Overstressed? Get Back To Nature

James and Stef Adinaro James and Stef Adinaro  |  01.21.2016

We aren’t full-time RVers. James and I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. While we love Salt Lake on most days, there are times when city living gets to us. The traffic, the smog, the sirens, the long lines…

This Jan. 4, 2013, photo, shows the haze from an inversion hanging over downtown Salt Lake City. Northern Utah had the country's dirtiest air Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, as tailpipe and other emissions choked a five-county region and doctors warned people — especially pregnant women and children — to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

On particularly bad days, I look out the window at our RV, Lance, longingly. Sometimes, I just need a nature fix.

Photo 1I’m sure you can all relate to this. After all, humans have found solace in nature since the dawn of time. And yet here we are living in an era more disconnected from nature than ever before. Did you know that Americans spend more time in vehicles than they do outdoors? That was the findings of some research done by the Harvard School of Public Health. I find that troublesome.

Because it means we’re getting it all wrong.

Photo 2Nature has healing powers, there are 100’s of studies that back me up on this one. Time spent in nature has been proven to significantly lower the stress hormone cortisol, drop blood pressure, improve our mental performance, and lower our heart rate. Being in nature lets us dial down, and gives our brain a rest, too.

As RVers, we are fortunate. We’ve got the adventurous gene, and we’ve got the rig. Getting back to nature can be as easy as opening the RV door.

Photo 3James and I work hard to lead a “fit” RV lifestyle, and it isn’t always easy. There’s also a misconception that being fit simply means lots of exercise and healthy eating. But that’s only one part. Managing our emotional health (which includes our stress levels) is another. That’s where nature comes in. Immersing ourselves in nature helps with our emotional fitness. Here’s how we do it.

Plan stops in forests and state parks:

Don’t you love it when you hit your destination, somewhere new with beautiful surroundings, and it’s such a surprising treasure of a spot you marvel how it’s possible you’ve lived your whole life never knowing it existed? RVing gives us so many of these breathtaking moments.

Photo 4We all know the difference between a bustling RV park and a remote BLM campground. One is more social and busy, the other offers serenity and solace. While both have their place in a healthy RV lifestyle, camping in more remote locations puts nature right outside your door. And just like that, you’ll feel your stress levels melting.

Do your normal inside stuff outside:

We’ve all got established habits in the RV we do with no thought; SOME of us more than others (ahem, James). But when you shake things up, even just slightly, you’ve suddenly got a whole new perspective on it. Try taking some of the stuff you normally do inside outdoors; have coffee, read, cook dinner, yoga stretches, Facebook, you name it.

Finding excuses to get out of the RV immerses us in nature, and allows us to recalibrate our senses. It’s not only a boost for our well-being, but also a way to be more mindful and present in our daily tasks that we otherwise thoughtlessly breeze through.

Go explore:

Exploring your natural surroundings means you’ll get a little exercise, and exercise is the best natural mood booster there is. On top of that, there’s something rather peaceful about squatting down and touching a plant, investigating the fossils in a rock bed, or spotting wildlife as you walk through the forest.

Photo 6Or, discovering a winter wonderland.

Hopefully, as you plan your upcoming RV trips, you’ll make sure some nature time is at the top of the agenda. Because while it’s easy to ignore stress and all the challenges life sends our way, we need to take care of our emotional health, too. And really, there’s no one right way to reap the healing benefits of nature. Regardless of how you do it, research shows you’ll be thankful you did.

 

Stef


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2 Comments

  1. Stefany – Post Author Posted on 01.22.2016

    Lol, Mark! Today seems like a GREAT day to plan your next trip. ;)

  2. Mark Yaeger Posted on 01.21.2016

    Nice article! It makes me want to get the Brave out of storage and head somewhere (anywhere) :)

    Seriously.