Take It Outside

Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of why the beautiful earth is so important to our wellbeing, and maybe that’s because we’re so busy that we don’t get outside enough. We forget the how beautiful an eagle soaring across the sky or a squirrel swooping through the trees can be. We lose the childlike sense of wonder we once had watching a dolphin leaping in the ocean, and this loss affects our mental and physical wellbeing.

I came to this realization last month after being overloaded with multiple deadlines for several clients. I would wake up each morning, chug some coffee, hit the gym, and head directly to my desk indoors. As the weeks slogged onwards, I began to feel grouchy and disconnected, but I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. That all changed when my daughter invited me to spend the day with her family at the Washougal River in Washington state.

Once we got there the sound of the water bubbling over the rocks and the sight of the crawdads scooting around between the rocks had an immediate effect on my mental state. I could feel the tension of the past few weeks ebbing away. I wandered off alone with my ancient dog to perch on a flat rock by the side of the rapids. I threw tiny pebbles into the water as Dallas chased fish and cooled her belly in the shallows. I splashed my toes, looked at the sky and knew that what I’d been craving the past few weeks was mother earth.

I spent the whole day outside on the river sunning, swimming, and breathing the pure forest air. By the end of the visit I was rejuvenated, relaxed and anxiety-free. I was so grateful for the beautiful river and trees.  So, I made a promise to myself and my daily routine to get outside at least one hour a day to renew my commitment to returning the earth to a healthy and pristine state of being.

One way to do this without taking even more time away from my busy days was to move the bulk of my workout outside at a local park. I take my yoga mat to the side of the pond for a 20-minute routine of stretching and ab work. I unplug from my usual workout music and instead listen to the sounds of the duck family as they paddle and flap in the water.

Next, I run a few hill sprints around the trail, stopping to pick up any trash I see along the way. Then I wrap things up with an high-intensity workout beside my favorite Cedar tree. I started out using this HIIT routine and have since tweaked it to suit my needs.

This routine has changed my mindset and increased my energy levels. In fact, studies have shown that time outdoors can improve blood pressure, boost mental health, and decrease the risk of cancer.  This hour outside reminds me every day why it is so important to protect the natural world from pollution and overconsumption.

Author: Becci Goodall

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