|Tools for tough times – Get outside to build your good side.|
Check out these super strategies for shedding stress and increasing resilience and wellbeing.
Move naturally – moving naturally by walking, biking, swimming, or going for hikes can improve health markers in a person like blood pressure, heart-rate, blood chemistry, sleep, and weight Moving naturally has positive impacts on mental health, reducing depression and anxiety symptoms, clearing the mind, and giving you thinking time.
Park the car and use your feet more – walk, bike, blade. Many of the trips we make in a vehicle can be made walking or riding, but it takes a little pre-planning. Leave earlier and adjust plans to daylight hours. Wear a helmet if biking or blading, and put lights on your bike.
Pro-tips – Use the stairs more, park at the far end of the lot, and plan destination that are walkable.
Sources – check out www.wellnessMN.org for more information. Search Blue Zones for info on moving naturally.
Go green – green spaces have been shown to be good for mood, reducing the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. This works for kids and adults, so it is a solution for the entire family. Treed spaces with green plants are the key – parks, nature trails, state and national parks, and natural play spaces. Hike, bike, explore, play, listen, and breathe deeply when in the trees.
Pro-tips – Make it a daily experience with spouse and kids for mood and relationship “shot in the arm.” Remember that you can double the impact by moving naturally to and from the green spaces.
Conifer trees – Research in both Asia and the US confirms that getting into the presence of conifer trees has a number of significant health benefits. It has to do with microscopic particles the trees shed that when breathed in by humans produce healthy impacts. The research has found that for most people, the heart rate and blood pressure decline by around 10 percent. Mood elevates while anxious thoughts are reduced. The T-cell count in the blood elevates and remains elevated for a while after exposure. T-cells are part of the primary immune system, and are often referred to as “killer cells.” They are some of the first to attack foreign bodies that invade the system.
Pro-tip – combine going green (above) with microbursting and looking up (below) with conifer trees for great impacts on your physical and emotional health. And for added benefits, take the family and/or the dogs with you. You will all feel better and be healthier!
Micro-burst the outdoors – Add outdoor time to every day if you can. It will take some calendar work to get there. More than that, it will take some habit-busting to change from being indoors and always using a car. Commit walking (at least) 1 mile outside each day (as much as possible). If you can, do it twice some days. Take the family and visit new and good spaces. These twenty-minute micro-bursts can add up to a lot of good things. The more you do them, the better you might sleep and feel.
Pro-tips – Make it routine, even in the winter. Most of us can stand even deep cold for 20 minutes. If it is a daily routine, the impacts will add up quickly and it will be easier to do.
Look up – Turn off and turn away from the screens and start seeing and interacting with your surroundings. Social media and the constant negativity on the news wear down your cognitive and emotional capacities, contributing to greater anxiety and depression. Watching movies or shows does not restore or rejuvenate. It simply uses up time, time in which you could be restoring and rejuvenating.
Pro-tips – Put the thing down and walk away for a while. Plan “no digital zones” into your schedule every day.
Image via author, Mary Lake, Itasca State Park, MN