by Diane Cretin
I found myself looking for ways to enjoy life more during the last several turbulent years. I needed something else to focus on rather than the state of the world and other news. Although I have been lucky to not suffer from a lot of mental health issues in my life, I realized it could be a path I could go down if I did not take steps to protect myself. I truly feel for people who already suffered from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
So what have I been doing? Several things. I believe God created circumstances that led me to make a new friend who is about 20 years younger than me. We meet up every Saturday morning to walk and talk. I protect this time with my friend Stephanie. It takes something big to cause either of us to cancel. We both leave our time together feeling refreshed.
Probably due to Stephanie’s influence, I found myself interested in working on skills that were more common in my grandparents' time. I have started canning with my husband. Lee grew up in a household that canned; I did not. There is great joy in canning something you raised in your own garden. We have also canned things that we didn’t grow, like a large box of peaches as well as apples provided by a friend. Baby James is all set with applesauce when he gets old enough to have it.
Gardening helps keep my mental health in a good place. Earlier this year I expanded my garden by adding four raised beds. One was for cucumbers, one for squash/zucchini, one for kitchen herbs, and one for medicinal herbs. I repurposed another raised bed to raise peppers for my husband. The tomatoes stayed where they were. Last week I got delivery of two more raised beds. I will be planting beets, onions, garlic, leafy greens, and peas.
I like to spend time watching bees and hummingbirds in my gardens. That relaxes me and brings me joy.
I also realized I would benefit from spending more quality time with family. We make it a point to have dinner together. We also like to play board games or cards as a family.
I don’t watch a lot of TV. For the few shows that I watch, I use a streaming service; I don't see advertisements or have any unpleasant surprises about the type of things I am going to see. This way I don't get anxious or nervous about the state of the world due to what I see.
My family has also been working to declutter our house and organize it better. I realized we have more than we need, so it has been and continues to be a work in progress to re-evaluate what we have and give away what we really don’t need. I don’t enjoy clutter, so I will be happier when this is completed. It is a slow process as we have accumulated things for years and have limited time for this project. Simpler is going to be better.
Here is a fun, easy activity that can be done to create your own tornado. Talk about turbulence! Take two plastic bottles. Fill one about ¾ full with clean water. You can add food coloring if you desire. Olivia kept her water looking natural. Attach the vortex bottle connector or “tornado tube”. They cost about a dollar; you can find them online and possibly at a local toy store.
Turn the two bottles over so the full one is on the top. Swirl the bottle vigorously to start the water spinning. Enjoy watching a tornado/vortex form and dissipate. It is very cool to watch. Olivia loves to do this.
I hope that you take time to evaluate your own life and spend more time doing things that make your life less turbulent and more well-balanced.