It’s logical that I would follow up my posting a couple of weeks ago about boomer stress (The Joy of Stress – Boomer Style) with a suggestion on how to mitigate the problem. We’re all fed up with boomers being treated as the invisible generation. We’re tired of the constant stream of bad news on television and in the media. When our tech problems and double-verification issues are driving us insane, there is relief. And, the best part is it’s free and readily available. It is called stepping outside, breathing fresh air and going for a walk.
During my years in the corporate world, I worked long hours and endured my share of stress. We all did. Despite being constantly overwhelmed and never having enough time to get everything done in both my professional and personal life, I always had one respite. The secret to maintaining my sanity and clearing my head at work was getting outside into the fresh air as often as possible.
When lunchtime arrived, I would set my workload aside and go somewhere totally removed from the office. Whether it was a quick shopping spree at a local mall, chowing down on greasy fries and a burger at a nearby Harvey’s, or meeting a friend for Japanese sushi, I rarely ate lunch at my desk and always made sure to leave the office. Getting a few breaths of fresh air and having the sunshine hit my Vitamin D-deprived face never failed to breathe new life into me.
Even though my retirement stresses are minor (well, except for the tech ones!), I still find that going outside for a brief spell totally lifts my mood and clears my head. Our home in the city is on a compact lot and the neighbours are close, but we have created a little sanctuary in our back yard. Our covered gazebo is surrounded by trees, lilac bushes, cedars, hornbeam, and other bushes, flowers, and shrubs, so it is completely private—a little oasis.
I drop my expanding backside into my faux wicker La-Z-girl, kick my feet up and slip into fresh air oblivion. If I park my chair a certain way, I can stick my pale, white legs out into the sunshine while I tip the rest of me back in the shade and enjoy nature’s massage while I read my latest downloaded library book. With a cup of tea by my side and my little Yorkie in my lap, I can’t imagine a better life. A total feeling of zen and absolute absence of stress.
Soaking up a few minutes of forbidden direct sunshine on a hot summer day always refuels my tank. Ignoring the warnings about direct sun exposure, I can feel every inch of my body dancing and rejoicing while I soak up the sun for a few minutes. I can hear and feel my senses screaming, thank you!
Walks, particularly in the spring and fall are totally rejuvenating. When the ground and trees are waking up in the warm April sun, or dropping fragrant, colourful leaves on to the sidewalk in autumn, the pleasure is always intense, especially when I reach the little walking trail through a short wooded enclave in the park near our home. I inhale the lovely scent of the grass and the trees and listen for the various bird sounds. I prefer to walk alone, at my own pace, lost in my own thoughts, but after three hip replacements, I have reduced my distance and frequency.
A glass of wine (or several) does it for some people. A massage, a workout, pursuing your hobby, or a soak in the hot tub does it for others. Whether you live in an apartment, a house, a flat, a cottage, or a trailer, the free, quick, and guaranteed stress reliever for me is to step outside and breathe in some fresh air. Take a walk, preferably accompanied by some sunshine and the caress of nature. What works for you?