7 Ways to Play Where You Live!

Fun times with my daughter!!
Fun times with my daughter!!

Yes, I will admit it.  I have been running away quite a bit. I have had some great times with loved ones where we had such fun times.   Considering the hectic pace of my life this summer, I am saying it is good stress management.  However, traveling from  my last getaway, I was thinking, “When can I  go again?”   Somehow, I would need to arrange my life in a way where the day to day routine is more exciting and inviting.  While it might be good stress management to have breaks, it is not healthy to  only be ok when I am away from home.  We all do it, though. While, I love to getaway to the country and hike and 4-wheel, the people there just use their 4 wheeler for work, and not play.   This idea spawned my

“Play Where You Live” plan. Continue reading “7 Ways to Play Where You Live!”

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“What did I do to Deserve This?” How our questions influence us forever.

cropped-garden-of-the-gods.jpgWe were driving home from a very frustrating doctors visit, with a doctor who knew little about dementia or how to deal with a dementia patient.  I was looking for assistance with home health for bathing and medication for her anxiety.  Instead, I came away with paperwork on cooking for a patient with high-blood pressure… sigh.  My mother-in-law had already forgotten about the traumatic visit and was distracted by the huge cumulus clouds banking all around the sky.   Suddenly, the sky opened up to a huge downpour. The rain was so heavy and strong even the wipers on full blast could not keep up. It was a bit terrifying for me, who loves storms, trying to see and keep on the freeway.  She was in quite a panic.  Then she asked, “What did I do to deserve this?” Continue reading ““What did I do to Deserve This?” How our questions influence us forever.”

First Things First

10525916_781390441881524_13519433434744531_n[1]When life gets busy and crazy with a never-ending to-do list usually I tend to roll up my sleeves and get on the treadmill and keep going and going and going.  It takes a while for me to realize I have gone too far over the edge.   Yesterday, I thought about working out.  Hmmmm how long has it been?  Over a week…No wonder I am feeling lethargic and tense. Really, I know the fact is, the busier I am, the more I need to be aware of what it takes to keep me functioning – physically and emotionally.   Just like I need to set up routines in my life to make sure the dishes are done every day and people have food to eat, I must have some routines in place to keep me balanced and energized.   Everyone is different.  For me I need to do these things every day!! Continue reading “First Things First”

Living With Dementia

Titus and his Great Gram!
Titus and his Great Gram!

All things considered, it could of been a lot worse.  The transition of moving my MIL to my home went very smoothly.  I took her out shopping and eating while hubby and the kids worked hard and recreated her apartment in my former master suite.  On bringing her home we just showed her, her new home.   She keeps forgetting where she lives and we have to bring her into her room over and over again.  Repeatedly, it is like she is seeing it for the first time and is happy with it and very thankful. Continue reading “Living With Dementia”

Blog Post #100 – Yippeee!

395549_261699080561387_146189222112374_736403_1165990731_n[1]Knowing my hundredth post was coming up, I have been thinking of  what would be most important to write about.  Many ideas came to mind, but none that sounded really perfect for celebrating my 100 blog milestone.  That is when it hit me—  Of course– Celebrate the Milestone!!!!   Hooray   Hooray!  Time for the happy dance and confetti! Continue reading “Blog Post #100 – Yippeee!”

Lifelong Benefits of Play!!

“The opposite of play is not work, but is depression.”

Oh my goodness, what a quote!!  To me that is reason enough to make time and effort to play and have fun everyday!!  Here are some of the many proven benefits!!

In his book, Play: How it Shapes your Brain, Stuart Brown lays out facts on how play is not an optional activity for our life, but an essential element.   If we want to have a life of vitality, creativity and learning skills, emotional stamina, and satisfying relationships we must learn to incorporate play every day.

1) Vitality and Personal Health–  Play keeps you younger and healthier.  It reduces stress hormones in your blood streams.  If we have high stress levels it lowers our immune system and ages out body faster.   Play can trigger a lovely mix of endorphins helping us cope with the pressures and stress of everyday life.   Our spirits are lifted and life is no longer rigid and unmanageable.

2) Sharpens our skills-  There are so many ways to learn and play can foster our creativity, opening a doorway to learning.  When our imaginations are stimulated we can go further and retain more.   We can learn about taking risks and how to adapt to complex issues.  Doing something you enjoy helps your brain relax and get into the flow.  This relaxed feeling stays with you when you return to more serious activities and helps your mind stay clear.

