I Choose… Outdoors (by Julie Hryniewicz)

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Peering outside to our deck today, I realized that it was time for patio furniture. All of the snow had finally melted from the wood and rotting leaves were beckoning for attention. I proceeded to slip on a pair of rubber boots and venture to the garage. The air was so refreshing that I wished I had noticed the leaves earlier. Raking and then sweeping the back deck was like officially christening it for spring.

Since I had to assemble the patio furniture, my pleasurable feeling of euphoria soon turned into visions of a better business bureau complaint that many might have made with companies such as IKEA. Since the patio furniture wasn’t actually from IKEA, I sucked it up as I attempted, with sun painfully shining on the page, and realizing that I needed my glasses, with sunglasses over top, to read the poorly illustrated instructions. In the end, I managed the task and felt a keen sense of accomplishment.

Despite some frustration, it was still better to be outside during the assembly. Being outside is like a return to simpler times, younger years and childhood memories of when life was less stressful and full of laughter. Being outside is like a celebration where even mundane or tiring chores like raking, cutting grass, sweeping, washing vehicles or organizing the garage seem fun or light or somehow easier and more enjoyable, than indoor tasks.

I love being outdoors, especially when it has anything to do with nature. Studies show that nature settings, particularly when quiet, tranquil or peaceful actually boost our immune system, help us to heal quicker, reduce our anxiety and stress levels, make us feel happier and lead to us getting more exercise. We tend to walk more, bend and move more, bike more and generally stay more active.

It recently dawned on me that most of my social interactions have involved food. We have family dinners or go to restaurants most of the time, when we are planning any visits. Maybe this is why our waistlines are showing such an increase that apparently 75% of the population will be considered overweight or obese at some point in our lives. It is also a useless fact that most of us, in this day and age, spend up to 90% of our lives indoors.

Since I am attempting to change this, I have made a recent decision to replace as many get togethers and meetings with walking visits, instead of eating visits. This has already produced three additional walks for me this week. Of course I also love taking photos, so I am creating a multi-purpose activity by walking, visiting, snapping pictures, spending time outdoors and getting fresh air. It is like the ultimate in win-win choices.

I am not sure how you feel about the outdoors; however, I have yet to regret getting outside, instead of staying indoors. Can you integrate more lunch walks, walking visits, hub trail exploration, biking exercise, park adventures, outdoor photography, picnics, outdoor birthday parties, beach walks, business meetings, dates, water gazing or anything that involves getting yourself, your friends, your children, your grandchildren, your siblings, your coworkers or other relatives outside?

There is something about the air, the sunshine, the clouds, the sky, the birds, the trees, the water or the wind that boosts my energy and my mood. I think we could all use an energy boost.

What fun or productive outdoor activity can you plan today, or this week? I bet you will find a good walk in nature or hanging out in the beautiful outdoors doing anything of value can brighten even the worst of days.

I have heard that exercise is like a miracle drug. Can you imagine the powerful combination of exercise, fresh air and nature? I choose outside, will you?

‘I have a therapist. Her name is Nature.’ ~ Author Unknown

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This week’s photos and quotes can be found at: www.facebook.com/JulieHryniewicz

Column Archives can be accessed here: https://saultonline.com/column-this-rocky-life/

Some of Julie’s past columns and talk shows have included: ‘This Rocky Life’, ‘Life is Too Short’, ‘Motivational Minute’, ‘Life, Chocolate & The Pursuit of Sanity’, ‘Candid Conversations’, ‘The Scoop’ and ‘What’s On My Mind’.