Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happy 2013... two weeks later

Well, it's a good thing I'm not superstitious about New Year's Day activities foreshadowing the way you will spend the rest of the year, because the whole first week of 2013 I was laid out on our couch or in bed. Locally we are referring to this flu-like epidemic as "the crud", and I spent the first two weeks of 2013 enduring what I'm pretty sure was some strain of the flu despite having received the flu shot back in, oh I don't know, October maybe? I can't remember the last time I watched tv for more than two hours at a time while not on my indoor bike trainer, but this is how I brought in the first days of 2013... sick as a dog, relegated to pretty much nothing other than watching tv or sleeping. So here we are, 13 days into 2013, and I feel like a relatively normal human being again. My resolution this year was to pay more attention to my right brain: more artwork, more music, more attention to writing, and a general emphasis on more creativity as an additional outlet for stress. As much as I preach physical activity as a means for stress relief, I realized after my week of 'the crud' that there will be times when activity may not be in the cards and I really need to find other ways to destress in these instances. Reading for pleasure has helped initiate this focus, and hopefully after the remnants of "the crud" are rid of my body, I will have more energy to incorporate some of the other facets of creative thought that I've long neglected. One of my clients referred to this as having "many layers", and she commented that she felt some people seemed to have many different types of interesting layers whereas some people were more like a strawberry: what you see is what you get. I would agree, some people are raised to try many different activities while some people find one skill or activity and practice this exclusively almost to perfection. I would argue whether you fall in one of these categories or perhaps you missed the boat entirely, not having a real hobby or activity to practice in your spare time, it's never too late to try something! For all the negatives associated with the internet, one of the great positives is the access you now have to virtually any how-to video you could ever want, any free step-by-step guide or instructional download for any hobby or skill you may want to try. Hell, I bought my husband a few guitar lessons for a stocking stuffer, and I'll be damned if he probably will never need to use them because there are approximately 50,000 free videos of people walking you through every chord of every song ever composed. Naturally I think you should support local vendors, and I am sure he will use the lessons I have already purchased, but my point is that if you feel like you are one of those people without a "layer", there are many ways to start making that layer thanks to all things online. As for me, I'm going to work on my layers starting with this blog. Having neglected writing for pleasure for such an extended period of time, it feels stilted and unnatural and I DON'T LIKE IT! Time to get back in the saddle with creativity and right-brain utility. One of the best conference sessions I've ever attended was an ACSM conference breakout session on leadership where the facilitator provided crayons and colored paper as the only note-taking supplies available for session attendees. Long story short, she encouraged leaders to facilitate creative thought in otherwise black-and-white circumstances in the workplace, the classroom, etc. Since that session, I have used crayons and colored paper in the first or second class meeting for each of my college courses to A- catch the students off-guard and B- incorporate creative thought in application to something related to that course. Sure, it may not be the most effective use of time, having my students draw a picture for each class meeting, but this activity always elicits laughter, smiling, group interaction, and FUN. Yeah, fun... I don't think we have enough of it anymore. So this new year, if you fall off your weight-loss wagon early, trade in the same ol' resolution and pick up a new (and highly rewarding) one: have fun :)

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