Imagine (or remember) this…
It’s already been a long week, and it is only Wednesday. You are beginning to wonder if the week will ever end. Your brain is jam packed trying to remember everything. Your shoulders are hunched up close to your ears, muscles are tight and you just can seem to relax.
You’ve been running a million miles a minute, you’ve only left the house to run an errand or two or get the kids to school. You have only seen glimpses of the sun from time to time.
When you finally do have a few seconds to breathe you long to just sit and be… Outdoors!
We All Need Time Out in Nature
Whether you ever thought about it before or not, you need to spend time outdoors… on a regular basis. The physical, emotional/mental health benefits are undeniable.
Have you ever heard of the Nature Effect? Most likely you have experienced before at some point in your life, even if you didn’t understand it.
The Nature Effect is when you get outside for a walk and you begin to feel calmer, you breathe easier, your racing mind starts to slow and your shoulders begin to relax.
What are the Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors?
- Reduce Stress
- Increase Vitamin D Levels
- Lose Weight
- Increase Concentration
- Increase Creativity
- Better Sleep
- And lots, lots more!
For further reading:
- 7 Scientifically-Backed Health Benefits of Being In Nature
- Health Benefits of Getting Kids Outside
- Here’s Proof Going Outside Makes You Healthier
Outdoor adventures don’t need to be big productions. Seriously! It can be as simple as sitting on your porch with a good book and a refreshing drink. However, I would encourage you to take it a step further.
Go for a walk around your neighborhood. Start with only 5 minutes a day if you need to, and then begin to gradually increase your time.
Find a park in your city with a walking path. Find a hiking book and go out once a month and explore your state.
For even more reading (or listening…)
I highly recommend The S’More Outdoor podcast. You will hear stories of everyday people who make spending time outdoors a priority in their life. It’s an opportunity learn more about the amazing benefits you can receive by spending time in nature, and maybe even identify with some of the negatives effects of not spending time outside. It is one of my favorite podcasts.
Outdoors is one of my 2015 focus words. While I do get out almost every morning to walk Bailey, it isn’t always enough.
When I start to feel restless, collect brain clutter, feel stressed out and overwhelmed, I know it partly comes from needing longer time outside with new scenery and trails to explore.
It really and truly makes a huge impact on my stress levels, physical, and emotional health and well-being. There are few things a long walk on the beach can’t help.
When I have a craving to hit the trails, I know it has been way too long and it is time to take a much-needed break and run away to the woods.
Getting outdoors has to be a priority and it has to be scheduled. Just saying, “When I have time I will…” does not mean I will do it. There is a difference between knowing I need to do something and actually doing it. I’m learning that the time must be blocked out and reserved on my calendar.
For me, getting outdoors is not a want, but a need. A need to get out and explore, take my mind of the to-do list in front of me, push myself to go further, feel my lungs expand and grow, and to feel my muscles straining as we head up the next hill. That is how I relax and start to feel grounded again.
When I do…
- I feel refreshed and grounded
- Feel like I have accomplished something
- Clearer head
- Problem solving skills improve
- My sub-conscious works on problems
- I breathe deeper
- Seeing new sites and scenery feeds my creative side
- Baily and I get great exercise
And a whole lot more!
But when I don’t…
- My stress levels increase
- The creative flow becomes a trickle and at times feels non-existent
- Bailey and I both start to gain weight
- I don’t take nearly as many pictures with my cameras, which in turn impacts my creativity
- Brain fog
- Depression starts to creep back into my life
- I don’t get the exercise I need
- It gets harder to concentrate
Lots! Of motivation wouldn’t you say? By the way, you can hear more about how the outdoors affects me and my business in my interview on the S’More Outdoor podcast.
What do you need to do to get just 5 minutes outdoors today?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.