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What I learned from dealing with extreme stress

I haven’t posted for awhile.   I have been dealing with a very stressful situation that caused disruption to my life.   I was dealing with job stress.   Jobs do have a measure of stress, this was a different situation that caused me unusual mental, emotional and physical distress that began to in all areas of my life.  I had extreme anxiety which was causing me to have heart palpitations and I was not sleeping well.  That resulted in me having no time to work on my blog.  Instead of working on my blog after work, I would come home and go straight to bed!  Which also left me with no time or energy for regular physical exercise.  No time or energy to cook for myself or eat healthy.   So I have really gotten off track.   I’ve decided I need to get back on track with both my blogging and my healthy lifestyle.

The job stress wasn’t easy to deal with but I did learn a lot while going through that situation.   It reminded me of what’s really important in life.   It taught me to look for the positives, the beauty in life.   While a job is important, you need a job to pay bills and make a living.   There was a lot more to me and a lot more to life than just my job.

What helped me to get through that tough situation was having strong faith and focusing on my spirituality.   I was getting a lot of negativity at work, criticism and overall making me feel like I was an awful person.  What I needed to remember is that  what is most important in my life is my relationship with my creator and how he feels about me and that my job does not define me or my worth as a person.   My creator loves me and values me and that’s what is more important than anything.

When I was going through that,  I looked for ways to deal with my stress.   A great stress reliever for me was gardening and doing yard work ( I guess that was my exercise lol )   I found gardening and planting flowers and designing my flower beds to be extremely relaxing and rewarding.   Seeing the beauty of my garden brought me peace and happiness and helped me to relax and get my mind off of my stress.  My yard was very beautiful this summer, that’s how stressed I was.  LOL

Another way I dealt with stress and anxiety was by going for walks in the local metro parks and enjoying the wildlife and nature.   It was also good exercise for me.   It was refreshing and relaxing to go to the parks and look for and enjoy the beauty in life.   It reminded me of all the good things in life and despite the awful and toxic situation I was going through, life is truly beautiful and I need to appreciate life and all its beauty.

And of course a priority in life is my relationship with others, family , friends, children and grandchildren.   Having those positive and close relationship with others truly adds meaning and beauty to life.   I had to learn to surround myself with positive role models and people who are good for me and that toxic people don’t define who I am as a person.  I had to learn to separate myself from that toxic environment and that I am not that person they are trying to tell me that I am.

I remember when I was going through that tough time in my life, I got a very sweet text message from my granddaughter.  Her dad had just taught her how to use siri to send text messages.   She told Siri, “send text message to Momma Angie ( that’s what she calls me )   She tells Siri, “tell her( meaning me)  I love her.”  Aww, my heart just melted.  I thought to myself, that’s what life is all about.   It’s those little things that are so precious and add so much meaning and beauty to life.   Also spending time with my two grandsons and seeing them grow and learn new things and becoming who they are is another precious part of life that I am truly enjoying.

I’m happy to report that the stressful situation I was dealing with has now ended and I am happy again.  smile    I’m thankful that I got through it, thankful for the family and friends who helped me get through that tough situation.  Thankful to my creator for giving me the strength to get through it.  Throughout that process I learned a lot about myself, most importantly, I learned to stay positive and despite that toxic situation or life’s problems; life is truly beautiful.   I’m learning to appreciate how beautiful and great life is and to focus on the positives and focus on me and my mental health well being.

Below are some of my favorite moments from the last few months that made my life truly blessed and beautiful

 

 

Take It Outside, The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

Benefits of Exercising Outside

Health Benefits of Outdoor Excercise
Health Benefits Of Outdoor Exercise

Outdoor Exercise Can Boost the Body, Mind, and Mood

The above pictures were taken on a hiking trip I made to Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Spring is finally here!   Yay!   It’s my favorite time of year.   With the cool, pleasant temperatures, flowers blooming, grass and trees budding, everywhere you look it’s so lush and green.   It’s absolutely beautiful.    With the comfortable temperatures and nature coming back to life , it’s a great time to get moving outdoors. ( Although it’s now early June and the temps are a wee bit warmer but still not too hot.  I meant to get this article written a month ago, life’s busy.  Lol).    Anyway, .  I know for me, I feel motivated to get more exercise in the spring because I can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature again after a long winter.

