Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Restorative Power of the Outdoors

Sorry, folks. No wonderstruck interview today. I messed that up while on blog break. I still have some great people lined up though, so we will return to regularly scheduled programming next week.

As I mentioned on Monday, I just returned from a glorious two week vacation with my husband (no kids!) in Italy. We divided our time between coastal towns, Tuscany, and even an island.

We hiked, swam, and boated. We ate and drank wine. We went to a horse race (THE horse race... the Palio in Siena). We sweated. A lot.

We spent a lot of time outdoors. Even when we were eating, it was often at an outdoor table.

One such day, it was a table by the lake where we watched some mama ducks and their ducklings swimming about. Soooo cute.

Since coming home I’ve been making a point to get outside every day. Since I don’t like the heat, I get out first thing in the morning and sometimes go out again in the evening.

For me, being outside is restorative. The fresh air, being in nature (our yard backs up to woods), it calms my mind. It makes to do lists feel a little less pressing. It helps me focus my attention on the truly important things.

It helps me slow down, notice, be in the moment. No matter what I’m thinking, all thoughts dissipate when a hummingbird comes to the feeder.

When I water my garden, I’m not thinking about the mountains of laundry inside waiting to be washed. I’m only thinking about the garden, what’s blooming, what needs weeding.

And since The Little One is often outside with me when I water the garden, I’m also focused on him. What he’s doing, how well he’s walking, what he’s discovering.

Being outside does a lot for my soul. It doesn’t have to be for long expanses of time. Five minutes is enough and often turns to more.

Even though I know the power of time spent outside, I don’t do it. I forget how important it is. Being inside sounds more comfortable.

Vacation reminded me. So I’m taking this lesson and running with it. (Not actually running, because I don’t run. Let’s not get carried away.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a deck chair calling my name.

3 comments:

  1. Sherri, I agree wholeheartedly! Nothing like a walk in nature or just sitting on the porch or patio (preferably with my pup) to make the world slow down and to put it in perspective. And I'm like you--fresh morning air or cooler evening air are the best!

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  2. Sounds like a good trip. When I was in Siena, I could only imagine the horse race in Palio. What a thrill it must have been to see that. Are you gonna write more about Tuscany? I have a few more posts to go on my recent trip.

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  3. I couldn't agree more - the restorative power of being outside is indeed palpable. I need to spend time outside everyday, even in the rainy months here, even if it's just 15 minutes. I'm so glad you got that time in Italy and you're making time for that back home.

    And I, too, hope you'll write about the Palio. I was in Siena last year just before the Palio started so we saw all of the hype and excitement leading up to it, but then we had to move on to Rome by the time the race actually happened. (We did, however, watch it on t.v. - lol.)

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