When my world gets overwhelming I know the best cure is to get outside. A girls’ night out for appies and wine is a close second, but by far connecting with nature is my go-to for stress management.
There is a public dock on Okanagan Lake (google the lake images…. it’s a gem!) close to where I live and is my place of refuge from all forms of busy and crazy. After dropping off the kiddos for school and daycare I will drive to the pier, hang my legs off the end and simply watch the water lapping against the wooden beams. I breathe in the fresh crisp lake air and hold my head back to soak in the rays of sunshine. I listen as the water rhythmically dances around me. I watch the clouds moving across the sky.
I spend five minutes of my busy day just being in the moment. And it is liberating. I am reminded that there is ebb and flow to all things. The sun shines everyday and the clouds float along no matter the triumphs and struggles of my own life.
Nature provides a sense of peace and calm for me. It also grounds me in gratitude and humbles my perspectives. There are so many reasons to intentionally connect with nature. Here are more!
BENEFITS OF BEING IN NATURE
Getting outside usually involves some level of exercise, even if it’s just a short walk. Even 15 – 30 minutes of exercise each day has long-term benefits for your mind and body, and it decreases your risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
2. Stress relief
Studies show that being in nature reduces tension and depression. A study done in South Korea showed that just looking at pictures of natural settings increases people’s positivity and emotional stability.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D has a wide range of health benefits. It also helps boost our immune systems. We all need just 10 – 15 minutes of sunlight per day for our bodies to produce the proper levels of vitamin D. Get outside and treat yourself to some vitamin D.
Being in nature can increase sleep quality. This is partly due to stress reduction, but also because exposure to sunlight during the day can increase your melatonin production at night. Melatonin is needed to regulate your sleep cycle.
So much time behind a screen can take its toll on your eyesight. Spending time outdoors gives your eyes a chance to focus on objects farther away. This can reduce eyestrain.
Researchers in the US and Germany found that being in nature helps improve creativity. The German study showed that even looking at the colour green for a few seconds triggered greater creativity than other colors.
We spend so much time in front of a screen. Getting out into nature is a great way to reconnect with family and friends and catch up in person.
So this week how can you carve out even 5 minutes to have a conversation with nature? You will never get back and wish you hadn’t.
*adapted from https://cvc.ca/conversations/top-7-health-benefits-of-being-in-nature/