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Friday, May 6, 2016

Avoid 'error' messages; treat your body like a computer

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We often expect our bodies to do more than they should, so some trouble-shooting tips might be in order. An article by Alice Henneman, of the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County, provides some tips to prevent your body from "crashing."

If your body was a computer, would it be receiving lots of "error" messages? Is it beginning to run slower and take longer to "start?" Perhaps you are trying to run too many programs at the same time. If you're operating less efficiently because there are too many activities making demands on your system, shut down some programs. For instance, if time is tight, rather than make a special company dinner from "scratch," invite people for a potluck meal.

You may actually accomplish more if you don't try to accomplish several things at the same time. Researchers, such as Earl Miller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Picower Professor of Neuroscience, are finding that multi-tasking can be less efficient than doing one task at a time, especially if the tasks are more complex. "Switching from task to task, you think you're actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you're actually not," says Miller.

Consider scheduling tasks for separate times. For example, alternate cooking days with workout days. Cook ahead on cooking days, freeing up time on your workout days. Or plan a casserole or stew that can cook while you do yoga or take a walk.

If you do multi-task, combine a task that doesn't demand as much input from your system as the other task. For example, work out on a treadmill while watching TV or listen to music while cooking.

Is your anti-virus software up-to-date and running? If you're susceptible to every bug that comes around, it's time to check if you're eating right, getting enough sleep, being physically active and reducing stress. The cost and time for "repairs" may be greater than the amount needed for prevention.

Is your battery dangerously low? Recharge your battery before it loses power completely. Recharge by eating healthy, getting some physical activity, making meaningful connections with others, stimulating your mind and devoting time to your spiritual renewal through such means as time spent in nature, music, prayer or service.

Are you bogged down by unneeded files and programs? Remove anything from your life that isn't needed and slows your overall performance. For example, do you still belong to a club or organization that no longer meets your needs or interests? The time you're giving this activity is taking time from something else. Move on! Or, are you ironing the whole shirt when only the collar will show under your sweater?

Do you need to hit "escape," "undo" or "delete?" Your computer offers several options if you change your mind about a decision. Offer yourself that same choice with your life. You may have a reputation for always saying "yes" to a request for help, regardless of how busy you are. The next time, say something such as one of the following examples. It's not necessary to elaborate and give an explanation.

* "I can only help you for an hour, and then I have to leave."

* "I'm sorry but I'm not available that night."

Now that you've finished trouble-shooting your personal system, consider making some changes. Then, reboot your body and enjoy the benefits!

One program that can help you manage stress, get your body in shape and improve your diet is the Walk Kansas program, which starts March 18.

Teams of six need to register in a local Extension office by March 5, if ordering the optional T-shirts. Final registration deadline is March 9. Cost is only $7 per person or $15 for a family for the eight-week program.

Participants will receive weekly newsletters to inspire and motivate. Each county will be offering special activities and kick-off events.

Registration materials are available in local Extension offices and online at www.southwind.ksu.edu.

Editor's Note: Ann Ludlum is a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences and 4-H extension agent assigned to Southwind District -- Fort Scott office. She may be reached at (620) 223-3720 or aludlum@ksu.edu.

Ann Ludlum
FCS Agent, Southwind District
Editor's Note: Ann Ludlum is a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences and 4-H extension agent assigned to Southwind District -- Fort Scott office. She may be reached at (620) 223-3720 or aludlum@ksu.edu.