One excellent way of moving into Spring and enjoy relaxation is to go out into nature!
Communing with nature is free, accessible and full of benefits both physical and mental.
Spring is a time to be outside and to be mindful of our environment and to notice the sensations the outdoors have to offer.
Being outdoors can leave us emotionally balanced and physically improves our health.
There are many ways to be outdoors, but walking is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways of enjoying the outdoors. Walking is invigorating and also restoring.
When we are outside walking begin to notice what the senses are picking up:
What aromas hit your nose?
- Ozone, blossom, wet ground, a brook or river, fresh cut grass
What can you see?
- Clouds moving, the sun, trees blowing in the wind,
What can you hear?
- Birds calling, the sound of the wind, dogs barking?
What can you feel?
- The wind blowing on your skin, the cold on your nose?
Can you taste anything?
What rhythms and sounds can you hear? The birds calling, the ebb and flow of the sea?
Where will you walk?
If at all possible aim for open spaces, with as few pollutants as possible, with green spaces and trees. Or you may wish to walk by a river, brook or sea.
There is a phrase of ‘forrest bathing’ that encompasses the benefits of the great outdoors: the sights, smells and the joy and comfort they can bring. It helps to ease stress and worry and clams the nervous system. Walking in nature can restore our mood, lift our energy and rejuvenate us.
You may prefer water, especially being by the seaside. When we inhale the sea air it is laden with ozone and packed with negative ions that help our bodies absorb oxygen. This in turn promotes serotonin production - one of the ‘happy hormones’, and raises the level of melatonin, which in turn promotes restfulness and can aide better sleep.
Walking with family and friends only adds to the fabulousness of all these benefits. Win-Win.
Researchers have discovered that enjoying the great outdoors helps combat a condition called oxidative stress.
This can cause sleep problems. Oxidative stress is caused by a lack of healing anti-oxidants in our bodies cells and an excess of harmful free radicals, and evidence suggest an outdoor lifestyle can counteract this.
Ways of lowering oxidative stress levels are:
- Gentle outdoor exercise
- Forrest bathing
- Breathing pollution-free air - in the country or by the seaside.
Make a 20 minute walk part of your day, and notice how
your senses pick up the spring sensations.