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How To Improve Brain Fog?

What is Brain Fog?

The term “brain fog” is not a medical condition. It is used to describe symptoms that can affect your ability to think. 

When you’re feeling anxious, confused, disorganized, finding it hard to focus. Also, if you’re having a hard time putting your thoughts into words it can be described as brain fog.

What Causes Brain Fog?

Causes Include:

  • Low Iron Levels: Low Iron or Anemia occurs when the number of healthy red blood cells in your body is reduced. This can lead to low energy along with brain fog.
  • Mental Health Issues: Brain fog can be caused by mental health issues. These include conditions such as bipolar disorder, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), major depression and different anxiety disorders. 
  • Overuse Of Electronics: Brain fog happens when you spend too much time on your smart phone or tablet.
  • Certain Medications: There are many medications that cause brain fog, including those taken for chemotherapy, anti-anxiety (effexor) and sleep. Talk to your doctor if you suspect your medication is making you feel foggy.
  • Poor Diet: A nutritionally inadequate diet can not only affect your physical health, but also brain fog. A poor diet consisting of foods that have high fructose corn syrup can make you feel foggy, due to spikes in blood sugar.
  • Lack Of Exercise: It’s interesting to note that when our bodies are inactive for too long our brains become inactive as well.
  • Lack Of Sleep: Sleep deprivation can disrupt your brain cell’s ability to communicate with each other. This leads to lapses in memory and visual perception.
  • Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea occurs when an obstruction in your airway causes your breathing to frequently stop and start while you sleep. Over time it not only causes brain fog, it also causes brain damage from lack of oxygen.
  • Diabetes: Sugar is your brain’s main source of energy. If you have diabetes your blood sugar is out of whack and this causes brain fog.

If you’re interesting in learning about high fructose corn syrup please click on the button below:

What Are The Consequences Of Brain Fog?

Consequences of Brain Fog Include:

  • Poor Memory: Memory issues caused by brain fog may be short or long term. 
  • Trouble Concentrating: When you can’t concentrate because of brain fog, you may feel impulsive, have intrusive thoughts, overreact or be inattentive.
  • Difficulty Carrying Out Tasks: Having brain fog causes you to have difficulties with starting and finishing tasks. These can include tasks that need to be complete within a specific timeframe.
  • Unable To Communicate Effectively: It’s interesting to note that not being able to think clearly can cause you to not only stumble over your words, but also affect how you build rapport with other people.
  • Worsening Mental Health: Chronic stress and anxiety can lead to an increased risk of brain damage, which can cause dementia, chronic depression and worsening anxiety.  

How To Improve Brain Fog?

It’s important to identify what’s causing your brain fog.

Once the cause is identified, the next step is to take action to improve it.

Here Are Some Tips To Improve Brain Fog:

  • Get More Sleep: When you improve the quality of sleep you’ll notice that your mind is clearer. For example if you have sleep apnea, it’s important to use a CPAP machine to not only assure that you get good sleep, but also increase oxygen to the brain.
  • Eat Healthier Foods: When you’re fighting brain fog it’s important to put food into consideration. For example foods such as dark green vegetables, avocados, olive oil and omega-3 rich foods like salmon are recommended for brain health. Also, along with dark green vegetables such as spinach it’s important to consider raisins, cashews, beans and red meats as sources of iron.
  • Exercise: When you get moving and exercise it promotes the growth of neural connections in the brain.
  • Spend Time In Nature: Exercise is a great way to promote brain health. However you’ll have the added benefit of increased oxygen from nature when you exercise outside.
  • Take Supplements: If you’re not able to get omega 3s from salmon, then you might want to consider a supplement.
  • Make Time For Self-Care: It’s important to take a time out once in a while for self-care. For example you can spend this time pursuing a hobby such as gardening which not only relaxes you, but allows you to produce your own dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Reduce Stress: Taking time out to focus on stress relief helps a lot. It helps to focus on the present moment by meditating and breathing deep.
  • Reduce Smart Phone Usage: The blue light emitted from your smart can keep you up at night. It’s important to shut it off a least an hour before bed.

