How much time do you spend indoors? Probably too much, as it turns out. This might be due to our work schedules, our climate, or even safety concerns in some parts of the world. Regardless of the reason, it's truly unfortunate. After all, studies have shown that limited access to nature correlates with an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. Studies aside, here is what I personally know to be true: I live in a place where the winters are long--really long--and dark. By March, I'm losing my mind not only because I need sunshine and fresh air, but because my kids NEED those things, too.
I'm in a creative profession, and I find that when I have an opportunity to get outside for a walk or run during my day, I typically come back with all the creative juices I need to deliver on my projects. I've read studies that will back that up, citing that exercise can boost creativity by 20%. That brief "escape" also helps me to be a better mom, as I typically return home more calm and refreshed. It appears that exercise and nature, alone or in combination with one another, are two powerful forces that can (and should) be used to our advantage.
Here is my Summer list of ways to get out and connect with nature:
Walk/Run - Experience nature
I love to walk or run alone. It gives me time to check in with myself, time to daydream, time to listen to my heart, and time to notice the world around me.
Lay on a pool float
Is there anything more soothing than lying on the water, feeling the warmth of the sun on your body in contrast with the coolness of the water beneath you? It can be extremely meditative and healing to let the gentle sway of the water carry all of your thoughts and burdens away. Of course, the calm only lasts until your child cannonballs into the water right next to you ;)
Watch the sunrise
There is something to the science of setting your circadian rhythm with that of the Earth. In addition to the benefit of getting more restorative, quality sleep, starting your day by watching the sunrise is both beautiful and peaceful.
Sit under a tree
Trees are a life force to our world. They provide breathable air, timber, and fuel. Find a tree and sit under it with your back against the trunk. I promise you will find peace and serenity. You can close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you, as well as to the sound of your own breath. You could also listen to your favorite music or even take time to journal.
Hopefully you will be able to work some of these suggestions into your day or, better yet, come up with some new ideas of your own to share. To add to the fun, take a picture of you or your family doing something in nature, then share your images with me on Facebook @backyardkidsyoga #inspiredbynature. I'll kick it off with a picture sent to me of one of our yogi ambassadors here at Backyard Yoga.
Peace + Play