A tactile nature

I discovered something rather interesting about myself the other day and, being that all-to-common combination of altruistic and narcissistic, decided to blog about it so that others might benefit.

I’ve been trying to take better care of myself as of late. This breaks down into exercise, food and water. Sleep is great when I can get it, too. During my revitalisation, I’ve noticed that certain types of words keep appearing; appealing words like crunchy, solid, cool, “felt good” and negative ones like “bundled”. Sensation and touch words are important to my perception of activity. If something doesn’t feel good, I will not keep doing it long-term.

Exercise

One of the hazards of any sedentary job is that the better part of your waking hours are spent…. well…. sitting still or moving minimally. Throw into the mix trying to get basic housework done, sleep and mealtimes and suddenly there’s rather little time left over for exercise.

Optimally, I’d be constantly on the move all day long, gardening or walking or whatever, but that just doesn’t happen to most artists who spend any consistent time in their studios. Let’s face it, when you spend ten hours a day in the house working on stationary projects, you need to get your exercise in more intensive spates. So I’ve been walking/running for an hour every second day and doing various strength-building exercises daily. Must remember to start stretching more, too.

As I progress, I walk faster and run more. I’m being careful to progress slowly as I have had knee problems in the past and (touch wood) they’ve not been back again in several years. By working up to running hard and long gradually, I intend to forestall any resurrection of ligament and cartilage pain.

I have come to grips with the fact that I avoid exercising outdoors in winter and have taken to using the high-tech rubberised university track, which is available to the general public at $2 per drop-in (bring indoor sneakers with you) for as long as you like. Hours are posted here. I’ll probably move back outdoors when spring comes along, but for now, the field house track is a godsend.

Food

We’re actually pretty good about food in this house most of the time, but when things get frantic for both of us at work, food is one of the first short-cuts we take. Instead of eating out or cooking nuggets and fries, though, I’ve started planning for frantic times and have been gradually making casseroles, pies and soups and putting them in the deep freeze in the correct portions for three people for supper. No time to cook properly or shop? Haul out a chicken pie and throw it in the over. To this end, I’ve been amassing a few casserole dishes that are the right size (flea markets are great for this sort of thing).

Stir-fry veggies and rice are the majority of our produce now. I keep sauce ready-made in the fridge for faster suppers. Katherine is also a big fan of curry, quesadillas and pasta, so those frequently make the list, too.

We also don’t keep junk food in the house, apart from the odd treat. Popcorn has become the crunchy food substitute for us and it works great!

Water

If you’re trying to eat less, exercise more and generally increase your energy levels, increasing your water intake is perhaps one of the more productive moves you can make. My particular problem was that I wasn’t interested in water. Then I bought a new set of glasses (they were on sale for half price) and suddenly I’m drinking water all day long without a struggle. What gives? Well, for starters, the glasses are cool, solid, heavy and fit my hand. They also look nice, but that seems to be a side point to how theyt feel to me to use.

This was what triggered my revelation. I finally figured it all out. I’d been going at the whole healthy lifestyle thing from the wrong angle for me. I was quantifying and analysing my workouts, caloric intake and rationalising drinking water. It wasn’t working on a long-term basis. My rational approach was being thwarted by my tactile nature.

I knew I should drink water, but until I found glasses that felt good in my hand, it was a constant struggle.

Not snacking in the evening is great in theory, but my hands get fidgety and I frequently want something munch-able. To counter this, I’ve been knitting socks and, when I get a craving for something crunchy, I make some popcorn (sans butter).

I like exercise, but hate the feeling of being bundled up in sixteen layers while battling snow and cars to get it. The track works wonders and is easier on my pocket than a gym membership. I can also listen to music safely and be in my own little world for a while, with the added benefit of people watching.

I wonder if other textile artists and craftspeople have found that their lifestyle habits (exercise and nutritional intake) are heavily influenced by their predisposition to texture and feel?

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Sharna says:

    For me it’s all tactile-I have to pick things up and feel the weight of them in my hands, touch the smoothness, etc. I look like a crazy person shopping because I find that I get a much better sense of how much I like something when I close my eyes. So I’ll be in the store, feeling up all the paper (or whatever I’m purchasing) with my eyes closed. Glad I’m not the only one….

  2. herhimnbryn says:

    Totally agree! Touch so important.
    Thanks for the tip about the right glass for drinking water…..makes sense. I shall now have to go on a water glass shopping trip.

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