Wednesday, December 14, 2016

7 Benefits of Getting Outside

I was faced with a choice during the 3.5 hour window when both of my kids were at school today.  Race around like crazy to get some Christmas shopping finished and run errands OR just have some me time.  Remembering to take my own advice, I opted for watching an episode of Modern Family, doing a wee bit of cleaning, and going for a nice, long walk.  And writing this blog post, of course!

I'm not going to lie, it was cold out there.  Despite that, I got some exercise and it was just so darn peaceful out there.  There's just something about getting outside that calms me down.  It was definitely time well spent.

Bestie confession:  I am by no means a "nature girl."  I love shopping, and drinking coffee and reading...all the indoor things.  But I admire the outdoorsy girls so much...and they always have the cutest outdoorsy clothes, am I right?!  But me?  I am the girl who passes the REI or Eastern Mountain Sports stores in the mall and stares longingly into the front windows, way too intimidated to go inside.  They'll spot me a mile away...they know I don't belong here in my J.Crew coat and ankle booties.  They can definitely smell my fear.  And then I book it for Anthropologie.

One day I'll be more outdoorsy.  And actually go in one of the outdoorsy stores.  And maybe even buy something.  But until then, I'll enjoy nature taking walks in my sweet little my J.Crew coat.

I learned some pretty amazing things about getting out in the great outdoors at a continuing education seminar I attended recently.  Did you know that spending time in nature actually:

- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- Increases positive affect
- Increases serotonin production
- Decreases depressive symptoms
- Decreases anxiety
- Improves sleep
Pretty amazing, huh?  In fact, many general practitioners and psychotherapists are now advising patients to spend regular time outdoors as treatment for mild anxiety and depression - alone, or in conjunction with medication.  

So the next time you have some spare time on your hands, consider venturing out into the great outdoors...even if it's just outside your own front door.  You don't have to climb a mountain or even walk to experience the benefits of nature.  And you can wear whatever you want...even those cute ankle booties.  




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