Ways to Get Outside! by Charlotte Ehmann

Are you burnt out after a long week of school? Maybe you need some time to decompress and contemplate. There are many ways to deal with these feelings when you just need a break. Luckily, there is something open to everyone that has various personal benefits. Surrounding yourself in nature and getting outside can improve your mood and reduce feelings of anger and/or stress because nature is calming and serene. It is a place to reflect upon who you are and what your next move will be. Nature is a place to be active, and by walking or running through parks, you can build new connections with unfamiliar people. By exercising around your town or being outside, you will benefit by connecting to your community and reducing your chance of loneliness. A study from Harvard states that “36% of all Americans, including 61% of young adults and 51% of mothers with young children, feel-severe loneliness;” loneliness is arguably spreading like an epidemic. Almost half of America’s population feels alienated, which can be prevented by saving time for yourself and surrounding yourself in greenery to have a second to breathe and think.   

There are many ways to get outside, even if you are a busy person with little to no time. People must set aside time for themselves and get out. This time can be quick, maybe taking a phone call outside for work-related or personal conversations, just to be in the moment and to watch the world with your own eyes. Another way to carve space into your packed schedule is to find time to walk by yourself or with a companion. Walking has many benefits. Even Henry David Thoreau wrote that walking should be ‘the enterprise and adventure of the day.”

Another great way to get outside is social gatherings and meetings not taking place inside but rather outside. Being outside not only lightens the mood but also lowers your blood pressure and reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as stated by physician Eva M. Selhub and bio-philosopher Alan C. Logan. Along with meeting outside with friends, coworkers, or fellow students, you can also eat your meals outside. Eating outside forces people to think about where their meal is from and makes them think about their environmental surroundings: how they can maintain and also build them. 

Additionally, people can start their days off by riding their bikes to school! By doing so, not only are you helping with pollution by not driving and positively impacting the environment, but you also have time to take in your surroundings and appreciate the world around you. After a nice bike ride, move your indoor workout outside! Exercising outside has many proven benefits, such as reducing depression and anxiety and increasing your serotonin hormone. All of these benefits take place because the sun naturally boosts your mood. If one desires to really explore nature to help boost their mood, one can explore nature photography, which rarely gets boring. You can lower your stress level by observing your surroundings and trying to find decent photos of the environment. By posting your pictures on media platforms, you can spread your artistic inspiration and potentially gain a new hobby: advocating for the environment. View natural, colorful beauty by quickly visiting a botanical garden near you, where you can learn about trees, shrubs, flowers, and plants native to your area. Another beautiful way to be absorbed into nature and an easy way to spend time outside is to turn off the phone and enjoy a delightful orangey-pink sunset in the sky. Sunsets are inspirational and captivate adventure, just like a TV show, but in real-time. Sunsets are very calming and help reduce your heart rate and help you reflect on yourself as a person. 

As previously mentioned, there are many different ways to get outside and surround yourself with nature and serenity, such as taking outside phone calls, taking walks, eating outside, and even developing interests in hobbies like gardening or nature photography. In addition, getting outside can boost your health by raising serotonin levels, producing inspiration, reducing blood pressure, and helping with stress. Make sure to get outside to help calm yourself down and reflect on yourself and your thoughts before you act on them.