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. 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.
Then 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.