Why I Love Nature Walks

Nature is beautiful in every season and fall is no exception. With little ones all around me, I’ve been reminded again why I love the fall. I have so many memories of being outdoors on warm fall days for hours, collecting leaves, playing in leaf piles, making little stick huts and walking down trails in awe of all the colors around me. This year, I’ve been really enjoying seeing fall again through the eyes of my kids. With my oldest in pre-school, the fall nature walks and scavenger hunt have been a weekly activity that’s been surprisingly relaxing for me… and that’s why I love nature walks.

Nature takes me away from the constant stimulus of our modern day culture and brings me back to , well, me.

Street lights, billboards, the constant hum of traffic and blue light from devices are just a few things typically effect my emotions. I never made the connection to how helpful a little time in nature was to my stress and anxiety until I was a fiancee.

When I got engaged, I lived downtown in an apartment. Even though I was in a quieter area of downtown, there were always streetlights on, there was always traffic, there were always doors opening and closing and I was alway in close quarters with a ton of other people’s energy. I would notice that my stress sometimes seemed disproportionate to how stress-free my life “should” have been. I meditated regularly and did yoga every morning staring out my 12 story patio window. Still with all of that, sometimes I would still have meltdowns, breakdowns and lash outs.

My now hubby lived on an acreage at the time. Every once in a while, I’d spend the night out there. It took a bit for me to realize it, but once I did, it was clear. If I spent a night out there, I would be great for about 4 days. Little stresses didn’t bother me, I was able to let things go pretty easily and I wouldn’t have any meltdowns. After the 4 days, slowly my anxiety levels would start rising again and I had to more consciously check in on my breathing to keep my stress under control. If it was over a week for me to get out to the acreage, I’d be a mess.

Nature is medicine. Not everyone has a chance to be able to retreat onto an acreage every 4 days or live on a farm, but we can all find little chunks of it wherever we are. This summer in YEG, the accidental beach is a perfect example of this. People in Edmonton flocked there to decompress in a bit of nature hidden in the city. Our river valley trails, Hawrelak park and Rundle park are also great examples of places in the city where you can feel like you’ve totally escaped from it.

 

My advice is to get the most of it that you can.

-Keep your phone in your car or at least in your back pocket.

-Remember to stop every once in a while and take a deep breath of fresh air

-Collect a few treasures along the way like a cool leaf you can use as a bookmark, a walking stick or a sweet rock.

-Remember that this is your time to decompress. Just setting the intention before you set out on your walk will help you find your groove faster and get the most of your nature walk

-If you can, take some kids. Just watching them discover nature will remind you of your time in nature when you were younger and is sure to bring back some fond memories.

 

Take Advantage of the next few days, and share your story with others to inspire them to do the same!

Happy Trails To You

Jay

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