Posts in activities
New worksheet available! Stress LESS.

Hi everybody!

I have been scribbling different versions of this worksheet for some time now, and I finally have a version that I’m excited to share. It is the first in a series of worksheets that I will be making available on the (heyyyyy) WORKSHEETS PAGE!

Me, being  not stressed  about being covered in Jell-o at my son’s 7th birthday party.  Yep, he still likes getting messy, I’ve just joined him.

Me, being not stressed about being covered in Jell-o at my son’s 7th birthday party. Yep, he still likes getting messy, I’ve just joined him.

This first worksheet is all about identifying your response to stressors. We all need LESS STRESS, and I am 100% sure you can shift your perception of your personal stressors (well, most of them anyway) to have less stress.

The basic idea is that you will identify your stressors. After you have identified your stressors, you can then have a real conversation with yourself about whether you choose to have a stress response to that or not. That’s right, you get to choose in more cases than not.

The example I always give in my clinic is when my son was about 2-3, he was obsessed with emptying all toothpaste, all dish soap, all shampoo, bubble bath, you name it..into the sink or the bath tub. We would be having a normal day, getting ready to leave the house and I’d realize that I sent him to get socks (or pants or whatever!), and he didn’t come back straight away. I would know that he was probably getting into something, and I’d feel this mild fury rise in me that he was wasting another tube of toothpaste. Even though the grownups had put it out of reach, my 5 year old probably hadn’t…..lo and behold a sink full of toothpaste AND toilet paper because he actually tried to clean it up. I was right, but I was in no place to acknowledge he was a little kid trying to learn. That moment sucked, and I wanted so much to have had a different response. It was predictable. He did it All. The. Time. He was an insatiable tiny mad scientist.

I had to learn to have a new response in that very moment. I had to decide that I would not allow myself to become stressed about wasted toothpaste. I had to decide that as I walked down the hall, rounding the corner to the bathroom, that I would take pause, assess the situation, and do my best to not allow this particular stressor become STRESS IN MY BODY. It was as simple as making a decision to respond differently. I use this example as a jumping off point. Other stressors may require more complex changes, but I’d highly recommend downloading the worksheet, and see just how many perceived stressors you can shift without embodying them anymore!

Wild Woman Trail Marathon and Relay

Ahhhhhhh, year SIX of the Wild Woman Trail Marathon and Relay (and 50K).  This was an ON year for me.  That puts me at 4 good years with this race and 2 not so good years.  I shaved 39 minutes off last year's race (an "OFF" year) and 15 minutes off my fastest time for the course so far. 

Beyond the actual race, I simply love going to the event every year.  I get to meet up with runner friends from Idaho, Washington, and Oregon....and every year there are runners from far-flung places that show up.  It's a great event.  So great that I'm stoked to announce I'll be sponsoring a team of high schoolers to run next year! 

Pic by Launa Gray: Cooling off in the stream-fed horse troughs at the finish line.  Mission Accomplished!

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Night time meanderings

Even in your neighborhood, slow down, find the beauty cultivated within your direct radius.  All of these incredible flowers were found on a walk less than a mile from my home.  To the beauty creators and cultivators, thank you.  It is crucial to reset by looking at nature and appreciating the small things.

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1. Miyazaki Y., Park B.J., Lee J. Nature therapy. In: Osaki M., Braimoh A., Nakagami K., editors. Designing Our Future: Local Perspectives on Bioproduction, Ecosystems and Humanity. United Nations University Press; New York, NY, USA: 2011. pp. 407–412.

2. Brunet M., Guy F., Pilbeam D., Mackaye H.T., Likius A., Ahounta D., Beauvilain A., Blondel C., Bocherens H., Boisserie J.R., et al. A new hominid from the Upper Miocene of Chad, Central Africa. Nature. 2002;418:141–151. [PubMed]

3. Tanaka A., Takano T., Nakamura K., Takeuchi S. Health level influenced by urban residential conditions in a megacity—Tokyo. Urban Stud. 1996;33:879–894. doi: 10.1080/00420989650011645. [Cross Ref]

4. Dye C. Health and urban living. Science. 2008;319:766–769. doi: 10.1126/science.1150198. [PubMed][Cross Ref]

5. Brod C.  Technostress: The Human Cost of the Computer Revolution. Addison Wesley; Boston, MA, USA: 1984.

Working in working out

  You know how sometimes, you can plan for something, work at it a bunch, and still have it fall flat on its face?

