Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Take a Hike!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of editing and work. I’m excited about my story and I’m close to the finish line. I’ve got another story I’m just as excited about that I’ve put on the back burner so I can whip my latest project into shape.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about taking down time to enjoy the little things, like taking a hike. I love walking through the woods. I love the smell of the leaves as they fall mixing with the scent of soil. It grounds me. I feel our society needs more time outside. We’re all stuck in front of our computers. We’ve become the inside generation. We’re not getting enough fresh air and sunshine.

We’re not getting enough exercise. I see my boys sitting in front of their computers doing their virtual learning then gaming, and it worries me. I must become quite the Napoleon to get them outside, but they grudgingly do it.

There was a movie we watched when they were little that left quite an impression on me. That movie was Wall-E. It was the story about what happens after we’ve abused the earth so badly it has become unlivable and the humans create a home away from home. It’s a huge space station and everyone on the station is lazy and overweight. They’re so fat, they can’t walk very well, so they have these devices that transport them everywhere.

Sadly, I don’t think this future is far off the mark. Unless we get off our rear-ends and get moving. I’m trying to get outside more myself. I’m trying to set a good example for my kids, but even I fall short. Especially with winter right around the corner where we rise in the dark and get home from work when it’s dark. This not only affects my motivation but makes me want to hibernate, to hunker down and stay inside.

I think I came from a tribe of hibernators.

But I digress. Taking a hike through the woods is great exercise and it’s good for yourself mentally. It gets those endorphins running and we get something from the forest. The trees emit phytoncides.

These little guys are good for our immune system. They enhance our anti-cancer protein production. To learn more about Forest Bathing click here: https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/the-benefits-of-forest-bathing/

So, getting outside is good for our body and our souls. Let’s get moving America and get healthy again!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any outdoor activities that you like to do? Please leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

Posted in Family, Health

Getting Back to Nature

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back again after spending a rainy morning working on my WIP. It was a good weekend for working on it because it is definitely cooler outside. Although, I did get my six-mile run in. That felt awesome. When I was done that is. 😊

 

Photo on Visualhunt

          Today, I’d like to talk about getting back to nature. We have become the indoor generation. For a clearer picture of this check out this post here.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

          In my opinion, we’ve become a nation of strivers, trying to be uber-efficient so we can accomplish more each day. We’ve become unbalanced, putting work and accomplishment ahead of our health. So, we try to squeeze exercise and self-care into tiny increments. I know I’m guilty of this, but I’m not the only one.

To be fair, we’ve got a lot on our table, with kids, work, and writing, it’s hard to find the time. But find the time, we must or as the old adage says, “if you don’t make time for your health, you’ll be making time for your illness.” I know this is one hundred percent true.

So, I’ve had to set priorities for what’s important to me. I’ve been forced to pay attention to my health. So, I’m making exercise and getting back into nature a priority. I feel better when I exercise and getting out into nature is a great stress reliever that doesn’t cost any money. Win-win.

I try to run on the treadmill in the morning at least a couple of times a week. I find I have more energy throughout the work day when I run. The frequency of these morning runs will increase as soon as the snow flies, and I can’t get outside on the weekends. But enough about that. I want to talk about getting out into nature and relieving stress.  Did you know that walking through the woods is good for you? It’s true. Check out this post on the benefits of  Forest Bathing.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

                We need to reconnect with nature and be part of the circle of life again. We’ve become disconnected and believe we have risen above that need, but we haven’t. We’re destroying our planet with our quest for money and status. Why has this striving become more important than our health and our families?

That question can only be answered individually. I don’t think we were meant to compete so much that it affects our health, both mentally and physically. I know there’s only so many jobs out there and we must compete for them, but it shouldn’t be to the detriment of your health. Let’s take a step back and slow down. Spend more time with your family, and less time striving. Is all that striving really getting you anywhere? Or are you a hamster on a wheel because you’ve forgotten how to take care of yourself?

 

Photo credit: Hub☺ on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

          Sorry, I digress, I got caught up in the moment. I was supposed to be talking about getting back out into nature. Back on track, folks. 😉

Walking among the trees is good for our health and it relieves stress, so does walking barefoot. Do you remember going barefoot as a kid? Remember how happy and carefree we were? I think part of that happiness was because we were receiving anti-oxidants and reducing inflammation while we were running around barefoot. The practice is called “earthing” now, and it has been scientifically proven to be good for you.

