Maintaining a Healthy Brain While Working Online

I’ve recently had the pleasure of chatting with the media-proclaimed “Poker Barbie” Lacey Jones about playing poker on and offline and actually making a living doing it. It seems rather strange to me to rely on a chance game to supply your income but I suppose many people feel the same about freelance design work and professional blogging (sometimes you have tons of jobs and advertising opportunities, sometimes just a few) and so, having had several friends that seem to successfully live this way, I had to learn more about how they are able to make the most of the unconventional (Miseducated) lifestyle and career they chose.

One topic we kept coming back to in our discussion is how to stay healthy while spending the majority of our time sitting down doing mostly brain work and very little body work. In being a blogger and artist I can definitely relate to my body getting the short end of the deal and began to realize that our work actually holds many more similarities than I had previously thought.

So what exactly is needed to run both a healthy brain and a healthy body while sitting for long periods of time? I thought you’d never ask! Let’s take a look at some brain foods, unhealthy foods and health tips used by professional poker players around the globe and use this information to our own benefit whether we be playing poker for money or blogging for fun.

“Add these ‘superfoods’ to your daily diet, and you will increase your odds of maintaining a healthy brain for the rest of your life.” ~ WebMD

Brain Foods

Blueberries
Wild Salmon
Nuts and Seeds
Avacados
Whole Grains
Beans
Pomegranates
Tea
Dark Chocolate // Cacao

“Whether you play live or online, poker guarantees one thing; you spend plenty of time sitting in a chair. In order to be profitable in the long run it’s crucial to revitalize the body and mind with exercise and healthy food.” ~ 9 Essential Health Tips for the Online Poker Grinder

Health Tips

Ergonomic and Comfortable Chair – Make sure your chair is supportive to your back, your monitor is at a comfortable height and your wrists are relaxed.
Take Breaks – Take 2-5 minute breaks every 30-60 minutes to maintain high brain performance and productivity and don’t forget to take a 30 minute lunch in the middle of your work day.
Rest Your Eyes – Remember to look away from the monitor throughout your workday and focus on something farther away for a short time.
Use Routine Exercises and Good Posture – Don’t simply melt into your chair and write away, be sure to keep moving throughout your work day even in the smallest of ways. Roll and stretch your wrists, contract and hold your abdominal and gluteus muscles, exercise your calves by pushing up onto the balls of your feet. Utilize a routine which allows you to be habitual in your seated exercise regimen.

“By reducing or eliminating the foods that should be avoided you will optimize your brain power today and reduce your risk of developing brain related diseases in the future.” ~ LIVESTRONG

Foods to Avoid

Processed Carbohydrates
Trans Fat and Fried Foods
Meat
Fatty Dairy
Sugary Sweets

Ask a Healthy Life Stylist and Coach


Greetings & Salutations, Miseducated!

As your new virtual healthy life stylist, I am thrilled to be your guide through the wonderland of wellness. In the coming months, I look forward to answering your most burning health & wellness questions, but first, allow me clear up a few common questions about what I do:

What is a Healthy Life Stylist?

A healthy life stylist is like a fashion stylist for the health world. Much like a fashion stylist would help you makeover your wardrobe [getting rid of the items that don’t flatter you & giving you new items that allow your inner goddess to sparkle], I help you makeover your life. From what to eat to feel your best to what steps to take to achieve your dreams, my job is about creating health for your whole being. Health and wellness aren’t just about eating vegetables; they’re about loving yourself, loving your job, developing healthy relationships, and cultivating a spiritual practice that makes you feel enlightened & at peace. I’m here to help with all these things and more.

What kind of questions do you answer?

Because I like to think of myself as a nutritionist, a life coach, and a therapist, all rolled into one, I can answer questions about any area you’re feeling less than fabulous about. I’m here to help you feel your best.

How can I learn more about your services?

If you’re in need of more than just a few questions answered or you want to receive an individualized lifestyle plan, consider signing up for my Health & Happiness in Half a Year program. You can check out the details & pricing for individual or group sessions on my website.

That’s it for now, darlings. <3 I look forward to answering your deepest health ponderings. xoxo, Michelle Shea Walker, H.C.

Just make sure you are clear about if you mind your question/answer being published on Miseducated and if you’d prefer to be anonymous. All questions will be answered by Michelle regardless so ask away!

Photo of Michelle by Aaron Ehinger Photography.

Do You Have the Winter Blues?

Pink, yellow and green oh my!

