Sunday, November 28, 2010

Go Dancing!

Over the Thanksgiving holiday while visiting relatives, I learned that two couples in my family have taken up dancing as a way to make lemonade from life's more tangy lemons. One couple decided to spark up life with Salsa dancing, the other with general ballroom dancing. And since they are sharing this as a couple, the caregiver gets a break while taking time to keep the marriage connection strong. Another great example of a twofer. Square dancing is another type of dancing that some of my friends enjoy, and many maintain the activity well into their senior years. These couples say that it keeps them young and healthy.

Don't have a partner? Go for Country Line Dancing or Contra Dancing. There are no partners in Line dancing, it's low impact exercise and the country music is lively. Contra dancing is a form of dance that is done in two long lines. You hook up with a partner (or several during a dance session) while you're there. If you're not familiar with Contra dancing, watch one of the dance scenes from a movie based on Jane Austen's novels, like "Pride and Prejudice". Most Contra dancing groups give lessons right before the dance so that you'll learn the basic moves before the main event.

There are also aerobic dance exercise videos and/or DVDs, and plain old shakin' your booty to favorite tunes on the radio, your mobile player or an old vinyl record. Hip hop, ballet, tap, folk dancing--there are as many styles as there are music and emotions to express.

Let's be clear. Dancing is not about having the "right" moves. It's all about moving to a beat, relaxing and sweating a little--or a lot. Dancing makes your mind concentrate on your body and the music, not on your daily challenges. It's refreshing in so many ways. And it's adaptable. You can make your dance break a Mini-vacation (get up and dance to one song on the radio), a Pause-of-the-Day (take a dance lesson or move to a 45-min. dance video) or a Gift-of-the-Month (an evening of square dancing).

Pick your music, pick your style. Don't just sit there...Dance!

Blessings on your caregiving today!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


In Texting-land, LOL stands for "lots of laughs" or "laughed out loud". Today, I'm talking about the second translation. On Friday, I was getting my hair cut and my stylist and another stylist, along with all the clients in the salon were sharing stories about life--mostly funny, unexpected situations that people have found themselves in. There was a good deal of acting, voice impressions, pantomime, affirmation and Laughing Out Loud. Belly laughing, guffawing, hootin' and hollerin'. By the time I left, I had a fabulous new "do" and I felt light and easy.

My stylist shared that before this other stylist joined her in the shop, she didn't laugh much, didn't have much fun in her job. But now, because she works with another person who has a healthy funny bone, the styling is still great, but tension and the pressure in her gut are gone. Laughing out loud is good for the soul, good for your health.

In an earlier post, I suggested keeping a Need a Smile folder of humorous e-mails to help you laugh. But there is nothing so contagious as hearing a laugh from another person. When I'm working in my office, I sometimes hear my husband break out into uproarious laughter at a comedy he's watching downstairs, and it makes me grin. If I were in the room with him, I know I'd be laughing with him.

I'm sure you've had the experience, too. A smile on a friend's face grows into a smile on yours and then it just seems to escalate into a chuckle and then into a big laugh. And tension melts away in the physical release. Laughing together brings out the added dimension of face-to-face connecting and loving.

So LOL with someone soon. It's good for you!

Blessings on your caregiving.