Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Staying healthy isn't always easy in today’s world, is it? Most of us work at a desk, have tight schedules, we’re stressed, out of shape and/or overweight, we don’t get enough sleep, and healthy eating is a adding lettuce and tomato to that burger. An exercise routine is either a New Year resolution forgotten on January 2nd, or is reduced to running for the bus or to the car on our way to yet another appointment.

No wonder we’re tired, cranky, or sick.

A sedentary lifestyle is not good for anyone, regardless of age or occupation. It takes effort on our part to change the pattern and make choices to keep us healthy. This doesn't necessarily mean we have to change everything at once but analyzing our patterns and incorporating gradual changes will help clear the way to a healthier you.

I've learned the hard way that getting healthy and staying healthy takes effort and some of the necessary choices require dedication to maintain. Like millions of men and women in the workforce I have to juggle my family, a ranch with animals, social media, and creative writing with my employment. I don’t have an office to commute to daily; I work a virtual office job from home. My job entails sitting, whether I’m answering phones or doing contract writing. Deadlines (stress) are a way of life. Here are some things that helped me.

I need energy and a clear mind. This means I need to get plenty of sleep. I can assure you that is easier said then done. Writing to deadlines tends to make for some late nights. I make sure that I space those late nights with three solid nights of eight or nine hours of sleep. Sleep is vital to good health and being able to function properly. If I don’t get enough sleep I’m going to be running on empty by mid afternoon and cranky, tired, stressed, and not productive. I also tend to schedule some nap time after lunch to refresh me. Burning the candles at both ends every day never healthy or wise.

Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it’s properly hydrated. I’ll be the first to tell you that I love coffee and always have, but I usually drink a couple of cups in the morning and depending upon my mood, a one in the afternoon or in the evening. Caffeine has never worked to keep me awake it tends to quiet my mind and calm me rather than keep me awake.  However, I always have bottled water on my desk. I drink at least two thirty-six-ounce bottles a day. Water keeps me fresh and alert. If you don’t like the taste of water try adding a slice or lime or lemon to your water bottle.

FYI: caffeine and sugary sports drinks might give some a boost in energy, but they aren’t a substitute for sleep or water. Neither is healthy in large doses. Put the Red Bull away. J

Choose healthy food. I always eat something for breakfast. For me that means a good cereal with fruit and almonds or an omelet. I have food allergies so there are many foods (especially processed foods) out there I can’t eat—like wheat and some whole grains. Since I can’t eat whole wheat I tend to choose potato or combo of gluten free flours but sparingly. I tend to eat more protein and rely on fruit and vegetables for my carbs. Lunch is always light.

Research shows our circadian rhythm is at a low point between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and so one is normally a bit tired about then. If you eat a heavy meal or high carbs at lunch it tends to make you even drowsier because blood and oxygen is diverted from your brain to your digestive track. I find high protein/low carb to be the best lunch for a productive afternoon. My snacks, when I have them, are usually fruit or veggies. I love celery (or apple slices) with peanut butter. These types of snacks tend to boost my energy rather than deplete it like chocolate, cake, and cookies.

Exercise. It’s good for the body and brain. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that energize your mood, relieve stress, boost your self-esteem, and trigger an overall sense of well-being.

I walk. Not as much as I should but I’m working on that. I've been known to put on a fast paced dance song and dance. Most dance songs are maybe five minutes? Gets my blood moving and my heart pumping. I also do stretches. Stretching throughout the day can help reduce pain and pressure on your muscles that often accompanies sitting for long periods.

I do light exercise after eating. It will help get your blood flowing and will help to ward off fatigue. At lunch I try to get outside (regardless of the season) in the sunshine for ten-fifteen minutes and breathe in the air and soak up the vitamin D.

Staying healthy and productive isn't always easy especially when we we’re stuck behind a desk for long periods of time everyday. But, it is do-able with some planning.

  • What’s helped you stay healthy and productive each day?  


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia .. your ranch must help a great deal - good exercise and fresh air ... but water, fresh foods, stretching and walking are simple and healthy options .. sounds like you've found the right balance ..

I'm working towards a routine - it's coming .. thankfully it's just getting into the groove ..

Cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your post. I drink plenty of water and plenty of walks along the beach, plus fruit.


DonnaGalanti said...

Great post Sia! For me, I need to take a break and go for a walk. Clear my mind, think about what's important and let go of what's not - and return home to my office feeling a bit lighter and ready to work.

Jo said...

Lots of good advice - sleep is definitely essential, I am getting more these days.


Julie Luek said...

I'm a big believer in, if possible, daily doses of sunshine in limits. I don't want to harm my skin, but I think we've gone too much the other way and deny our bodies healthy doses of vitamin D, plus, I'm convinced it helps our moods.

Annalisa Crawford said...

You've pretty much summed everything up in a great, concise post. And again water is important - that's been featured a lot today :-)

Karen Walker said...

Such wisdom here, Sia.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hilary--I think it is a matter of finding a routine that will work for you and then tuning it up as you go.

I've also been simplifying my life so there are fewer animals on my small ranch but it does mean being outside daily in all weather. :-)

Yvonne--Oh I envy your walks on the beach. It's great for mind and body in any season!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Donna--Exactly. Exercise doesn't have to be a sweaty effort, although getting a good cardio in a couple times of week is good for us.

I find walking clears my mind and refreshes me too.

