Acceptance of Circumstances, competitive advantage, Enjoying What You Do, Importance of taking break, keeping a balance, making time for things you value, Objectives Setting, Passion, warriors, fighters, doing good, giving back, paying it forward

Why I’ve Always Walked – Part II: No Excuses

I promised blog readers and myself that I would write a follow-up post to my original “Why I’ve Always” Walked” blog post, and based on my passion for walking, additional follow-ups to Parts I and II are likely to come. But, for now, we’ll stick to Part II and its focus, “no excuses.”

Gail Snow Moraski Back From a Winter Walk in Her Puffer Jacket

Wanting to keep up with my daily walks in late 2020 and early 2021, despite anticipated dips in New England temperatures, I made sure in Mid-October-2020 that I eliminated as many deterrents to walking daily as I could in advance of November – February colder weather. There’s been a lot of social media conversation around the “best or favorite item you purchased in 2020.” And while, a few furniture purchases for my breezeway to allow for outdoor visits with friends and the family were strong contenders, for me, the award for best purchase was and is my Tommy Hilfiger Faux-Fur-Trim Hooded Maxi Puffer Coat! Thank you Tommy and thank you Macy’s! Yeah, it cost me $157.50 since I purchased it prior to late-season sales (something I normally wait for when it comes to coat purchases), but to-date, it has been worth every penny I spent on it and then some. And, there’s still a lot of South Shore of Boston winter weather ahead of me!

I specifically sought out a coat that would keep me toasty warm while walking in all kinds of Northeast winter weather — winds, rain, snow, temperatures in the teens — without causing me to sweat too much or to feel too weighed-down. This coat is light-weight, keeps me super-warm, and it’s not made of Down, and therefore, doesn’t make me feel all clammy while walking in it. And, I love the fact that I can wear a lightweight sweater vs. a really thick one under it, since the coat itself is so warm. This prevents my movements from feeling/being restricted, and I don’t feel like a walking sausage when I walk!

I also invested in these boots from Toms because the sneaker-bottom works well for me and my ongoing right hip issue, and I don’t want concerns about keeping my feet warm, or having shoes that are comfortable to walk in, to get in the way of my walking either! They’re super warm and I always love the fact that a Toms brand purchase means someone who really needs one, will get a free pair of shoes.

Be Proactive About Preventing Obstacles and Eliminating Excuses

Yeah, that was likely more than you wanted and needed to know about my walking-related purchases. As a new year gets underway, I really just wanted to remind readers that when you take an offensive, proactive approach to health & wellness goals, or to other non-health objectives, you’ll increase your chance of success. I didn’t want any excuses to get in the way of my getting the exercise and sunlight I need to keep my mind and body healthy — particularly during our pandemic when it’s so important to one’s sanity to get outside and get a change-of-scenery.

“Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity”

I’ve always liked the expression “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” My ever-green blog post “While You Wait, Educate” speaks to this same premise. Maybe I’m stretching it a bit when associating buying a warm coat and warm boots with opportunity. But, hey, when friends have reached out to walk on a cold day, I’ve been ready for that opportunity to socialize, or when I run into neighbors while out walking, I have the opportunity to catch up a bit (socially distanced, of course!) because I’m warmly and appropriately dressed and don’t have to rush back inside/home.

With the start of a new year, I’d love to hear from my readers what preparations you’re putting in place to seize opportunities or to prevent obstacles from getting in your way of achieving an important personal or professional goal. So, please do share!

Acceptance of Circumstances, community involvement, Enjoying What You Do, Importance of taking break, keeping a balance, Making Connections, making time for things you value, Objectives Setting, relationship building, warriors, fighters, doing good, giving back, paying it forward

A Life Constant: Why I’ve Always Walked

Walking has always played a huge role in my life. During my early childhood years, when I lived in a very rural area, my five siblings and I walked everywhere — a long, uphill trek to a small candy store, in the many wooded areas of the very country-ish-at-the-time town of Burlington, Connecticut, and around and near two different ponds for swimming to which we had access.

Moving with my family at age 9 to a less rural part of Connecticut (Bristol) didn’t put a damper on my interest in and ability to walk great distances. Just the opposite. My twin, Audrey, and I had sizable walks to school, particularly related to our junior high school, which was a forty-minute walk from our home. As part of that long daily walk, we’d stop by the houses of friends along the way, so that they could join us on the “walking bus” to school. And on the way home from junior high and even elementary school, we’d take routes home that made the trip longer, but that afforded us the opportunity to purchase favorite snacks. In addition, I regularly walked to Bristol’s downtown area to shop, take advantage of the city’s great library, and accomplish other errands.

