• Jena

The Great Outdoors

On one particularly long (and stressful) work day, I remember taking off early and driving home, a headache forming behind my eyes and my breath short. I figured I'd go home and collapse on my bed until my alarm went off for the next day. When my mom called, I told her about my day. "I'll come over," she said. An hour later, we were walking around in Home Depot, picking out flowers to plant in my front yard. Another few hours later, I felt like I was back to normal.

Even though I would never describe myself as an outdoors...er... woman, over the years, I've reaped the benefits of getting out into nature- even if nature is just me taking a short walk outside. It's calming, sometimes very quiet, and I get to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the world.

This past weekend, I decided to create a little patio garden with herbs and flowers. Digging my hands into the dirt made me feel like I was connected to something greater than myself. Something greater than social media (which I tend to mindlessly scroll through at any given point in the day.). Something greater than work stress. Something greater than the newest alarming news item. Of course, I'll always log back in, the mounds of paper at work will always be there, and there will be 20 more alarming news items to read later on, but for a moment, all of that was pushed aside. It's like creating an oasis.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Humans were meant to be outside, in the fresh air, feeling the sun on our skin. We were never meant to flourish under florescent lights in front of our computer. It's easy to forget though as everything becomes more technology-driven and we become more engrossed in videos than in watching the world go by. None of it is bad- humans have the capacity to create wonderful things and in some respects, we now have the world at our fingertips- but balance is definitely necessary. Sometimes hearing a river in real life or feeling the grass under one's feet is necessary.

But as LeVar Burton used to say in The Reading Rainbow: "you don't have to take my word for it!" According to Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Letter, getting outside helps raise Vitamin D levels and improves mood and concentration among other major benefits.

So as the weather improves, make sure you spend a little time outside!

*Harvard Medical School https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/spending-time-outdoors-is-good-for-you

*Photo provided by University of Oxford

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