 

I generally start out hiking on trails at local metro parks.  I have quite a few near where I live.  However,  I do have my favorite trail.    It’s my favorite because it has hills and stairs.   It makes me feel like I’m getting a really good workout.   I achieve that panting , out of breath , heart racing pace, which help me to know I’m getting a good workout and burning extra calories.  One of my absolutely favorite places to hike is at Hocking Hills State Park in Hocking County, Ohio. That’s where these  photos were taken.   It’s so beautiful there and has many outdoor activities to engage in, besides hiking, ziplining, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing etc…  There is a campground if you enjoy camping.  If you prefer more luxurious accomodation’s, there are plenty of cabins in the area.  Go visit there, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Here are some of the benefits of outdoor workouts, and tips for getting started.

 

1  Improve Immune System Function

According to Science Daily, Research has found evidence that spending time in nature provides protections against a startling range of diseases, including depression, diabetes, obesity, ADHD, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and many more. How this exposure to green space leads to better health has remained a mystery. After reviewing hundreds of studies examining nature’s effects on health, University of Illinois environment and behavior researcher Ming Kuo believes the answer lies in nature’s ability to enhance the functioning of the body’s immune system.

 

One way to understand this relationship between nature, health, and the immune system, Kuo explains, is that exposure to nature switches the body into “rest and digest” mode, which is the opposite of the “fight or flight” mode. When the body is in “fight or flight” mode, it shuts down everything that is immediately nonessential, including the immune system.

 

“When we feel completely safe, our body devotes resources to long-term investments that lead to good health outcomes–growing, reproducing, and building the immune system,” Kuo said. “When we are in nature in that relaxed state, and our body knows that it’s safe, it invests resources toward the immune system.”

 

 

2)  Boost Self Esteem and Feel Happier

 

It releases happy chemicals into your brain and you feel less stressed out.  It energizes you and gives you self confidence.   It eases anxiety and fights insomnia.

 

3).  Alleviates Depression

According to Psypost, A preliminary study led by Anika Fruehauf, It was discovered that outdoor activity appears to have a significantly improved effect on certain symptoms of depression when compared to the indoor activity, the improvements may be a result of nature’s influence on mood.

 

4). Vitamin D

Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin.   When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur.

 

Vitamin D has many roles in the body and is essential for optimal health

 

For example, it instructs the cells in your gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus — two minerals that are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones

 

5).  Stress Relief

Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.

 

6).  Extra Energy

 

Regular physical activity increases the blood flow to your body and improves your cardiovascular health and fitness. This will allow more blood and oxygen to get to the body providing energy to do work. … Exercise is a great way to improve energy levels.

 

7). Cheap and Easy Access.

It’s free!   All you need to get a fantastic workout is a safe, well-lit park, track, neighborhood or walking trail, and your bodyweight. No gym membership required.

 

8).  Connecting With Mother Nature

Exercising outdoors can help you feel grounded, deepen your connection to your environment and enhance your appreciation for the beauty around you.

 

You may be more likely to stick with it.

 

You can turn it into a social outing. “Exercise can become a lot more fun if you involve family and friends,”   Instead of meeting a friend for lunch or coffee, consider going for a walk. Or take your family out for a walk together instead of watching TV after dinner.