That was me this time last year.

I picked the Tillamook Burn Trail Race as my first 50K distance race.  It's beautiful, or rather....brutiful.  With over 7000 ft elevation gain and loss over 30 miles of lush old growth forest, I really had my work cut out for me when I found out I had gotten a spot from the waitlist for this race.

I toed the line last spring, started strong, but then a few hours in, the terrain started to eat me alive.

I realized around mile 16 that my finish was in jeopardy.  With each mile completed, it actually started to feel like the finish line was moving away from me.  There was a 5pm cutoff for the race.  I was dangerously close to going over time.  The final 1450ft ascent before the finish, I knew it was over for me.  They let me through the last aid station so I could complete the distance and cross the finish line.  My family was waiting there for me, and it didn't matter to them that I missed the official time by 14 minutes.  It really only mattered to me.

Turns out it mattered to me a LOT.  Way more than I understood until the past few weeks.

I took the fitness attained from training for that race and churned it into the next race, and the race after that.  I volunteered at other races and got inspired.

I went to grown up up running camp and highlighted my areas of weakness so I could hone those skills and become a better athlete.

I cross-trained when I could (read: grabbing those 5-10 minute slots to kettlebell, stretch, squat, handstand, lunge, or whatever!).  I ran in the rain, the mud, the snow, the ice, the numerous mini-landslides, in jeans, pajamas, snow gear...to make it happen.  For me.

I studied the Tillamook Burn course this year and chunked it down into 8 sections.  I set time goals for each checkpoint.

Do you know what?  It worked.  I finished 38 minutes faster this year, and the day was a pure joy.  365 days and a lot of work later, I finished that bad boy.

Set goals, huge goals, and work towards them every day.  Work it into your day.  Stay focused. It's important to me that my kids see me doing this valuable self-care, even though I'm balancing parenting them and seeing my patients.  Be patient.  Do many small things.  I promise, it's worth it.

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The sweetest finishes sometimes take a long time to get to.

 

 

 

Yoga for anxiety

My very dear friend, EB Ferdig is a genius when it comes to helping people manage anxiety with yoga. Unknown

Her next series starts on 5/3, with a discount if you register by the end of today.

Series cost is $150 - but only $99, if registered by April 26! Space limited to 10 participants, register today!

The five-week series will be taught by E.B. Ferdig, E-RYT50, a yoga therapist who has been helping people with anxiety for over ten years. E.B. is highly compassionate and knows personally what it’s like to live with anxiety. She will guide you, as she has hundreds of others to a place of greater peace, clarity and personal power.

Questions? (503) 333-5484 or email: ebferdig@gmail.com

Hit this link to sign up and begin feeling relief.

Green space exercise

There are a growing number of articles that show a clear connection between increased mental wellbeing, stress relief and even immune system activation. when exercise is conducted in forested green spaces. In the UK and Japan, they study this phenomenon extensively, citing active components that are directly responsible for all these positive effects.  That fresh pine smell, for example, is actually alpha and beta pinene.  These naturally occurring volatile aromas increase Natural Killer cells, which help us battle things like viruses and tumor cells.

You don't have to smell the woods, to get the benefit though.  In the UK, researchers found that just looking at peaceful, natural scenery while exercise increased several health parameters.

So, exercise in nature if you can, but also consider switching from zoning out with a TV show on the treadmill to treating yourself to some seriously beautiful views instead.

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Li Q1Kobayashi MWakayama YInagaki HKatsumata MHirata YHirata KShimizu TKawada TPark BJOhira TKagawa TMiyazaki Y. Effect of phytoncide from trees on human natural killer cell function. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2009 Oct-Dec;22(4):951-9.

Li Q1, Kobayashi MInagaki HHirata YLi YJHirata KShimizu TSuzuki HKatsumata MWakayama YKawada TOhira TMatsui NKagawa T. A day trip to a forest park increases human natural killer activity and the expression of anti-cancer proteins in male subjects. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2010 Apr-Jun;24(2):157-65.

Humpel N., Owen N., Iverson D., Leslie E., Bauman A. Perceived environment attributes, residential location and walking for particular purposes. Am. J. Prev. Med. 2004;26:119–125. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2003.10.005. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

De Vries S., Verheij R.A., Groenewegen P.P., Spreeuwenberg P. Natural environments—Healthy environments? An exploratory analysis of the relationship between greenspace and health. Environ. Plan A. 2003;35:1717–1731.