I just came back from two-weeks of vacation, most of it in the woods and near water. Although I felt a little scared to come back and open my inbox (which didn't turn out to be so bad), they were an amazing two weeks. Not only because of quality time spent with loved ones, but because of how rejuvenating nature is!
I'm not alone in this assessment. Numerous references confirm the health-promoting benefits of getting outside. While hiking the miles (yes, I was in the US for part of the time) of trails in Acadia National Park, I was acutely aware of the wonderful smell of the woods - all those tiny odour-delivering chemicals that provide part of the benefits of "forest bathing". The walking, biking, climbing and running - all outdoors - got my blood moving, the sweat pouring and the endorphins surging. My kids and I both, while sleeping in tents with minimal artificial light, crashed hard around 9:30 each night, sleeping at least until 8:30 most mornings. So refreshing. Diving into cool lakes and dipping feet into cold oceans provided the most natural water therapy one could ask for. And the stars?? What a reminder of our humble place in the universe. Eating simply, moving when our bodies asked for it, resting when we needed it, laughing and marveling ... the perfect step away from our busy, urban lives. I hope we can hold onto some of these benefits as we all plunge into a new school year ... always keeping at least one foot outside. (Oh ... and the little one has the biking down pat!)