Spending time outdoors or connecting with nature will not cure or prevent contracting the COVID-19 virus. However, a growing body of research is confirming that spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits-- both mental and physical.
With current quarantine mandates in place, we all have an increased risk of experiencing elevated levels of stress, depression or anxiety. Taking steps to increase our connection to nature may be one way to alleviate it. One recent study found that when people have a nature-connected experience it reduces diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and stress. In fact, one really interesting finding is that exposure to nature reduces people's levels of salivary cortisol, a physiological marker of stress. Another recent study points to spending just 20 minutes in a park, even if you don’t exercise while you’re there, is enough to improve well-being! Additionally, spending time in nature increases empathy and promotes prosocial behaviors.
So, there are plenty of studies that point to the benefits of nature. The tougher question is how do we appreciate nature, outdoor activities, and community in this current situation? We reached out to some of our friends and colleagues to see what strategies they would offer.
Tips and tricks for staying connected to nature and community under current restrictions:
If possible, take a walk outside. Please make sure to read up on your local government’s website re: restrictions and public access.
Sit by the window or outside on a deck! Soak up some sun!
Recruit some friends to join you in a remote meditation challenge.
Read a book about Nature!
*Some of our favorites: Into Thin Air, Call of the Wild, Into The Wild, Hatchet
Make an effort to watch nature-focused content.
*Some of our favorites: Animal Planet, Wild, Planet Earth, March of the Penguins, Into The Wild
*Or, watch a live-stream of a national park! Here is the link to Capitol Reef (right in our backyard!) https://www.nps.gov/care/learn/photosmultimedia/webcam.htm
Utilize social media to connect (or reconnect) with friends/family/colleagues.
Host a virtual dinner or coffee date!
Call 3 people a day who you are grateful to have met.
Text a picture of the last hike or walk you took to 10 people in your contacts.
Write someone a letter! Consider writing to folks in a nursing home or somewhere where visitors are currently restricted.
You can always reach out to any of us for more tips on how the Legacy and Juniper Canyon teams are staying connected and positive.
Please continue to check back in with our social media and blog for more content regarding staying nature and community connected. Our #Cityscape Adventure Series is going virtual!
Derek Daley ; email@example.com
Daniel Rogers ; firstname.lastname@example.org
Lily Wilkinson ; email@example.com
In due time we'll be back to leading community adventures. Here's a picture we wanted to share: Our recent #Cityscape Adventure in Los Angeles!