I began posting links to articles and resources on this topic because when I launched my blog back in 2011, I received a virtual flood of questions requesting advice about preparing oneself to write, how to focus attention and reduce stress. I decided to devote more attention to responding.
Resources That Have Helped Me
- 60minutes2relax on YouTube
- About.com, “How Can I Clear My Mind?”
- American Heart Association, “Four Ways to Deal with Stress”
- Chris Bailey for A Life of Productivity, “The Top 10 Lessons I Learned From a Year of Productivity” (May 1, 2015)
- Lisa Evans for Fast Company, “How Working Late is Harming Your Brain” (April 29, 2014)
- Fast Company, #Unplug
- Heidi Grant Halverson for Harvard Business Review, “Nine Ways Successful People Defeat Stress” (December, 2012)
- Health News on Fox and the program, “Sunday Housecall” (one of my favorite programs; I sometimes watch while on the Stairmaster at the gym on Sunday afternoons)
- Inc. Magazine, “10 Easy Ways to Get More Done”
- Mayo Clinic, “Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress”
- Mindful Muscle – Mindfulness Changes Everything
- Music – for me, listening to music while working helps me relax and write. I normally listen to a variety of music stations on SiriusXM Radio and TuneIn.
- Pick the Brain: Grow Yourself, “7 Simple Ways to Clear Your Mind”
- Stop Breathe & Think app (suggested by friend Beth Reese of Yoginos: Yoga for Youth)
- Tiny Buddha, “30 Ways to Improve Your Mood When You’re Feeling Down”
- Randi Zuckerberg, “Dot Complicated: Untangling our Wired Lives” (click to read my review of the book).
More Specifically …
- A regular schedule of exercise is essential (I visit a gym at least three times a week for a good solid hour, which includes two miles of treadmill and stairmaster work), as is the occasional walk.
- Healthy eating makes a difference. I prepare most meals at home and most of them are made from scratch, although I admit I enjoy eating out on occasion. And, I shop at grocery stores that feature healthy foods. The quality of what I eat matters. I attribute my good health to this today. Just over 15 years ago, I had a routine surgery and my doctor told me I was not “aging” like others in my age bracket (she really checked me out while under anesthesia, smiles). I told her it was no doubt due to, “Whole Foods.”
- Adequate rest is essential. If I can swing the occasional, brief nap, that helps me stay on top of my game. I have a longer sleep cycle than most, but I did not pay attention to it until the past seven years or so. Now that I know what being rested really feels like, I will never forget. And, I do not stay up late (not very often, in any case).
Yikes! Check out this infographic from Mind Body Green, “This is Your Body Without Sleep” (2014).
When computers first came into widespread use (1980s and 1990s), one entered a lot of data into them to set up a “mail merge,” as it was called, you had to leave your computer alone – often overnight – and return to it in the morning before the task of sorting was complete.
Computers are much faster today, but “mail merge” is a phrase I sometimes use to describe what happens when I head off to rest. In the morning, I think more clearly and I am ready to think and write! When I sleep, I realize I am sorting out a great deal of information that I’ve absorbed during the day. In the morning, my attitude is improved and I can tackle almost any challenge.
I have not always practiced total “healthy living.” While I have exercised fairly regularly over the years, and I have shopped at healthy food stores like Whole Foods since it opened (when I was in college), until 2010 or so I did not get adequate rest, and in my younger days, I enjoyed the occasional cigarette at lunch and after work. I gave that up entirely in 2000.
In 2010 with the “down economy,” I decided to focus on rest, getting a complete medical check-up, exercising regularly, and launching Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog and my presence on social media (sharing my experiences for the benefit of others). I sorted through all my personal/family papers and files going back to my childhood and “reclaimed” my successes, many of which I had forgotten. I found my mind and body finally got the rest they needed during this time. I also started catching-up with my original interests in international affairs, and I began reading the global news regularly. My horizons expanded quite a bit past Texas.
Recently as a side pursuit I began representing the healthy living, vegan products of Arbonne International. Arbonne meets European standards (which are higher product standards than those in the U.S.). To learn more, follow this link to my page on the Arbonne website.