THE NATURE RX: WINTER WONDERLAND EDITION

there’s nothing like a dose of sunshine, unscreened, unblocked, vitamin D absorbing (yes, morning & / or afternoon sunshine)…so healthy &…so energizing! when I saw this video I wanted to share it…cause it’s also too true, how many chronic diseases (that we’ve given all our new names too – chronic fatique, fibromyalgia too) could be prevented, treated…by some outdoor exercise, relaxation & sun exposure (which will not cause skin cancer or….aging for that matter…in moderation!).

however, I can’t help but notice how warm & green those woods in the video look. right now it’s 27 degrees in Massachusetts & one of the last things I want to do is go outside! however, research continues to show that vitamin d from sun exposure is linked to better mood & health. but my natural inclination is still to hibernate…in Norway they even have a word, “koseling”, for that winter cozying-up with plenty of blankets, tea, maybe a roaring fire.

but too much coziness can lead to less pleasant feelings like laziness, idleness & restlessness, especially after an excess of holiday cheer. if you work in an office all day, then come home in the darkness, it’s easy to become disconnected from the outside world for months at a time, spending only enough time outdoors to take the dog for a quick walk or shovel the driveway—last year, Massachusetts got a whopping 108 inches of snow, so can you blame us?

to cite a more serious scientific review of research on the health benefits of natural environments, exposure to outdoor green spaces is associated with lower levels of stress & anxiety, it helps kids with ADHD focus & even improves symptoms of depression. there are many hypotheses as to why this is, but these researchers suggest it’s partly due to “soft fascination”, or a scene that captures attention while it also soothes—as opposed to the “hard fascination” of urban life…attending to not getting run over by a reckless Uber driver or sending a regrettable email, for example.

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now, there isn’t much green to be had outdoors this time of year, but if you head to a local nature reserve or wildlife sanctuary, there’s a little bit in the form of evergreens peeking through the snow. & more restoring still is the sense of quiet contemplation, the bare, somber trees against the sky, the scurry of wildlife foraging for nuts & berries, the general sense of peace & solitude that’s hard to come by on a slushy winter commute, or staring all day at a computer screen only to emerge into a world that’s already dark at 5 p.m. I take ballroom dance all year & many people swear by hot yoga in the winter, but getting outside offers a kind of restoration that you can’t find in an artificially heated & lighted gym. (of course, enjoying this frozen wonderland is tough on the complexion, so check out my winter skin care tips if you want rosy cheeks rather than winter sandpaper skin!)

so bundle up & get outside! even if your parka won’t allow for much vitamin-d exposure, just the sight of the sun glinting on the snow or the scent of pine needles will refresh your spirits—& if you happen to live somewhere warm where there’s plenty of sun & maybe even water that’s warm enough for swimming…congratulations, I’m officially jealous of your life choices  just kidding…you don’t find views like this in sunny California:

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do you have a favorite way to get in your prescription for nature in the not-so-green months?

xo
—Suki