We all feel it daily. For some of us, the weight can be too heavy to bear sometimes. This year has really tested our boundaries and pushed us into many unknown situations. Yep, hello stress.
According the Cleveland Clinic, "Stress is a normal reaction the body has when changes occur, resulting in physical, emotional and intellectual responses." It can help you finish a project and assist in avoiding danger. It's a switch that activates when we're adapting to a new situation, but should turn off after.
Key word should.
Many of us are chronically stressed - the switch isn't getting turned off and we eventually become exhausted, depressed and sick 24/7. One major solution to manage stress? Get outside!
Time spent in nature, even for 5 minutes, can significantly help you reduce and manage stress. It's a full mind-body experience that is often free and accessible. The habit of stress management improves the more outdoor experiences you adopt.
Because I'm a nature junky, as are many of you reading, and have story after story of how the outdoors has literally changed my life and kept depression at bay, I 'm eager to share ways to get your booty outside everyday that will defuse the sting of stress, boost your mood, and give a sense of relief in unstable times.
My favorite low-impact movement is to walk every morning and evening. Sometimes I walk with Lucas and we chat, other times I go by myself. This is particularly enjoyable with a pet and warm drink in hand. You can also practice yoga outside (have a designated mat for getting dirty) or simply stretch in the sun. Lifting weights is way more fun in the fresh air, too. I love a medium weight kettlebell and most recently did this 20 minute full body workout video. You can also bike to the next town for lunch and glass of wine!
Garden your stress away.
Small garden, big garden, a full fledged farm, or simply a few potted herbs - when you tend to living, green plants your stress becomes grounded because you're touching the element of earth. You're taking care of something else that's alive and needs water, sun, air, and love just like you do.
Eat a meal in the yard.
A very under rated habit is to eat meals outside. Set up a simple small table a chairs in your yard to comfortably sit and eat your food. If you're at the office, or on the road keep a lawn chair in the car or find a bench. Take in your new surroundings as you slowly eat your food (without your phone). It's a great way to create space and perspective and gives your stress a place to go.
Pick a sit spot to nature journal
Do you have a favorite tree near your home and or a particular outdoor space that draws you in to be still and simply observe? It just might be your sit spot. Visit your sit spot with no agenda but to be still (either sit or lay down) and take your environment with all your senses.
What's the weather like? What does the air smell like? How has this spot changed since last season? Can you hear any animals or insects? Write or draw these observations in a journal with no judgement and no desire for an outcome on your experience.
Adventure with friends
The ultimate habit to completely immerse yourself in nature. It works best if you put an away message on your email and put the phone away once you've arrived. Camp at a nearby state park, hike a local trail system, or plan a paddling trip. Collaborate with friends that have similar expectations, skills, and vision of the trip. Start planning and get stoked!