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Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

Reach! 3 Invaluable Tips To Endure The Holidays

Originally published on BlindAlive

If I said I’m here to tell you about three unbeatable moves for the entire holiday season, what would your reaction be?

Maybe your heart does a little happy dance because you love the holidays in any way, shape or form. Maybe you feel almost nothing, and you wonder if it’s worth your time to keep reading. After all, retailers have been pushing “The most wonderful time of the year” since before Halloween.

Or maybe you passionately hate it all. Maybe you’re dealing with a job loss, a break-up, a life-changing diagnosis, or the death of someone you love.

I’d like to suggest that whatever your state of mind, you’ll love these three moves. In fact, I find them unbeatable all year-long.

First, let’s talk about the equipment you’ll need. You might want to wear comfortable walking shoes, but slippers, party shoes, or bare feet will also do nicely. You can sit, stand, or lie down.

The most important skill you will need for each of these moves is to reach! Here they are:

  1. Reach In!
    While this sounds like an anatomically impossible stretch to do with your body, it’s vital to do with your mind. Reach inside yourself. Are you incredibly sad, but are doing your best to put on a brave face? Or maybe you are keeping up the facade of acting coolly disinterested or hassled by the entire scene when you can barely contain your excitement and enthusiasm? You may not feel like you can let your feelings show, and even though it would be ideal if you could, you owe it to yourself to be honest inside your own head.
  2. Reach Out!
    Are you depleted? Reach out. Chances are, there are family and friends who’d love to lend a listening ear. Do you have energy and excitement to spare? Reach out. It’s important to be flexible and patient with yourself. Some days, some moments, you may be giving. Others, you may be receiving. Just do your best to keep reaching out and connecting meaningfully with others, both for their sake and yours.
  3. Reach Up!
    Have you ever listened to a workout where the instructor abandons particular steps and says something like, “Just move! Just do what feels best to you?” This third move is one that leaves room for lots of interpretation. For some, reaching up means taking time to connect with God and think about the significance of the season. For others, it might mean reaching higher — putting on that last burst of speed to complete goals first begun in January. It might mean reaching higher within yourself, to emerge victorious from struggles that seem impossible.

Whatever you do this holiday season, Keep On Reaching In, Reaching Out, Reaching Up!

If you’d like to share your story, we’d love to hear from you at Support@BlindAlive.com.

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Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

Creative Thinking … It Tastes Just Like Chicken

Originally Published June 05, 2016 on BlindAlive by Lisa Salinger

Veggie topped pizza with broccoli, tomatoes, yellow and red peppers, and cheeseHave you noticed how many things are said to taste “just like chicken?” From frog legs to tofu turkey, to alligator meat, the refrain is the same: “It tastes just like chicken.” I doubt that anyone is actually gullible enough to believe this. After all, nothing tastes exactly like chicken except for, well, chicken. So why do we say it? My unproven theory is that we want to compare something that’s new and unfamiliar to something we know and like, or even love. It’s why parents tell children that their liquid medicine tastes just like candy. The parents know it’s not true, but to them, the health benefits of taking the medicine are preferable to the consequences.

I’ll never forget my first taste of whole wheat pizza with vegan cheese. A delivery order to my office had been confused, and we ended up with four of these pizzas, and only one traditional one. Some of my coworkers were not pleased, but they were hungry, so they dug in. Comments followed quickly. “This doesn’t taste like pizza. It’s awful!”

A friend of mine sometimes refers to me as Polly the Peacemaker. Polly is for Pollyanna, who always looks on the bright side, and peacemaker comes from the fact that I’m happiest when everyone in my world is getting along. So you can see why I couldn’t just let the negativity continue.
“That’s because it’s not really pizza,” I said. Only something that sounded so offbeat would stop the conversation in its tracks.

“I don’t really think of it as pizza. If I did, I’d be really disappointed. I think of it as Vegan flatbread, and it’s pretty good. The crust is different, but it’s kind of nutty, and it has texture, and the cheese doesn’t taste like standard Mozzarella, but it’s a nice mix with the veggies that are on top.”

If you feel like you’re just eating a healthier version of pizza, and you don’t really like it, you’ll just feel cheated, or at least I have. But set that notion aside, and maybe substitute a mental script like, “I am making healthy choices and am enjoying Vegan flatbread.” It may just sound like a game of semantics, but why not recognize the unique differences of each food you try? After all, not everything tastes like chicken, and that is as it should be.

If you’ve found a helpful food substitution or a mental trick that works for you, please let us know. You can always respond via social media or on our Facebook group.

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Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

“The Right Tools

Originally published February 28, 2016  by  Lisa Salinger

Have you ever gotten a stone stuck inside your shoe? You try not to walk on it, and gingerly limp around until you can stop and remove it. Yesterday, this happened to me, with one important twist. When I tried to remove the offending stone, there was none to be found.

I was able to ignore it for the most part and went on with my day. Unfortunately, every time I got up from sitting at my desk, the discomfort was back, and by the end of the day, my slight limp turned into a hobble, and I could barely put weight on that foot.

