Parker County Today May 2017 - Page 74

Stressbusters BY THE WILD BIRD CENTER, WEATHERFORD, TX Stressed? Relax. Breathe in. Breathe out…and venture outdoors. The cure to stress may be right outside the window. Birds of a feather are not just a source of entertainment. For many, they are also stressbusters. Spending time surrounded by nature, whether walking along a tree lined path or just sitting in your backyard, can be a soothing remedy. Research has shown that spending time outdoors lowers blood pressure and eases muscle tension. Even if venturing out into the yard isn’t feasible at the moment, looking out a window still offers that nature connection, and watching the comings and goings of backyard birds can add to the feeling of peace. Birds can be captivating. The longer we watch, the more we find ourselves drawn in as they live their lives all around our backyards. Watching and feeding birds provides a sense of calm that is exactly the end result that stress-management specialists hope people achieve for a least some length of time every day. The ideal is to disengage from the daily grind, even if for just a few minutes a day, and open up to the sights, sounds and color of nature. As summer approaches, so does Mother’s Day, so offer Mom the peaceful relaxation of a day spent in her own backyard. What better gift than to allow her that one special day of letting go of the computer mouse and putting down that phone? Maybe expanding that to one day a week! A few well-placed feeders and a bird house or two can provide hours of quiet and relaxation--and not just on Mother’s Day! Taking a day every week to power down and turn everything off to head out to ‘greener pastures’ will offer a sense of well being for the entire family, even if just for a few hours in a day. Encourage kids to disconnect and set aside comput- ers and phones to, instead, walk outside and marvel at the joys of nature living right in their own backyard. Discovering birds and bird families, plus learning the benefits of feeding them, instills in kids a respect for our feathered friends as well as the other flora and fauna living around them. 72 Victorian Mansion Your backyard can become an oasis away from daily bustle and stresses, a tremendous source of education about nature, while also becoming a haven for the back- yard birds that live in your yard. Hopper Feeder Fill your summer feeders. While natural food is more plentiful in the warmer months, offering seed and suet this time of year will allow birds to happily supplement