Take Better Care Of You – Get Outdoors

forestIn this month’s newsletter, I’m going to continue with the focus on healthy habits and the intention to take better care of you. Last month I talked about a small step for improving your diet – eating real food. This month, I want to look at an often-overlooked component – getting outdoors.

Spending time in nature is a natural stress reliever, what I’d call Mother Nature’s Calgon. Remember those commercials? LOL! They showed a woman at her wits end with pictures of her daily stressors behind her on the screen – the boss, traffic, kids, and the dog – gathering in a swirl of activity. At that point, she says “Calgon, take me away!”

I can’t deny the stress relieving benefits of a good bath but it’s practically impossible to take one on a daily basis. And let’s face it we need strategies that get us out of the stressed state on a daily basis. The solution? Get outdoors because our physical world adds to our stress burden as well

Stressors from our physical environment include things such as crowding, excessive noise, artificial lighting, recirculating air, electronic pollution and other modern ills. I became keenly aware of this whenever my workspace changed from one that had access to natural light versus on that didn’t. The latter left me exhausted and drained by mid-afternoon.

In Ayurveda, the inherent connection between humans and all living things is a fundamental tenet; a core belief that humans are not separate from the environment and in fact cannot be separated from it. It is the natural world that sustains life. How is it able to “take us away” and disengage the sympathetic nervous system (i.e., fight or flight)?

Studies show when we are connected to and engaged with nature we naturally begin to relax and breathe more deeply. This contact with nature has been show to lower stress levels and blood pressure, improve attention capacity and cognitive functioning, accelerate recovery from illness, and create a positive sense of community.

catThe positive health benefits of being connected to and engaged with nature are numerous and easy to do. What 2-3 small steps can you take to get outdoors and spend time in nature? Here are a few ideas to improve your emotional, physical, and mental well-being, even if you have snow on the ground:

  • Go for a 15 min walk (if in a cold climate, you just need some good gear)
  • Pet a dog or cat. Lie with your dog or cat in their favorite sun spot
  • Stop and listen to the birds chirping
  • Hug a tree (Yes I’m serious. I do this and it is immediately relaxing.)
  • Retreat to a backyard garden (not everyone is in a cold climate right now).
  • Have indoor plants
  • Don’t pass up the opportunity to shovel or clear off the car
  • Display pictures of outdoor scenes in your home or office – yes research shows that even pictures of nature lowers your stress levels.

Want to simplify your life and restore your health and vitality?


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