Below are pictures of Cedar Falls down in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Cedar Falls Cliffs
Cedar Falls Cliffs
Cedar Falls, Ohio
Cedar Falls, Ohio

Below is the gorge down at Old Man’s Cave, Hocking Hills State Park

Conkles Hollow, Nature Preserve, Hocking Hills, Ohio
Hocking Hills
Hocking Hills

 

Have fun with it!    Exercise and be happy

 

How Gardening Is Good For Your Mental Health Well-Being

Spring is here!   Yay!   I love spring.   It’s my favorite time of the year.   Everything is so lush and green.   The flowers are blooming, cool nights, trees are budding, beautiful perfect weather.   And the days are getting longer.   It’s so beautiful.

 

Part of my adopting a healthy lifestyle, not only included dietary changes but also looking for ways to stay active physically and activities that are also good for my mentally.

 

I was never into gardening.  I enjoy flowers and plants, I think they’re absolutely beautiful.    I had decided my life was too busy for gardening.   My idea of gardening was planting flowers in a few pots and putting them on the front porch.

 

A few years ago my neighbor wanted to thin out her hostas ( I had never even heard the word hostas) so she planted some in my flower beds.   I was amazed and pleasantly surprised how much beauty just a few hostas added to my landscaping.  That was the beginning of my new hobby, gardening.  I absolutely fell in love with it, from that moment on I was hooked.

 

It’s hard work, which is good physical exercise.  Physically, lifting and carrying heavy bags of mulch from my car to the backyard; digging in hard ground, carrying heavy bags of top soil, potting soil, and bags of cobblestones.   Whew!  What a workout.   Talk about burning calories! ….

 

Not only is gardening a good physical workout, I also discovered gardening was also good for my mental health.  My secular job can be very stressful. I found gardening to be a good outlet and relief for my stress.   Seeing the results of all my hard work and all the beauty from gardening and working on my landscaping; I find  it refreshing and mentally relaxing.

 

So Yay!   Spring is here.  I’ve already been bitten by the gardening bug by planting just a few plants that are hardy and can survive a cold snap, until it eventually stays warm.  I’m looking forward to mid May when I can plant even more.

 

I got curious why gardening is so good for our mental health, so I did research and this is what I found.  According to “Thrive, using gardening to change lives,”….

 

  1. Looking after plants gives us a sense of responsibility
  2. Gardening allows us all to be nurturers.
  3. Gardening keeps us connected to other living things.
  4. Gardening helps us relax and let go.

 

Yes!   Gardening can help you feel better

Research shows that gardening for people with mental health problems can improve communication with others, help with learning new practical skills/teamwork and planning. It also improves confidence and helps with concentration.

Gardening has really helped to change the way I feel.

Ask any gardener why they enjoy gardening and many will say that it “makes them feel good”.

Gardening can help your emotional well being and can help you feel happier, healthier and more confident.

 

I have found gardening to help me when I’m going through a difficult period in my life or experiencing stress and anxiety.
I love gardening because it’s great physical exercise and gets me outside in the fresh air and I feel a sense of achievement for all my hard work.

 

Here are some of my favorite pictures of my flower gardens.

This is a picture of my shade garden with a different variety of Hostas, Impatient’s and a ground cover called Nettle ( if my memory is correct, lol).

Shade garden

Hosta Shade Garden

This next picture below is another one of my shade garden. I love the color contrast of this variegated

hosta with the Hydrangea

Shade garden

The next picture below is of my original Hostas that started my gardening journey Hosta garden

Hosta garden

This next picture is Delphinium. I love the blue color. I try to add a variety of colors to my garden; pinks, blues, red, orange.

Blue Delphinium

The next picture is of my Gladiolus. They were suppose to be white, what a wonderful and unexpected surprise to see they came up in three different colors, white with pink around the edges with a hint of yellow. Gorgeous!

Gladiolus Gladiolus

Here’s a close up view

Gladiolus Gladiolus
Gladiolus Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Here is my favorite Hosta

Hosta Hosta

My shade garden

My Hosta garden My Hosta garden

Yes, gardening is not only good for you physically but also has mental health benefits.

What do you do to get physical exercise and focus on your mental health wellbeing?

Feel free to leave a comment 😊