Stress Prevention with Front Porch Sittin’
Part of the stress of being a caregiver is that the days are often routine. You see the same people, at the same place, and do the same thing over and over, and over again. It gets boring, not just for you, but for your loved one too. During this time of the year, it’s hot outside and boring inside. You are tired of the re-runs on TV, the same old walls, the same old thing day after day. The routine of caregiving can be stressful.
So, take a break. No, you don’t have to go on a cruise. Try going out to sit on your front porch.
Front porch sittin’ is nice in the early morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day. Whether your porch is large enough for just one chair, or it extends around the house, that front porch will give you a view of the world that will refresh your body, mind, and soul.
First, you will get a few minutes of sunshine, which gives you vitamin D. Current research shows that low Vitamin D levels can increase heart disease, osteoporosis and certain cancers. A daily dose of sunlight for as little as ten minutes a day can make a difference. Spending some time outdoors in the sunlight helps fight depression and insomnia too, according to research from the website of the Vitamin D Council.
While you are soaking up some sunshine, spread some patriotism. We fly the American flag on a staff from our porch every day, weather permitting. I put it out every morning and take it inside every night. Flying the flag is a habit I adopted from arelative who was a WW II Navy veteran who always flew the flag. Be proud to fly our colors from your front porch.
Sit down and smell the roses, or mown grass, or asphalt being spread on the street. If you’re lucky, you might get a whiff of barbecue from a neighbor’s backyard. Watch the birds, the clouds, the neighbor kids playing in a kiddie pool, and the boys riding their bikes. Put out a bird feeder or a hummingbird feeder near your porch, and marvel at the beauty of birds, butterflies and insects that live all around us. Feel a breeze in your face, and the warmth of the sunshine. Get in touch with the big, wide, wonderful world through your five senses.
Wave to those walking by and driving by. Greet the kids walking to or from school while front porch sittin’. Meet the postman, the newspaper carrier, and the meter reader, all those who come to your porch regularly and whom you probably have never met. Once, I lived in a small town where a chubby volunteer fireman made a habit of occupying an old metal chair by the door of the fire station and waving to everyone driving by on Main Street in the afternoons. I grew to expect him and his friendly wave as I drove by, and I still recall those cheerful greetings decades later. Become a recognizable face to those who live near you by being out there waving from your porch.
Do the things you say you don’t have time for while you are sitting on the porch. Read your Bible. Write a letter. Pet the dog or cat. Play the radio and sing out loud, like one of my neighbors does. It’s a time and place for self-expression and decompression.
Front porch sittin’ doesn’t cost a thing, but look at all the benefits it has for you, socially, emotionally, physically, even spiritually.
So, here’s your stress-prevention prescription: Spend 15 minutes daily in front-porch sittin’.
I’ll wave when I come by your house, and you be sure to wave back. All right?