stressmonster_blackStress. It’s no stranger to these parts.

Here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, its wreaks havoc on our communities. Kept awake by money woes, preoccupied by a loved one’s addition, we are easy targets for the StressMonster — a viscous foe that promises to destroy this place we call home.

Its traces are unmistakeable: Moodiness, short temper, constant worrying, aches and pains, frequent sickness, sleeping too much, sleeping too little, the use of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.

He feeds off of traffic, long hours and life removed from nature. Virtually no one is unscathed.

That’s why the NEPA SuperParks joined forces — to finally rid this corner of the Earth from the vices of the StressMonster.

 

 

7 Ways to Fight the StressMonster and #SaveNEPA

Fret not. There are many ways you can join the SuperParks and Fight the StressMonster:

1. Get active outside. Physical activity outside is one of the very best ways to reduce stress. While a super-challenging hike will certainly build confidence, even a quick outdoor walk can flood the brain with feelings of happiness and ward off the StressMonster’s most disagreeable dispositions.

So, find a SuperPark near you and get outdoors.  Just hiking once a week or walking ten minutes a day can reduce stress – especially if you’re starting from zero.

2. Plant something. Hikes, bikes and walks aren’t for everyone. If you prefer to stay closer to home, bring the SuperParks home by gardening. Being active outside and digging in the soil will help sharpen the mind, warding off certain degenerative diseases.

What’s more, planting native species helps reduce stress on the environment as well as stress on the mind.

3. Make friends. The SuperParks joined forces to Fight the StressMonster, and so should you. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease troubles and help you see things in a different way.

Check out our SuperNews and Events to see what StressMonster-fighters near you are up to. You can also visit Luzerne County’s Keystone Active Zone or local exercise and adventure groups on MeetUp. (While we don’t endorse any groups, NEPA Trail Mix is one of our favs.)

4. Encourage others! The StressMonster is too big a foe for any one person, so inspire others to get active at NEPA SuperParks by posting your hiking, biking or walking photos on social media: Snap with Official SuperPark geofilters at the Seven Tubs, Boulder Field, Hawk Mountain or Lake Wallenpaupack. Or, for you #igers out there, tag #SuperParks or #SaveNEPA to be featured on our Instagram.

Friends of more traditional social media can check out our the SuperParks Facebook.

5. Be an advocate. A robust network of local parks, trails and wildernesses supports physical activity and empowers residents to take care of their mental health. Advocate for public lands across NEPA by communicating with elected officials and by supporting organizations like the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

6. Seek help. The StressMonster is a formidable foe, and sometimes we need the extra help of a health professional for our mental health. Know the five warning signs of mental illness.

7. Erase stigma. If you don’t need help, help others live sigma-free. Talk about how mental illness touches us all in some way directly or through a friend, family member or colleague. Stories of lived experience are the best way to help eradicate stigma.

 

Fight the StressMonster!