Nita Sweeney (author of Depression Hates a Moving Target) chats with Polly Campbell (author of You, Recharged).
I interview wellness authors to find out what makes them tick and why they write the books they do. I met Polly Campbell, another Mango Publishing author, after reading a review copy of her new book, You Recharged. The book is filled with helpful suggestions learned from real-life experience. I wanted you to meet her too.
Nita Sweeney (NS): Tell us about your most recent book.
Polly Campbell (PC): My newest book You, Recharged: How to Beat Fatigue (mostly), Amp Up Your Energy (usually) and Enjoy Life Again (always) is about getting unstuck. About overcoming burnout and finding ways to restore and reengage with life again in a way that feels fun and fulfilling, creative and healthy. It’s about vitality.
NS: What made you want to write this book?
PC: As a writer, I’ve written hundreds of articles and other books on mindset, success strategies, and psychology that can help us live better lives. I’m fascinated about how we can use our thoughts, beliefs, mindsets to create our experience. My podcast, Polly Campbell, Simply Said is about this too. And yet, a few years ago, I was feeling so stuck. Bored. Tired all the time. Life felt dull. And, I was really uncomfortable with that. I looked around and recognized that I had all I really wanted—happy family, interesting work, lots of support, but I wasn’t enjoying it. I was feeling exhausted and stuck and I wanted to understand why and learn how to reengage. How to revitalize. My boredom changed to curiosity and that evolved into this book where I share what I learned with others.
NS: WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS TAKE AWAY?
PC: First off, I just hope readers enjoy the book. That they feel inspired, entertained, and better about life when they finish it. And, I hope they recognize that living a more engaged, fun, healthy, happy life right now is possible. For all of us. And that doing it is worthwhile. Life is about vitality and participation. About showing up. Having fun. Listen, I live with debilitating chronic disease and pain, I’m middle-aged, and I eat too much pizza and yet I feel excited and energized about my life again. If I can do it anyone can and it’s a matter of adding in the ideas, practices, beliefs, actions that support us. That lift us up.
NS: Writing (and life) can be stressful. How do you take care of yourself?
PC: Part of my daily routine includes maximizing pockets of quiet time whenever I can get them. I get up an hour early for reflection, meditation. Then, I do morning pages and just hang out and get grounded in myself. I do a little physical exercise each day and get outside. Each day, I add in some action, behavior that makes me feel good. The simplest, easiest, most fun thing I can do that day to support my health and wellbeing. This might be a round of golf with my husband. A meditation. Time spent on a new creative project or challenge that’s interesting. Time with friends. Even if I only have a few minutes, I think it’s important to spend time doing something that will add meaning and growth. So a few minutes to meditate, read, be outside, are important to help me stay grounded.
NS: WHAT LED YOU TO THIS PATH?
PC: At the age of 3 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. So as a kid, I was limited in what my body could do, but books and writing were expansive for me. And, I became very interested in how we can use our minds to create the lives we want.
NS: Do you have a motto or slogan you find helpful? If so, how did you arrive at that?
PC: I am very deliberate with my self-talk…one thing I say often to myself is, “OK. You can figure this out.” There is so much I don’t know, am not good at, like everyone I face many challenges, but I do believe I’m capable of learning what I need to know, or finding the people and the resources who can help. We don’t have to do it alone. When I am challenged and feel like quitting, I go back to this: It’s OK you’ve got this. You can figure it out. And that opens me up to the people and things that can help me find a way through.
THE OTHER MOTTO I FOLLOW IS “BECOME A CREATOR, INSTEAD OF A COMPLAINER.”
NS: What’s the worst wellness advice you’ve ever heard?
PC: That you have to be thin or beautiful or young or rich or anything other than what you are to make a valuable contribution and to live a happy life. There is so much pressure to be something different. I try to keep my focus on being all of who I am. I do want to be better and there are many things I want to improve because like all human beings, I feel good when I’m learning, growing, creating, exploring. Personal development is powerful and exhilarating when it elf-improvement is powerful when it comes from a place of growth.
NS: What is one thing about well-being you wish you’d learned earlier?
PC: That there is no one way to live a great life, to live one that is interesting and healthy and satisfying. There are lots of ways to do it. Lots of ways of living a fulfilling life and making a difference. The unique qualities and quirks we bring are superpowers. Find what matters to you, explore, study, share, engage. Be a part of the world and you’ll learn what fills you up, then do those things.
NS: Do you have a go-to wellness practice you would like to share?
PC: Focus on this moment. Instead of worrying or what-iffing about what might happen, focus on living as well as possible in this moment. Life isn’t always rosy. It doesn’t always feel good, but that doesn’t mean anything is wrong. It just is. So, make this moment a little better and you automatically improve the moment after. String a lot of good little moments together and in the end, you have a great big good life. It’s the process that matters most, not achieving some goal in 20 years. When we stay clear about that, we will reach our goals and have a good time doing it. Participation matters. It is the life.
NS: DO YOU HAVE A WRITING TIP FOR THE WRITERS OUT THERE?
