Name: Stacy Fisher-Gunn
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Book Title: Uppward: A Self-Care System for Purposeful Living
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What is your book about?
Uppward challenges some of our long-held beliefs about self-care by suggesting that caring for ourselves properly can actually enhance our ability to love and care for others. The book outlines eight dimensions of self-care and walks readers through the process of creating a practice of their own. My hope is that readers will find the confidence to explore new possibilities for healthy living.
As a registered dietitian/nutritionist with more than 16 years of experience in health care, I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with managing life’s demands while also taking proper care of themselves. And I’ve noticed that some of the most successful people have figured out how to do just that. This book is based on my personal experiences, as well as the many observations I’ve made in my professional work over the years.
Can you describe your writing process?
I am constantly trying new things, but I typically start by gathering all of my notes and ideas into a pile, and then doing my best to arrange them in a unique way. This is what excites me the most; it’s exhilarating to see what comes out of that exercise. Then, I schedule what I call “writing bursts” (similar to the Pomodoro method), where I write for a set period of time and then take frequent breaks to run errands or work on other projects. I walk in the woods a lot, and quite frequently I write while walking on my treadmill—exercise fuels my creativity.
How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
My mother used to pay me to read (it’s how I earned an allowance), and I think that somehow contributed to my love of reading and writing. Likewise, my first job was reshelving books in a library, and I can still remember feeling so at home there.
In 2015, I left my corporate job to take a sabbatical and the rest is history. The break helped me see more vividly those areas of my health that I had neglected, and I realized that self-care is a powerful preventive health tool. I also discovered that I had a deep desire to create a supportive community of people who encourage and inspire one another. This book is the foundation for that vision.
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
Usually, my days start at 5 a.m., if not before. I get up, let the critters out, fill my mug with coffee, and then begin reviewing my plans for the day. As I’m sure many authors can relate, there is no such thing as a typical day, except that on most days I do spend some amount of time writing. Whether it’s a blog post, an article, or some other project, I try to write for at least an hour each day. And, as you might guess, I make it a priority to weave in some self-care.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I love having an outlet for the endless stream of ideas that my brain generates, and it’s personally rewarding to be able to translate science into actionable steps for my readers.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
Mostly, I’m inspired by everyday people who manage to achieve their goals despite life’s persistent challenges. I share George Bernard Shaw’s desire to be “thoroughly used up” when I die, and that idea continues to motivate me to push beyond my fears and familiarities.
I’ve always been drawn to nonfiction because I admire authors who can bring people and science (food, in particular) together—Wendell Berry, Ruth Reichl, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, and Marion Nestle are just a few.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
I have five girls (and they’re all chickens).
What’s next for you?
I’m working on several projects, one of which involves the connection between nature and health.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
If you’ve been thinking that it’s time to start taking better care of yourself, then I invite you to get involved in the Living Upp community.
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