I don’t know about you, but I love being outside. I love the smell of the flowers, trees, grass and even dirt. Our 5 1/2 years in Portland, Oregon made me even more aware of this. I instantly fell in love with it’s lush, green landscapes, mountain views, and the coast!

It was in Portland where we realized the importance of taking nature breaks. They really are important for overall health and well-being. The picture above is a view up from my backyard. We bought a house on a lot (in Indiana) with a lot of trees. I mean you can’t come from Oregon and live in a corn field right?

I love being outside, but on occasion I find my day is coming to an end and I haven’t really spent time outside. (I take my dogs out multiple times a day, but it’s not the same as purposefully spending time outside.) It definitely gets more challenging when Winter comes around, but I find it’s extra important in these months to be intentional about getting outside whenever possible.

I know it’s often hard to make time to be outside, but it is so worth it!

Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical well being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. Public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell even state being around nature reduces mortality.

Healthcare facilities are even creating outdoor spaces like this because they recognize it helps people heal physically and emotionally from it.

Image result for healing gardens

Here’s a few tips on utilizing the outdoors for your health:

1. Make it a priority, which means put it on your calendar.

2. Walk your dog or just go for a walk.

3. Walk the beach or just walk around your yard. Touch your trees because trees are alive and have energy.

4. Go camping – it’s fun to connect with friends and loved ones in nature.

5. Grab binoculors and bird watch.

6. Go for a bike ride, even if it’s a short one.

7. Take a canoe or kyack out.

8. Go sledding, snowboarding, or horseback riding.