Today at work, while in a workshop learning how to help our students reduce test anxiety, the presenter asked us to close our eyes and imagine the most relaxing places we could go to. I imagined sitting in an Adirondack chair near my garden. I could see all the flowers, watch the bees zoom around, smell the tomatoes, hear the wind chimes, and feel the warm sun on my skin.
Nature is a big part of my life. Growing up on my family’s farm, I spent lots of time outside with my family, working and playing. Now, I love to get outdoors. The time I spend in nature makes me feel more connected to the rest of the world and helps me to relax.
Here are some ways that I get outside to enjoy nature throughout the four seasons. Some are regular occurrences, and some are things that I only do occasionally, but all of them are relaxing and enjoyable.
- Take a walk. I am not into exercise for the most part, but I do really enjoy taking a nice walk. I most enjoy walking when I’ve got someone to talk to, and most of the time that’s my mom. We go for walks on the beach, the annual walk around our town’s reservoir, and around my parents’ farm.
- Go swimming. I usually swim in my parents’ pool, but I also enjoy going to the beach or lakes. There’s nothing like jumping into the water and floating around.
- Garden. I’m already itching to get outside this year. I’m counting down (literally) until St. Patrick’s Day when I can plant my snap peas outside. Once it really warms up, I’ll be out in the garden weeding, watering, and admiring my plants everyday.
- Read. I love to sit outside and read a book, magazine, or even grade papers. The change of scenery makes such a difference, and the fresh air keeps me motivated.
- Visit parks in the off-season. My mom and I like to rollerblade in the springtime at one of the local campgrounds at nearby state park. When it’s closed, the paved roadways make a great spot to rollerblade. We see people there walking dogs and riding bikes with their kids, and everyone is happy to be back outside in the first warmer days of spring.
- Go to the farm. We enjoy going my family’s farm to get outside. From feeding fish in the spring to picnics in the summer and hayrides in the fall, there’s always something to do. We love to spend time outside at Ed’s family’s home and go fishing on their boat, too.
- Support other local farmers. I’m a friend to farmland who loves to visit local farmer’s markets as well as local fairs.
- Sit outside with my husband. One of our favorite things to do on summer evenings is sit outside and talk. We sit in the cooler night air, sip iced tea or lemonade, and listen to each other and the sounds of the evening. We’ll also share meals outside on our back deck in the summer time. It’s a great way to de-stress after a long day at work.
- Photography. I love to get outside and snap photos of my gardens, the trees, even the snow. While I may not be a great photographer, the time I spend outside taking pictures is time that I really enjoy. Sunday Strolls have helped me to continue to get outside this winter, even when I would have been comfortable to stay in the warm house. After a stroll, I always feel refreshed, even if my cheeks are rosy from the cold.
- Experiential Learning. I love taking my students outside to learn about nature and our area’s natural history.
How do you get outside to enjoy nature?