If this doesn’t get your body moving and blood flowing, nothing will. Don’t be shy. Take a dance break. You’ve earned it!

There’s something for everyone in this playlist. Choose one or put it on random and see what message the Universe is sending you.

Dance like nobody’s watching.

Make your own playlist and link to it in the comments! Share what gets you pumped.

Exercise for the Busy Writer

by Angel…

Writers, almost by definition, are both busy and sedentary! It’s ironic.

Between the kids, the spouse, the day job, the hairballs, and trying to fit in time to write, many writers skip exercising. I know I did.

After a couple serious health scares, I realized I needed to work exercise into my lifestyle.

I did it in three steps:

  1. I thought about it a lot. (No calories burned yet. Heh.)

    • I had to get my mind caught up to the idea that an inert body—my body—wasn’t going to be lithe and strong forever. I had to own that.
    • I had to convince myself that I didn’t need to become an Olympic athlete to make a difference. I had to give myself permission to take it slow and easy.
    • I had to come to an understanding of what kind of exercise I enjoyed and thus would be less resistant to. Where was my joy?

  2. I did research to find the best teachers.
  3. I experimented and found what worked for me.

My criteria for a doable exercise routine were:

  • I don’t have to change clothes to do it.
  • I don’t have to shower afterward.
  • It’s quick but effective.
  • It’s fun and makes me feel good.
  • It’s something I can do any time of day depending on how busy I am.
  • It’s guided by a teacher, so I don’t have to think about what to do next. I can be in the moment.

Here’s what I do:

Yoga with Adriene

I sit so much that I was getting stiff and my hips were giving me trouble. I needed to limber up. I discovered this Youtube series, and Adriene changed my life. She has many sessions for beginners and many that are short-short (15 mins or less) or targeted to a particular profession or body part. She also does meditations that are calming and get your breath moving. Here are three of her yoga videos that I do regularly.

Fabulous 50s

To get my heart rate up and strengthen, I do these quick exercises. Schellea Fowler’s brand targets women over 50, but don’t let that dissuade you men and younger people from trying these exercises. They are perfect for writers. They’ll get your heart rate up and tone your muscles—in only five minutes. They’re perfect if your mind is wandering to refocus and wake up. You control the intensity you need.

Extra Tips

  • When exercising with a video, it’s your responsibility to listen to your body, stop if you have to, and don’t overdo it. If it hurts, it’s not helping you. Take it at your own pace, rest when you want, and in time you’ll see improvement. It’s neither a race nor a challenge. It’s okay to be gentle with yourself.
  • Give yourself credit just for showing up. If it feels like you didn’t do enough, you did more than you realize. Just by showing up.
  • Youtubers earn a living because you Like and/or Subscribe to their videos.
  • They also earn more if you watch the whole video, so even if you stop, consider letting the video run to the end.

Snacking? Choose Brain Food

The snack foods you eat can help or hinder your brain’s functioning and thus affect your writing and productivity. Many studies have been done on this.*

Next time you’re at the grocery store, consider stocking up on these and prepare them in advance, so it’s easy to reach for them instead of the bag of chips that’s far too convenient and not so good for your brain.

Great snack foods that support your brain:

Fatty fish sounds like a terrible idea, but it’s not. Fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, anchovies, and mackerel have Omega-3 fatty acids that your brain loves.

Fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and yogurt have great benefit to digestion, and your belly has a direct connection to your brain. Foods in the “sour” category fit here also—classics such as vinegar, lemon, and lime. A sprinkle will bring any salad, fish plate, or nut mix to life!

Avocados have a beneficial type of fat plentiful in them. Combine them in a blender with yogurt, berries, greens, and nuts for an amazing smoothie. Or mush them up with hard-boiled egg yolks to make creamy deviled eggs.

Antioxidants abound in berries. They are the healthiest fruit you can eat, and a great way to add a touch of sweetness to smoothies, salads, and even tea. Try putting sliced or gently crushed berries in unsweetened iced tea and let them chill for an hour before drinking.

A staple in many writers’ diets, coffee is actually quite beneficial. It’s been shown to counter heart disease and dementia, among other things. Moderation is key, of course. (Pssst… tea is good for you too.)