As you would expect, during college days at UCONN, I continued to walk a great deal. UCONN has a very large campus, so often class location required walking long distances, but UCONN also has a beautiful pond area for walking, known as Mirror Lake — an area to which I was often pulled. I attended the Universite of Rouen in France my senior year and logged a crazy large number of shoe- and sneaker-leather miles abroad, partly due to the fact that the home of the family with which I lived was a significant distance from the Universite, and partly due to the fact that I had the opportunity to spend blocks of time in Paris and other beautiful parts of Europe. Walking is such a great way to get to know a new city or area.

Fast forward to my first apartment post-graduation in Quincy MA (where I didn’t own a car) and to my 15 years of living in Brookline MA (where most of the time I didn’t own a car). I ran many of my errands on foot, but also regularly enjoyed non-errand-related amblings all over Quincy, Brookline and Boston. I often walked numerous stops past the closest MBTA (subway) stop to my employer/job or my home, just to get my mileage and my time in nature to clear my head in.

When I was a child and in my early 20’s, reasons for walking probably tipped more to it being the means to end — a way to get to where I needed and/or to run an errand. As I got older, walking began to take on a different role in my life for the following opportunities it afforded:

2019 Jimmy Fund Walk With Lifetime Friends

Particularly during our pandemic, many of my days have been “two-walk” days, and there’s even been some “three-walk” ones — either because of the need to emotionally manage daily work and personal demands and/or the tough news we’re constantly bombarded with. Or, to have the chance to visit and spend time with friends and family. Of course, walking looks a little bit different these days because of needs to social distance and wear masks.

Since our dating days, my husband, Jay, and I have always enjoyed nature and vacation walks together, but up until recently, I’ve been the primary “neighborhood” walker in the family, but now’s he’s joining me, or walking by himself, having recognized some of the benefits of walking that I’ve shared above.

This only scrapes the surface of why I am and have always been so passionate about walking. I’d love to hear why you walk, so please do share!

Importance of taking break, keeping a balance, marketing consultant

The De-Grid Pledge

July 2019 Update to the Below Blog Post I Wrote Approx. Five Years Ago: I decided at least a year ago to really cut back significantly on my non-work-related time on Facebook. I rarely ever read or respond to others’ post on Facebook, and most of the time when I post — which is now very infrequently — it is related to some cause/charity I’m involved with or to share info. that will benefit others. I found I’m much happier with my personal life when I don’t use my very precious downtime from work, i.e., my personal time, on social media. That said, I do benefit from the groups I participate in on Facebook related to some chronic health issues, and also the fun groups related to a guilty pleasure of mine — following the hunt for buried treasure on Oak Island in the Mahone Bay area of Nova Scotia.  I have also enjoyed  being able to Facebook message with a group of friends or family members. 

I just read the listing at the bottom of my post below about the tenets/guidelines I will follow to de-grid, and I’m pleased to report that I’m doing very well with all of them. How about you?

I welcome your thoughts on the above and would love to hear if and how you’ve de-grided and benefited!

 

I was so inspired by an article I read in “Shape Magazine’s”  May edition last night that, as soon as I got situated in my home office this morning, I had to share its reminders and insights.  You’re probably thinking I’m going to blog about how to change poor exercise or eating behaviors, but this post is about another widespread behavior that could be equally, if not more, damaging to the health of individuals across the Globe — what I call “grid syndrome”, the need to always be “on the grid” or connected.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t read, thought, or taken action related to the ideas and concerns in the aforementioned article (“Get Phone Smart”) before.  But, I’ve been giving a lot more thought recently to the  impact of  “grid syndrome”, and this may be the last “alert” I needed to put new healthy behaviors in place — consistently and permanently.  I believe this “Shape” piece was one of the more comprehensive ones I’ve read on the constant-need-to-be-connected topic. It reminds readers of both the professional and personal impact of feeling the need to always be “plugged into” the outside world — whether it be with friends, family, or strangers — via the internet.

While I was a very early adopter of “LinkedIn” and “Twitter”, and a fairly early adopter of “Facebook’ compared to many of my friends and family members, I have become both a bit leary and weary of all forms of social media.  I don’t like the way I have to pay homage to/”feed” them all the time, and therefore, how they make me feel somewhat imprisoned.  It’s a good thing to have a lot of friends, particularly in the world of social media, but what if work, family, health, and other needs, don’t allow you to read and respond to the hundreds of updates that friends and acquaintances post, particularly on “Facebook”? Are you a bad friend?  Have you missed the one opportunity to learn about some really important occurrence in a family member’s or friend’s life?  My thought and hope is “no” and “no”.

Let’s all ‘fess up.  How many times a day do we feel the need or desire to post the smallest of thoughts or activities on social media for validation that it was a smart/good thought, or a heroic, important deed or action? How did we survive in the days prior to social media without validation from so many close and not-so-close acquaintances? Looking back on my internet-free days, I feel confident in saying that, for reinforcement related to less impactful thoughts or actions, we did a quick check-in with ourselves, and for the bigger life thoughts and actions, we reached out to friends and family members via phone or in-person for support or feedback.  And, didn’t the self check-in build confidence in ourselves, and the family/friend check-ins build stronger relationships?