Jo--Oh yes, sleep is vital. We were designed to sleep. During our sleep cycle immune boosting chemicals are released, our repairs itself and our brains power down and cool off. If we don't sleep well it effects everything in our coping with life!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Julie--sunshine is good for body and mind. It creates vitamin D which we need. According to researchers,10 or 15 minutes unprotected exposure a day won't hurt us. After that, it's wise to put on sunscreen.

It absolutely affects our moods!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Annalisa--Thank you. While pretty much any liquid we take in helps hydrate, water is absolutely the best means to do it.

Johanna Garth said...

I feel like sleep and proper hydration are hugely underrated!

S.K. Anthony said...

Its funny how simple things like walking and drinking water are so often taken for granted, thanks for the tips, and nice meeting you through the hop ;)

michelle said...

Health and productivity are intertwined... that's definite!
I'm very, very bad when it comes to drinking water. I just can't seem to do it. It's not that I have an aversion to drinking water, I just need to develop the habit!

Writer In Transit

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sia. I enjoyed reading your blog post. Lots of great tips.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So that's why everyone in the office takes a nap after we all go out to eat?
My lunch isn't big, but it's enough to sustain me through my gym workout after work.
Yes, water - drink up, folks!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex, yes sir, that's why. Heavy or high carb lunch can do you in every time. :-)

Michelle--I started by making sure I had a bottle of water at my desk and just sipped it during the day. Take a moment to think about something I'm writing I grab the water and take a sip. It helps.

Johanna, you're right, it is.

M. J. Joachim said...

Quality sleep, lots of water and sunshine - along with exercise, like you said...all very important things to keep us going strong!

shelly said...

I eat organic, stay away from gluten, exercise moderately, and pray/meditate.

Thanks for stopping by to see Sir Poops and Hair, today. They love visitors.

Hugs and chocolate,

Mark Means said...

Sounds like you have all the bases covered. We're working to get back into shape, at our house, as well.

Best of luck to you and loved your tips :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Susanne--thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. These are tips I've found through trial and error and work for me. They weren't incorporated all at once, lol! Just over time.

MJ--just normal things we should be doing but we let stress, tight schedules get in the way, don't we?

Shelly, your babies are cuties!

Mark, we have been too. My husband has always been a runner. He in an accident and was out of commission for some time and way out of shape. He calls my high protein veggie/fruit carbs the Shadow Man Diet. He says he's now a shadow of his former self, lol! I call this my survival diet. It's the only one that makes me healthy without pain or allergic reactions. :-)

I'll admit it takes some extra time when I'm cooking but oh, the benefits well outweigh the effort.

Suzanne said...

Hi, water and walking for me. Oh, and avoiding all the sweet treats my other half brings home LOL!
Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe

Michael Di Gesu said...

These are some great tips, Sia!

I often munch on almonds, natural peanut butter (no salt or sugar) ... Have you tried almond butter. YUMM! Especially on sliced apples or celery.

I LOVE coffee too and drink more that I should and it relaxed me too. Funny ... we have a lot in common.

Thanks so much for hopping along with the rest of us Health nuts!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I never seem to get enough sleep. My theory is I'll sleep when I'm dead.

randi lee said...

Definitely walking up and down four flights of stairs at work! And I love your post, especially about the caffeine/sugary drinks. Sure, they're a nice pick-me-up, but certainly don't do much for you in the long run.

On another note, I'm getting back to you about the 3 Ups blog hop. Sorry it took so long--I was away for the Holiday. Your "Upee" is Miss Tara C! Her blog address is Thanks for participating!!!

PS-new follower here :D

~Sia McKye~ said...

Diane--you crack me up. I wanna live a long while before I die and have all that sleep. Seriously, each individual has different needs when it comes to sleep. Some need more than others.

Mike--I never thought of almond butter on celery OR apples. That would be great! I do make up a quasi dessert--one of those quickie things when I'm in a hurry using almond butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, a spoon of brown sugar,and microwave apple slices to just adente and pour on the goodies. A bit crunchy, just sweet enough, and Satisfying. No crust pie. sorta.

Coffee has always relaxed me and calmed the cazillion thoughts going on in my head. There are days, especially in the winter, when I drink too much.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Randi, now four flights would be a good workout.

Thank you for giving me my Upee blog partner. I need to check it out. I think I have read Tara's blog but I'll check.

Yolanda Renee said...

All key points, sleep, water, exercise, especially for our sedentary lives.
Thanks for sharing your tips.

Keep moving and stay healthy!

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Sia. I have yet to try one of those sugary energy drinks. I know some of the younger people mix them with vodka for breakfast. I'm like no way am I drinking one of those. said...

Great holistic approach, Sia. I don't think many other bloghoppers mentioned sleep. Thanks for stressing that. You deal with it realistically, by spacing out those sleep-less nights. We're so focused on what happens during the day that we forget how sleep - or lack thereof - affects it all.

Cheers, and stay well.

Elise Fallson said...

Getting enough sleep is where I falter the most. I'm up early and don't get to bed until way past midnight. This is something I'm working to change because one of these days I'm afraid I'm going to crash.

Laura said...

I struggle with getting enough sleep, as my job requires 5am starts. Usually if I'm at work I only get about 6 hours sleep, if that. I'm trying to find a better job with better hours, but easier said than done!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree that getting enough sleep makes a huge difference. I agree on the other points as well, but the real key for me is to keep active. My company did a 10,000 steps program a couple of years back and I find the discipline of tracking my activity and weight every day has worked well. The true telltale sign was when my waistline size dropped by 2 inches. It's a battle to keep it there, but worth the fight.