For the most part I’ve been blessed with good mental and physical health. In 2010 I was diagnosed with an early stage, indolent type of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and took a leave of absence from school for treatment. That period of my life put things very much in perspective for me. One way I take care of myself is to be more mindful by actively noticing new things. I think less about what might happen in the future and focus more on what is happening now.
Events don’t cause stress. What causes stress are the views you take of events–Epictetus
Recently the On Being podcast with Krista Tippett featured Social Psychologist Ellen Langer and her studies on mindfulness. If you are interested in learning more head over to the podcast.
I’ve always been quick to laugh and maintain a positive outlook on life. Besides my family, here’s what brings me joy.
Outdoors and Exercise
This summer I spent a lot of time with a dear friend walking an 8 mile loop in the local forest preserve. We hiked 4-5 times a week. Between that and eliminating gluten from my diet I lost 25 pounds this summer.
Since our children are grown, my walking buddy and I also found time to take day and overnight trips hiking a variety of state parks in Illinois and Wisconsin.
I’ve rediscovered tennis. I played the sport competitively in college but dropped it entirely when my priorities became parenting. I am slowly getting my timing back and adjusting to the modern game by drilling weekly, hitting against the backboard, and playing pickup games. I even analyze YouTube tennis videos to help me modernize my serve and one-handed backhand!
Film and Television
My husband and I love going to the movies. If I had the money I’d open an independent movie theater, but I do enjoy many mainstream films too. We just saw Blade Runner 2049, which had a complex plot I really liked, and American Made which was less compelling, but somewhat entertaining.
I also escape by tuning into certain programs on Netflix. Since we don’t get cable, I satisfy myself with series such as Luther and Black Mirror. I particularly like foreign series such as 3%, Fauda, and Nobel.
I used to read a lot of fiction, but non-fiction is where I spend my time these days. Besides Weapons of Math Destruction, I’ve read Dream Hoarders, The Color of Law, No is Not Enough, Democracy in Chains and Stamped from the Beginning. As a middle schooler, my daughter loved Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy and she recently recommended his new novel The Book of Dust.
Everyone takes care of themselves differently. This works for me. Do what’s best for you!