Healthy Living Includes Relaxing

Relaxing as Part of Healthy Living

Healthy Living is about more than just diet and exercise. It includes emotional, cognitive, mental, and spiritual  health as well. One part of that is rest and relaxation (also known as R&R).

Relaxation is one of various approaches used to maintain cognitive health. cognitive health is the ability to keep mental capacity for problem solving and memory in top-notch shape. As we grow older, there is a tendency not to challenge the mind as much.  Part of that may be because our life experience gives us more experience to rely on. However, if we can actually “exercise” brain functions to remain more alert and functional longer, why not, right?

One way to “exercise” the brain is to solve puzzles such as Sudoku puzzles like the one below.

The concept is simple. All numbers from 1 through 9 are included in each row, each column and each outlined cube of nine squares with no duplication of a digit within any one row, any one column, or within each outlined cube of nine squares.

Solving these puzzles helps keep cobwebs from forming in the problem solving sections of the brain. You can find interactive puzzles like the one above online at various websites. There are also Sudoku puzzles in book form that you can find by many checkout stands in stores or you can order some by checking out this link.

If you know someone who is already into Sudoku, here are some great gift ideas for them!

Stress Management for Healthy Living

Stress Management for Healthy Living

One of the most important factors in long-term healthy living is learning good stress management skills.

Does anyone else find it strange that when we were little bitty, we learned to walk and talk and read and write and count and…and…tec. But no one seemed to think it is necessary to teach us skills to manage our stress?

Was it because they didn’t know how? Didn’t they think it was relevant? Did they think we wouldn’t have any stress? Were they never taught stress management skills either?

Actually, it was probably a combination of all of those things plus others.

No matter why we managed to reach the age we are without learning good skills to manage stress, it still remains that stress management can either make or break a person‘s health. We all manage our stress one way or another. It is just a matter of how healthy our choices are.

Examples of Stress Management Techniques

Some commonly used stress management techniques are ones that are not so healthy. These include smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs (both legal and illegal). Chewing tobacco and and smoking “wacky tobacky” would be in this category, too.

Other ways to handle stress fall into behaviors such as bullying or promiscuity. Not so obvious would workaholics and micromanagers (or “control freaks”).

Some behaviors we use to cope are not necessarily unhealthy. They just are coping techniques that we have developed over the years because they seemed to worked. These include:

  • timidity
  • nervous habits such as
  • drumming fingers
  • running fingers through our hair
  • placing our tongue to one side of our mouth during a test
  • twirling hair around a finger
  • tapping a ffot

Sometimes children will pull out hair from their eyebrows or pick their nose.

Some seemingly okay behaviors can have effects on our physical health ranging from mild discomfort to severe. These would include things like the following:

  • high blood pressure
  • stomach ulcers
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • stomach aches
  • heart attacks
  • strokes
  • TIAs (mini-strokes)

What coping techniques do you think would lead to these sorts of physical outcomes?

The most likely ones in which we keep our thoughts and feelings stuffed deep inside with no way to let energyespecially negative energy out!

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress

So what are some healthy ways to cope?

Some of the obvious ones are activities to burn off pent-up energy. Such as:

  • sports
  • other active hobbies like:
    • yard work
    • gardening
    • hiking
    • taking a walk.

There‘re more relaxing pastimes such as:

  • reading
  • bird watching
  • watching a good movie
  • getting a massage
  • meditating.

Many people deal with stress by talking a friend or a counselor about their problems.

Other people find great emotional and spiritual support through prayer, participating in worship of God or nature.

Many hobbies help to relieve stress (though I think others may actually create it…but that is for another post). To mention a few:

  • knitting
  • crocheting
  • needlepoint
  • sewing
  • fishing
  • working jigsaw puzzles or Sudoku puzzles
  • writing poetry
  • journal writing
  • storytelling.

My favorite of all of these is Sudoku.*  What is your favorite stress reliever? (Post your favorite stress management technique below.)

*As a special treat for my loyal readers (and fellow Sudoku lovers), I have opened a new section of my website. It includes Sudoku puzzles, and Sudoku coffee cups and Sudoku tee shirts and anything else Sudoku that I can locate. Please, if you know of any Sudoku gift suppliers or website owners, please post them below!

Thanks for reading.

Have an awesome day!

Christmas Yard Art is Coming!

Christmas is Coming!


Christmas is coming in FIVE months and FIVE days until Christmas!

But who is counting, right?Christmas Day

Well, I am, obviously.


Because this year my grandbabies will be the perfect age to really make Christmas fun!  They will be four-years-old and two-years-old. Such wonderful, magical ages!

Watching their eyes light up when they see a house outlined in Christmas lights is such a joy to behold!  They are so easily transported from the North Pole at one house to Bethlehem at the next.  The transition is seamless for them.

That is why my husband and I have gradually started increasing the outdoor Christmas decorations on the house and in and around the front yard each year for the last few years. Somehow becoming grandparents was the spark we needed to light the Christmas yard art fire in our veins!

The first year I had found a candy cane at a huge discount at a previous after-Christmas sale. Using that as inspiration, I described to my husband what I wanted.  He took the description and the prototype and went out to his shop.

He figured out how many of them it would take to serve as “posts” for a Christmas “fence” made of Christmas lights. A couple of weeks later, he had designed a pattern, cut out thirty-five candy canes, and painted them red and white striped. Fortunately, we live in the Deep South so the ground was not frozen when it was time to put them in the ground.Christmas Yard Art

Setting them about twenty-four inches apart, I measured and laid them out. Hubby came along behind and pounded them into the ground. Next came the outdoor lights that we draped from one to the next. And ~ viola! ~ the front yard turned into a winter wonderland when the sun went down!

Every year since then, we have outlined the front yard with candy canes and lights.

Since then, we have added signs that line the path to the front door,

Christmas Yard Art

and a trio of angels…

Yard Art

Yard Art





This year, we plan to add a nativity scene with Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus.  I will post photos when we set up everything in November.

Since that first year, Hubby has used a pattern that we found online.  It usually takes him just a few hours to assemble the needed materials, cut out the figures, and be ready to start painting them.  He always does at least a couple of coats of paint so they will stay looking good until the twelfth day of Christmas.