February is the season of love. As cupid shoots his arrow into our hearts, let’s take a moment to celebrate something we all love for different reasons-nature. Here are seven reasons we may love nature. I would love to hear what you would add to this list.
#1 Nature Accepts Everyone
No matter what color you are, how many years you have tucked under your belt, where you live, what gender you call yourself, nature welcomes all.
#2 Nature is Free
Engaging in nature can be as simple as stepping outside and breathing in a deep, cleansing breath of fresh air (assuming you live where the air is clean), dipping your toes in the ocean, or planting a seed in the soil.
#3 Nature Is Fun
Think back to your childhood days. Does a smile creep onto your face remembering raking leaves into a giant pile and then jumping in them? Playing flashlight tag under the stars on a warm summer night with friends? As an adult do you enjoy living through a child’s eyes as they toss a stone in a pond and jump for joy as it splashes sending rippling circles from the epicenter? Maybe you just enjoyed a long bike ride through the country with friends. It doesn’t take much to have fun outside.
#4 Nature Calms Our Brains
Whether it is the lure of a gushing waterfall, the mesmerizing effect of watching birds visit the birdfeeder or leaving our cares behind to focus on finding the perfect shell on miles of sand, nature has a way of putting our busy, overactive minds at ease.
#5 Nature Is A Free Gym
We can leave our excuses on the couch and burn away unneeded pounds simply by engaging in nature.
Lawn Mowing: On average we burn about fifty calories every eight minutes of walking with the lawnmower.
Hiking: You can burn fifty calories in just six minutes of intense hiking.
Play fetch with Fido: Your pets love the outdoors too! Fifteen minutes of playing fetch burns an average of fifty calories.
#6 Nature Inspires Our Creativity
Feeling stuck, in a rut? New research shows that a walk in nature can help break our ruminating thoughts, the ones that swirl around and around like a cow chewing on grass. This opens the mind to new thoughts and ideas.
#7 Nature Gives Us Food
Deep blue berries, juicy strawberries, crunchy celery, tart apples-the list are endless and it all comes from nature. What’s not to love about that?
What reasons would you add to love nature?
Happy Valentine's Day!
The dark days of fall are behind us. Those deepening days that find us reflecting, craving comfort food and wanting to go to bed earlier than usual.
Today, the day after the winter solstice, the days begin to inch their way to include more minutes of sun and fewer minutes of night.
We may notice our energy levels rise, our moods brighten and a yearning to take on new challenges.
Nature has seasons for reasons. The more we engage in nature, the more we connect with the natural rhythm of life. We can catch the waves of opportunity just as surfers do. We can also connect with an greater intuitive knowing of when to slowdown, wait, and just be as well.
What do you notice about yourself as the seasons change?
Boo! The season of Halloween is upon us and there are scarier things than witches, goblins and black cats that we may want to beware of. These things are not only scary; they are tricky. So tricky, in fact, we may have been inviting them in to our homes for years. What are they?
The first thing haunts your body in ways we are only beginning to better understand; sugar. Yes, the very thing we love to gather on Halloween night. Recent revelations show that we have been manipulated into thinking fat is the contributor to many diseases when in fact it is sugar.
Sugar is today’s tobacco. It is addictive, found everywhere, and has no health benefit. The World Health Organization recently upgraded their sugar recommendation to less than 5% of our daily consumption or 25 grams. 25 grams, do you know how much that is? Take a look at this table to see how your favorite candy rates in terms of grams of sugar. Be sure to note, they are talking about the ‘fun size’. I don’t know about you, but enjoying just one ‘fun size’ is tough. To learn more about sugar and its health effects, you may want to check out Authority Nutrition. They are a great resource for evidenced-based information about nutrition. I have to thank, Kati Kleber, aka ‘Nurse Eye Roll’ for recommending me to this great site.
Scared yet? No, okay, maybe a little? I hate to be the scrooge of Halloween, but I believe awareness is power. When we are aware of problems we can be proactive in avoiding them rather than get bonked on the head and forced to react to them. So let’s move on to the second really scary thing about Halloween these days; plastic.
If you follow me on social media or have read my second novel, By The Sound Of The Crow, you know about the hazards of plastic. Ridding our oceans of plastic is something that I am very passionate about as I have seen the fatal results of it as whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life ingest it, as they mistake it for food. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, not even “biodegradable plastic”. Experts predict that if we do not stop the flow of plastic into our oceans, over 80% of which comes from land, we will have more plastic in the ocean by 2050 than fish.
All we have to do is go into one of our local retail stores and chances are these two scary things, sugar and plastic, will be haunting and taunting us. If you find that scary too, let’s join together to share ideas how we can enjoy this Halloween season without these two ghosts.
If sugar and plastic scare you too, lets join together and create change. Do you have ideas on how we can reduce sugar and plastic this Halloween? Feel free to share them below. Let’s connect on social media and spread our ideas and increase awareness of these two issues that affect our health and the health of our planet.
I invite you to sign up for my blog as I present some ideas that I have collected. Together we can make Halloween fun and less scary.
No matter where we are in the world today, we may be feeling rising tensions around us: whether it is a bombing in Syria, mass shootings in a mall or a peaceful demonstration that turns into a violent riot. It can feel hard to escape what is going on around us or to us. There are healthy ways we can cope and unhealthy ways. Here are three holistic modalities we can use to get ourselves into a calmer state of mind in order to better problem solve and avoid the hazardous side effects to our health that stress causes.
1. Awareness, also known as mindfullness: the simple act of stopping ourselves in a tracks to check in with how we are feeling and deciding is this how we want to be or do we want to invite something better, more helpful into ourselves. For example: Anger gives us energy. Think about the last time you were FURIOUS! What did you do with that energy? Was it productive or could you have channeled it in a better way?
2. Nature: One of my favorite modalities to calm down and reassess what is going on inside. Taking a walk in green space has been shown to relieve stress. Getting on, in, on top of or near water can achieve a state called, Bluemind. A term created by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols. Water is so powerful for our well-being that a new initiative, Bluemind Rx, #WaterIsMedicine , was recently presented at the #OurOcean conference in Washinton, D.C and shared with over sixty countries.
3. Energy healing: we are made up of a very complex set of interacting parts. Energy being a very big one. Growing information about how our cells react to different energy is showing that unless we are trying to run away from a tiger in the jungle trying to attack us, it doesn’t do us any good to be churning in negative energy. Reiki healers, therapeutic touch and many other energy healing modalities can reset our nerve system. Even drumming circles have been shown effective in taking a group of people and connecting their energy to a calmer, collective state. This process is known as entrainment.
There are a lot more options, more of which I will discuss in upcoming blogs. In the meanwhile, maybe you want to try one of these if you are feeling stressed by all the chaos around us. Even stopping for a few minutes to close our eyes and take some deep breathes will help. Imagine what a more peaceful, cohesive world we all could live in.
If you have a favorite holistic stress remedy you would like to share, please do in the comment section below. The more we have in our healing toolbox, the better we all will be.