Balanced Living for Creatives

Balanced Living for Creatives

December 20, 2013

Feeling Chilled? Warm Your Core

Are you warm-blooded or cold-blooded? My friend asked me that question and I had to stop and think a minute. For, aren’t humans all the same inside? We all tend to run about the same temperature of 98.6, right. So it must be just a matter of perception, perhaps better asked, Do you tend to feel warm or cold in most situations?
     There’s no doubt about it, I feel cold. Not all the time, but I have noticed that when my friends and family are in shirtsleeves, I have at least three layers on. When they have to double up on shirt and sweater, I’m up to about five layers! Before I begin to look like the muffin doughboy, I thought, maybe I should find another solution.
     I don’t want to reach for the thermostat or throw a bunch more logs in the woodstove. Number one, it would make the house too warm for others. Number two that would be energy intensive and thus wasteful. Recently, I have been trying out a new solution.
     My work as an artist and writer means that I either sit or stand for long periods of time. That’s usually when I get cold—call it cold blooded, if you will. I noticed that my friend J is a speedy, high-energy person. When she moves, she moves quickly--fast paced, always on the go. She might call herself warm blooded. So here’s the solution that I have discovered.
     Whenever I start to feel cold, I stand up and exercise for about 15 minutes. Sometimes its a brisk walk around the office, sometimes I just go through pacing or dancing in place, standing behind my chair. After about 10 minutes, I am warm through. The funny thing is, that once I get to the 10-minute mark, I find it easy to go on to 15 or 20 minutes. This is great because for good aerobic benefits 20 minutes is ideal. To be kind to myself on those “down” days, I’ll let it slide at 10 minutes.
     Warming up by moving is fantastic on many levels. First off, the warmth that I feel is lasting. I won’t feel cold again quickly after my 10-15 minutes of movement. The warmth radiates from the core, not from the outside. Simply putting on another sweater doesn’t do the same thing. Second, it brings health benefits. Exercise is good for you; we all know that. Even short periods of exercise are much better than sitting or standing motionless for hours. Another thing I’ve found is that it builds my energy levels. Although I may never run around and move as quickly as J, I know that I have more energy after the brief exercises. Also, there is definitely a boost to my concentration and focus, as well as my creativity. These are all good things, simply accomplished, and this winter—I am sooo much more comfortable.
Please stop by my website to see some of my tips about fitness and exercise in a balanced life.

December 8, 2013

Stress and Joy

Stress and joy are opposite sides of the same coin. We all have moments when we feel stress. And, hopefully, we all have moments when we feel great joy. When asked, most of my friends have said that they believe the opposite of joy to be sadness. But I believe it is stress. My reasoning is this: Both stress and joy are internally driven conditions.
The looming deadline or the overbearing boss may be part of your work experience. But stress is something you create inside you. You could potentially face all those same conditions without a feeling of stress. We use stress as a way of getting through rough or threatening conditions. It's possible to find numerous ways to Reduce Your Stress. But just imagine for a moment, what it would take to deal with that deadline without stress being a part of the equation. Perhaps you could face it by laying out step-by-step actions, or even by ignoring the "deadline" and just taking the project at your own pace, quick but not stressful.
Joy, on the other hand, should bring you happiness. People often ask, How do you find happiness? Often their answers involve something akin to winning the lottery so that they have money for everything they might want. However, studies of lottery winners show that they are no more happy after they win the lottery than before, and often it is the opposite. Winning makes them less happy, and lottery winners have a higher rate of suicide than non-winners.
Joy and happiness are internally created emotions. They are not based on things that happen around us. They can be created inside you at any moment, even in bad times. We see that time and time again in people who have faced disasters or personal destruction. The happy factor returns quickly to some people, while others dwell on the negative. I truly believe that joy is something you can build inside yourself and keep with you most of the time, if not always. It has taken me a lifetime, but I feel that joy and happiness are mine to own and create at will.