This past weekend, I visited Boston’s wonderful Museum of Fine Arts for the fabulous annual “Art in Bloom” event with several women I have known for thirty years now. During our lunch break to fuel up for more art and flower arrangement viewing and chit-chat, I posed a question I’d been pondering regarding “Facebook” — were people starting to be feel the way I was, and that I had heard people were feeling, i.e., burnt out on it?  Two of my lunchmates chimed in immediately that “yes”, they were, and I think all of us present wouldn’t have traded our wonderful day together for hundreds of shared posts on “Facebook”.  We are friends that hung out frequently  in our early twenties, before major life changes like marriage, children, demanding jobs, moves, etc. lessened the frequency of get-togethers.  It was the early-to-late-1980’s, when mobile phones were only for the very wealthy and the internet wasn’t even something we could possibly dream of or anticipate.  But, somehow, and quite successfully, we made plans to meet up or travel together to the “Jukebox” in Boston, the former “Chevy’s” in Quincy, Duxbury Beach, cross-country skiing in New Hampshire, or a road trip to Falmouth, without e-mail, cell phones, Facebook, or texting!  And part of the fun was calling one friend to ask if they were able to reach another friend — by  phone or in-person, of course — to alert them of that evening’s or weekend’s plans.  There was an excitement and energy to making all the arrangements that brought as much fun and camaraderie as participating in the activity itself.

It’s so fun to reminisce about a less complex and “freer” time, and that brings me back to the personal and professional impacts of “grid syndrome”.  As they pointed out in the “Shape” article as well as many others I’ve read, doesn’t it truly take away from your enjoyment of a day visiting a local farm, traveling to the seashore, or watching a play-off game, if you are constantly thinking about what witty remark you’ll post, or if you feel the constant need to take photos to upload vs. just enjoying the event by yourself or with loved ones?  I strongly believe that it does. And, what about the professional impact of always being plugged in?  As the aforementioned article and other publications have pointed out, many individuals have found themselves more sleep-deprived and anxious as a result of feeling the need to be constantly “plugged-in”.  The lure of reading that one last “Facebook” post, sending a status update, as well as the bright light of computer screens and cell phones keep us up or our minds racing later than would be ideal for functioning well in the morning.

While it would seem contradictory, stepping away from work e-mail at a reasonable hour, say no later than 8 p.m., will in the long run make you a better manager, employee, business owner, etc.  Because, as the article explains, you’ll arrive at work more rested — leading to better performance, idea generation, and enthusiasm — attributes your employer or your clients are sure to value.

Because I am both a business owner and a marketing consultant, without a doubt, you will still find me tweeting and posting about marketing issues.  And, you’ll still see me using all forms of social media to share what I believe to be information that helps others — whether it be a health and wellness tip, a link to support a charity, or some other information that keeps people safe and healthy — because this is what I believe is the true value of social media, and the internet, in general — to spread information that will help others.

In recent months, I’ve cut back my “personal”  participation in “Facebook”.  I still post regularly on my “business” “Facebook” page at allintheresults.  I’ve always tended to go in spurts on the personal posting side anyhow. I wanted to see how much I would miss it and if I would feel less anxious if I stayed away from it. Not enough time has passed to draw a conclusion, so I plan to continue my experiment to lessen my exposure to “grid syndrome” triggers and see what the results are — very much in keeping with my love of research and analytic nature! I don’t consider myself a social media addict, but then again, that’s a common cry among addicts.

What I’m pledging here, and I ask my friends, family, and colleagues to hold me to this, and to strongly consider taking the De-grid Pledge:

  1. Unless a non-movable, tight work deadline requires it, I won’t use a computer, cell phone or other hand-held device for work-related purposes after 8 p.m.
  2. I won’t use a computer, cell phone or other hand-held device for personal/social interactions after 9 p.m, but preferably, will de-grid even earlier in the evening.
  3. I’ll be fully present and engaged in any social/fun activities with family or friends, and not think about what I’m going to post or share about it online.
  4. I’ll employ more “old-fashioned” means of staying updated with friends – calls to land lines, breakfast/lunch/coffee/walk get-togethers, cards, and letters, and spontaneous visits (with a quick call ahead of time, of course :)).

I’m hoping to generate some lively discussion on this topic,  and that some of you will pledge to join me in my pledge. I’d love to hear what other components should be added to this pledge.  And, I can’t wait to check in six months from now to see and learn who is sleeping better, is less stressed and anxious, and who’s enjoyed the wonderful daily activities of life as God meant them to be.