Reduce Stress with a Park Visit
If you are isolated at home and feeling the stress and anxiety of our COVID-19/coronavirus quarantine living experience right now, it can be important to go out for a walk in some fresh air. Many parks are still open around the country for this purpose, but it is important that we do not congregate in crowds of any sort at the parks because slowing the spread of novel coronavirus is everyone’s responsibility. If in doubt – stay at home.
VERY IMPORTANT ON YOUR WALK – REMEMBER TO BRING A MASK, stay 6 feet or more away from other people, and only go to parks in cities or locations that are legally allowing you to do so. If you are ordered to completely quarantine and not just self-isolate, a park might not be available to you at this time, so stay home until allowed legally to spend time in the out-of-doors based on your community’s rules. Going outside and getting some sunshine can truly make your mood lift and change your day, but please do so safely and with protective gear on at all times.
I’m madly in love with the National Park Service’s posters on their website right now promoting social distancing at the parks. See below.
Below is a FLASHBACK BLOG POST that shows my Tree Week experience at Oregon’s Mount Hood. It was beautiful and I hope it brings you a little lightness right now during a very difficult time. I LOVE YOU, MY FRIENDS.
Welcome to Tree Week and a Wonderful Park Visit
I love trees. They make my soul feel good and I want to share my tree adventures with you. Traveling to Oregon’s Mount Hood Territory was an unexpected tree surprise. Hiking Lake Trillium, which is in Mount Hood National Forest at about an elevation of 3,600 feet, was beautiful.. I got up at 4:00 AM and drove alone up to the lake anxious to hike the trails.
When I got there it was raining and cold; there were two fishermen and a dog on the lake and I was the lone hiker. Since I had never been to a northwest mountain, I did not expect to see the masses of trees on the trail, nor did I expect the reaction I felt deep in my heart.
What struck me most significantly is that it was quiet. Not the kind of quiet you have when you are alone in your home. That quiet has electronics and lights and human noise. This quiet was a hushed quiet. Still. Alone. Magical. Present in my magical moment was the raindrops on the leaves and the lake, lulling the animals and birds into a type of rested silence that brought tears to my eyes and made me feel like I was in a holy place.
Nature can do that. Make you feel well. Since my earliest book, I have been doing research on the wellness power of trees and nature. Standing on the banks of Lake Trillium with a gray cloud hanging over my head, raindrops on the water, trees all around me, and not another living soul near me, I felt like I could actually breathe. Really breathe. I took a deep breath and felt all the worries and troubles that were in my soul disappear. This is the type of wellness that trees and nature can bring.
At first, I thought I might hike just part of the lake. I was not dressed properly for the 40-degree weather. Yet the magic of the place was entrancing. I hunched down in my jean jacket and explored the entire trail in the cold rain. While I could not see much of the surrounding hillsides because of the rain and clouds, what I did see was breathtaking under a canopy of trees combined with powerful images of the lake in a gentle rain shower. Without a doubt, it was truly one of the most magnificent nature experiences of my whole life. My tracker recorded that I walked the trail in about 15,000 steps. My mind recorded that I walked the trail releasing about a month’s worth of stress.
When I circled back to grab a cup of coffee after my hiking experience in the Oregon’s Mount Hood Territory, my waiter asked me about the view of the mountain from Lake Trillium.
Dumbfounded, I replied, “What mountain?” He started laughing and said, “It must have been too rainy to see Mount Hood from Trillium my friend – you HAVE to go back tomorrow. It’s amazing!” :: palm to face:: I missed something important. “But the trees were breathtaking!” I said. He just smiled.
I know exactly what you mean by nature releasing your stresses. I try to hike to the river a few hundred yards behind our house and enjoy the sounds of nature with zero human activity around. I couldn’t do the 15k steps because of my prosthetics so I am glad you are willing to share your experience.
Thanks so much Jay!