Health

/

Health & Spirit

Back to School Isn't Just for Kids. Study Up to Loosen Up!

Marilynn Preston on

The run-up to Labor Day is always a bit of a letdown. I feel like summer fun is over and done -- where did July go? -- and it's time to sharpen my pencils and head back to school.

Who uses pencils? And what school? I haven't returned to the classroom since computers were the size of cruise ships, but when Labor Day comes around I still can't help thinking it's time to buckle down.

But that's fine, because back-to-school isn't just for kids. If you're keen on living a healthier, happier lifestyle, now is the perfect time to shift into gear and educate yourself about new ways to nurture and enhance your well-being.

You know this already: positive change begins with personal effort. If you're fed up with weighing too much, moving too little, weary of feeling so busy and stressed you don't have time to enjoy your life, you can choose to alter your course.

Your path of study will vary according to your personal goals, but when you commit to it, your life will sparkle in remarkable new ways. Here are five electives to consider:

--STRESS 101. Stress happens. It's part of life. We can't avoid it. You lose your job, your money, you have no idea where you parked this morning, and some days you wake up in such a fog that it feels like your brain is out to lunch and your body is starving for relief.

Your assignment? Learn to deal with your stress in healthy ways so that when tension and anxiety grab you, you'll know what to do without having to call for Johnnie Walker or any of his mind-numbing pals.

Discover how to calm your mind with meditation. Practice deep breathing for tension release. Understand that aerobic exercise -- walking, biking, swimming -- is another magnificent way to relieve stress and depression.

--LEARN TO COOK. It takes a little study, but learning to cook or just assemble simple, tasty, healthy meals is deliciously rewarding. For starters, you'll save money. It's expensive to eat out. Dining out also tends to pack on the pounds.

Home cooking is the smart alternative to eating toxic and processed food. You can control the carbs, eliminate the additives and dish out proper portions of real food (instead of the usual monstrous servings you get in restaurants). Also, your friends will be wildly impressed. And cooking with your kids is one of the best ways to raise healthy eaters.

Read a book, take a class or set up in front of the Food Network or YouTube. (YouTube taught me to make a fantastic spinach pie.)

--STUDY YOGA. So what if you can't touch your knees, let alone your toes. Start where you are, and commit to three months of classes. Don't worry about your grade. Yoga is not a competitive sport. Be patient, and take the time you need to experience the profound link between body and mind, along with the healing power of your own breath.

Yoga makes you strong, flexible, calm and compassionate. It can alleviate low back pain, boost your energy and relieve muscle tension in your shoulders. But know this: It can also create injuries, so proceed with caution. Make sure your teacher is experienced and careful and helps you cultivate your own body wisdom.

--TRY SOMETHING NEW. If you're bored with your current exercise routine, spend this semester discovering new ways to be active. Running is popular, but it's not for everyone. Neither is walking or biking. Study up on alternatives until you find an activity that sparks joy. Tango dancing? Archery? Ping-Pong? I truly believe there's a sport for everyone. When you connect with yours, you'll never again be bored with exercise.

--WORK AT A STANDING DESK. In school, we sat at desks. (Some of my early ones even had inkwells.) But at least we had recess! Now we know that sitting is the new smoking. There are more than 10,000 studies about the harmful effects of too much sitting. The designs for stand-up desks have improved, and the costs have come down -- and you'll get an automatic A (for "Amazing") when you discover how much better your body feels when it's standing more and sitting less.

ENERGY EXPRESS-O! GET SMART

"Just don't take any class where you have to read Beowulf." -- Woody Allen

========

Marilynn Preston is the author of Energy Express, America's longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new book "All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being" is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at creators.com/books/all-is-well to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit www.MarilynnPreston.com.

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
 

Social Connections

Comics

Ken Catalino Curtis Ask Shagg Michael Ramirez Aunty Acid Dustin