This post is part of our monthly Spunky Simplicity “Less Is More” Movement series.
Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
~John Muir, Our National Parks
While rubbing elbows with the birds and the bees can become a bit more challenging during the winter months, getting outside and moving in nature should be a priority all year through. The benefits of crisp clean air, a good dose of bright light or the peace found in the sound of rippling water can go far beyond that moment to completely transform your day. Research is piling up to show that perhaps one of the quickest ways to a better mood and a healthier mind and body, is simply moving your lunch hour and/or your exercise routine to a park, a field, a forest, or a patch of grass near you. So bundle up, if necessary, but just grab those boots and go. Don’t let a little weather keep you from getting out there and enjoying all those gifts the natural world has waiting for you.
Here are our top 4 reasons for soaking up a bit of nature right NOW:
Kick the Seasonal Blues
If you are anything like me, the lack of sunshine during the winter months can get leave you feeling a bit down. So much for myself, in fact, that we moved to Florida for four years to combat it. It is not necessary, however, to pick up your life and move to the sunshine, just make an effort to get outside every day around noon when the sun is at its brightest, to soak up some of nature’s very best blues busters. If you also combine your time outside with some exercise, you get a double dose of that mood lifting healing-power.
“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it. “
Relieve Stress Naturally
Think of nature as a personal decompression chamber that is always available to you. It heals, soothes, and restores. Feelings of overwhelm that are too often a part of our modern lives, can be gently and quickly eased by simply taking a walk outside, breathing, and noticing the beauty and continuity of the natural world.
“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
It Doesn’t Get Boring
Nature is ever-changing. The color, the light, the scents, the living things, will never be the same from day to day and season to season. Research shows that we are far more likely to keep up with a workout that does not feel monotonous and at the same time, feeds our soul. So, while I am not suggesting you give up your gym membership, moving your workout or your yoga practice outside a couple days a week will keep your routine (and your lungs), fresh.
“Is the spring coming?’ he said. ‘What is it like?’ …‘It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up and working under the earth.”
~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Up Your Ecological Intelligence Quotient
Even if you don’t consider yourself a true “nature lover”, exposure to nature is key. By upping your time spent outside and making an effort to absorb the gifts of nature, you will move toward an appreciation for it. So if bugs freak you out, or if the wind makes you a bit crazy, take a moment to literally stop and smell the roses or the rosemary or a sprig of pine and see if it doesn’t instantly pick you up. Then, give it a try the next day, and the next and the next. Your love of nature is sure to grow, making you far more likely to become a protector of this beautiful world. And it is no secret, that we need many, many more protectors.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring