I want nothing other than to be totally transparent with you and honest about how I live my life, where my priorities lie, and what I’m working on. So with that being said, I need to confess that August was a really tough month for me. I hinted at it a bit in this Instagram post. You might have seen it here on the blog, especially last week when I only had time to post twice! From renovating the kitchen to moving studios to taking on way more work than I should have… it’s been a really exhausting month for me. I sort of hit a breaking point last weekend where I realized I needed to get serious about self-care and more closely define what ‘wellness’ means to me.
This prompted me to re-think my Weekend Edit series and evolve it to be more of a weekly letter for you to glimpse into what’s going on behind the scenes. I also want this new series to inspire you and drive me to take better care of myself, so I am also going to set a weekly challenge for myself. It could be something as simple as going to bed an hour earlier or listening to a new meditation app, but the point of it is to keep me accountable with my self-care goals.
My personal goal for this weekend: Get back to nature.
I’ve talked countless times about how going off the grid and getting outdoors recharges my batteries, so it’s time to embrace that and just get out there. I have been feeling cooped up in our hot, smoky city this summer and have barely had any time to head to the mountains. I got caught up in travel and meeting deadlines and it feels like I barely even got to experience a true Seattle summer. We’ve also had awful air quality, so I’ve been staying indoors more and more. All of these things have added up to my very dull, uninspired mood. It feels like my soul is craving crisp mountain air, sleeping in our van, and cooking around a campfire.
Why Nature Is Good For Your Health and Happiness
It makes intuitive sense that nature is good for us because that’s our natural habitat (not the mall, in traffic, or even at Target). Regardless of that basic knowledge, there have been countless studies about the benefits of getting outdoors. Benefits have been found to include:
- increases in self-esteem
- reduction of depression and anxiety
- increased focus
- fresh air improves blood pressure
- a bacteria found in soil called Mycobacterium vaccae acts as a natural antidepressant and increases the release of serotonin in your brain
- natural light helps to improve your sleep schedule and regulate your body’s melatonin production
- short-term memory improvement
That last one really speaks to me because I am growing more and more worried about how distracted I often find myself — and how quickly I go to do something and totally forget what I was about to do. Does that happen to you? It’s been happening to me a lot and I hate it. I also love getting outdoors, especially in Washington state, because there are large gaps in cellphone coverage, meaning that I can put my tech on airplane mode and totally tune out from social media. I can’t help but feel like my dependence on tech also contributes to my memory issues.
If you’d like to read more about the research, here are some helpful articles:
- How Nature Benefits Your Mental Health
- How Nature is Good for Our Health and Happiness
- 11 Scientific Reasons Why Being in Nature is Relaxing
The Weekend Wellness Series
My plan with this series is to share a weekly goal of mine that feels like it needs some re-focusing. Maybe that means trying a different type of exercise, going for a solo walk, or even just thinking about ways to improve my sleep. I hope you’ll join me on this journey to feel better… about myself, my life, and my habits. And, as always, thank you so much for your support as I explore ways to better take care of myself.
If there are any specific habits or activities you’d like to see represented in this series, let me know down in the comments!
XO — Joanna