Welcome back to another installment of “Ask Adrian Anything.” This series gives our readers an opportunity to communicate directly with Adrian, a No Boundaries participant, about his experiences in the workplace, living independently and out in the community. Recently people asked Adrian about how he stays healthy, physically, mentally and emotionally. Adrian answers your questions in an interview format with Tricia asking the questions provided by you, our readers!
Tricia: What do you do to stay healthy?
Adrian: I do a lot of different things to stay healthy all around.
To stay physically fit, I work out, try to eat right and get enough sleep. For me, staying fit is more of a challenge due to a naturally slow metabolism, but I am working on it. I will admit that some nights I’m up later than I should be. I am usually talking with friends on my computer, but I have gotten better at it over time. Sometimes I slip up, but “[…] I’m only human after all” (“Human” by: Rag’n’Bone Man).
To stay mentally fit, I use an app called Wordscapes, a free mobile crossword game, and I enjoy it. You slide your finger around selected letters to create words that may be in the crossword style puzzle above. If it’s there, it puts it in. The level is complete when all the words are found. I also go to No Boundaries once a week to refresh on subjects such as computer safety, money management and presentation skills. I go to a writing workshop called HeartWords, a creative writing workshop, at Center for Independent Futures and I am a self-advocate for the National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS). I have spoken at one of their conferences.
To help manage my emotional health, I use creative (fictional) writing as one way to manage stress. I can escape from reality by creating alternate worlds in which I paint myself as a hero/superhero. I also can create alter egos for myself like creating myself in the image of a professional writer, actor, singer… and the list could go on. I have forty plus stories and or story ideas and I am working on creating a list for all of them. By that I mean, I am putting a guide together that has the titles and a brief explanation of each story. I also write poetry and that helps with emotion control. I can creatively write about many aspects of my life and get out how I feel without having to be completely forward about it. You can check out some of my over 200 poems on my writing blog: https://adriandrower.wordpress.com/
I also go for walks often and listen to music. As I walk, I’ll sometimes sing along to what I’m listening to. Listening to music helps me as well. The one song that can always pull me out of a hard time is “Why Should I Worry” by Billy Joel. Sometimes I play video games, too. Some of the games I like are Uncharted, Infamous, and Tomb Raider. My all time favorite is Sly Cooper.
Coloring/sketching is something I also do to help with stress. Since I am very detailed, I can take my time and make many very cool images come alive.
Tricia: Where do you workout at and how often do you work out?
Adrian: I go to a place called Victory Training, a semi-private personal training place, on Roscoe Street in Chicago. I workout there 3 times a week with a trainer lifting weights, running on a treadmill, using a rower and stretching myself in many different ways. I also get in some small workouts during the week at home.
Tricia: What advice do you have for someone just starting to workout?
Adrian: Take it slow and easy and don’t try to push yourself too early. Start with light weights and work on the form of each workout before you go for the heavier weight. Remember that good things come to those who wait, so having patience and being motivated will be your best tools. In time, the heavier weights will be easier and you will get stronger. It’s a matter of finding and making time to get in a workout. Even if you manage to get one in a week, it’s a good stepping stone; a good start. Eventually, in time, you will graduate to adding in more time. Just keep at it and you will reach any goal you set for yourself.
When I first started lifting weights, I used 10 and 15 lbs weights. Now, I’m on to 20 lbs, 25 lbs and occasionally 30 lb dumbbells.
Keep in mind that working out helps you physically, however, having an artistic/creative outlet can help you control your mind and how you feel.
Tricia: Can you give our readers tips on how to stay healthy, physically, emotionally, and mentally?
Adrian: The best advice I can give is to find ways that work for you. There are many ways to stay healthy physically like walking, drinking water, dieting and working out. To stay mentally healthy, you can use all kinds of game apps that challenge your brain. And to stay emotionally healthy, I suggest finding a creative outlet such as art, creative writing or music.