Please excuse Miseducated for being a little wonky lately.. I’ve been making changes that I feel are best for our growth (no more ugly ads!).
I’m only allowing your ads from now on.
I’m really overly anal about how things look around here, you might not pick that up at first from the rainbow headache you endure upon visiting but it’s true!

We talk about motivation a lot. What KEEPS you motivated? I continually go back to the same old thing, exercise and coffee. It never fails that when I put exercising off I begin to feel lethargic and unmotivated. Exercising produces endorphins which are especially important to those of us with depression and seasonal affective disorder! Let’s also not forget about those of us who are just tired. The winter makes us want to be more dormant, we’re stuck inside (we keep getting snowed in here!) and cozy. It’s cold outside. However if we could just push ourselves to reach a small goal we set for ourselves each day? And slowly raise it?

I haven’t been exercising since I had Colette so I’ve been forcing myself to start. It’s really invigorating… on top of all of the damn coffee and tea I drink everyday.

How to Look Good and Feel Great

One important way to getting your life on track and going the way you want it to go is by keeping healthy. But for a second, forget about all the vitamins, potions, and shots that everyone says you need to keep going strong. The one easy (and fun!) way to keep yourself running like a tank is by exercising. And exercising not only keeps you healthy and fit, it can keep you looking hot!

I know, I know. You’re tired of people telling you to get your butt to the gym all the time. You think lifting weights is boring. I agree. You think running on the treadmill (literally) gets you nowhere. I also agree. I used to DESPISE going to the gym. And I do mean despise. My hall mates actually had to pick me up out of my bed and carry me to the door to get me to go to the gym with them. But when I realized I was falling victim to the dreaded “freshmen fifteen” last year, I knew something had to be done.

Getting in the habit of exercising is all about finding what exercises not only work for you but which ones you love as well. It could be all well and good that the StairMaster whips your thighs into shape, but if you dread doing it then you’ll be more likely to quit working out. I’m not gonna lie, it will take a little bit of time experimenting to find out what exercises you enjoy.

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Have a cat? Cat Yoga!

It took me a few months to finally discover my thing, which happens to be cycling classes. But once I found them, I seriously fell in love. I go almost every day, and cycling not only burns a TON of calories, but the classes are fun too! They go by really quickly, and when I leave the gym I have so much more energy than I had when I got there.

Overall, I still despise the gym in general. But never again will I have to resort to attempting to lift weights in a room full of overly-buff boys, or spend 45 minutes running to nowhere on a treadmill. I found what works for me, and I really enjoy it. Since I’ve started working out on a regular basis, I have a lot more energy than I had before. Not only that, but in the midst of this awful flu and cold season, I haven’t gotten sick!

Many gyms have free trial memberships where you can check out the various classes they have to offer. Take my word for it. Go to your local gym, pick up a trial pass, and see what works for you! It could be something totally unexpected, like belly dancing or karate, but if you enjoy it and you’re getting a good workout, that’s all that matters.

What’s So Fake About You?

What comes with knowing yourself? Oftentimes it’s too overwhelming and intimidating, and we return to our previous patterns. If we’re persistent enough to embrace who we really are, it can still be a lonely road. Sometimes, finding out the truth about ourselves just seems to be too much trouble. So we keep making the same mistakes and falling into the same patterns because we haven’t really unwound and understood the root of these patterns in the first place!

Someone once (or twice) said, know thyself. Let’s see; the Oracle of Delphi, Jesus, well, heck, about everybody worth mentioning has some twist on it. Why? Most of us who have been in therapy, read numerous self-help books, etc., are left being mostly acutely aware of what is wrong with us and eventually head back to the barn (what’s familiar). There is only so much we can take. And those of us who hang in there still complain of the loneliness and austere life it seems the road less traveled requires. “To Hell with it!” we say, “Life is short and I need a reward for all this vigilance and self-examination, arrgh…pass the Kool-Aid.” So, we continue the search, now seeking elsewhere for guidance, and perhaps decide Popeye was right, “I am what I am” and get on with life.

If knowing the truth and ourselves is that much trouble, I can’t be bothered: I have bills to pay, mountains to climb, kids to feed, men to seduce (who will hopefully rescue me from it all), women to charm (who will hopefully distract me from my failures), pounds to lose, wrinkles to conquer, a legacy to leave so I can get to Happily Ever After already. So we ditch Buddha for Santa Claus (& Popeye) and keep looking for the secret. “Know thyself, ha!” we mutter and join the proverbial “if ya can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” crowd.

