Stress is a major problem for many people, especially in today’s fast paced world. We all want instant results and for those who answer to a higher voice, the pressure is on. When I worked as a graphic designer I was able to let it go quite once I had clocked out. For many that’s not the case. Managing stress can sometimes be a difficult art to perfect.
After moving to The Netherlands, I’ve found new sources of stress to deal with. I was anxious about my upcoming Dutch assessment test. I worried about many other things… Should I work full time, part time, or if I should dedicate myself to working on this blog from home. If I work in an office space, I’ll miss my time with Booker and I know would stress about her being home alone. Yes, Booker is a dog, but since she first came to live with us, she’s never been alone for more than a few hours. I’ll admit I need her more than she needs me.
Regardless of my list of worries, I find it comforting to go outside and breathe. So why should you go outside and why is it good for managing stress?
What is one main reason people enjoy going to the beach for? Other than sand and surf, it’s the fresh air. Breathing in the gentle breezes can clean our lungs and our heads. The scent of fresh air isn’t the only one comes to mind though. Fresh cut grass, flowers in bloom and fresh water are common scents found outside. We often take our bicycles out in the later afternoon and even the scent of the sun is on everything around us. The warm smells add to the ending of the day. A good scent is a powerful and easy way to relax, just ask my candle collection!
Mindfulness of the present
We often dismiss our surroundings because there are more important things to focus on. When you go outside, take a look around you and absorb what you see. What sort of plants grow this time of year? How do the flowers look, if there are any in bloom. I’ve found that no matter what season it is, except winter, there’s always once type of flower in bloom. Right now we have hundreds of Rose of Sharon bushes in full bloom!
Let’s be honest and take a moment to think about how often we get to stretch our limbs. There’s a vast different from working out in an enclosed gym and heading outside for some cardio. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but who doesn’t enjoy the simple pleasures sometimes? Studies have also shown that a good workout is perfect for managing stress so there’s no downside!
The fluttering of leaves and the songs of birds always feel serene to me, especially when the traffic noise has died down for the day. Talking a walk in shadowy parks helps me reconnect with my priorities. When I lived in California, all I wanted to do after working was to come home and watch TV or hop onto my computer. Here, all I want to do is go outside and see what’s changed about my inner peace. My mom asks how I feel about moving. “It’s been a year now.” She begins her text to me. “Are you happy?” I can say yes. I’ve never been so at peace with the world around me and my life choices.
A quiet life was one of the major reasons I wanted to live small European town. There’s a park right outside if I need a time out from technology. And let’s face it, in this day and age we could all use a break from technology!