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For those of us whose work has us sitting at our desks all week, it’s time to stand up and take notice!  According to what I’ve been hearing and reading,  sitting for all those hours is wreaking havoc with our health, and may even be taking as much as 15 years off our life expectancy.  Yikes!

The good news is that this is easily corrected.    The simplest thing to do is just get up!  That’s right,  standing up for 30 seconds each hour is enough to counteract all that sitting.  Stand while you’re on the phone, walk to get a drink of water, march in place.  Or better yet, take a five minute walk or even do jumping jacks at your desk.  (This goes for those of you who spend a few hours in the evening in front of your television as well!)


Running man sculpture outside the Sport, Exerc...

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I recently attended a meeting where one of the speakers was Dr. Mark Hyman.  Among other fascinating discussions, he talked about how important it was to create a support team as well as to set up your physical environment for success.  In the case of focusing on your health and eating habits, he talked about one of his successes with the Saddleback church, who with his help, created an entire program and website to promote health–The Daniel Plan.  Here parishioners can join a support team.  Get plan information and education in videos, blogs and more.  It’s a total environment for changing the way they live and getting fit and healthy.

I listened to some of the videos, in particular Dr. Daniel Amen and his wife going though someone’s pantry and refrigerator to eliminate all the “bad” foods–things like hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, chemicals and additives.  By doing so you not only become proactive in showing your commitment to yourself, you create a physical environment that supports healthy eating habits.

Mark joked about the collaboration between a nice Jewish boy from NY and the Saddleback Ministry.  But it’s no joke that this program is effective and changing lives.  Coming soon, he’ll have a website that will support those not part of the ministry, but you don’t have to wait to get started.

Commit to eating better.  Mark’s book, Ultrametabolism, is a good start, as are so many of the excellent books that have come out in recent years.  Prevention Magazine is another good resource.   There’s a wealth of resources both at the Daniel Plan site and Mark’s own site and

Commit to moving more.  It would be amazing to have the resources of a personal trainer, but you can do almost as well with one of the many sites that show you, step by step, how to exercise properly.  Two of my favorite are Livestrong and Mayo Clinic.

Get a support team!  Ask a few friends or find a group online.  Research has shown that those who have support do much better than those who go at it alone.

Set up your environments to support you.  Don’t buy foods that are bad for you. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with easily prepared and grabbed foods.  Read and learn about what’s important to your health and why.  Stay away from fast food places and avoid the neighborhood cupcake bakery. 😉  Find a walking or exercise buddy and commit to them.

And go straight to health!

Our environment effects our thoughts, and our thoughts affect our environment. Your surroundings (or Physical Environment) are composed of the tangible aspects of your life: your home, your car, your office, artwork, “toys”and nature. This environment presents observable clues of what’s going on in our lives. So if things are vibrant and going well, it’s likely your home and office reflect that.  When chaos reigns in our lives, it’s likely that clutter, damaged items, noise and chaos are reflected in our homes.

Everyone has different needs when it comes to their Physical Environment.  Some people need simplicity, some vibrant colors, and for some opulence and elegance are what they need.  Your Physical Environment can affect your creativity, your mood, motivation and even your energy.  The Chinese knew this and developed a complex system for creating an ideal environment in Feng Shui. However, you don’t need to hurry out and hire a Feng Shui consultant. Begin by figuring out what you need in your environment. What in yours is currently working for you? What’s not? Our environment  isn’t ideal when it lacks a quality we need, whether that’s nature, beauty, serenity, scented candles, or even sounds such as water or music.

And that’s not to say your environment needs to be picture perfect or ready for House Beautiful. Years ago, I was invited to someone’s home for lunch.  She had a few things she needed to complete for work, and led me into her living room to wait for her to finish.  The living room was a showpiece.    White plush carpeting, white sofas, white marble coffee table,  beautiful artwork on the walls.  All very expensive, all very sterile.  There was not an ounce of color.  The throw pillows were white, and the coffee table was bare…not a magazine or object in site.  I was almost afraid to move.  After a few minutes, I went looking for another spot to sit, and found the very cluttered den, complete with magazines, toys all over the floor and knick knacks everywhere.  I breathed a sigh of relief, and sat down.

You don’t need to do an immediate renovation, although sometimes rearranging the furniture can have an immediate impact.  Do however take some time each day to scan your physical environment.  Are there things out of place, out of date, or out of order?  Take care of them immediately.  A wise man once told the child me that “a truly lazy person will put things away immediately, because that means there will never be a huge amount of work to do all at once.”

Well designed environments can naturally increase performance, creativity and effectiveness.  They can inspire you and give you energy as well as calm you.As you walk through an area, look at your possessions and ask yourself three more questions:  Is it beautiful?  Is it useful?  Do I love it?  If you answer yes to any of those, that’s a keeper.  If you can’t answer yes, put it in a box and donate or trash it.

Now go ahead and ask yourself these questions:

Are my home, office and car clutter free?

Do my home, office and car express who I am?

Do my home and office inspire me?

Are all my possessions in good repair and up to date?

Does everything in my physical environment pass the “I love it” test?

Is there an area in my home where I feel more energized and inspired?

Perhaps nothing makes you as aware of your environments as a major impending storm.  As I go through my day making preparations for Hurricane Irene, I find myself thinking about what would happen if my home and/or many of my possessions were destroyed.  What of my material things are so important?  My photos.  My laptop and iPhone, of course.  But truthfully, most things can be replaced.  I’m ruminating on why I have so much “stuff” to begin with.

There’s nothing like being focused on priorities to make the idea of a major de-cluttering and scaling back very appealing.

I had a friend who recently became an empty nester remark the other day that her goal is to get her life down to where most everything she owns fits into two suitcases.  To her, that meant complete freedom to go anywhere and do anything.

While I’m not about to do something quite that radical, I think the time has come to throw out 2/3s of my closet, 1/2 of my paper files and most of the assorted memorabilia, knick knacks and do-dads (that’s a technical term).

Stay safe, dry…and decluttered.

9-5-11  Follow up note:  We lost power for five days.  As a result, I wound up throwing out 3/4 of my refrigerated and frozen food.  I took that opportunity to completely clean these inside and out, and restocked them with only nonprocessed, whole foods.  That felt so good, I’ve been decluttering my pantry and reorganizing my kitchen.  It’s amazing the amount of energy and pleasure that gives!

One of the most effective ways of improving your physical environments is to declutter.  You know how you feel after you clean off the top of your desk, or clean out a closet?  It’s an energy rush, aside from that feeling of accomplishment.  It can actually make you feel more creative and motivated.

Organizer Elvie Look offers 10 Steps to Getting Organized.  Here’s a preview: “3. The floor: is not storage space. Do you have clothes lying around? Go through now picking them up and putting them away in their respective rooms, closets or into the laundry hamper. While you’re at it, throw a load of laundry in. If you have clothes that need folding, do that and get them put away.”

Now go and post that sign in the kids’ rooms, the bathroom, and on your husband’s review mirror. “The floor is not storage space.”

10 Baby Steps To Getting And Staying Organized from Elvie’s Essentials 

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