PC: Read your work aloud. Always, but especially before you send it out anywhere. Build time into your schedule to do this. Write it. Let is steep for a few days or weeks if you can. Then print it out and read it aloud. You’ll hear the rhythm of the words, the pacing and the holes or bumps.
NS: What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
That, if you want to publish, you should target the smallest sites and publications. Baloney, aim high. See what happens. Also, I don’t like the “write what you know tip.” I often write what I don’t know but want to learn. More interesting.
NS: And the best?
PC: Be careful about how you talk about your work and your writing. Don’t battle it. Don’t emphasize how hard it can be. Use language that supports and shapes and allows the expansiveness that creativity requires. Our writing is an ally that helps us understand the world. We do not have to have an adversarial relationship with it, even on the days when it is difficult to do.
NS: HAS YOUR LIFE TURNED OUT DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU EXPECTED? IF SO, HOW?
PC: Well, from my earliest memory, I knew I was a writer. I wanted to write books and magazine articles and speak to audiences and I’m so grateful that I am able to do that. But I was also going to remain single, childless, living in New York, living the life of a bestselling published author in some NYC penthouse. Instead, I fell for an awesome man, who didn’t want to live in New York. The Internet emerged so I could work from anywhere. And, so I live in the suburbs of Oregon, with my husband, daughter, and three animals.
NS: Is there anything you would change about your journey?
PC: I don’t think like this. Wishing things were different doesn’t change them. Of course, there have been ups and downs and difficulties, but I look on them as situations that are part of life, not problems or liabilities. Instead, I try to find the lessons in what I have experienced and experience gratitude for the moments both rewarding and challenging. I haven’t loved all the experiences I’ve had, but I’m grateful for them.
NS: WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING FOR INSPIRATION?
PC: I pick up all kinds of stuff and right now I’m checking out Christy Whitman’s book The Desire Factor.
NS: Is there a wellness or inspirational book you couldn’t finish? Why?
PC: This is almost blasphemous, but The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life, by Deepak Chopra. I did finish it, but I thought about quitting many times. It didn’t resonate. Felt cumbersome, ambiguous. As a reader I also prefer very direct language and practical applications. May pick it up at another time—my preferences change as I do—but it wasn’t my thing.
NS: What wellness book could you not put down?
PC: Steering by Starlight, by Martha Beck.
NS: What’s next for you writing wise?
PC: Ahhh, well, I’m playing with a new writing project in a genre completely different than what I have worked in before. And I’m working on new nonfiction idea. Developing the proposal now. Also hope to expand my podcast Polly Campbell, Simply Said.
NS: Mermaids or Goddesses? (Superheroes or Gods?)
NS: Toast or bagels?
NS: Ocean, mountains, or forest?
NS: Leggings or jeans? (Jeans or slacks or sweatpants?)
PC: Sweats. I avoid hard pants as much as possible.
NS: Dogs, cats, fish, guinea pigs, or horses?
PC: Cats. But don’t tell my dog. And yes, I do love them equally.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Polly Campbell is the host of the podcast Polly Campbell, Simply Said and the author of four books including You, Recharged: How to Beat Fatigue (Mostly), Amp Up Your Energy (Usually), and Enjoy Life Again (Always) and How to Live an Awesome Life: How to Live Well. Do Good. Be Happy. She is a blogger with Psychology Today and her magazine articles appear regularly in online and print publications.
She is a frequent guest on Afternoon Live, on the ABC affiliate in Portland and is a sought-after speaker and guest on podcasts and radio programs attracting listeners who want to live well, do good, be happy. Campbell has integrated the things she writes and talks about into her own life through practical experience. She lives with her husband and daughter in Oregon.
WHERE TO FIND POLLY:
Her website: www.pollycampbell.com
Podcast: Polly Campbell Simply Said, How to Live Well, Do Good, Be Happy:
If you purchase something through the affiliate links on this page, Write Now Columbus, a collection of resources for central Ohio writers and readers, will receive a small percentage of the sale.Tags: author interviews, Mango Publishing, Polly Campbell, wellness authors, You Recharged
How to Beat Fatigue (Mostly), Amp Up Your Energy (Usually), and Enjoy Life Again (Always)
Small Steps, Big Energy. Self-help books for women often encourage you to throw out the life you’re living and create a fresh start. You, Recharged isn’t about that. You don’t have to quit your mundane job, cut out cocktails, or sign off of social media to recharge. Instead, Polly Campbell’s inspirational book is about adding things in―good habits, practices, fun, people, activities, self-care strategies―that ignite your essential energy, the sustainable source that fires you up from within and keeps you going during the good and bad.
Depression Hates a Moving Target
How Running With My Dog Brought Me Back From the Brink (Running Depression and Anxiety Therapy, Bipolar)
It’s never too late to chase your dreams. Before she discovered running, Nita Sweeney was 49-years-old, chronically depressed, occasionally manic, and unable to jog for more than 60 seconds at a time. Using exercise, Nita discovered an inner strength she didn’t know she possessed, and with the help of her canine companion, she found herself on the way to completing her first marathon. In her memoir, Sweeney shares how she overcame emotional and physical challenges to finish the race and come back from the brink.