The Park As Good Medicine – Part 4

Establishing A Routine

I learned early on after I got sick that it was very easy to fall into the trap of not having an organized day. In all the programs I went to for pain, fibromyalgia, etc. they all stressed how important it was to still have a routine. This included regular bed and wake times, meals, exercise, etc. It is very easy to get out of sync when you don’t have a job to go to or are up half the night with pain.

Where we used to live it was so easy to turn the alarm off after taking my early morning meds and going back to sleep. All we had to do was let Violet and Monkey out to the small back yard for five minutes. Now, when the alarm goes off at 8:30 I get up, take my pills, let Monkey onto the balcony and take Violet out for her first walk. But the time I get back I am usually awake enough to stay up even if my intention was to go back to bed. However, this is a “duty” walk only, with her choice of going into the park or around it. I usually win, but not always. Thankfully today I came out victorious!

Hubby usually takes the lunch shift while I get his bag packed for work and food on the table. This is usually a combined walk and park time I believe. When I go it totally depends if anyone is there or not.

After he leaves around 2:00, I have some time to clean up and unwind before the song and dance routine starts. Violet will start whining and following me around with hope in every step that we will get going. The truth is, we don’t go until 4:00 which is when the “crowd” gathers. I like to get in a nap if I didn’t have a good night or some work on the computer. If she is super persistent I will often take my E-book or laptop with me and work under a shady tree waiting for others to arrive. But I try not to make it a habit or Vi will insist on an earlier start time every day!

We usually get back across the street by 5 pm, in time for medications for both of us and dinner for her and Monkey. I like to watch the news or continue working for awhile, then have my dinner around 6:00. At 7:00 they get their treats and we go to the park again. This is another duty run and I try to make it as short as possible.

At this point, my evening should be my own, though my persistent pet will often do her best to sneak in another outing. If we do, it is just to the small backyard area. I try to combine it with taking out the garbage or recycling.

This may seem like a lot of time taken up by a dog; however, the truth of the matter is that while I am focussing on her needs/wants, I am getting exercise I wasn’t before, I am socializing and I haven’t had a tan for more years than I can remember!

Now you may think that all of these park posts are just variations on the same theme and you would be right. But the bottom line is since moving to this new neighbourhood with its amenities and sense of community, my health has improved substantially. Violet’s has too for that matter.

Having a routine, whether it is centered on a dog park or a job, is healthy for everyone!

Lydia!

16 Replies to “The Park As Good Medicine – Part 4”

  1. You touch on a couple of things…when policy makers use the unwieldy term “social determinants of health” they talk about all those things which can have a factor on your health: having a home, eating nutritious food, education, exercise but also surrounding yourself with people — loneliness and social isolation are huge issues for our society. The park and the need to get out with the pets and meeting the other park and pet folks sure sounds like you have a great routine going for you. Excuse me, have to go out and walk the dog. Later.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And what a handsome dog you have, too! Thanks, Mark. I did feel lonely and isolated where we were. Even though it was a complex, there was no real sense of community. I was friends with a few of my neighbours but as they left I was on my own much of the time. Here, there are only 22 units in our building but there is a whole neighbourhood all around the park as a whole! Just this morning I met two new dogs and their companions and had short but meaningful conversations. That rarely happened in the 10 years we lived in Surrey!

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    1. Thanks, Jacqueline. Yes, it has really helped to ground me and keep me going. This move was perfect in so many ways. Well, the being here, not the moving itself. That was a nightmare! LOL

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  2. Dear Lydia: I agree with you that having a schedule around our dogs is very beneficial. My daughter moved out to her own place in June and left her Chihuahua with me.

    To be honest some mornings I wish she wasn’t here. BUT she gets me out of bed and out of the house. Thank God for our pets and other pet people to talk to. Kathy

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi there Lydia 🙂

    I’m glad to see that getting organized and setting a routine is helping you getting better! I agree that it must be much more complicated to be “disciplined” when there is no job involved, because you have more opportunities to allow yourself to sit back and not do what you have planned 😉

    I have been a bit lazy in my readings lately, but I am glad to catch up on your blog today 🙂

    I hope you’ll have a great weekend! *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

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