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s. where your power is.”

The culprit, it seems, is something called Plantar Fasciitis, a condition that, while painful, can be easily treated in most cases. It happens due to repetitive micro-traumas to the plantar fascia, a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that runs the length of the foot. Treatment involves taking a rest from walking and high-impact activities and stretching the Achilles tendon and the muscles of the calves and feet.

I’m not thrilled about giving up my daily walk, even temporarily. I walk a minimum of an hour a day, and it’s rare that I don’t log ten thousand steps a day on my FitBit. To be perfectly honest, I don’t always enjoy walking and wonder sometimes if that hour could be better spent. However, if I don’t walk in a given day, I feel restless and full of nervous energy, and focusing on even simple things can sometimes be a challenge.

I feel so fortunate at times like these to have tools in my figurative toolbox. That way, when something needs to be fixed or adjusted, I am ready and able, because I have the right tools for the job. In this case, I have three, and I’d like to share them with you.

  1. First is creativity. This is the mindset that asks, “How can I do this?” rather than saying, “I give up.”
  2. Second are things that will help me keep moving. How can I get in some of that all-important cardio that seems so beneficial for my health and well-being? For a few days, I’ll spend more time bouncing on the stability ball. It’s not as vigorous as walking, but it’s an adequate substitute for now. I also purchased a rebounder about a year ago. This is a mini trampoline with a rail I can use for balance, and the springy surface will lessen the impact to my heel.
  3. The final tool comes straight from BlindAlive. I was already doing our Cardio and Sculpting with Weights workouts, but now I need something that involves minimal standing on hard surfaces, and minimal impact, at least for now. I plan to make good use of the Gentle Workout Set and the Pilates Chair with Ring workout. These emphasize muscle stretching and strengthening more than I have lately. The fact that I have this problem in the first place is a gentle reminder from my body to strengthen and use my muscles so that, like good tools, they are ready for any job.

If you have any questions about what you’ve read, or you’d like to learn more about any of our workouts, please fill out the contact form at www.BlindAlive.com. We’d love to hear from you!

 

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Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

Reading With Purpose

Originally Published on BlindAlive October 11, 2015, by  Lisa Salinger

I have been an avid reader for most of my life, and when I’m not enjoying a good novel — what some call escapism fiction — I’m reading books about self-improvement. If you were to live with me, day in and day out, you’d think those books weren’t doing me much good. The really unfortunate thing is that, for the most part, you would be right.

I will often be inspired or excited by something I read, and I have the very best of intentions to make it a part of my daily life. Then, I get really busy, or involved in a time-consuming project, or I read another motivational book, and all the fantastic, useful information I’ve read gets shelved, if you’ll excuse the bad pun. What good is it if I spend my time, and sometimes my money, on a book I think is the very epitome of transformational advice if I don’t put it into practice?

I’ve given this some thought lately and wanted to share some things I am beginning to do to get the most from my current reads.

I started by making a list of the memorable books I read but had never implemented. I did not browse through my download history, but just wrote down a few titles I read at some point in the past. Thinking of them made me feel a sense of regret that I had not done more with the material. I came up with three books, which I plan to reread in the near future. To keep this from being an obligation that leaves you feeling flattened, try limiting yourself to five or fewer books.

I resolved to listen to the author. When I come across phrases like “Practice exercise,” “Don’t read on until you’ve done this,” or “Make a list,” I’m actually stopping to do it. I know that if I say I’ll come back to it, or I half-heartedly make a list in my head instead of actually capturing it somewhere, it won’t happen. I’m sure the author did not just build in practice exercises for no good reason. It is likely that these same activities were used by the author to become successful in the areas about which he or she is writing. If I’m investing the time to read the book, I can at least make time to try what the author suggests.

I’m learning to slow down. Sometimes, a book contains so many practical and helpful suggestions, I read it through without stopping. It’s the equivalent of gulping half a gallon of cold water on a hot day. It will do some good, but the real benefit comes from taking it slowly. Now, I try to reserve my reading binges for fiction and take the time to live with a helpful book for a couple of days, or even a couple of weeks so I can really integrate its practices into my daily life.

 

Finally, I’m learning to take notes on what I read. This doesn’t mean I need to write a complete outline of the book, but I should at least jot down anything I find particularly helpful. I am reading more audio books than ever, and while they are great, it is sometimes hard to go back and search for that sought-after bit of information. Taking notes gives me quick access to those parts of a book I value most. What’s more, the act of writing things down helps to cement them in my mind.

Have you ever been so caught up in a plan of action or a premise that you don’t see its faults? Critical thinking has not come naturally to me but is something I have had to cultivate. I find that distilling the premise or plan outlined in a book to just a few thoughts or sentences is like shining a spotlight on it. The flaws are made more visible, and the gems shine like the jewels they truly are.

Do you have a strategy for implementing what you read that I didn’t mention here? If so, please feel free to email support@BlindAlive.com and share it, or post to our Facebook group. Here’s wishing you a happy, transformative reading experience!