Whenever I am with a new group of people, I like to ask them to share a story of a memorable tree in their life. I like to watch their faces go from a bit of confusion to a slow smile as an image and memory come to mind. I use this question as a way to show a common experience and connection.
For me, my tree is a magnificent Trembling Aspen on the shore of Lake Ontario. This tree stands at the end of Stony Point Road, just outside of a campground where I spent my summers growing up. Every year, this tree would take shape as we neared our destination and we knew that the summer was beginning. It would wave its leaves to my brother and I as if to say, “Welcome back friends!” As you read this, think about a memorable tree in your life and share it with someone today.
Living in the Bay of Quinte region has offered so many incredible options when it comes to conservation areas and parks!
One of my favourite ways to unwind is to choose one of these areas, walk in a little, take my shoes off and feel the earth beneath my feet. Pausing every so often, I close my eyes and pay attention to the sounds and smells that surround me.
If there is a nearby creek, the babbling water offers a deeper sense of calm. Dipping my toes in, I notice an immediate sense of joy. This is strengthened if there is a muddy spot to squish between my toes. I like to encourage myself and others to play, as we do with our children. Whenever I do this, the stresses of the day seem to disappear. At this time, I am present.
Nature has a beautiful way of connecting all of us, and yet we now spend 90% of our time indoors. It’s no wonder that we have lower memory function, poor sleeping habits, higher blood pressure, unstable mood patterns, depression and more.
When was the last time that you spent time in a natural setting, intentionally?
For me, I notice that I simply just feel better after being in a natural space. I don’t have to do much, or anything at all. It can be as easy as sitting on your porch or balcony, walking down a tree-lined street, parking a bit further away and walking to do your errands, or sitting by the waterfront at Zwick’s park. Research is showing that just by looking at trees and hearing the birds our health is improving! It just seems so simple, because it is.
Beginning January 1st, 2019, I set a goal for myself to spend 20 minutes outside everyday. As I near the 200th day, I am joined by many others who also want to get outside more often! Once again, nature connects all of us.
If you would like to feel better by spending more time outside and are looking for inspiration, join the Blue Bark Co group on Facebook: 20 Minutes Outside.
Follow along with Jess on Instagram to spend #20minutesoutside!