Picture this. You’ve just strapped on your hiking boots and packed your day pack for a day full of exploring the great outdoors. You’ve got everything you’ll need in your pack to keep you going for the day. As you set out on an adventure, exploring somewhere that’s completely unknown to you, you feel invigorated. A sense of freedom and wonder about the things you’ll encounter throughout the day. You long for the views of the open water, lush forests and towering cliff sides. A chance to escape the bustling city routine we all come to know so well. As you begin to wonder you notice a calmness coming over you. A silence disturbed only by the rustling of wildlife and the rush of a cool breeze. All your worries seem to slip away, and in that moment its only you and Mother Earth. As she serenades you with her songs, your mind begins to quiet and your body starts to unwind. You know that after a few hours discovering the outdoors, you’ll be able to think more clearly, breathe more deeply and live more fully. This my friends, is what I call Nature Therapy.
This past weekend, Devan, Duke and I had the chance to partake in some much-needed nature therapy. We set out for a 3.5 drive into Western Ontario, to Blue Lake Provincial Park. We’ve had so much going on this summer that this was our first chance to get out camping this year, and we were eagerly awaiting the chance to explore this region. As you begin to leave the prairies driving East, the landscape starts to change. As you drive further into Ontario, rolling fields of gold turn into lush, dense forests and lakes dotted with small islands. The Precambrian rocks of the Canadian Shield become visible as your surroundings become more hilly and rugged. It’s amazing how much the backdrop can change in a matter of minutes when driving through Canada. It’s one of the things I love most about exploring this beautiful country I’m proud to call home.
There are many things I look forward to when we go camping. The warmth of a campfire, gazing at the stars, completely uninterrupted by city lights, the sound of Devan chopping wood in the background as I sip on my wine. But ultimately, it’s the fact that I become totally at peace, relaxed as the worries of life seem so far away. Growing up, my family spent a lot of time at the lake at our cabins at Chitek Lake and Whiteswan Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. I was raised telling ghost stories, making bush pies, and watching my Dad clean that days’ catch at the nearby filleting house. So I guess camping kind of takes me back to those days as a kid, when my only concern was how much time I had left before I had to go to bed.
As part of our weekend, we set out to do a breezy 5 km hike to Rock Point. We weren’t sure how hot it would get, so we didn’t want to commit ourselves to the 11 km, as Duke does not fair well in the heat. Turns out this was just what the doctor ordered. Enough to get the blood flowing and clear my mind for the week ahead. Duke even came within inches of catching himself a grouse as it flew dangerously close to his mouth, although we’re not sure what he would have done with it once he caught it since he’s kind of a big suck.
The rest of our time was spent cooking around the campfire, going for walks on the beach, talking about future plans and drinking wine as we gazed at the night sky. I can’t entirely say if it was the wine or the surroundings that made me feel so relaxed, or maybe a bit of both 😉 Either way a weekend outdoors was everything I needed it to be, and I can’t wait to do it again in a couple of weeks. If you’re looking for some ideas, I’ve compiled a list of things you can do next time you find yourself in the great outdoors in order to renew, rejuvenate and revitalize.
Nature Therapy – 10 ways to clear your mind in the great outdoors
- Take a hike. Nothing will clear your mind more than exploring the outdoors on foot
- Sit on the beach with your toes in the sand, or take a walk along the beach. The feeling of the sand between your toes is sure to relax you.
- Go berry picking. Then when you get home you can make jam or other delicious treats.
- Watch the sunrise. I’m sure waking up early isn’t at the top of everyone’s list, but its sure to be worth your while.
- Watch the sunset. Unwind after a day of exploring by taking in those final moments of daylight. Note to self: this is always better with a tumbler of wine in hand.
- Stare at a campfire. There is something so mesmerizing about staring at the glowing flames while you listen to them crackle.
- Go for a dip in the clear blue water. Especially if its cold, it will wake you up – mind, body and soul.
- Meditate wherever you find yourself most at-ease. Simply find a comfortable spot, take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds and then let it out and hold for a few seconds. Listen to the sounds of nature and focus on clearing your mind. You’ll be amazed at how you feel after you’ve done this a few times.
- Relax in a hammock with a good book.
- Sleep under the stars.
If you’re looking for a way to unwind, I can’t stress enough how important it is to get outside and be active. We are given the gift of the ability to move, so why not take advantage? Enjoy being tourist as you explore your own country, as not all travel requires you to go great distances.
What are some of the things that you do to unwind in nature? Is there a particular activity you engage in to clear your mind?