Sometimes you just need to drop everything you’re doing and make some time for yourself. No job. No kids. No stressful to-do lists. But instead of taking a trip to the city or some overly touristy destination, nature might be calling.
There’s certainly value in taking a weekend getaway to the city or enjoying time at a relative’s house, but these environments don’t come close to matching the benefits of spending time in nature. Here are a few of the top ones:
Improved short-term memory. According to a study from the University of Michigan, spending time in nature directly improves short-term memory. The study evaluated two groups – one of which was asked to walk around an arboretum and another that was asked to walk down a city street. Those who spent time amongst the tress did 20 percent better on a brief memory test.
Restored mental energy. Spending time in nature has a way of restoring your mental energy and allowing you to think more clearly upon returning to your normal routine. This has to do with the prolonged removal of distractions and connection with the environment.
Reduced inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s natural process for responding to threats – such as damage (broken bones) and pathogens (the common cold). But sometimes inflammation can kick into overdrive and cause chronic diseases – such as inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer. By spending time in nature, you can actually lower levels of inflammation and find healing.
Greater happiness. When it’s all said and done, time in nature leads to greater happiness. According to data from the 30×30 Nature Challenge, a challenge in which 10,000 people were asked to spend 30 minutes in nature every day for a month, participants experienced an overwhelmingly significant increase in their sense of happiness and well-being.
Clearly, spending time in nature is beneficial for your mind, body, and soul. It forces you to be more self-aware and eliminates many of the distractions that are present in our everyday lives.
Not sure where to go or what to do? Here are a few nature getaways that we think you’ll enjoy:
Siskiyou, California. Located in the northernmost part of California, Siskiyou sits right along the Oregon border and offers beautiful landscapes. With more than 2 million acres of recreational space, lakes for kayaking and fishing, and caves for exploring, Siskiyou is the place to be.
Cumberland Island, Georgia. A trip to Cumberland Island is unique, relaxing, and refreshing. You have to take a ferry out to the island and, once there, can mingle with other visitors or hike for miles without seeing another person. One side offers a vast beach that appears untouched by humans, while the other features swampy marshland with lots of wildlife.
Monomoy Island, Massachusetts. Just off Cape Code, this 8-mile barrier island is a nature lover’s sanctuary. It hosts thousands of grey seals, dozens of species of seabirds, and plenty of quiet little spots to spend some time alone reflecting in your own thoughts.
You need to start making time for yourself. While a quick glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed is nice, you really need to spend an extended amount of time by yourself, in nature, in order to enjoy the full restorative benefits that you deserve.
When will you plan your next trip?
Written by Nbracco for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image provided by Working Mother
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