27 Mar Bringing the outdoors in
While much of the world has come to a screeching halt, many of us are finding our lives disrupted in unimaginable ways. Ever evolving restrictions continue to emerge on what we can and can’t do. And the refuge of the outdoors and all of its healing powers are off limits in certain areas.
We’ve seen open spaces such as parks and beaches closing around the world, and leaders demanding we stay indoors so we can flatten the curve. It’s a trying time for everyone, especially for the men and women on the front lines fighting the COVID-19 virus. It’s also no doubt a trying time for those of us that rely on the outdoors for balance in our lives. Indeed, the ability to escape into the sea or the woods may not be an accessible option for some of us at this point.
So what are we to do?
As with everything, there is usually a silver lining. Without a doubt the earth is getting some much needed time to heal itself. Whether that is through less air pollution or marine debris—hopefully the planet feels a little less pressure today.
We have begun reconnecting with friends and family, albeit in different ways. We have been coming together as a community to help those that are most vulnerable. And we are hopefully taking time to move inward, for some much needed self reflection in an otherwise hectic world.
Many of us understand that nature has a way of relaxing and balancing the body and mind. Spending time in the outdoors is more important than ever, but we need to be extremely cautious and listen to our leaders. Get outdoors for a hike or swim if you can, but be mindful of the risks to yourself and those you may encounter along the way. It can be tough to know what is open, so do your research before you head out and be responsible.
Can’t access nature? If you or someone you know can’t access the serenity of the natural world for whatever reasons where you are, consider the power of visualization. Many wildlife refuges, National Parks, and aquariums offer live streaming that you can tap into. Find a local one or travel virtually to a place you’ve never been. Most live cams stream the sounds of the wildlife too, which can be particularly soothing.
Looking at images of nature is an excellent substitute for the real thing. Throw on some natural history documentaries and travel outdoors virtually. There are dozens of fascinating series on the ocean and our planet that can help us relieve stress.
Fear can be a funny thing. A healthy amount of it helps to keep us from doing reckless things, but at the same time if we aren’t careful it can also paralyze us. For many of us it’s a constant see-saw, especially now.
In our current environment, it seems a great deal of energy is required to be anything but fearful. It’s a trying time to be alive no doubt. We are concerned about our loved ones and what the future holds—and rightfully so. But this shall pass.
Surely, at some point over the course of your life you’ve wished for a pause button? Well, this is that opportunity. Embrace it as best as you can and stay healthy while doing so!
Text and images by Joanna Lentini