I chose this lovely visual of a person hanging out in a hammock to exemplify how relaxing outside can be. However, if I’m being truthful, I’m rarely relaxing like this when I’m outside.
On the contrary, I tend to be doing something outside, whether it’s washing windows, mowing the law, going for a walk, pushing my sons on the swings, pulling weeds, or a million other things. This past weekend, for example, my husband and I spent two long days doing the yard version of “spring cleaning.” It was anything but relaxing.
I’ve spent most of the past month writing about being active outside, so this idea of relaxing feels a bit counter to that mission. A major reason we go outside is to get moving—not to relax.
With all that in mind, when those moments of outside relaxation do come along, there’s something really precious about them. We took a break from our yard work last weekend, for example, and sat on the swing my husband had just pulled out of the shed. We had a drink, ate a snack, and rested our tired muscles while listening to the birds singing in the trees around us. It was a glorious few minutes!
What is it about nature that allows us to relax and recharge—even if just for a few short minutes? I only have to watch the swans paddling on Lake Michigan or follow an autumn leaf tumbling in the breeze to improve my mood. Vancouver writer Tuija Siepell got it right when she wrote
We love gardens and parks, ponds and water features, playgrounds and sports fields, open plazas, avenues and boulevards. We want more of it because even the smallest green feature lifts our spirits, while the wide open spaces can change our lives
(By the way, you should check out the rest of Siepell’s article for some amazing nature photography.)
I’m not arguing that being outside is always relaxing. However, when those relaxing moments come along, they really are priceless. I hope you find some outdoor relaxing time today!