By Terri Test of Balance Achieved ~ Wellness, One Habit at a Time
We all begin with the best of intentions. We aspire to establish a consistent weekly self-care routine, recognizing the positive impact it has on our well-being. Yet, life’s unexpected twists often throw our self-care plans off course. When the unexpected arises, our self-care routine is often the first casualty. What if there was one self-care routine that took less than 20 minutes each day and could have a profound impact on your overall health and well-being? Would you find a way to prioritize it? The answer might become clear as you explore its numerous benefits.
Imagine one weekly self-care practice that could:
- Enhance the quality of your sleep.
- Recharge your energy levels.
- Boost your focus and concentration.
- Foster creativity and problem-solving.
- Reduce stress.
- Improve your mood.
- Decrease inflammation in your body.
- Enhance your memory.
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Strengthen your immune system.
- Contribute to your happiness.
- Reduce anxiety.
- Promote mindfulness.
- Elevate your overall quality of life.
Surprisingly, spending a short amount of time in nature can achieve all these benefits. Reflect on how you feel after immersing yourself in the natural world. Do you sense greater calmness? Improved focus on your priorities? An energy boost to carry you through the day? Perhaps the relentless negative chatter in your mind quieted down.
Think back to the amount of time you spent outdoors. Was it an afternoon on the weekend? Thirty minutes on several evenings during the week? According to a study published in the June 2019 edition of Scientific Reports, for over 19,000 adults in England, the magic number for experiencing improved overall health and well-being was spending at least 2 hours per week in nature. Some participants achieved this in one visit to a green space, while others divided their time into shorter visits.
The study revealed that the division of time didn’t matter; what counted was the total of 120 minutes per week in nature. So, how can you spend 120 minutes each week reaping the health benefits of nature? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It’s essential to find what works best for you.
Here are some ideas and activities to consider:
- Bird watching.
- Mindful walks in the park or your neighborhood’s green space.
- Hiking or camping in the mountains (forest bathing).
- Meditating or journaling while seated in a green area.
- Beach walks or play.
- Visiting a nearby lake/river, waterfalls, public water features, or fountains.
- Exploring flower gardens.
- Lounging in a hammock beneath a shade tree.
- Observing squirrels or going on a picnic.
After your time in nature, reflect on your experiences. Did you find solutions to persistent problems? Did your energy surge, enabling you to power through your workday? Did your interactions with others drastically improve, brightening your mood? If you haven’t already, consider incorporating 2 hours per week, or just 17 minutes per day, of nature-based activities into your self-care routine.
This single weekly habit can lead to a significant improvement in your overall health and well-being. Nature seems to have an innate understanding of our body’s healing needs at any given time. Take a moment to identify your favorite natural spots, jot them down, and make them a more frequent destination. Explore new locations or activities to reach that 120-minute/week goal, if you haven’t already.
At the end of your week, assess how you feel and notice the differences in your life. What are you less stressed or irritated about? Have your relationships improved? Are you more creative, and is your overall mood better? Conduct your own experiment, spending two hours a week in nature, and watch as your life transforms.
Your body will undoubtedly thank you.
Balance Achieved ~ Wellness, One Habit at a Time
Terri Test, Certified Holistic Health Coach
Have you felt like you “quit” on yourself? Ready to make YOU the priority again? I can help you discover your own individual path to a life filled with more energy and balance, through a new perspective on self-care, nutrition, sleep, and recognizing your body’s cues for imbalance. Empowered with the right tools/knowledge, you will have more energy, life balance, and feel in charge of how you feel every day.
Mention WellBEing for a free health consult (and $75 off a program).