have to say, “Whoa, I need to take a step off this crazy go round and take a breather!”
Life comes at us faster than a speeding bullet. Sometimes we get hit point blank by events and it’s difficult to re-group. Of course, being creative, we also ask ourselves to write amazing things while dodging the bullets flying around us.
Are we crazy, or what?
Stress, age, and inactivity will take a heavy toll on us before we know it. Guess what! I’m at the point where I know it. Crap.
While I’ve been taking a breather from life and contemplating me and my body…. A scary thing to do. I’ve noticed a pattern in my life. I would also hazard a guess that I’m not unique- I bet many of you have this same pattern, or one similar.
It seems that with each major upheaval in my life, I get fat. There! I said it out loud. Whew, that was harder than I thought.
What does this have to do with writing? A whole helluva a lot. If you can’t sit down at your computer with a clear mind and a body that’s reasonably healthy, writing will be difficult at best! Non-existent for many of us.
When I had my daughter, I experienced a severe case of postpartum depression. It lasted for about 13 months and I was completely disabled for the first 4 months of her life. My wonderful mother stepped in and helped me make it through, along with my amazing husband. All I could do was cry and eat. Bounced back from that and started working out again. Back to normal and healthy.
Next came the birth of my son. I couldn’t fall apart this time because I had my daughter to take care of. So, I left out the crying part, but took the eating to new heights! You’d be amazed how good a peanut butter sandwich feels when you’re stressed and sad. When my British friend asked me if I was alright because I had gone all square, I knew I had to come back to myself. Walking, eating fruits and veggies and deciding I could write a book helped me get happy and healthy once again.
Fast forward 13 years. My mother is slowly dying from COPD. Cigarettes destroyed her heart and her lungs. It’s not a pretty way to die…and did I mention it’s slow? Needless to say, the writing was sporadic and peanut butter became my ultimate best friend again! There you go folks, stress, inactivity and eating. It will kill your writing and eventually take its toll on your health.
So what do we do? Do you remember my article on the Pomodoro method of organizing your time? I still think it’s a wonderful way to be productive. What do you do on your breaks? Most of us would choose to relax somewhere. Fight that urge! Get up and move. Eat some fresh fruit- forget the peanut butter- stretch, or walk.
My mom’s been gone a year now and it’s time for me to take back my life. My writing is coming again- using tricks like the Pomodoro and leaning on my critique partners and friends for accountability has helped tremendously. I’m also on a great adventure to lose the 30 plus pounds I put on.
I bought a pedometer. Talk about accountability! Sheesh.
Every time I’m on a break, I walk. Even if it’s standing in one spot. My goal is to make 10,000 steps each day. I feel better, don’t have that sore ache at the back of my legs from sitting, am writing clearer and with more emotion (Food is a drug.), and have lost 7lbs in two weeks. I’m not doing anything difficult. Walking and making better food choices- that’s it.
Writers have many health issues associated with this passion. Our backs, necks, and hips all suffer from long periods of sitting. I don’t even want to get into the possibility of thrombosis! Take care of yourselves and the writing will improve. You will improve. Your life will improve.
You have the power.