We manage to skate for a while on our latest distractions: a new love interest, new job, new cosmetic procedure, sudden influx of cash, new handbag or project. Yet the gap between how we act and who we are widens, and no matter what we tell ourselves, eventually the suffering returns, most of it silent. And we wonder why. So we up the dues: get more sex, more stuff, more money, more attention, better projects, a different house, another baby, another job, travel (that’s it! I need a vacation!), a face lift, a tummy tuck, lose 20 pounds, a younger wife, get another degree, REDECORATE for God’s sake… THIS IS AMERICA! The pursuit of happiness is my birthright!

Beneath the façade of fake smiles and the it’s all good story swells the raging sea of discontent, the cauldron of disappointment, chilled by terror and fueled by resentment that things are not different. This cocktail is lethal—we chase it down with envy and regret as the elusive dream slips further away.

According to scientists, our daily behavior is 90% subconscious. From years one to five a projection reel spliced with trauma, false beliefs and genetic inheritance has been cast upon our nubile brains: the reel continually spins out our reality, like the daily press, in predictable neural loops over our lifetime. It seems who we are is simply who someone else (“they”) told us to be. Most of us were duped and now are understandably pissed, as we find interrupting these patterns and uncovering who we really are feels like trying to stop a nose-diving 747 jet with a diaphragm.

You might cry, “Why do I pretend to be more than I am, have more than I have? Why do I feel that I am not enough, why don’t I want what I have, how come happiness escapes me, why do I believe that when I get (blank) everything will be okay, but that never seems to come?” The good news is, what is fake about you is NOT who you are! Who you are is magnificent, eternal, and unique. Yet until we know this true self we feel trapped in a life directed by an unconscious dictator, our subconscious beliefs and patterns.

While you may be tired, overwhelmed and have no bandwidth right now as survival is taking its toll, as my mother would say, “Don’t give up 5 minutes before the miracle.” Here is an exercise that may help you reignite your search for freedom of being, as well as put some pep back in your step—the energy it takes to pretend to be someone you are not, be fake, is extraordinary.

What’s fake about me? Exercise

1. Get a piece of paper and write down all the things that are fake about you (you may burn after reading, of course). Examples might be that you are:

Fake skinny: you spend an inordinate amount of time watching your weight so that people will find you attractive or so you will feel loved or seen. You fear that if you were fat you would never be happy, popular, get a man, be loved or accepted.

Fake nice: you spend much of your time trying to make people like you, manipulating your circumstances by being nice so you can get what you want, while underneath you seethe with resentment or envy of those who don’t seem to care what others think.

Fake rich: you pretend to be successful, you have mortgaged your life so others will think you are a person of worth, you lease your car that you cannot afford, buy clothes to create a false image, live in a house beyond your means, etc.

You get the idea, go ahead and explore all the fake parts: fake smart, because you believe you need to know so you can hide your fear of being inept or stupid; fake pretty, in hopes of being perfect-looking so you can finally be important, special or loved; fake happy, because you know people don’t want to hear your problems and would never want to be around someone as depressed and messed up as you really feel. Fake straight, fake sexy, fake sensitive, fake caring, fake in control, fake good mom, fake happy marriage, fake great relationship, fake healthy, fake spiritual, and on and on. Let it out. You have an opportunity to relieve yourself of the burden of living this secret life by simply admitting it!

2. Be with it. Sit down with what’s fake about you and move deeper into it. Exaggerate it, even. Give it a voice. Let the fake part or parts have a turn telling you about themselves. You might be surprised at what they have to say!

3. Feel it. Whatever feeling or emotions come, let yourself have them. Like a wave, they will not hurt you; they will wash through you and heal you if you have the courage to feel them all the way. (It could be helpful to have an enlightened witness to share this part of the process with, someone you trust to your core.)

4. Allow it. Relaxing into this allowing, comes freedom. In the acceptance comes understanding and then compassion. Including all our parts allows us greater freedom of being. Developing unconditional love for ourselves expands our capacity for intimacy and joy.

5. Know this is not all of who you are. My teacher Kathy reminds me of this fact all the time. I feel relieved and all at once welcomed back to the human race and condition. We find our right size again. This perspective gives space for a sense of peace and well-being, room to breathe and dream forward your heart’s true desires again. Your soul shines, your authentic self is free to be!
Namasté and blessings, freedom seekers!