Do You Ever Feel De-(Word)Pressed???

Greetings Blogosphere!  Did you miss me?  Well I am somewhat confident that you didn’t but if by some chance you did, Please find finally my “better late than never” entry to The Retiree Diary.  I have not posted anything for some time now except my review of an excellent Willie Nelson Biography a couple of weeks ago.  The last little while I have felt bad about not writing anything and trying to figure out why that might be?  Available time is not a great excuse because if I was really ready to put notes to paper I could have made time.  Topics?  Again, not a great excuse because sometimes I think I have too much to share or say.  The only thing I can fall back on is I have felt a bit de-(Word)pressed…..

Huh?  I just heard some of you saying that…… others, I heard laughing (ok mildly chuckling) at my play on words.  I think most of you have experienced this at one time or another … that overwhelming feeling of having lots to say but not sure how to express it or put it down in words.  The only definition I can come up with for feeling de-(Word)pressed is this:  An overwhelming sense of loss contributing to a feeling of defect or weakness, mental/writers block, that over time contributes to a lack of motivation to post. 🙂 Now of course, for something like this, there has to be a cure.  YES! Write, write, write, write and express yourself.  Sounds like a plan.  I just need to get down to it and write.  What is on my mind, what I am thinking about and what I am doing.  STUFF! There is lots of it floating around in my head.

If I look now at my blog page, I have six draft posts with great catchy titles but no guts yet.  Titles, tags, categories, and in some cases pictures and featured images.  I just need to take the time, give things some thought and get it down on electronic paper.  So it is with renewed vigour and interest that I tackle some of these leftovers in limbo.  Get in and get them done…..

Cheers!

Is there a Doctor in the house?

No, I didn’t say Dr. House…..I said, “is there a doctor in the house?”  We don’t always realize it but listening to our doctor needs to happen just as much when you aren’t sick as when you are.  Often some of the best advice we can get happens when we are not feeling sick at all but are looking for ways to improve our overall health and lower our risk of contracting a major illness. Recently I came across an article in a magazine with an interview with Dr. David Katz who is an internationally renowned specialist in chronic disease prevention and weight management.

In the article Dr. Katz offers us all 5 easy ways we can outsmart illness.  He says that what we do with our arms, feet and fork can cut our risk for chronic disease by up to an amazing 80 percent!  What follows are his 5 top recommendations:

  •  MOVE YOUR FEET (LOTS!) You should get at least 20 minutes of exercise and no fewer than 5 times per week. You need to not only make the commitment to do it but also keep it.  I try to keep as active as possible at least 5 times per week right now and sometimes 6 times.  I keep one “down” day to just take things easy and at a slower pace.  My routine “right now” consists of a fast/aerobic-paced walk of at least 10 kilometers each day.  Now that the snow and ice are gone I will once again substitute some of these walks with running. I don’t look at these outings as a chore, but more as something I choose to do and enjoy.
  •  CHOOSE FOODS THAT LOVE YOU BACK You should never have to sacrifice great food (good tasting) for great health.  Look for strategies where they can live in harmony.  Low fat and high flavour is our motto at home and has become part of our lifestyle.  That’s not to say that we don’t cheat once in a while, but we believe everything in moderation. Always keep lots of fresh vegetables and fruit around and if there are “not so healthy” things that constantly tempt you, then try just not picking them up. Often the “out of sight out of mind” trick works best.
  •  TRAIN YOURSELF TO SLEEP MORE SOUNDLY Since I retired, this one has become easier for me but I still fall into some past bad habits.  Dr. Katz recommends at least eight hours of sleep each night as well as sticking to a consistent schedule. I am always surprised at how easy it is to wake up at the same time each day without the aid of an alarm clock because I stick to a routine schedule and this supports Dr. Katz’s recommendations. He goes on to say we should avoid taking afternoon naps as they are likely to end up interfering with our sleep later on that night and so any possible benefit is lost. Since I have been blogging I was in the habit of looking at articles online each night on blogging and thinking about things I wanted to try or how I could fix on my page. The trouble is that I took these thoughts with me as I tried to fall asleep and ended up tossing and turning all night. So recently I have gone back to my old routine of simply reading a book before turning out the light and this has completely stopped the late night restlessness.
  •  DE-STRESS WITH A QUICK “THOUGHT MAKEOVER” Dr. Katz states that research has shown people who report high levels of stress are more likely to eat more and exercise less which is not great when it comes to disease prevention. He recommends finding your “optimal tension-taming technique.” This could come in the form of meditation/visualization and even just old-fashioned exercise. I find how my mind treats stressful situations can make it better or worse.  Staying positive and reframing things in a positive light definitely helps me lower the stress meter and get though it.
  •  REACH OUT AND HUG SOMEONE No not your boss or some stranger walking down the street….that could turn out a bit weird. But Dr. Katz mentions the natural human need to feel close to others. Creating connections with others around us might be an even more important defense against stress than exercise. No matter how crazy our days get, my fiancé and I always make time for a cup of coffee together followed by our 10K walk, a run or a trip to the gym. In the old days we took care of all the other things life threw at us and then “if” there was time we got our workouts in. Now we take care of this critical element of our everyday lifestyle first, and then the rest of the day’s activities.

