I love the word rationalize. Definition: attempt to explain or justify one’s actions with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate. Example: I have a large block of time in which to do something. So I ask myself: should I sit down, dig in and write my blog post and then go down my work list, checking off other writing work? Or, should I escape from that, play and have fun? Because I have a large block of time, I can rationalize that play should be on my agenda.
Today’s definition of play:
- sand my grandmother’s rocking chair and prepare it for a new stain;
- repaint the Adirondack chair on the patio;
- mat a lovely photograph in an old antique frame I’ve saved.
I love writing, but I also love puttering, decorating or as I call it playing with my house. No matter where we have lived, I have always had a file of photos torn from magazines from which to get inspiration and ideas as well as a basket of paint tubes and brushes, art paper and stencils. Sometimes my projects turn out extremely well. I blogged about chalk paint and have used it several times to freshen a furniture find. Sometimes my family notices and comments, sometimes they don’t. But even so, it is my kind of escape.
Thus we could engineer the old phrase VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE and make it work for us. In just about any situation. My explorations into playing with my house not only give my brain time to wander and thus possibly fire up my creativity so that when I get back to the keyboard there is something coming from my fingertips–plus the physical activity involved in painting etc is good for my body.
You might be familiar with recent research that stresses that sitting for long periods of time (at a keyboard, for example) is not good for one’s health. James M. Levine MD, PhD writes that a study was done comparing folks who spent at least two hours sitting in front of any kind of screen, with those who logged in at least four hours away from a screen. Those with more screen time had:
- A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause
- About a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack.
And even if you were at the keyboard everyday, all day and then worked out a few hours a week at a gym, that didn’t significantly offset the risk. The solution: breaking up those long periods of sitting time by adding periods of standing to your day–maybe while on the phone or eating lunch. Even better would be taking a walk, or at work, inviting a colleague to walk during an informal conference.
Here are some suggestions for keeping your body moving and insuring good health throughout your day:
- stretch on arising, especially feet, ankles, and neck
- when on the phone, sit on the edge of a stool or chair and do butt clenches
- always tummy tuck (tighten abdomen) when doing daily chores or when lifting
- fight against forward head posture by keeping back straight and watch position of head and neck while at computer or driving in a car etc
- need to move furniture? use legs, try to push instead of pulling
- take stairs with loads like laundry to increase aerobic activity and stress bones
- add walking, running, sports or workouts–when you can and when age-appropriate
- drink fluids throughout the day
- women: favorite advice from an RN: at stop lights do Kegels
- finally at bedtime, stretch to relax and keep muscles flexible.
So maybe in the end, I am not rationalizing by choosing to escape from my real work and go and play with my house. Maybe digging in can really be the fun stuff as well as the more serious stuff we do each day. I have a fire in my belly for writing–my first choice of what I want to do and be. But I also have fire for the second choice–decorating and making my home the best that it can be. And that choice keeps me moving. There are certainly many more ways to pump a variety of activities into daily life. So what do you do to fire up your desire, revitalize and add that needed variety to life’s choices?? What do you do to dig in and have fun? Please share. Maybe Calvin and Hobbes can say it better than I can.
P.S. Have you checked out my first publication: A Mother’s Time Capsule–Stories about Motherhood. Easy reading, one story a night. Maybe add a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine. Enjoy!
Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis and thewinecenter.com