November 9

Strategies for Survival: Eat a Vegetable

In other words, take care of yourself.

Seriously, guys.  It’s a miracle we survive this every year.

Nano is a great time to have fun, interact with our friends, and stretch our creative muscles.  But what about our regular muscles?  And our stomachs, and heads, and all the rest of us?  We’re pretty hard on ourselves, aren’t we?

Sitting in coffee shops for hours on end, drinking coffee for hours on end, pulling late nights to get our words in, not to mention all those awesome potlucks full of tasty snacks.  It all seems like such a good idea at the time, and it’s such a bad idea afterwards.

And THEN you’ve got all the dangers of the impending winter: stuck indoors, everyone is sniffling, flu season is starting, and the stress of Nano is compounded by stress at school, busy seasons at work, and the holidays.  Ever notice how many wrimos wind up fighting a bug partway through the month?  Is it any wonder why?

So that’s why my theme for this year’s nano is Eat a Vegetable.  Let’s all try this year to take care of ourselves.

Eat a Vegetable:  and maybe some whole grains.  Like, every day.  Seriously.  Scurvy is threatening to set in.  Is your belly sore?  It’s cuz you’re full of coffee and cookies, ya numpty.  It might be too late to do a ton of meal prep and fill up your November freezer, (or maybe it’s not: I don’t know your life) but kinda try to think every day about eating something solid and decent that isn’t fast food or snacks.  It’s not like I’m saying not to eat that dessert.  I probably made that dessert.  I’m just saying to chase it with some roughage before your digestive tract grinds to a screeching halt.

Ease up on the Caffeine: I know, sacrilege!   But if you haven’t wrecked your stomach on junk food, you’ve probably wrecked it on too much coffee, too much tea (not really a thing), or if you’re like me, too much coffee AND tea with too much sugar and probably more dairy than you REALLY should be consuming.  (Peppermint white mocha?  Yes, please.)  Just maybe think twice before ordering your third drink, or pot, of the day, and have a little decaf.  By all means, keep up the jokes about drinking coffee til you can see through time.  That’s part of our nano culture, and it’s fun.  But still, drink some water.

Also, Drink some Water:  Oh, yeah.  Water.  Lots of it!  The old eight glasses a day thing might be an arbitrary myth, but in general, hydration is happiness.  Drink some water whenever you’re thirsty and then some more on top of that.  Try a glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you consume, as well as with each meal, and then whenever it moves you to drink some more.  “Voiding Clear = Happy Mountaineer!”  Your kidneys will thank you.

Get up and Stretch:  Walk around.  Move your body.  Sitting too still in one place for too long is bad for your back, your neck, your muscles, your circulation, your digestion (there’s that sad belly again), your everything.  Staring at your screen too long is bad for your eyes and will give you a headache.  Every hour or so, AT LEAST, stand up, stretch, move your body.  Get some water while you’re at it.  Go to the bathroom.  Get a snack.  Just MOVE.  Before your legs swell up and your back and head are aching and everything is just the worst.  One of these years someone is going to throw a blood clot at Midway and then we’re ALL going to have a bad day.

Go to Sleep:  I’m up too late already, but I promise, I’m going to bed very, very soon.  The occasional late night isn’t going to hurt anyone, but you know you, and you know how much sleep you need to really be productive and to feel like a decent human being.  Be a decent human being.  Get some sleep.  The words will still be there in the morning.

Take a Shower, and Brush your Teeth:  You will feel better when you are clean.  The rest of us at the writein will also feel better when you are clean.

Calm Your Tits:  We get ourselves all worked up over this, and some of us are a ball of anxiety from day one to thirty.  (Just take a look at the MLs if you want to see a human being crack.  😛 )  Just take a moment to chill out.  If you need to, for your physical, mental, or emotional well-being, it is okay for you to skip the event, or even turn the computer off for the day.  It will be okay.  Promise.

Interact with Your Loved Ones:  Nano completely dominated my social calendar during the entirety of November, and during most of October.  And parts of August and September as well.  I have twenty events on my calendar just this month, just for nano.  It’s a LOT.  But you don’t want your mom to forget what you look like, or your spouse to assume you’ve left and are never coming back.  Take some time with your non-nano family.  Be present.  Your life doesn’t stop when nano starts.

Here’s hoping that we can all have a great nano, and also that our bodies will still exist when we’re done.  Now, I’m going to get up, stretch, brush my teeth, and head to bed.   🙂


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