“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Marilyn Monroe
Last week, I wrote about good manners were killing good writing. This week I’d like to look at the fact that our shared profession/passion is killing us! I know that sounds draconian, but unfortunately it’s true.
Each year I try to find an area to improve myself and this year has been devoted to taking my life back. After several difficult years, I felt like I had lost myself to the sorrow, frustration, and the sheer overwhelming enormity of daily trials. I lost my way in remembering how lovely my life truly is. So this was it. This was my year.
I knew I was in trouble when I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror. Einstein didn’t need to tell me that my coping drug of choice had been food. The results were there in graphic detail. I also found my feet swelling. I was tired most of the time and the blues were never far away. All of my academia told me that the core of my bloated self was a feeling of loss of control. What could I do to get it back?
Did you know: 1.The average person sits for 9 hours a day.
2.This is detrimental even if you exercise consistently.
3.Women who sit for more than 6 hours a day have a 37% higher risk for early death than those who sit less. (Regardless of how often they exercise.)
4.Getting cozy in the chair causes the electrical activity in your legs to drop dramatically.
5.Calorie burn drops to one per minute.
6.Enzymes that help dissolve fat drops 90%.
7.After 2hrs. good cholesterol drops 20%, insulin resistance drops 24% and risk of diabetes rises.
8.Lean people sit, on average, 150 minutes less than obese people. This adds up to an extra 350 calories burned in a day.
Ok. That was shocking to me. I had no idea what I was doing to my body or my psyche. (There have been several studies linking depression to inactivity.) I was also shocked by the average number of hours spent in a chair. I equated being tired at the end of the day with being active….uhhhh, no.
After getting over another wave of depression because I read those (#$*&#) facts, I got started. I have to tell you that I hate exercising- always have, always will. I started with subtle, easy to manage changes. For instance, when I’m at the computer, I now set an alarm every hour. When it dings, I get up and do stretching exercises, drink a glass of water and try to walk around for a few minutes. I fold a load of laundry, make my bed etc. A side benefit is I’m far more productive around the house as well. If you are at work, try seeing what you can do in 5 minutes.
My whole life has been spent figuring out ways to be more efficient. I’ve had to unlearn that. Instead of placing a pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs and making the jaunt up once a day, I now walk up anytime I have an item. I make multiple trips from the car to the kitchen with grocery bags instead of pretending I’m a pack mule and taking everything at once. I wear a pedometer and make sure I get in 12,000 steps a day. (Don’t faint, it’s easier than it sounds.)
I’ve learned that while I’m in the chair mulling over plot points, I can be active. My favorite movement is called chair lifts- place your hands down on the seat and lift your butt off the chair. Do 3 sets of 10 or so to build upper body strength and figure out what your hero should be doing! I also do navel squeezes which consists of lifting your feet off the floor about 2 inches and contract your navel toward your spine. Again with the sets and reps- this will help tone your abs and quads. I actually worked out a problem of how my characters would react while on a boat and an earthquake happens directly beneath them doing this.
Is this rocket science? No. Will it improve the quality of your life? Absolutely. Exercising my control over my body and life has made a huge impact. (Pun totally intended!) Take baby steps toward a happier and healthier you.