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Tuesday, July 21

Here Comes the Sun (Beatles)

I love spending time outdoors…especially when the weather is beautiful and warm!  It seems that in this digital age, we are seeing the outdoors less and less. (Case in point : I would like to be out in my garden, but am inside finishing up some articles to fulfill a contract instead.)   This week, I challenge you to go take a hike!
Being in Nature Helps You Spiritually
  • Disconnect.  If you found yourself suddenly transported into the woods, with nothing surrounding you except nature, you would likely have no idea what year it was.  Teleportation is unlikely to happen any time soon, so try taking note of this phenomenon next time you go for a hike or stroll outdoors.
  • Note to self.  When we spend time in nature, we are reminded that life is fleeting – plants and animals live and die, the life cycle is all around you, and human are no exception to the rule.  Sometimes we need that perspective in order to remember what truly matters - and to remind us of just how small we are in the grand scheme of things.
  • Calm.  People love views of the water, sunrises and sunsets, mountain ranges, etc. because they have a calming effect.  What’s on your computer wallpaper…?
  • Harmony.  Hundreds of species of plants and animals can live amongst each other in one small area - te way an eco-system is meant to work.  Humans could certainly stand to take note.
  • The Monet Effect.  Nature shows us that the farther you are from something, the more perfect it looks.   A wave crashing on the sand might look beautiful to us as we watch it from afar, but how do you think those little crabs feel when they get stuck in it?  Autumn leaves are gorgeous, but we don't think about the fact that those brilliant colors signify that the leaves are dying. These lessons can be applied to our lives, as well. You never know what kind of pain someone is hiding beneath a seemingly happy smile.

Being in Nature Helps You Physically
  • Vitamin D.   Getting some sunlight give your body vitamin D, which can help fight many conditions, from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart attacks.  It can also make you happier.
  • Shutdown.  Screen time (tv, computer, iphone) is largely associated with depression.  In one study, time in front of a screen was associated with a higher risk of death, and that was independent of physical activity!  Putting down your devices and getting into nature can help to reset your emotions and lead to better health.
  • Exercise.  If you make getting outside a goal, that should mean less time in front of the television and computer, and more time walking and doing other things that put the body in motion.
  • Healing.  Exposure to natural light can lessen pain and stress.  They can also help to heal the hurts inside – the scars that stick with you.

Take it to the Next Level
Take the time to teach nature in your classroom or homeschool.  Or you could join other families to start a Nature Club for Families with this free toolkit and guide from the Children & Nature Network.  Not only will your family benefit, but you will help many others experience the wonders and health benefits of exploring the outdoor world around them!

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