So based on my experience, my recommendation to you this week is to try and incorporate some or all of these strategies into your life. Your health and well-being are important to you and your families.

How engaged are you? An enquiring mind would like to know…..

It’s a question I am sure many bloggers ask themselves after they start-up their blog and they have been doing it for a while.  I had kicked around the idea for a blog for at least a couple of years before starting up this one.  Originally my fiancé and I had thought about doing a blog once we retired. We planned to travel by RV along the southern coasts of North America stopping in every beachside hamlet and town we could find/seek out. We thought it would be a fun way of taking family and friends along with us on the trip without actually having them there “with us”…. lol. It was just the idea of sharing our experiences and stories plus some great information for those who followed after us. At least for now, this trip is on hold but in the mean time I thought it would still be fun to get blogging. 🙂

Shortly after I retired I read a book by Neil Peart (famous drummer from the Canadian rock band RUSH) called Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road  In addition to the sensitive and touching true life journey he experienced, his natural ability to tell stories, share thoughts and insights inspired me.  I thought I had lots of stories to tell, passions for life and living well, and just general opinions on “stuff”.  I wasn’t really prepared for how much work getting started would be, nor was I prepared for how much fun I would have. Over the last couple of months it has been a great and rewarding “go to” activity for me. Therefore, my content is still evolving.

I have never considered myself to be much of a formal writer but someone who could share stories, a sense of humour and the appreciation of things I read or saw in everyday life.  I can tell you one thing, school didn’t prepare me to blog but life certainly did. So off I went jumping in with both feet (sore ones as per my latest post – lol) and hoping to swim a little….. and maybe in time – a lot!  Now a couple of months later and well into the learning curve I am beginning to understand what things “readers of blogs” can do that demonstrate their appreciation (or lack thereof) for the content they have so eagerly digested. I thrive on feedback, good or bad, so below I have shared some thoughts/requests in the hopes that “my readers and followers” might feel inspired to regularly help me out.  🙂

  1.  The biggest one for me (well two things) is to receive your comments and feedback as well as your ratings of what you read.  It really doesn’t get any easier than clicking on the stars at the bottom of each post or leaving a comment in the comment box.  These provide instant feedback of your thoughts and feelings as well as provide encouragement. Comments can also be used to provide your suggestions or share common thoughts or insights.
  2.  If there is a poll included, then please participate.  The poll results become content for future posts as well as provide some information to the writer as to whether or not they have hit the mark.
  3.  Read the new posts and keep coming back for more.  The more people who read and follow the more incentive is provided to keep going.
  4.  Rather than checking the blog out at random times or days simply sign up with the follow button and you will get email notices whenever I post a new article.  Don’t worry, in most cases this may be once or twice in a week so not likely to fill your inbox.
  5.  Share the blog with other family and friends and promote it if you think they may be interested in any or all of it.  Word of mouth (or keyboard) is often how blogs become well-known and grow in popularity. You can also share it by Tweeting it or posting it to your Facebook page.
  6. If you also personally blog then share your link with The Retiree Diary and I will check you out!  As a new blogger I am always looking to improve my skills and perfect the art.

In my short life as a blogger these are some of the things that encourage and excite me.  Feedback is a wonderful thing and the vast majority of what I have suggested takes very little time.  Really just a few minutes of your time.

For those of you who have been following for a while I give my heartfelt thanks! If you are just joining me or stumbled across my path – Welcome! Come on in – the conversation is warm – I’d like to hear from you and I hope you stay a while……..