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Guest Blogger: Lynda Bailey

06 Feb
Growing up, I always had a passion for romance books. So it seemed only natural that I would one day write the stories that I love so much. In 2010, I was fortunate enough to be a finalist in the Golden Heart® contest. Please visit me at www.lyndabailey.net.
 
When not sitting at my computer, I indulge in my second passion which is working as a fitness instructor. To help people attain their fitness goals is both rewarding and fun. Though some of my clients might not agree with that *fun* part. J

Tricks for De-Stressing Our Lives

When the Gem State Writers (waving madly to Clarissa) asked me to blog about staying healthy while under pressure, I thought it was the perfect topic given our stressful, hectic lives.

Now, I can’t speak directly to any known research correlating stress with illness. I can only go on my own personal experience which says, if I’m stressed out, chances are some type of health issue will follow, whether in the form of a nasty head cold or a tweaked shoulder. Let’s face it, being over-stressed is just bad for our bodies. From problems at our day jobs, to our kids, to spouses, or deadlines, there’s no getting around the fact that we all have to deal with stress, especially in today’s economic environment. Here are some of my more battle-tested ways to cope.

Make lists. I’m a great list maker; picked the habit up from my mom. Each morning I write down what I want/need to accomplish that day. Everything from cleaning the breakfast dishes, to going to work, to walking the dogs, to picking the kids up after soccer practice, gets written on that to-do list. This helps me stay organized and less frazzled. I’ve also learned to be specific in what I write down. Instead of writing “work on my novel” on my list, I define exactly what scene or chapter I want to work on. If I’m feeling particularly brave, I might also set a goal for x-number of words or pages to be completed that day.

Exercise. (You knew that one was coming, right?) I know we’re all busy and stressed and that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that needs doing. But exercise, whether walking for fifteen minutes at lunch or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, helps our bodies and minds to de-stress. It also boosts our immune systems so we’re better able to fend off those icky viral diseases. And please don’t give the excuse that you can’t find the time to exercise because you’re right. You can’t find time. You have to make time. J

Drink plenty of H2O. Water helps to flush toxins from our bodies, makes our skin look healthier and adds to an over-all feeling of well-being. The rule of thumb is eight 8-ounce glasses a day. (More if you sweat a lot in your Zumba class. J) Some argue that drinking coffee or tea is just as good and I agree, but only to a point. Make it tea and decaf. Preferably green or black.

Strive to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I know that one’s a tall order. There are so many other things we could be doing instead of sleeping. But getting enough rest helps our immune systems stay healthy and strong. If you have a hard time dozing off, drink chamomile tea before bed or put a bowl of lavender potpourri in by your bed. Lavender is a natural “calmer” and might help to speed the Sand Man. You can also use lavender scented hand lotion during the day. It’ll help to keep you from going postal at work. J

Choose your battles. This was advice I got when our son was born and it works not only for your kids, but for your spouse, siblings, co-workers. You name it. Ask yourself if a particular argument is really worth having? Or is it better to take the high road and keep your blood pressure on the low road? This also applies to total strangers. You know, the jerk who cuts you in traffic? If he/she is so stupid as to be in such a hurry, let ‘em have the lane. Getting to your destination in one piece is way more important.

Do nightly affirmations. This is a habit I got into after my back surgery last fall. I call them the I will  list. At that time, I’d say affirmations like I will learn to take better care of my back or I will regain my good health over and over before going to sleep. I think this is one of the main reasons I healed as quickly as I did. (Plus I had a to-die-for surgeon who did an awesome job.) I still do affirmations, though they’ve changed a bit. Now I say I will accept there are things I cannot change. (That’s a toughie for me.) I’ve even used affirmations when dealing with plot problems in my stories or when bumping up against a deadline. (I will figure out this #$% plot. I will finish the edits for chapters three and four. Etc.) The key is to say I will… not Give me strength for… or Let me find… I will is strong and decisive, leaving no wiggle room.