How Do You Handle Brain Fog?

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Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/brain/ss/slideshow-brain-fog#:~:text=%E2%80%9CBrain%20fog%E2%80%9D%20isn’t,put%20your%20thoughts%20into%20words.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320111

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/can-screen-time-cause-health-issues

https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/brain-fog-potential-causes-and-treatment

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-apnea

https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/brain-fog-diabetes

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160121121818.htm

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/brain-food-for-fatigue#3.-Avocados

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Keeping Mind and Body Healthy: Coping with COVID-19 Anxiety (Part.2)

I mentioned in Part.1 how the COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult time for everyone, particularly those who have issues with anxiety and anxiety disorders. I’ve been living with chronic anxiety long before this crisis started, but I’ve learned how to manage it in a holistic way. I’ll be sharing with you how I’ve been coping with COVID-19 anxiety.

I don’t have the luxury of working from home and I’m an essential worker, so it’s important for me to stay healthy and take a proactive approach toward my health by not only protecting my physical health, but my mental health as well.

I mentioned in my previous post about the mind-body connection; our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes can have an effect on our overall health. How you cope with anxiety is very important.

Ways of Coping Include:

Attempt To Maintain a Routine: This pandemic has thrown my normal routine off and it’s difficult to stay focused. I’ve been using block scheduling to maintain a routine for not only work, but also for exercising and for writing this blog.

Focusing on Breathing: Just simple breathing works its magic on anxiety. Taking deep breaths while meditating calms your brain down while you’re focusing on the present moment.

Exercise: An excellent way to maintain a good mind-body connection is to get moving and exercise. Since the gym is closed and I don’t want to risk getting bit by ticks by walking in the woods, so I’ve been taking time after work to take long walks while social distancing.

Watching What I Eat: I mentioned in a post about how there’s a negative connection between processed foods and mental health, and that it’s really important to watch what you eat.

Recommended Foods To Reduce Anxiety Include:

  • Turmeric
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Green Tea
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Almonds
  • Blueberries
  • Turkey Meat

Food To Avoid include:

  • Fried Foods
  • Artificial and Refined Sugars
  • Caffeine
  • Soda
  • Foods High in Sodium

Getting Enough Sleep: Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep is important, pandemic or no pandemic, because when you don’t sleep well you not only have worsening anxiety, but also a weakened immune system.

Putting Limits On How Much Media I Consume: The 24/7 news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic will take a toll on my mental health and at the same time I need to stay informed about what’s happening, so it’s beneficial to limit how much news media I consume.

Limit alcohol consumption: In the short term having a drink or two is relaxing, however overtime excessive drinking can interfere with the chemicals in your brain that regulate mental health and cause worsening anxiety, depression and stress becomes harder to handle.

Connect with Friends Remotely: One of the most difficult aspects of this pandemic has been lockdowns and social distancing. Once a week I like to get together with friends to go hiking; I get my exercise and I socialize. However, due to social distancing I haven’t been able to go, so I connect with friends remotely through texting, social media and phone calls.

This is a tough regiment to live by to keep chronic anxiety under control and this challenging time we’re living in is making it even tougher.

How Are You Coping With This Tough Time?

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If you’re struggling with anxiety please click on the button below to download my free anxiety expert guide:

Sources:

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-cope-with-coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-psychologist-2020-2#use-the-time-to-reach-out-to-loved-ones-and-reconnect-with-old-friends-10

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/mental-health/alcohol-and-mental-health/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-foods-that-reduce-anxiety#section7

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Keeping Escapism To a Minimum

What is Escapism?

Escapism is the tendency to distract yourself or find relief from anything that’s unpleasant, boring or scary. This can come from seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy. 

What are the Pros and Cons of Escapism?

