Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

When is the last time you did something for the first time?

I heard this adage (for the first time) a few days ago just before embarking on my first Tough Mudder—a 10-mile run (OK, walk for me) interrupted by 20 obstacles, most of which involved cold water and mud. One even had electricity. It took my husband and me nearly five hours to finish.

Why, at age 54, was I doing this? Because I never had. Because I still could. Because if I don’t keep challenging myself I will atrophy physically, mentally, and emotionally.

It’s why a very good friend, who is in his 70s, is right now walking 500 miles along the Camino De Santiago in Spain—by himself.

Look, we are all in the healthcare field. We know the myriad ways in which our bodies fail. In just the past two months a friend lost her sister to ovarian cancer; another friend was diagnosed with prostate cancer; a high school friend died of throat cancer; a friend in her 20s had a recurrence of the rare brain tumor that … Continue Reading

stress work/life balance

From CrossFit to StorySLAM: The Value of Taking Risks

From CrossFit to StorySLAM: The Value of Taking RisksIn honor of Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season, I’m taking a break from my rants about the election and health care. Instead, I want to talk about taking risks.

I’ve never been a risk taker. I don’t gamble. I’m extremely financially conservative. I would never go on vacation without a hotel reservation. The biggest risk I’ve taken in the past 20 years was starting my own business.

But as I move through my 50s (I turn 54 November 30) I’m also moving out of my comfort zone and starting to take more risks. It began two years ago when I started CrossFit, the uber exercise program that combines strength training with cardio with gymnastics. To understand how unlike me this was, you should know that I hated exercising and did the bare minimum required so I could drink as much wine as I wanted and still fit into my clothes.

Then came an hour of daily torture that often left me close to tears and literally on the floor staring at the ceiling certain … Continue Reading

stress work/life balance

Your Health on Stress

the futureSo I’ve been thinking a lot about stress lately. Obviously, it’s because I’m in one of those work/personal periods where the word comes in all capital letters and my dreams seem to be caught on a continual loop of taking-an-exam-in-a-class-I-forgot-to-attend-all-semester (and yes, I’ve been out of school for 26 years now)/realizing-I-just-bought-a-new-house-and-have-to-move/or, finding-that-I-have-10-stories-due-tomorrow (for the newspaper at which I haven’t worked in years).

This latter dream comes closest to my own situation at the moment given that I find myself with just a wee bit too much work for the time allotted (ok, maybe a lot too much work). I’m coping–going to bed later, getting up earlier, reaching out to a couple of writer friends for help) but it nonetheless has my cortisol and norepinephrine hormone production on overtime.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. Your health on stress.

I can’t begin to count the number of articles I’ve written over the past 25 years about the effects of stress on health. It’s one thing to write them, however, it’s another to actually see them. For instance, my 17-year-old son is … Continue Reading