4 Reasons It's Important to
Get Outside this winter
When it gets cold outside, it’s incredibly easy to lean towards hibernation habits - staying inside and staying where it’s warm. Though staying out of the cold may feel like what is best for your body, it really is quite the opposite. Humans aren’t designed to hibernate and receive too many benefits just from spending time outside to be trapped indoors for an entire season.
Even when it’s a cloudy, gray day, our bodies still take in the daylight that is all so important to our physical and mental health. That daylight is detrimental to our circadian rhythms. This natural cycle does so much more than keeping your sleep schedule in check - it keeps everything from your digestion system to your moods in order. We aligned our cabins with this cycle because it is just that important.
Getting even the smallest bit of exposure to natural daylight still has the ability to keep your circadian rhythms all lined-up, but it also does so much more. Here are 4 more reasons why it’s worth putting on all those extra layers and spending some time outside this winter.
#1 It’s a pretty perfect cure for those “Winter Blues.”
Seeing the daylight during the shorter days does an amazing job at boosting the feel-good chemicals in your brain. Doctors recommend treating seasonal depression or (Seasonal Affective Disorder) by getting outside earlier in the morning to get as much natural light as possible.
#2 Your favorite outdoor spots tend to have smaller crowds during the winter months.
Not everyone knows about all of these benefits and tend to stay away from those spots that are completely packed in the summer. Going to the outdoor hot spots in the colder months, may allow you to spend more time enjoying the outdoors rather than being distracted by the crowds.
#3 Those small crowds create space for mindfulness.
If you do make it outside for a walk, don’t use the time to multi-task. The calls, texts, and to-do lists can wait until after - use the opportunity to be present and notice your surroundings. It will boost your dopamine levels, which is yet another way to combat the winter blues.
#4 It keeps you physically healthy.
Research shows that “forest-bathing,” or any time spent in the woods, has all sorts of health benefits from boosting immunity, decreasing stress hormones, and even increased intracellular anti-cancer proteins. Exercise, even something as simple as a walk in the cold, flushes bacteria out of your airways and lungs, hopefully keeping the winter flu season at bay.
Check out our self guided forest bathing below.
Soak Up Nature
A Self Guided Experience
Turn off your devices to give yourself the best chance of relaxing, being mindful and enjoying a sensory forest-based experience.
Slow down. Move through the forest slowly so you can see and feel more.
Take long breaths deep into the abdomen. Extending the exhalation of air to twice the length of the inhalation sends a message to the body that it can relax.
Stop, stand or sit, smell what’s around you, what can you smell?
Take in your surroundings using all of your senses. How does the forest environment make you feel? Be observant, look at nature’s small details.
Sit quietly using mindful observation; try to avoid thinking about your to-do list or issues related to daily life. You might be surprised by the number of wild forest inhabitants you see using this process.
Keep your eyes open. The colors of nature are soothing and studies have shown that people relax best while seeing greens and blues.
Stay as long as you can, start with a comfortable time limit and build up to the recommended two hours for a complete forest bathing experience.