So, we lost an hour of sleep last night and that, alone, is enough to get us frustrated. At the same time, it is lighter outside for an hour longer, effective immediately. Considering that being outside in nature, fresh air, sunlight and mild activity have been proven to improve our health, I guess I will take any extra sunlight that I can get.
There was a study done, at the University of Rochester, with 537 college students, where five separate experiments were utilized, involving 20 minutes of an indoor walk, a nature walk, or visualizing indoor, outdoor, cityscapes or natural landscapes. The results concluded that being outside in nature for just 20 minutes a day was enough to significantly increase vitality and energy levels.
This research is consistent with other studies that suggest exposure to nature, images of nature and being outdoors in nature increases well-being in 90% of people. Although I have been aware of this remarkable energy booster for years, it has taken this recent spring feeling weather to nudge me back outside.
Yesterday, my grandson and I took a long walk with his stroller and today, as I was driving home from picking up my daughter, I pulled over on the side of the road and did an impromptu nature walk. I grabbed my phone, my keys and began trudging along a creek path.
Although sinking up to my ankles in melting snow and mud, before my shoes were soaking wet, and I was only out there about 15 minutes, it was well worth the effort. It was enough time to take in some sunshine, get some natural blush on my cheeks, snap some photos and take several deep breaths of fresh air.
I was so motivated afterwards, that when we were done supper I strapped on my shoes and went back out for another walk. I love the sunshine and fresh air and it feels great to finally get out.
When things are falling apart around us, when we are feeling overwhelmed, when we are too tired and exhausted to do anything, this just might be a sign that it is time for us to get outside. We are apparently fueled, renewed, refreshed and revitalized by nature, so find a trail, walk to the nearest park, take a nature drive, put up a lawn chair in your yard or create a slide show of nature photos or videos to boost your spirit.
You can certainly do whatever you wish to do with your time today, and throughout the week, but if you can just carve out a few minutes, I hope that you embrace the outdoors, take in a sunrise, the sunset, walk the hub trail, stroll the boardwalk, dig out your running shoes (or rubber boots) and capture some moments to carry you through your week.
You just may find that the issues that are causing you the most stress, may melt away, for even a handful of minutes. Considering that we can only hold one emotion at a time, we may as well hold on to feelings of pleasure, joy, peace, serenity, tranquility, happiness or contentment, for as long as possible.
Here is to getting outside and exploring. It’s time for us to shake off winter, stretch out our arms and finally come out of hibernation. I beg you – just try it! You may be amazed.
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” ~ John Muir