Photo credit: Gareth1953 All Right Now on VisualHunt / CC BY

          So, if you can spend more time in nature, do it. It’s good for you and try to get your family out there, too. What are your thoughts? Do you feel getting out into nature is beneficial? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Holiday Posts

Looking for Some Stress Relief for the Holidays?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I know I did. We had good food and it was great to see my family.

I enjoy the holidays, but they can be stressful. From trying to prepare food, shop, and get togethers, the holidays can zap the positive energy out of anyone. I’ve put together a list of stress relievers I use to get my yin and yang back on track.

 

  1. Go for a walk. Just getting out in the fresh air and walking for a little while does me a world of good. I usually go at least two miles so I can clear out all that negative mojo that’s been building up.

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  1. Read. Immerse yourself in a good book. Did you know reading for just six minutes can reduce your stress level by sixty eight percent? What a way to calm down. So next time you’re stressed pick up a good book. It’ll do you a world of good.

 

Photo on VisualHunt

 

  1. Get together with a friend. They say laughter is the best medicine, and I wholeheartedly agree. There’s nothing better than getting together with friends and sharing memories. It’s also a great way to deal with the stress of the holidays.

 

 

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  1. Work out. Any kind of exercise is a great way to deal with stress. I run, and when I can’t run outside, I run on a treadmill. Not as much fun, but just as effective in burning calories and giving you the runner’s high that’ll get you through the day.

 

  1. Hike. If you can get out into nature and hike, I recommend it. There’s something about being out in nature that is calming. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven that it’s beneficial for you. Check out my post on Forest-bathing, you’ll see there are health benefits from just walking in the woods. Forest Bathing

 Photo by EJP Photo on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

  1. Bubble baths. Nothing says stress relief like a bubble bath. Before I had kids, I’d take one after I ran. A double whammy of destressors, that’s for sure and some days I needed it.

 

  1. Get a Massage. I can’t stress this enough. Getting a massage is an excellent stress reliever. In fact, it’s one of my favorites. It’s a great way to relieve those aches and pains as well and it’s good for your body.

 

Photo on Visualhunt

  1. Binge watch a Netflix Series. This is a great way to relieve the angst the holidays can bring on. This is one of my favorite things to do especially when it’s cold and dark outside. There are many great series out there to watch. If you need a recommendation, just let me know.

 

 

  9.Go to a Movie. This is another way to get out of the house and relax. There’s             always at least one good movie playing at the theater and a great way to forget about the holidays for a couple of hours.

  1.  Coloring. I know it sounds crazy, but there’s research suggesting that coloring in those adult coloring books is an excellent way to relieve stress. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my list of things to try.

 

So there you have it, ten great ways to relieve stress over the holidays. I have a few favorites that work best for me and I’m sure you do, too. What are your favorite stress relievers? Leave a comment and share, I’m always looking for new ways to relax!

 

Posted in Health

The Benefits of Forest-Bathing

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. We went on a quick vacation to Tahquamenon Falls and had a good time. We hiked along the river and got some great pictures. I love getting out into nature, it’s so calming and good for you, too! Experts are calling it Forest bathing.

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I mentioned it last week in a post and I thought I’d dig a little deeper. Forest bathing originated in Japan where it is called Shinrin-Yoku. Why is walking through a forest beneficial for us?

That is a very good question. The reason traipsing through the woods is good for us is because we inhale phytoncides when we breathe in the forest. These are antimicrobial volatile compounds derived from trees.

 

Photo via Visual Hunt

These phytoncides are released by the trees and plants as a defense mechanism against fungus, bacteria, and even animals. These compounds are good for humans as well. According to one study, they enhanced the destructive mechanism in our cells that kill the cell when its time has run out. It also enhanced the anti-cancer proteins production.  Now that is good news.

To put this in layman’s terms, breathing in phytoncides enhances our own natural defenses.  I think this is incredible. It supports the theory that we’re all connected, with each other, and with nature. Wouldn’t you agree?

Not only is forest bathing physically healthy it’s also psychologically good for us, too. It has been found to be advantageous to people who are dealing with chronic stress. I can attest to the stress-relieving benefits of walking through nature, but now I have scientific proof. Yay Me! For more info about this, check out this post from Huffington Post.