We all knew this already, but it’s great to get confirmation. Dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa) is actually good for the body. Cocoa contains antioxidents called flavonoids that help to protect our cells from oxidating (decaying). Try combining dark chocolate with berries or fresh herbs and see how your brain (and belly) sing!

Hard-boiled eggs are tasty, filling, and so versatile. Slice them into a salad. Make deviled eggs. Add them to a stir-fry. Ferment them even. They keep well in the fridge, so you can make a batch at the beginning of the week then chew on them all week long.

Kale is the new lettuce. When you buy greens, the darker in color the better. Tuna or egg salad wrapped in a kale leave is amazing. Or chop it into small pieces and add it to your yogurt for a stealth boost of vitamins and minerals.

Seeds and nuts—both raw and roasted—bring more antioxidents and good fat to your body. As a snack food, they’re convenient and tasty. Salt or sprinkle with other herbs and spices to taste. Roasted almonds, well-mixed with olive oil and any spice combination you like, can be as satisfying as potato chips.

Technically, peanuts are a legume, not a nut, BUT they’re still good for you and filling in all the best ways. They sit well in a stir-fry, mixed in a smoothie, or just eat ’em out of the bowl.

Fresh herbs take your snacks to the next level, and they’re good for you. They add flavor as well as minerals and vitamins your brain needs, so don’t be shy with them. Consider adding mint to your yogurt or basil to your salad. Experiment to find out what you like.

Combining the foods in this list is magical! Try making deviled eggs with avocado and chopped mustard greens. Or perhaps your kale salad has pomegranate, basil, and pepitas (a type of roasted pumpkin seed) on it. Consider making tuna salad with avocado, egg, rosemary, and walnuts! So many flavors, so many options.


Further Reading

Did this inspire any ideas? Share them in a comment.

Take Pee/Stretch Breaks

Sitting is the new smoking. Or so the proverbial “they” are saying. The truth is that extended periods of sitting are bad for your health, especially in the long-term.

One very simple way to offset the damage is to incorporate a moment of stretching into your routine.


According to several of the sources I found (listed at the bottom), not to mention my own anecdotal experience, sitting can increase your chances of:

  • blood clots
  • neurological pinching or damage
  • shortened leg muscles
  • high blood pressure
  • poor digestion
  • leg cramps
  • shallow breathing (lower oxygen levels)
  • lower back pain
  • tight muscles in the hips
  • and more.


  • Start today. If you’re young, great! If you’re not so young anymore, even better! It’s never too soon or too late to get in touch with your body and stretch.
  • Make it a habit. Stretch every time you go to the bathroom. Stretch on the toilet even. That’s a place you visit regularly, and your body is great at reminding you. If you still forget, add a little reminder to yourself on a sticky over the toilet-paper dispenser.
  • Think of it as a gift to yourself. If you take regular stretch breaks, you’ll sit comfortably longer, focus better, write more, and stress less.
  • Really listen to your body. Your body will tell you what areas you need to stretch. Sore shoulder? Sore wrists? Hip seizing? Ankles swollen? Your body is talking to you. Pain is a cry for help.
  • Do what feels good! Do the stretches that work for your body. Those are the ones you need. This isn’t a competition. Over time, you’ll notice you feel more flexible. The effects are cumulative.
  • Don’t overdo it. Sixty seconds of stretching, done several times a day, will produce noticeable results after just a few days.
  • Relax. Stretching doesn’t have to involve force. Just bend, reach, and let your own body weight do the work.
  • Get your head lower than your heart. If you can, bend at the waist and reach for your toes, do downward-facing dog (a yoga pose), or lie on the bed with your head hanging off the edge. When you’re sitting, blood has an uphill battle to get to your head with the vital oxygen it’s carrying.
  • Get your heart lower than your legs. If you can, lie on your back with your feet up on the wall or on the arm of the couch. While you were sitting, all that blood that was having such a hard time getting to your head was pooling in your feet and legs. This pose will help release it and get it flowing more freely.
  • Try yoga. If you’re interested, I recommend Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube. Adrienne has short (15-30 minute), easy yoga routines for all body types and proficiency levels. If the word “yoga” scares you, don’t let it. This yoga is literally for everyone!

Further Reading

Did this inspire any ideas? Share them in a comment.