Escapism has many pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Can be Therapeutic and Relieves Stress
  • It’s Entertaining
  • Stress Relief
  • You Can Become Someone Else
  • Temporarily Disconnect From Reality
  • Tendency to Be More Creative
  • Makes You Want To Travel More

Cons:

  • Lack of Productivity
  • Can Lead to Addiction
  • Procrastination
  • Lose Touch With The Harsh Realities Of The World
  • Lose the Ability to Cope with Uncertainty

We all seek different forms of escapism as ways to cope with the stress and anxiety of day to day life. Some of us unwind by sitting by the pool and having a drink and there are others that like to play video games.

Escapism is a problem when we have a compulsive need to escape from reality and not address the issues that are unpleasant, boring or scary. When this happens escapism becomes an addiction.

What are Some Examples of Escapism?

Escapism comes in many forms including:

Sports: Sports are a positive form of escapism. Whether you’re watching your favorite team on television or sitting in the bleachers at the arena it’s a great way to release stress.

Working: We all need to work to live, but there’s a form of escapism in which someone lives to work by choice. This happens when someone has the need to escape from having to deal with issues in life such as lack of quality relationships, lack or personal fulfilment or lack of satisfaction with the direction your life is heading.

Consumption of Alcohol and Drugs (In Moderation): We all like to party in order to get a break from life.

Overeating: Food can be used as a form of escapism. The painful realities of our lives are too much for some of us to bare, if we don’t want to face unpleasant realities that bring us pain some of us overeat to take the pain away.

Video Games: We sometimes need to escape from reality by temporarily escaping from it.

Love: Love is an intense feeling of deep affection for another person. There are some people that view love as a form of escapism.

Social Media: I mention this topic a lot in this blog. Social media has its positives, but it has its negatives also including internet addiction.

How Escapism Affects your Wellbeing?

Escapism is how a lot of us cope with the challenges of life, but over time it can become unhealthy and can prevent us from doing what we want to do to improve our real lives.

Escapism can lead to these problems:

  • Dissociation and Destruction of Self
  • Loneliness
  • Compulsiveness
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Less Time and Energy for Working On Real Life Issues

If you’re having trouble coping with stress and anxiety please download my anxiety expert list by clicking on the link below:

How To Turn Escapism Into Something Positive?

It’s ok to engage in escapism in small bouts throughout the day to rest your brain and get a break from less serious stuff. However, if you’re engaging in escapism more often and it becomes avoidance.

What is Avoidance?

Excessive escapism can turn into avoidance; it’s also known as avoidance coping, avoidance behaviors and escape coping. Whatever you call it; it’s a dysfunctional form of coping that leads to the changing of our behavior in order to avoid thinking about things or feeling emotions that make us feel uncomfortable.

Avoidance involves us trying to avoid stressors that cause anxiety. The more you avoid dealing with these stressors in your life, the more the underlying anxiety accumulates.

An example of avoidance is not coping with unresolved issues from a past relationship. The amount of lingering emotional baggage can lead to love addiction, which is a compulsive, chronic craving and pursuit of romantic love in an effort to get our sense of security and worth from another person. Love addiction can lead to a toxic relationship in which you lose your sense of self and deal with ever increasing depression and anxiety.

Another example of avoidance is video game addiction. Video games in general can be addictive and they’re designed to be addictive. It’s estimated that 5 to 15% of gamers are addicted to them. These gamers already have underlying issues with depression and anxiety due to things in their lives that are difficult to cope with, so they avoid facing these problems head on. Overtime this leads to a lot of problems, for example some people that become addicted to gaming have self-esteem problems in real life caused by issues such as underemployment, relationship issues and financial issues. In the gaming world they escape from these unpleasant realities by being in control in a fantasy world where you may have a higher status than in real life. This can lead to problems with dissociation and losing oneself in this fantasy world and you can lose the ability to cope with real life altogether.

How To Cope in a Healthier Way?

There are other ways of coping with unresolved life issues that are more positive. 

