2650 + 400 / 12

2650+ 400 / 12?

No, that’s not a math equation, it’s how many miles I’ve driven in the past 12 days. 2,650 miles from Michigan to Florida and back in a 10 day period and a 400 mile round trip for a birthday get away to a cabin “up north” for 2 days.

From 90 degrees, humid and buggy on the Bay in Florida at a posh hotel for a business conference to 40 degrees in the backwoods with no running water and an outdoor toilet.

I’m adaptable that’s for sure. I loved being in each element but felt much less stress in the Michigan woods. That feels like “home” to me. The tree’s colors traveling north were gorgeous. I was afraid I’d miss the peak when I was gone on business.

Sunset over Tampa Bay

Above: October Sunset over Tampa Bay

Below: October Moonrise over Michigan trees in autumn color.

DSC_0143

Traveling that many miles is stressful. Did you know there’s good stress and bad stress? Stress is really any change your body has to adapt to. Good stress is the exciting stuff and bad stress is the survival moments – I felt some of those anxious moments driving through Cincinnati, Atlanta and Nashville. Plus traveling offers a lot of changes in routines, food, sleep, and bathrooms.

A lot of people don’t talk about it, but many experience bowel problems while traveling and that can make you feel awful. Why does that happen? It’s the vagus nerve and the stress response. Under stress, whether it’s fighting a mugger in the alley or fighting rush hour traffic the body enters sympathetic nervous system arousal and the vagus nerve shuts down it’s parasympathetic branches which go to the organs, immune system and the bowels.

Under severe stress, the first reaction would be that your bowels may evacuate urgently but under ongoing stress, bowel movements tend to shut down i.e. constipation.

Here is a quip about bowel movements and stress from Dr. Axe: “Natural laxatives, in the form of certain foods and herbs, have been used for health purposes for over 2,000 years. People have always known that bowel movements are necessary for good health, but in today’s fast-paced society, a poor diet, stress or frequent traveling can get in the way of you and good digestion — so pooping regularly can suddenly become tough!”

I’m no different than anyone else, stress affects me the same way. Or at least it use to. I couldn’t travel without bringing along laxatives and suppositories. TMI right?! But something has changed for me in the past few months. And it’s been so slow in occurring, I might have missed it. I did take along the needed supplies for this trip but I never had to use them. That’s NEVER happened before!

What was different? The biggest change that I can account for in this past year has been probiotics and fiber. I’m using Kefir, fruit and wheat grass powder every day in a green drink smoothie. Nutrition is the one thing that’s different. Or maybe it’s all the small things I’ve been doing along with the smoothie that has added up – the essential oils for stress relief, the ongoing bodywork, the detoxing by using natural toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoos.

Whatever it is, it didn’t happen suddenly, this change is like reaping a harvest of benefits in the fall, long after the spring planting was over. And I like it!

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