Digging in the Dirt

This is not an article on digging up the dirt. That’s an entirely different post. And there is a ton of dirt to dig up, so one day. Ha ha. Nope, this post is about pondering what we do to alleviate stress. To me there is nothing better than getting out into nature and taking in some fresh air and exercise.

Gardening can do both of those things, plus digging in the dirt nurtures the soul. My mother and my maternal grandmother, have, or had, green thumbs, me, not so much. My garden in the desert consists mostly of citrus trees, hedge plants, and rose bushes. I have a twice a month gardener who trims and treats and mows and blows. Not that there is grass to mow, but there is a large golf putting green that needs constant attention.

My daughter in L.A. has a raised bed garden and grows tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, zucchini, herbs, sage, and I don’t know what else. IMG_0910IMG_0902 She is a working woman, attending university at nights and weekends and doing practicums for her Masters in psychology. She also has a relationship to nurture, housework to do, and a gazillion other things. I stayed at her home for five days over this Labor Day weekend, when she went to NJ for a wedding. I’d noticed the garden area needed some clean up. I’d taken my laptop intending to create promotional graphics, and work on other writing related business. Unfortunately, I’d left some key information at home.

On the second day of my trip, I received copyedits on the latest manuscript and that stressed me. There was work to be done, and I didn’t trust my laptop which often saves documents in the cloud and I can never find them. (I do not profess to be computer savvy, park me in front of my PC and I do okay, but on the road…yeah, then I’m nervous, so I wasn’t about to risk doing all that work and possibly losing it.) Feeling anxious, a bit stressed, and very frustrated about this new turn of events, I emailed my editor that I would get these back to her later in the week. I then took to the garden.

After four hours of ripping up nasty crabgrass, weeding, trimming edges, and sweeping paths, I’d worked up quite a sweat. My sneakers were covered in dirt, hair was plastered to my scalp, and my back ached. But it was a good ache. I came inside, washed off my shoes and put them in the sun to dry and took a hot shower.

IMG_0923Then the pool beckoned, and I thought what the heck, why not? I swam some to work the kinks out of my muscles, floated on a rubber alligator, and dozed in a deck chair on the platform, trailing a hand or foot in the water every so often, wetting my skin, face, hair. I love, love, that platform.

So, it was a day well spent. The frustration is gone, my mood has improved, and now I’m in my own home, sitting at a computer I trust. I’ve already begun to tackle those copyedits with newfound vigor. And a super plus, my hardworking daughter came home to a tidy house, and a super tidy yard.

So, what do you do when the stresses from life build? Are you a shopper, nature lover, gardener, power walker, meditator, or a gym attendee? Or do you have an entirely different way to relieve stress? Tell me about it.


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6 Responses to Digging in the Dirt

  1. I work out in the pool at the wellness center next to the local hospital. I can work a lot of stress out that way. 100 pounds ago I ate out my stress. My Sundays continue to be a problem. Sunday is my 3rd out of 4 ten hour days. 2 of my co-workers who are always a little annoying are a lot annoying on that day. And I rebel against eating what I’ve brought and want to junk out all day. I have not figured out the whys or the ways around it yet.
    Sounds like you had a great day!

    • robena grant says:

      Hi, Judy. Yep, I understand the eating through stress. I’ve been known to do that but fortunately catch myself by the end of a week and quit. Good for you on the swimming routine. I need the discipline of exercise and once I fall out of my routine it all goes to hell. 🙂 I’m so happy I’m home now and can get on track. Also the edits are going surprisingly well.

  2. KJ Montgomery says:

    I like to sew and crochet to relieve stress. Especially like the crocheting because I tend to make afghans and I don’t need to any fancy pattern changes. And when I’m done…I have created another item. I guess you could say that I like my time to be productive 🙂

  3. Robena says:

    Hi, KJ. I admire your talent. I have six thumbs when it comes to knitting and crochet. I’m always impressed with the ladies on Jenny Crusie’s blog…so many are talented with crochet and quilting. I’ve heard it’s a great stress reducer.

  4. cindy says:

    My favorite (now that I live in a condo and have no garden) is yoga. I also like walks in the park. And reading, of course:)

  5. robena grant says:

    Hi, Cindy. I’m not great at Yoga, but I do attend Curves about four times a week. And reading! Yep, that is my all time stress reliever. 🙂