As I am writing this the sun is shining and the water is dripping off the roof into beautifully elegant icicles (no unfortunately not today-I wrote this earlier this week when it wasn't gray!). Winter is beautiful isn’t it? I know we don’t always think that during the days of slick icy and snowy roads but there is beauty and elegance in winter. It is also a breath of fresh air. One of my favorite things about winter is going out on a brisk evening and taking a deep breath in. You feel the crisp air fill your lungs, you look up at the stars, see your breath crystallize in the air. Everything feels more peaceful somehow, like you are almost in slow motion, more fresh, alive and real. The environment is tied to our health in so many ways. This feeling is never so clear to me on these cold winter nights. The earth sustains and refreshes us; it provides everything we need to survive and so much more through its magnificent beauty and intricate complexity.
I had the opportunity to attend the DuPage Environmental Summit in January this year. There were great speakers discussing our connection to nature through our health and well-being. I have included the links to the speakers below. Check it out! We all know we feel better when we are outside- but some of the science behind it is fascinating! Nature can do so much more than we realize.
Nature Rx- DuPage Environmental Summit 2018:
Brenda Spitzer, of The Morton Arboretum, talks about her training as a forest therapy guide and the benefits of "forest bathing," connecting people with nature for life balance.
Dr. Kristen Esposito Brendel talks about mindfulness in natural settings for improved mental health, and reducing pain and stress.
Jon Ashworth of the Lake County Health Department talks about a local program to get people outside in nature.
Where's the tree? Dr. Teresa Horton of Northwestern University shares her research findings on the benefits of being out in nature.
So before you get frustrated on the roads during those crazy snowy days- remember that Mother Nature is just telling you to slow down and listen to the world around you. Go outside even on those cold winter nights (don’t forget your hat and gloves) and see what you can experience. Winter is Mother Nature’s shot to get us to slow down- don’t miss out!