As I head out for physical therapy this morning, these are the words I must use to motivate myself to keep on keeping on. What are you facing that is a struggle? This quote could fit many scenarios. Think about it.
I love to walk outdoors, and a daily walk is one of my goals in recovery. Part of my daily physical therapy assignment is a 30-minute walk using a walker. Today my therapist added six minutes per day twice daily walking with a cane. Not to mention all the other exercises she has me doing. None of this happens outdoors. Yet.
Some days I’ve hosted pity parties for myself. Exercising can be tough during recovery. Working to restore strength, nerve communication, and flexibility to a limb isn’t easy. It gets old day in and day out. And then I feel sorry for myself.
Today I had a wakeup call while at the clinic. My therapist and I were walking a circuit around the perimeter of the equipment area. We came upon a man, in his early 40s, working hard to walk. To walk, he was using robotic prosthetics to move his legs. It was unclear whether a stroke or an accident the many visible physical deficits.
My emotions ran from sympathy and sorrow for him. Yet, his determination inspired me to work harder. I felt gratitude for the fact that at least I can work both legs on my own despite the weakness in one. Maybe those pity parties are a thing of the past.
Winter has now deposited her snow-white goodness from coast to coast. Some of us are snowed in for the first time this season. Others have been snowed in so long they must feel like Eskimos.
Couple the winter weather doldrums with writing most of the day, and what do you have?
Likely, a grumpy writer with aches and pains and stiff joints.
We’ve all heard the quotes, and we try to adhere to good advice given. But let’s take a moment and reflect on what Mary Heaton Vorse had to say about writing:
The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.
One should ask though if Vorse intended for the seat of your pants to maintain contact with the chair for extended periods of time.
How to remedy the bodily damage we’re doing while sitting all day?
Exercise! And if given an opportunity, physical exercise just might enhance creativity.
Here are some tips for getting out of the chair and improving your creativity at the same time:
Get up out of that chair and go take a walk. Just 15-20 minutes, a walk around the block will not only relieve your joints and spine but also feed your brain with some much-needed oxygen via fresh air. Or if you have a gym membership, put it to good use and head there three or four times a week.
Play a musical instrument? Take a few minutes during the day to enjoy that creative experience. Perhaps the music you select will feed that part of your brain searching for artistic phrasing in your written work.
Meditation won’t exercise your body but it is calming and relieves the stresses that build in our bodies as we sit in front of a desk and computer. And the mind-clearing benefits of meditation will only enhance your writing.
Build a rhythm into your writing life so that you have some time off during the week, when everything writing disengages. Try to keep your life on normal footing, especially if you have a family. Meet a friend for coffee, catch up with a neighbor over the fence, call your kids and grandkids. This sounds like a no-brainer but it is essential to keep yourself healthy, inspired, and in touch with others.
Daily inspiration will keep you feeling good about yourself and your writing. Listen to a TED talk you’ve wanted to hear, maybe you missed the last NAMW conference and the audio file is waiting on your desktop, or perhaps there is an audio book you listen to. Find a way to be inspired by others.
Lastly, do something that matters. Whether it’s writing a blog post on something that matters to writers, or volunteering at the local homeless shelter, or babysitting grandkids so the kids can have a date night — do something that matters. You feel great afterwards!
The current weather situation in many parts of our country doesn’t entice one to go outdoors, but many of these suggestions don’t need the outdoors for exercise. But keep in mind that a brief step outside to get the mail or to fill the bird feeder will offer an intake of fresh air that can’t be beat for brightening up those brain cells for the next few hours of writing.
Q4U: What do you do to keep physically and mentally fit when writing? I’d love if you’d share below so that we can benefit one another with our ideas and suggestions.