These forms of coping include:

  • Talking Thru Problems: If there’s an unresolved problem in your life it’s important to talk about it and admit that its causing a problem instead of letting it fester.
  • Reframing Your Anxiety: I mentioned in a previous blog post about turning anxiety into a superpower about a form of therapy called ‘reframing’. It’s taking negative thoughts that cause anxiety and reframe them into something positive. For example, if you’re having negative thoughts about why you didn’t make a team in high school and ask yourself what positive things came from not making the team.
  • Minimize Stress: It’s important to keep stress to a minimum, because when it’s kept to a minimum anxiety is kept to a minimum.
  • Meditation: Meditation is a great way to focus on the present moment and be able to cope with reality.
  • Live Your Life Like a Character in a Game: This is an interesting idea. Certain video games allow you to level up when you gain enough experience points. For example in Role Playing Games (RPG’s) such as ‘Final Fantasy’ you eventually gain a level when you gather enough experience points. When you gain a level and manage the money you earn you’re able to equip new weapons, you gain status upgrades and you have more hit points. What if you live your life like a character in an RPG; when you have an unresolved issue you want to tackle and when you do it can feel like a level upgrade. The same thing can occur in other areas of your life; when you earn a new college degree or acquire a new professional license and become a Master at what you do it’s like a character from ‘Final Fantasy’ named Cecil upgrading his job from Dark Knight to Paladin. If you ever played one of these games you’ll understand what I mean.
  • Make Your Real Life More Fun: If you’re feeling bored with your life and you have tendencies to want to escape into an imaginary world try planning more fun real life experiences. These can include traveling, spending time with friends and family and/or going to the beach.
  • “Escape” From The Life You Already Have: If you’re unhappy with your life and need to make a change start by learning new things that you can use to make your situation better. Instead of wasting your time on your laptop binge watching shows on NetFlix start enrolling in an online course instead. You’re already spending so much time on your computer anyway try using that time to improve yourself.

This post concludes the series on New Year’s Resolutions. Stress and Anxiety can be kept to a minimum and easier to cope when you take a step toward making some positive changes to your life. 

Eat less junk food, drink more water, find better ways to cope with stress and most importantly keep escapism to a minimum.

If you like to see how to turn anxiety into a superpower please click on the button below:

What Do You Do To Unplug From Life?

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What is a Digital Nomad?

In this blog I’ll be exploring the interesting lifestyle of the Digital Nomad.

We live in a time where we’re anxious about feeling unfulfilled and stuck in life. These feelings can be the result of lack of career satisfaction and not tapping into our full potential due to feeling stuck in a toxic 9 to 5 job that has limited growth potential unless we go into debt to acquire more education credentials. Even with more credentials career growth and even job security aren’t always guaranteed.

There has been an increase in the number of entrepreneurs and freelancers as a result of layoffs due corporate downsizing, the desire to be our own boss, the desire to have a flexible schedule the allow us to work anywhere due to improved technologies and also to fill in the gaps created by the lack of fulfillment.

When all of these factors are put together we get the Digital Nomad.

What is a Digital Nomad?

A digital nomad is usually a self-employed person who uses telecommunication technologies to earn a living and lives in a nomadic way. 

What is The Difference Between a Digital Nomad and a Freelancer?


Both types of employment are about being location independent and working remotely, however they’re not the same. Being a Digital Nomad requires that you quickly adapt to working in another region or part of the world with people from different cultures and traditions vs. Being a Freelancer that doesn’t require you to travel.

A digital nomad is a worker that works remotely in:

Foreign Countries: Popular foreign locations for digital nomads including:

  • Thailand
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Bali
  • Canary Islands

Coffee Shops: Digital Nomads and freelancers in general tend to work a lot in coffee shops. They enjoy the relaxing and cozy vibe along with free Wi-Fi. Many freelancers, also use coffee shops to connect and network with potential clients.

Public Libraries: The public library is among the quietest and cheapest locations for Digital Nomads to work.

Co-Working Spaces: Co-working spaces are basically shared offices for Digital Nomads that offer amentities found in an office such as meeting rooms, hot-rooms, wi-Fi connections and kitchen areas.

Recreational Vehicles: Digital Nomads don’t necessarily have to go abroad. There are some in the United States that are location independent thanks to living out of Recreational Vehicles (RVs).

How Many Digital Nomads Are There?