Huffington Post

It’s important in our hustle and bustle world that we teach our kids how to take care of themselves, and one of the things we need to teach them is how to decompress. Not only is forest bathing a great way to relieve stress, it’s a great way to reconnect with your family. It’s important to reconnect with our loved ones. It’s vital to everyone’s psychological health.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

So get out into the forest and get moving! It’s good for your body and your soul. Thanks for stopping by, I’d love to hear your thoughts on forest bathing so leave a comment. Or maybe you have other stress relieving habits you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Future, Parenting

What Should We be Teaching our Future Generations?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about some vital skills our future generations will need to survive on our planet.

 

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Our kids are going to inherit this messed up world we inhabit and they’ll inherit all the problems our greedy society has created in our quest for more. More money. More possessions. More power. More. More. More.

 

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The thing is we’re teaching our kids that striving for more is the only way to be. It’s not.  We need to teach our kids the concept of enough and the concept of balance.

 

Why?

 

Because being in Striver mode all the time is not good for our health.  If we continue in Striver mode and we continue to reproduce at the rate we are, we’ll soon be fighting over smaller and smaller space. We’ll be producing more trash and our landfills will overflow. This is a problem. By any chance did you see the movie “Wallie?” The Trailer is below.

 

 

In the movie, humans have to leave earth and move out into space into a floating world because earth is no longer able to sustain life. It’s covered in garbage and all the humans are too heavy to move or exercise. It’s an awesome movie and I’d recommend watching it with your kids if you get the chance.

That’s where our society is headed if we don’t start taking care of our planet and each other. Haven’t you heard? Obesity is an epidemic.

Photo credit: colros via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

We need to teach our kids to slow down and take care of themselves.  Because we’re in Striver mode, we eat fast food and processed food. We do this because it takes less time to prepare and gives us more time to work. What happens when we reach that pinnacle of success? We have more money than we ever dreamed of, but we can’t enjoy it because we don’t have our health.

 

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Sad.

We need to slow down and teach our children to garden and how to cook for themselves so they can control what they put in their mouths. By doing this, they control their health.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

  We need to teach our kids to be fair. We can do this by teaching them to empathize with their fellow man. Empathy? How do you teach that?  By encouraging a love of reading.  By reading about different characters, our kids step into their worlds and learn about them.

 

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The more knowledge and tolerance they have for others, the better they’ll be at getting along with their peers. A vital skill when space is becoming smaller and smaller, wouldn’t you agree?

Reading you say? Yes reading. It’s also an awesome coping mechanism when you’re dealing with stress. Just an FYI. 🙂 Sadly, it isn’t a cure-all. We need to teach our kids how to communicate, using I messages so they can resolve conflict without a lot of negative feelings.

These Negotiation Skills will be in high demand in the future.

How can we teach this? By having our kids interact with their peers. Don’t let them play video games all day long. Don’t let them use their phones as their only means of communication.  Arrange play dates and get them outside, playing games, and solving their own conflicts.

Photo via Visualhunt

 

Last but not least. Teach them a love and respect for nature. Walking in nature is good for you. It’s called “Forest Bathing.” This practice originated in Japan, and there’s scientific proof it’s beneficial. Something I’ve known for a long time, but didn’t know there was actual proof of it.

 

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“A 2010 research review found that forest environments promoted lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than city environments. [6]

Forest environments have been found to be advantageous with respect to acute emotions, especially among those experiencing chronic stress.[7]

Nature isn’t just good for you, we as a species need the trees and the bees in order to survive. The bees are our biggest pollinators. Thirty percent of our food crop depend on them to grow and ninety percent of our wild plants depend on them to flourish. That’s a tall order for those tiny bees wouldn’t you agree?

Photo via Visualhunt

And trees? They provide oxygen. It takes TWENTY-TWO trees to provide enough oxygen for one person. There are 7.442 BILLION people on earth. That’s a lot of trees. Now do you see why it’s important to have a love and respect for nature?

 

Photo via Visual Hunt

So there you have it.  My view on some of the essential skills our kids will need to survive on a shrinking planet. Are there any vital skills I’ve missed? Share your thoughts!  I’d love to hear from you!