Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Strength time!

Okay, for this exercise you'll want an exercise band of fairly light resistance to start with.  You can do this sitting or standing, though sitting is easier for getting started.  This exercise will help to strengthen those shoulder muscles in the middle of your back.  As you're doing this exercise, imagine squeezing a tennis ball between your shoulder blades.
Step 1: hold your arms out in front of you, a little wider than shoulder width.  Hold the band on either end.
Step 2: Pull your arms (and the band) out toward your sides, squeezing your shoulder blades.
Step 3: Return to start (slowly), then repeat.
video
Do two sets of ten.  

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I challenge you...

I challenge you to try something new.  Take up a new sport, try a different genre of books or music, go see a drama if you're more of a comedy type person.  Break out of your mold and expand your horizons.  
You may even find that you like it. 
Here's the reasoning though...We get so stuck in our day to day life that they become routine.  We forget to marvel at the simple pleasures in our life any more because they are no longer "special."  The simple act of trying something new can reawaken your love for the old.
Not to mention it opens your brain and can reawaken those stubborn creativity muscles.  How many days have we sat down at the computer and stared at it blankly wishing for divine intervention?  Well, sometimes you have to help the old muse along.  Muses are fickle. They don't like to be bored.  If you want their help, you have to pay it forward.


So step outside the box. Try something new, then come back and tell me all about it.

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Monday, May 09, 2011

Taking care of you...



As a writer we are in complete control of our characters.  Yes, they may have minds of their own.  Yes, they may travel down paths that lead to a dead end, causing you to backtrack (read: erase) many pages.  But ultimately, we're the one really in control. 
The same is true for ourselves.  We are in control.  We choose to get up and face the day with a positive attitude or as if we're walking to the guillotines.  We choose to eat five brownies or one apple.  We choose to lay on the couch all day or to go for a walk in the sunshine.  
We choose.
It's so simple really.  We make choices all the time.  So why is it we so rarely make the choice to take care of ourselves? To put ourselves first? 
Part of being a healthy writer is knowing when to put yourself first.  You need to know when to refill the well.  The how is up to you. But in order to be any good to anyone, you have to take care of YOU.  It's hard.  We have family and friends, husbands and children.  We have work and after school activities.  It's easier to say, "Sure!  I'll come out to (fill in the blank)," because we haven't seen our third cousin twice removed's daughter's son in eight years.  We want to spend time with these people.  But be careful because that dinner date (or coffee date, or play date, or...well, you get the drift) doesn't always refill the well.  Instead, it more often than not adds to the stress.  
So take a moment today.  Think about what you need to do to take care of you. Then schedule it.  If you don't, the opportunity will slip through your fingers.

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Monday, May 02, 2011

The ballet stretch

Ever since I did this stretch at the end of a yoga section, I've been calling it The Ballet Stretch because I feel like I'm doing a ballet move...only lying down.
This is a great stretch for at the end of a long day, especially if you've been hunched over the computer, as it stretches the muscles at the front of your chest.  This is especially important because as you hunch forward and those muscles tighten, they will continue to pull your shoulders forward even after you've stepped away from the computer unless you stretch them regularly.
video
This stretch is to be done 10 times on each side.  Start out lying on your left side, with your arms out at a 90 degree angle from the rest of your body, one on top of the other.  The sweep the top arm upward trying to keep your hand connected with the ground as you come around in a circle.
I love how effective this stretch is.  As writers we spend so much time sitting in front of our computers, or reading a book, we don't even think about what it does to our bodies.  Hopefully this will help with that a little bit.

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