I’ve said it before on here, but I’ve always loved reading and writing, and I’m not always very good at making time for it. I read a lot of news but not that many actual books anymore. Funny, because I don’t have any furniture in my apartment, besides the books on books.
It’s been one of my goals to make it more of a priority again. In the past month, I’ve read both Mindy Kaling’s book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” and Amy Poehler’s “Yes Please” (which has really wonderful and funny advice for young women), and I just started Stephen King’s “On Writing,” which makes me want to stop everything and write.
But there are lots of reasons to read and write every day. Rally, our wellness tool, has challenges for just that, so you can make your brain a priority. In one, it challenges you to read for 20 minutes, and in another, to write in a journal every day.
So what’s this doing for your health?
Reading has been shown to slow memory loss, increase concentration, and reduce stress. Not to mention, one study found that reading helped improve your social skills, your ability to understand others and their emotions, and your ability to feel for others. Reading can literally help you treat other people better!
Not to mention that taking 20 minutes a day to read with your kids can make an amazing difference in their education and development.
Not sure where to start? This 2015 Reading Challenge from Popsugar gives you goals without locking you into a set of books you wouldn’t choose for yourself.
So far I’ve got a funny book, a memoir, a mystery or thriller, and a book from an author I love that I haven’t read yet checked off for the year. What can you check off?
Writing for Your Health
And there are LOTS of reasons to keep a journal. Don’t believe me? Here are 101 reasons.
I’ve never been much of a journal writer (my writing brain drifts toward fiction), but as I’ve said here more than once, I love lists.
And that’s the beauty of keeping a journal! There’s always a way to make it work for you. Here are some alternatives to the traditional “Dear Diary” format.
Don’t want to write about your feelings? You can keep a journal without it being personal. Keeping a work journal can help you stay organized and productive.
A bullet journal helps you organize and categorize your tasks, events, notes, and ideas quickly with lists.
Do you want to mix things up in your writing? If you want to paint a picture one day and write fiction or poetry another, there are creative journal tips to help you.
I’ve been keeping a form of a bullet journal in my fitness binder on that handy grid paper I told you about. It’s really just a record of the most important things that happened to me that day that I can easily find later. I use other elements of this in my work to-do list and in organizing things like the social media topics I’ve done in the past. Below is a taste of what mine looks like, or this blog has really good examples of this in action.
(Don’t mind the ghost talk in the middle there if you can read it. That’s just me noting a plot idea for a fictional horror story.)
This lets me keep lists instead of trying to write a paragraph about things that don’t need any emotion or explanation. And my favorite part is it helps me organize things like character and story ideas, something I am known for jotting on anything around me until I have a strange collection of crumpled notes on things like napkins, CD sleeves, or even mail.
Head over to Rally, take your health assessment, and start meeting your goals for strengthening your mind!
Emily Beach, a Health Alliance employee in the Communications Department, visited Washington to learn more about the members we serve and what it’s like to live in North Central Washington.
I was overjoyed at the chance to visit North Central Washington and learn more about the area and the Health Alliance Medicare members we serve.
I had been to the Olympic Peninsula, but knew the other side of the mountain held experiences untapped. My 3-day tour featured a first-time health fair, tours of everything from hockey rinks to senior centers, and a run along the Columbia River.
It was important for me to visit Washington because I knew the population was as diverse as the geography. Health care and coverage isn’t one-size-fits-all, and it’s so important for us to know our members. My goal wasn’t just to see the beautiful sights, but to see what is important to the people living in North Central Washington.
And my goal now that I’m back in Illinois is to translate those hopes, joys and lessons into our communications with Health Alliance Medicare members to support our employees who live and work there, too.
My first day in Washington was cut short. Travel woes struck me and my travel partner, Ericka Williams, who leads the Health Alliance Medicare sales team. A couple flight delays and a missed connection put us in Wenatchee after midnight. The next morning, with the help of some coffee, we headed to the Wenatchee YMCA for the first local National Senior Health & Fitness Day event.
We were both thrilled with how well the Health Alliance Medicare event came together. More than 100 visitors tried new fitness classes, got a health screening and talked with a variety of vendors. Shannon Sims, our community liaison, worked so hard to make the event a success. And we couldn’t have done it without the help of the Wenatchee YMCA.
After the event, we walked to McGlinn’s for lunch. I tried the famous beer bread and enjoyed a white garlic pizza. The pub was inviting and fun, and the food delicious! We were also excited to hear our waitress was a Health Alliance Medicare member. I love hearing what our members have to say about how much they like their plans from us. I’m glad she spoke up on seeing our Health Alliance shirts and badges!
Shannon was the “hostess with the mostess” for the whole trip.
Her passion for the community is truly infectious. She inspired me to kick my jet lag after lunch and head over to Quincy. I loved seeing the orchards along the way. Shannon explained how to tell the difference between cherry and apple orchards and pointed out the signs labeling the different types of apples. I was also surprised at how quickly the landscape changed from the desert cliffs in Wenatchee to the fields of Grant County.
And there were tumbleweeds! My previous trip did not prepare me for that.
After our drive through Grant County, Shannon got me back to Wenatchee, where Ericka and I grabbed some grub at Pybus Public Market. Public markets are not common in Illinois, and I loved the fresh air and atmosphere. I truly think spaces like that bring communities together. We ate at South, where I enjoyed a shrimp burrito with a kick!
Though fatigue was definitely knocking, I knew I had to squeeze in a run on the Loop Trail along the Columbia River. I didn’t brave the full 13 miles, but I enjoyed a nice three-mile jog and sunset on the river. What a beautiful place!
This was just day one! Check back early next week for more stories from my trip!