It is estimated that almost 5 million people worldwide are Digital Nomads and there are many more aspiring to become nomadic in the coming years.

What Do You Need To Become a Digital Nomad?

According to locationindie.com these are some of the things you need to do to become a Digital Nomad.

Here’s how to become a Digital Nomad:

Begin With Severing Local Ties: I’m not referring to severing ties with friends, instead I’m discussing the things in your life that are tying you down to a location.

Including:

  • Long-Term Apartment Lease
  • Vehicle Lease
  • Gym Membership
  • Subscription Services
  • Unneeded Junk
  • Any Debt

Become Part of a Digital Nomad Community: When you’re starting out as a Digital Nomad it helps to start networking with as many like-minded people as possible. This can be achieved by joining social media groups and forums in order to get advice from other people. There’s a popular digital nomad community called Location Indie that will help you and provide you with a wealth of knowledge that will help you along the way.

Identify your Marketable Skills: This is a big one, because Digital Nomads make their living by monetizing their skills online.

Become a Freelancer: When you become a Freelancer you’re essentially location independent although travel is not required. Platforms such as UpWork or RemoteOK post jobs that are remote or location independent and they can help you get started in finding work in whatever field you work in. Once you get good at working remotely at home or a public place then it’s time to take the next step and become a Digital Nomad.

Create a Plan: When you create a plan to become a Digital Nomad this can include:

  • Making Sure Your Finances are in Order
  • Having a Plan on How To Acquire Clients
  • Decide on What Lifestyle You Want
  • Decide Where Your First Destination Will Be

What Work Do Digital Nomads Do?

Most common digital nomad careers:

  • Web or App Development
  • eCommerce Entrepreneurship
  • Online Marketing
  • Infopreneurship, Blogging and Affiliate Marketing
  • Copywriting/Content Writing
  • Web, UI and Graphic Design
  • Coaching & Consulting
  • Software Entrepreneurship

How Much Do Digital Nomads Earn?

According to www.techrepublic.com Almost ⅕ of Digital Nomads can command a high salary of at least $100,000 per year and another 1/4 command a salary from $50,000 to $99,999 per year which is above the median salary of your average 9 to 5 worker.

Is it Legal to be a Digital Nomad?

Yes! It is legal to be a Digital Nomad. It is a requirement in other countries to periodically leave and come back in order to apply for a new visa.

What are the Pros of Being a Digital Nomad?

The pros of being a Digital Nomad:

Flexible Office Space: Have you ever that trapped feeling of having to work in the same sterile office cubicle every day? Digital Nomads can choose their own working environments. Due to the improvements made to Wi-Fi and internet access all over the world it’s possible to pick the type of work environment you want. Whether it’s at a hostel in Thailand, a coffee shop in Colombia or a beach in Bali. Being a Digital Nomad can give you that kind of freedom. 

Set Your Own Hours and Workloads While Seeing The World: The 9 to 5 is not for everyone. Digital nomads can set their own work hours. Also, just like with freelancing digital nomads can mange their own workloads. Digital Nomads can see the world while working remotely.

Less Stressful Work Environment: Have you ever been in a work environment that was stressful. Work stressors can include long hours, heavy work load and conflicts with co-workers and bosses. These problems can result in work related depression, anxiety and sleep problems.

No Commuting or Dressing Up: Since Digital Nomads are workplace independent they don’t have to endure the long tiring commutes that most 9 to 5 workers have to endure. Digital nomads can dress any way they like. If you want to work on the beach in a bathing suit or dress casual while working in a shared work space you can do that.

What are The Cons of Being a Digital Nomad?

The cons of being a digital nomad:

Bureaucracy and Other Travel Related Problems: There are some countries where it’s hard to get a work visa due to bureaucracy and red tape. If you know how to work around this you’ll stay out of trouble abroad.

Other travel related problems can include:

  • Being Taken Advantage Of
  • Travel Related Stress and Anxiety
  • Fear of The Unknown

Regardless of where your destination is it’s important to plan ahead for any potential problem in order to minimize the amount of stress and anxiety that can result from the unexpected.

