Dig In or Have Fun

Dig In or Have Fun

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.

Dig In or Have Fun

One of my ESCAPE projects.

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. Dig In or Have Fun

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!





Dig In or Have Fun





Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis and thewinecenter.com


16 thoughts on “Dig In or Have Fun

  1. Literally “digging” as a gardener has become one of my favorite hobbies.
    So many positive aspects of gardening it allows me to be outside, exercising and feeling a sense of accomplishment . All the while experiencing the miracle of nature .

  2. Hi Tom,

    You captured all the benefits of gardening. I love it too. But now in California, there’s not much of it for me to do. But I am blessed with my small patio garden so when I get the urge to dig in the dirt, I can. I love being on my knees in the sunshine. So I’m with you on the entire garden experience. Add some birdsong and it’s a little bit of heaven. Beth

  3. Hi Ellen–Glad you like them. Reading them over reminded me that I’ve been lax in some areas. Back to it!! Take care, Beth

  4. Great tips on staying healthy. I spend a lot of time at my computer and need to do just these things you mention. Wish I could write AND plant stuff at the same time!

    • Hi Angie, Glad you like the tips. And I know about taking a break and gardening or crafting or whatever. Once on the computer there is this tag affect–one thing leads to another and you just never leave!! Thanks for your comment. Beth

  5. Beth, I love the phrase “playing with my house.”

    I tend to work very intensely, which leads to a great deal of procrastinating and rationalizing. I learned to back off some of my housework and think of it as “puttering” instead. Now I’m just going to spend time playing with my house!

    I have a large yard with the beginnings of a garden, and that’s playtime once I get the weeds under control. Wandering the fence line, noticing new blooms, deadheading spent blossoms calms me. Add in a couple large trees and numerous vocal birds, and being outside (or sitting with open windows) is delightful.

    • I LOVE THE INTERNET. I feel like I made a new friend this morning, thanks Jennifer. Playing is easier for me because of our budget. Big projects are usually infrequent, but I’ve read Better Homes forever and keep photos of ideas that I might be able to use. Sometimes it’s just painting a piece of furniture. Sometimes it rearranging things. Puttering is a great word. I keep a basket of paints and stuff to work with. Gardening is the absolute best. We need birdsong in our lives to hang on to when clouds appear and life is dark. I’m in Southern California, but virtually we can share those open windows and so wishing you some birdsong today. Beth

      • See, the internet is good for something – new friends through old friends!

        We lived in San Diego for 3 years (Navy), and while I loved a lot of it, I was glad to get back to 4 seasons and all my spring bulbs. Cheers!

        • Yes, I miss spring and the anticipation and then the bursting forth. It’s awesome.

  6. I think the escape makes the writing possible. There have been times when faced with a writing deadline that I deliberately leave the keyboard to exercise or complete some chores, for me it is the motion that stimulates my creativity. Love the way you slipped in the health information too. As always, great post!

    • Thanks, Elin. I enjoyed yours in the Huff Post. I find the idea of leaving the keyboard intriguing–as if your absence from the work helps fuel it so when you go back, you are better prepared. Thanks.

  7. I spend way too much time at my comutper! Just last week I joined a gym and they pointed out all those physical problems with my neck and collapsing chest muscles! I do love to write, but I also need to do some other things more oftern!

    • I walk almost every day and that helps me sort things out, meditate and of course take care of my physical self. Wishing you the best, Beth

  8. Thanks for sharing. Mondays are my “puttering” days. My week always goes better when I set aside that time to organize, tidy, and “play” at the house.

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