I’ve spent the past day and a half at my house, inside. While this doesn’t sound like much, it’s one day too much. As you can see from my last post, I’ve been in a state of laziness, I’ve been sick, and and I’ve had a lot of inside time. At first, it was nice to lay around. Then, it’s gets to a point where you just need a change of scenery!
So this morning, even though I still don’t feel great, I got my lazy butt up and went for a walk in the snow this morning. It was just what the doctor ordered! The snow was gently falling, cars weren’t out yet, and it was quiet and peaceful. When I left, I was just grumpy. When I returned, I was uplifted and definitely happier. It’s not like I was gone for long but the change of scenery, fresh air, and walk with a friend started my day off right.
It made me think of a few headlines I’ve seen before about how nature and being outside improves mental health. So, I decided to look into it some more, and sure enough, there’s something to it. It’s not just my imagination. Being outside, surrounded by nature, is good for you. It’s really interesting. Read more! There are so many articles explaining how being in nature lowers stress hormones and anxiety, while even promoting cells that fight cancer. How cool is that!?
It explains why many teen bootcamps take place outdoors. It’s the same reason my mom walks daily, and my dad spends a third of his time on our farm in the woods. It explains why you feel so refreshed after a long hike in the mountains. It’s why some people just feel happier outside than in. There are some kids at school who just change when they’re outside. Whether it’s for a walk, a chat in the courtyard, or doing a task in the garden, it’s more than just relaxing. Nature is therapeutic, restorative, and healing. It positively impacts the mind, body, and spirit!
While walking home, I was reflecting on how much better I was feeling just getting out. Then, I was remembering last year when we had 2 weeks straight off of school. (That was so amazing and fun for my family!) But, upon returning to school last year and checking in with some of my students at my low-income school, I remember how surprised I was at how few children spent any time outside. Most kids I spoke to did no sledding or snowman building. The one (and sometimes only) activity I heard about was playing video games.
I’m sure this year, it’s been no different. Many families don’t have a car, the financial means to go do anything, a safe neighborhood to wonder in, or the sled or snow-gear to stay warm outside. And, staying inside in front of the tv, the computer, or video games non-stop is just a depressing pit. If you do have the choice of getting out, you really should. Many times, the simple act of just getting outside for a little walk is enough to shift the mood. It sure helped me feel better.
So if you can, go for a walk, a hike, look at the trees, and enjoy the quiet, fresh air. Get moving and show gratitude for the snow, the cold air, and the chance to clear the mind. You won’t regret it!
(I googled an image of Crested Butte, CO where my brother and a couple friends live, and here’s a winter view. No wonder everyone seems so happy there when we visit! So, even if you don’t make it out after reading this, try an alternate plan: pour wine, play some nature sounds, and stare at this!)