No Guaranteed Income or Health Benefits: Your income is hardly ever guaranteed if you’re a freelancer or a digital nomad. When you’re first starting out you may have potential clients lined up and after that you may not have any, so it’s important that you have good acquisition and networking skills in order to keep up. Since Digital Nomads are self-employed there’s no employer provided health benefits, so there are many that rely on travel insurance instead.

Must be Used To Hard Work and Must Be Self-Motivated: Despite not working a 9 to 5 job; it’s not necessarily easier than working for someone. When you’re starting out you have to work harder to get yourself off the ground and even after that it’s usually a seven day work week and no holidays. Many digital nomads develop a work-life balance that can make every day feel like a holiday. I used to be self employed and it’s harder than it looks. There are so many distractions that can interfere with your productivity so it’s important to be self-motivated.

Communication Can Be Difficult: There are many places around the world that have to deal with frequent power and internet outages. Another challenge is finding out that your device is not compatible with the local network frequencies, so it’s important to find out what you need to do before you head for a particular destination.

Can Be Lonely: When you’re a digital nomad you meet all kinds of interesting people all over the world, but you don’t always form long term connections with other people. It’s especially hard when you only socialize with other Digital Nomads. It also gets lonely when you are missing family and friends from back home. However, with the rise of of platforms such as Skype and Face Time it’s easier than ever before to communicate with loved ones remotely.

Burnout: Constantly moving from place to place comes with its own set of problems that become increasingly annoying with time. For many people being a digital nomad is a lifestyle that allows for the freedom of being able to be your own boss while seeing the world, but it can be exhausting. A typical digital nomad will hang out in a city or country for a few weeks before moving on to the next. You’re finishing up one assignment one day and then the next you must get up and move again to another one. Many people enjoy this life, but for others it gets old after awhile. 

Being Questioned by Other People: The advantages and disadvantages of the Digital Nomad lifestyle is not always apparent to everyone. It’s common to be in situations in which you’ll be asked some potentially irritating questions.

Questions include:

  • When are you going to settle down?
  • When are you going to get a “real” job?
  • Is it dangerous to travel?

These type of questions can be irritating, but they do help do discover your values and question whether being a Digital Nomad is right for you.

Conclusion

The purpose of this blog is to give you an inside look into the alternative lifestyle of being a Digital Nomad.

It is being driven by a combination of factors such as:

  • Freelancing and Entrepreneurship
  • Anxiety Driven by a Lack of Career and Life Satisfaction
  • Most Importantly a Love for Traveling

Do You Know Anyone Who is a Digital Nomad?

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Hiking Away Anxiety! Version 2.0

Among the most common ailments that inflict us are anxiety and depression. These conditions are treated with therapy and/or medications, but a treatment that is overlooked is hiking.

Hiking along with other outdoor activities such as walking, running, camping and kayaking can have many benefits.

What are the benefits of hiking?

Physical Benefits:

Build Stronger Muscles and Bones: Hiking is a good weight-bearing exercise to maintain strong muscles and bones. Along with building strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and the muscles in your hips your also increase bone density.

Improve Balance: Hiking involves navigating uneven ground. Many muscles in your hips, knees and ankles that are usually not used while walking on a flat surface are strengthened and improves balance.

Improves Heart Health: Hiking can lower the risk of heart disease. However, your age, current health issues and family history are also factors to be mindful of before you hit the trails.

Decreases the risk of developing certain respiratory problems: Hiking along with other forms of exercise can make your lungs stronger and better at giving your body the oxygen it needs.

Mental Benefits:

Reduce Stress: There are interesting facts I found on https://www.eurekacamping.com/blog/article/10-health-benefits-camping that state that when you spend a lot of time near trees your body takes in more oxygen. The extra oxygen can cause the release of serotonin; a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood by reducing stress and anxiety.

Reduce Anxiety: Anxiety is reduced when you hike and reduced anxiety means better sleep. Hikers that camp out report better sleep cycles after returning from a trip. They also fall right to sleep after hiking all day. Sleep was improved even more after disconnecting from electronic devices for a few days.