Try to meal plan for the week on the weekend. Nothing’s worse than spending all day at work only to realize that the cupboard’s bare at home. And eating from of a take-out window can be expensive and bad for our waistlines. Work with your spouse and kids to come up with easy-to-reheat meals for the weeknights. You’ll find tons of great recipes on the Internet. Yes, it takes a bit of planning, but in the long run, meal planning is cheaper and healthier. Besides, evening time should be quality time for you and your family. And the less time you spend in the kitchen means more time for them, and you.

Last, but certainly not least, Be kind to yourself. None of us are Super Women or Super Men nor we should try to be. We should just try to be our best. So cut yourself some slack and take a moment to enjoy the sunset or the sunrise or to smell the flowers. Remember the things that are truly important, and they’re probably not anything we stress about on a daily basis.

So these are my tips for a less stressful life. What are some of the tricks you use? Please share. Or you can email me at Lynda@lyndabailey.net

Thanks for having me Gem State Writers!

 
20 Comments

Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Idaho

 

20 responses to “Guest Blogger: Lynda Bailey

  1. Liz Flaherty

    February 6, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    All good ideas, and I love the affirmations. That’s something I’ve never done, but might give a try. Great post!

     
    • Lynda Bailey

      February 6, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      Thanks Liz!

      I hope you find affirmations helpful. Since I’ve been doing them, I don’t feel as stressed about all the stupid things that can happen during the course of a normal day. It’s like *whatever.* If I can change something, I will. If I can’t, then, well, I can’t.🙂

      Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

       
  2. Peggy Staggs

    February 6, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Lynda, thanks for blogging with us today. Affirmations, what a great idea. I’m going to try that. Approaching sleep with a positive attitude should make sleep more relaxing…that and locking the cat out of the bedroom. It might be a good way to start the day too.
    Meal planning. It’s a dream of mine. It’s great to just look at the calendar and know what’s for dinner and that you have everything. No mad dash to the store. I’d have the month planned out if it weren’t for one large obstacle, my husband. I’m a planner, he likes to play it by ear. Sigh, I guess opposites do attract.

     
    • Lynda Bailey

      February 6, 2012 at 8:59 AM

      Peggy~

      Thanks for having me today!

      I’ve become a great believer in affirmations. It does help to slow your mind down and focus on the truly important things.

      As for your DH beind a *pantsier* and you being a *plotter,* I feel your pain. My DH is the same way. “Let’s not plan. Let’s just do.” Grrr. Gotta love ’em. (Or so he tells me. LOL)

      Have a great day!

       
  3. ramblingsfromtheleft

    February 6, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Lynda, thanks so very much for this post. It speaks to those of us who spend our time squating on our bums. I am a compulsive list maker, do almost all of the things you recommend to stay stress free and healthy … BUT … like any other neurotic compulsive … I also veer off the garden path. When I choose, I often choose badly and let the bums sit and work at the computer in favor of the rest of my list or moving. Then I pay with aches, recriminations and a pain in the a$$. Balance is the best way to do all we love and not kill ourselves in the bargain🙂

     
    • Lynda Bailey

      February 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      Absolutely, balance is the key to success! As the saying goes, everything in moderation. It’s just really, really hard sometimes to not to eat the entire chocolate cake. By ourselves. In one sitting. LOL.

      Being a compulsive list maker can be both good and bad. Good because it means you’re organized. Bad if you stop at just making the list and you don’t actually DO what’s on the list. (Not that I’ve ever done that. Because I haven’t. Not once. haha.)

      Thanks for stopping by!

       
  4. Meggan Connors

    February 6, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Great tips, Linda! I know I should get more exercise and sleep, and planning would definitely help with that!

     
    • Lynda Bailey

      February 6, 2012 at 9:09 AM

      Meggan~

      Baby steps, my friend. With work and family plus your writing, you have to prioritize. But don’t forget to make time for just you. Even if it means sitting the car alone, listening to your favorite song for a peaceful three or four minutes.