3) Relationships-Playing with others gives you a sense of belonging and strengthens community.  You strengthen your social skills as well as compassion and empathy.  You learn to trust each other and feel safe.

It's up to you.  Can you afford to not jump into fun?
It’s up to you. Can you afford to not jump into fun?

7 Ways Exercise Meets Our Needs

Exercising

We all spend our time in ways we have learned to use to meet our needs.  Sometimes these means are truly productive and serve us while other times they are not.. and don’t serve us at all.  One way of analyzing how well an activity serves us is by seeing how well it meets our seven major needs.  One activity we do at my retreats is to list ways we spend our time and then rate each one on a scale from zero to ten with ten indicating it meets that need 100%!  If we have a lot of time spent on activities with quite a few scores under 5, we might want to rethink these, in order to have time for more productive items.

I was really surprised how well exercise ( or movement)  fits this model.  It is one of the easiest ways to score high in all need categories.

1) Security/comfort-9- Ability to avoid pain and feel pleasure, escape stress and feel safe and secure. Getting out and moving, whether running, dancing or yoga just makes you feel better and more in tune with life.

2)Surprise /Variety 9 – Ability to escape boredom and the mundane, feel challenged and excited.   Do something different with exercise- run in the rain or jump into a cool pool.  Ahhhh!!

3)Significance 9 -Ability to feel needed, important and unique.    Again there are so many options here.  Some people might work toward a goal, maybe a race or improving their time.  I just like to challenge myself to try new things.

4) Support/ Love 7 –  Ability to feel intimate, connect share with others or yourself.    You could join a class or a running group.  Even if  you exercise solo, you can connect with nature outside.

5) Self- Improvement/ Growth  10 – The ability to improve oneself, learn new things, move toward your highest potential   This is the easiest to see.  Of course we are improving our body, mind and life!

6)Sharing/ Giving back to the world 7- Of course more energy and better health can improve our contribution the the world.

7) Spirituality 10 – I can pray a lot while walking or working out.  Plus, it just gets me in tune with my body and my higher purpose!

This morning I was having a little trouble getting motivated and focused in my day.  So, I went in the yard for 10 min of yoga, then ran around the perimeter 10 times with the dogs on my heels.  They thought is was great fun and we ended up laughing on the ground.  The above scores are from that experience, an average of 8.5.    Hooray, instant motivation and ready for an amazing day.

What can you do to jump start your day?  Come on Get your booty moovin!!

5 Amazing Emotional Benefits of Exercise

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.
Love and protect your brain!

We all know the benefits of exercise, but for some reason they are not enough to motivate us to get moving.  The health benefits are many- lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, increases stamina, stimulates our lymph system and of course  helps with our weight.

Did you know exercise benefits our emotional and brain health also?

1) Reverses the amount of stress- Not only does regular exercise increase the amount of soothing brain chemicals such as Dopamine, saratonin and norepinehrine it also works on the cellular level to reverse the toll of stress and the effect of stress in the aging process.   Studies have shown how exercise can alter the blood flow in the brain in areas which tend to relive stressful thoughts and relieves the pattern of reliving them again and again.

2)Lifts Depression-     Studies have shown burning 350 calories at least 3 times a week reduces symptoms of depression.  It also stimulates the growth of neurons in the brain that have been damaged by depression and boosts production of molecules between the nerve cells acting as a natural anti- depressant.   If taking anti-depressants, continue taking them and add exercise to improve even more.  They say you must break a sweat to gain these benefits.

3)Improves Learning–  Exercise increases the level of brain chemical which actually makes new brain cells and establishes new connections between the brain cells allowing you to learn quicker and retain information.  This works best with complicated activities such as a dance class or tennis lesson where you are challenging your brains as well as coordination.  Just like muscles our brain cells need some stress to allow it to grow.

4)Builds Self- Esteem– Setting small goals and accomplishing them leads to knowing you have control over your choices and life.  Whether it is deciding to walk around  to block every day or prepare to run a 5 k, or just walk up the stairs can encourage us to set other goals and meet them.  We can feel better about who we are.

5)A Feeling of Euphoria-  Hmm this is my favorite.  I have never run a marathon to feel that runners high, but can get it with interval training.  I can run, bike or swim as fast as possible for 30 seconds, then reduce to a gentle speed for 5 minutes before sprinting again.  Repeat 4 times.  This give a marvelous runners high that lasts all day long!!

Wow, to me that is motivating to get going!  This is why in our quest to wake every day excited about life, our habit of the month of May is get moving!!

So what are you going to do today??