Lower Risk of Depression: Along with reducing stress and anxiety hiking can lower the risk of depression.

Promotes a Healthy Brain: Hiking can promote a healthy brain; if a hike is strenuous enough to elevate your heart rate and cause you too sweat it can help the hippo campus grow in size. The hippo campus is the portion of the brain that is associated with verbal memory and learning.

Enhances Relationships with Friends and Family: A very important benefit of hiking that gets overlooked a lot is the improvement in relational health. It is more fun to hike with someone rather than solo and it could be with a partner or with a group like the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). Hiking can vary in the level of difficulty whether you are hiking casually along an easy trail or it could be a difficult hike along a 4,000 foot loop trail. Regardless of difficult it is hiking is a great way to strengthen friendships.  

Better Quality of Life: When you factor in the physical and mental health benefits of hiking you can have an overall better quality of life.

Do I have a personal story to share?

I have sleep apnea and I was prescribed a CPAP machine. My latest trip was to a campground; at first I thought I couldn’t go because I had sleep apnea. However, I found out that some of the cabins had electricity to power my CPAP machine and I was able to go.

My weekend trip to AMC’s Cold River Camp back in June of this year started immediately after finishing a class I needed to take to receive the total credit hours needed to keep my Wastewater License current. The trip started off with competing with Friday afternoon Boston area traffic while driving to New Hampshire. After driving for five hours that included the drive from Conway, NH to Chatham, NH along the very long Route 113.

I arrived at Cold River Camp around 9 pm. I learned right away that the WIFI signal in the main lodge was weak and we all only had enough signal to send and receive a few emails in a short amount of time.

The hike on June 8th was at the relaxing and scenic Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness five miles north of Cold River Camp in the Evans Notch area. There were ten of us all together hiking up the Mud Brook Trail and down the Caribou Trail.

These two trails followed the Morrison Brook as it flowed down the heavily forested Caribou Mountain (2840’). Along the way there were several waterfalls including Kee’s Falls (25 feet).

The woods surrounding us were infested with mosquitoes and black flies. I brought with me a mosquito net I wore over my head that gave some protection and insect repellent that didn’t protect too well against them. Although it is typical for this time of year to deal with mosquitoes and black flies these larger swarms were unusual.

Back in March I was with AMC on a snowshoeing trip and there was 5+ feet of snow on the ground. Combine the melting snow with a wet spring and you have a recipe for mosquitoes. Despite this problem we kept pushing on until we reached the summit.

Snow covered Mt. Washington.

The Evans Notch area does not have any 4000’ peaks but there are awesome views from the summit of Caribou Mountain.

  • The Baldfaces
  • Speckled Mountain
  • East and West Royce
  • Blueberry Ridge
  • Mount Washington’s snow-covered peak dominated our view in the west

Stats for Caribou Mountain:

  • Calories burned: 2,353
  • Avg Pace: 38:12
  • Elevation Gain: 1,982’
  • Moving Time: 4:31:16
  • Total Time: 5:52:34

After we hiked down from the summit of Caribou Mountain my group and I headed back to camp. We hung around and socialized at the main lodge before dinner was served. After dinner, a group of us headed to the campfire and socialized some more while we roasted marshmallows and made smores.

It was a blessing in disguise in my opinion that the wifi signal was weak, because it resulted in more people socializing with other people instead of looking at their phones to constantly check social media.

At night the sky was so clear due to lack of city lights that some of my friends were able to observe Jupiter through a telescope that was on site. It was also so dark outside that I slept very well. Between that and no electronic device use before bed resulted in an increase in melatonin.

Electronics including smart phones and tablets emit short wave blue light that interferes with your body’s ability to produce melatonin. When this happens it becomes more difficult to go to sleep when your body’s natural circadian rhythm is disrupted. I was in the wilderness with no electronics and I felt that my circadian rhythm was restored to its natural state.

Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors with friends and stay healthy. I am glad I did not let being on a CPAP machine interfere with this fun activity.

What hobbies do you pursue to improve your health? Please like and comment below.