“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”
~ John Muir ~
I believe our mind and bodies need to spend time outdoors and even yearn for it. I’ve been an avid gardener, hiker, and wanderer in nature for years. This past year of the pandemic, it was wonderful to see more and more people head out on local paths, to lakes and mountains on foot, and bikes to spend time enjoying nature, while many other activities were limited.
There is a quote posted in our home, “Let’s wander where the Wi-Fi is weak”. Due to the technological age we live in, many of us find ourselves spending too much time inside and with screens. Spending time outside helps us disconnect and unplug.
More and more studies show that regular exposure to nature is crucial for us. As part of our health regimen, a prescription to nature is an integral part of our well-being. A remarkable thing about nature is it does not matter what your fitness level is or where you live, you can find a tree or park somewhere nearby. Doing something as simple as opening a window to let in fresh air or just spending time sitting outdoors can positively affect your well-being.
We all know that there are physical benefits to walking, running, biking, and being active outside; however, the benefits also include our mental health. Like mindfulness, deep breathing in fresh air, reducing stress, anger, heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, and boosting energy. It can also enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, and improve mood.
Spending time in nature also connects us with living things. There is something special about witnessing the signs of each season. Including enjoying trees in bloom in Springtime and observing birds return. The cooler air of Fall and Winter is invigorating and brings changing beauties to familiar landscapes.
Only recently, while out walking a country road, I discovered a fox den with seven pups! It was an honour to witness the mother fox in action with her cute little pups playing.
Encounters with wildlife, plants, and stunning scenic lookouts all uplift the soul.
In the beloved children’s classic book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the main character, Mary Lennox, instinctively knows the healing power of nature. After the death of her parents, she is sent far away to live with her Uncle.
Hidden away in his grand mansion, she discovers her sickly cousin Colin. Over time, Mary convinces Colin to sneak outside with her, despite the nurse's belief he is far too ill to ever leave his room.
In time nature works, it’s magic. The fresh air, working in the dirt and playing outside, heals his soul and body. While the story is a work of fiction, the message about the effects of nature are not.
“Nature can be trusted to work her own miracle in the heart of any man whose daily task keeps him alone among her sights, sounds and silences.”
~ Gene Stratton-Porter ~
Write your prescription for nature today and get your daily doses!