      Thanks for popping in!

       
  5. Meredith Conner

    February 6, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Thanks for blogging with us today Lynda. Great tips too! I am a total list maker. I love to cross things off – oh be still my heart. I like to do creative things with my girls to de-stress. During those times I refuse to let myself worry about anything else.

     
  6. Lynda Bailey

    February 6, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Meredith~

    Thanks for letting me hang out with y’all today! LOVE that you spend quality time with your kiddos. And major kudos for telling the world to *bug-off* so you can concentrate just on them.

    Hope your day is grand!

     
  7. Kimberly MacCarron

    February 6, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Lynda,
    What a well-timed post! For me, anyway. I struggle with several of these, and today I think I did okay. I didn’t write any lists, but I did go to the gym. I did buy ingredients for several meals so that I can make them in advance. But, alas, I did let a lady in the gym annoy me and didn’t take the high road. She yelled at me for not signing off my machine, but I did, and it just didn’t register. I didn’t yell back, but I did become snippy and tell her that she shouldn’t let little things like that matter. My blood pressure didn’t take the low road though. 🙂 Some people just need to let things go! Apparently I’m not one of them. LOL.
    What a great post! I’m going to try some nightly affirmations. Maybe it will help me.
    Thanks for the great ideas, Lynda.

     
    • Lynda Bailey

      February 6, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      Kimberly~

      I’m glad you found something useful in my post. And great job going to the gym! That other thing, that lady (though I doubt she was one) I applaud you for not yelling back. Getting snippy is okay as it probably made you feel a teensy bit better. Now forget it, and her. She’s not worth the energy.

      Thanks for stopping by!

       
  8. Liz Fredericks

    February 6, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Excellent content, Lynda, thank you! I especially like your point on how we frame our affirmations. We’ve a powerful level of control over our future as long as we control our own responses – that’s the tough part. We really appreciate having you join us on GSW today.

     
    • Lynda Bailey

      February 6, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      Thanks Liz!

      I used to say “I can do…” But just coz we CAN do something doesn’t mean we WILL. Thus, the “I will do…”

      I had fun with you Gem State Writers. Thanks for having me today!

       
  9. Clarissa Southwick

    February 6, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    Great tips, Lynda! I’ll have to keep this list where I can see it every day. Thanks for guest blogging for us.

     
    • Lynda Bailey

      February 6, 2012 at 6:51 PM

      Clarissa!

      Girlfriend! Hope my tips help you out, if just a teeny bit. Thanks for letting me hang with your crew today!

      Love yas!

       
  10. Regina Duke (@ReginaDuke1)

    February 7, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    You always give great advice! I’m a day late, I was writing yesterday, but wanted to drop by today and let you know how much I enjoy your health info. Romance author and health expert in one package! 🙂

     
  11. Marsha R. West

    February 7, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Babysitting grands for the last 4 days and missed this, but also wanted to stop by and comment. Great advice, Lynda. Yeah, stuff we know, but you nailed it with the “will” part. The only person we have any control over is ourselves. It seems like it should be super easy to “will” ourselves into a more healthful life style. Well, the first step in the battle is to recognize the problem, so I guess we’re all at least at the starting gate. Thanks for laying this out so clearly.

     
  12. Mary Vine

    February 7, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Great post, Lynda! I enjoyed it so much that I sent it to facebook. I used to never have to write things down and still remember them, but I’m older (and much busier) now and have to jot things down to keep life organized and that process helps me a lot. There is something else I do, and I don’t know if it’s a stress reliever, but it does make me feel content, and that is to count my blessings. And exercising helps my waist line and keeps my back healthy (exercise bike). Thanks for coming to Gem State Writers!

     
  13. Susan

    February 7, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    I like the positive affirmations. I will add “I will” to my to do list!

     

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