Stress Free

plant_growing_through_concreteStress is a healthy and normal part of daily life. The National Institute of Mental Health defines stress as the brain’s response to a challenge, and in moderate amounts, stress keeps one alert to danger and motivated to achieve. Stress in larger doses however, is dangerous to health and mental well-being; many people experience physical aches, insomnia, and negative emotional side effects from stress. Although we cannot always avoid stressors, managing stress and our reaction to it can keep us healthy and positive.

Staying Active: Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and maintain health. Physical activity improves mood, promotes healthy habits, and can even help you sleep better. Exercising outside is an especially good stress reliever; research shows that viewing nature—even something as simple as a potted plant, helps alleviate tension.

Sleep: Most adults need between seven and nine hours of rest each night to function at an optimal level. Good sleep makes you more mentally alert and better able to deal with the day’s challenges. Sleep however is often the first thing to suffer when someone is under stress. Make sleep a priority; avoid staring at computer, television, or cell phone screens before bed, and create a relaxing bedtime routine to prepare yourself to rest.

Perspective: Studies shows that taking time to appreciate what you already have is a good way to stay positive. Focusing on what is going well in your life and noting all the good things that happen each day—no matter how mundane, helps to relieve tension. Getting perspective on a situation by talking with a trusted friend or family member can also reduce worry over a stressful situation and provide emotional support when stress gets overwhelming.

Relax and take a break from your stressful schedule at a spa, salon, or hotel in your area. Search Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses, to find anything from spas and restaurants, to auto repair shops and landscapers. Visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and choose your location. Use the search box to find local businesses, or, choose a search term from the popular categories list at the bottom of the main page. A list of businesses matching your search term will appear on the results page; each listing will include the phone number and address of the business.

 

Summer in Bloom

blanket_flower_arizona_sun_600Warm summer weather is a great excuse to spend time outdoors. Picnics, beach trips, and outdoor games are favorite summertime activities, but planting a garden is especially rewarding. Gardening is a good way to exercise and improve mental health. When planting flowers in the summer, prepare your yard and choose plants that thrive in summer sunlight.

Sunny Spots: Before deciding on what flowers to plant, determine the sun conditions of your garden space. Plants’ sun requirements fall into three categories: full sun, partial sun/partial shade, or full shade. Plants that need full sun require six or more hours of direct sunlight; plants labeled as “heat/drought tolerant” fall into this category and can endure the strong afternoon sun. Flowers and plants needing partial sun/shade prefer four to six hours of light, and typically thrive in morning and early evening sunlight, versus hot afternoon light. Full shade plants thrive in shaded areas and endure very little direct light. Monitor the amount of sunlight in your garden space and choose plants appropriate for your yard’s sun conditions.

Preparing the Soil: Prep the soil before planting anything. Use fertilizer and organic material to enrich the soil (particularly in areas with thin, poor soil, or sandy soil). Organic material and mulch helps the dirt retain moisture, mulch is also good for keeping the soil cool—a must during high-temperature summer weather.

Choosing your Plants: Choose plants and flowers that thrive in your climate region; the best flowers to plant however are those native to your area. Purchase healthy-looking plants from a local nursery; wilted and stressed plants are less likely to survive in a new environment. If you want plants that thrive in summer temperatures and sunlight, look for flowers that are high heat or drought tolerant, such as Blanket Flowers or Globe Amaranths.

Find plant nurseries or florists in your area through Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of business listings. Users can find a large variety of businesses on RLP, from hotels and electricians, to florist shops and restaurants. Search by visiting the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your city and state. Find businesses by choosing a search term on the main page, or enter your own terms into the search box. Each listing on the results page shows the contact information for the business. Users can also leave reviews of the business through the RLP website.