Success! I actually made it out to the park this week. The weather was beautiful and sunny and the entire trip was so relaxing. I spent my hour disconnecting by taking a short hike and then sitting down by the lake to do some meditating.
The first thing I did when I got to the park was took a little hike. I went alone, and if you do the same I suggest doing these things before you head out (because safety first):
- Decide on your trail. Pick something within your skill level and give yourself a little more time than you think it will take you to finish. You don’t want to be stuck hiking in the dark or rushing to beat sundown.
- Tell someone where you’re going and how long you think you’ll be before you get back.
- Bring along some water and a little snack just in case.
- Have your phone on you (but turned off) in case of emergency.
This was the first time I had been hiking in about a year, so I chose a fairly easy trail and only spent about 45 minutes actually hiking. Not once did I even think about checking my phone or wish I was back at home on my laptop. I found out that being out in nature can seriously help improve your mood. And some studies show that hiking can help make you happier and healthier. I was tired when I got done but it was so rewarding. I can’t tell you the last time it was just me and the natural world. No cars, no phones, no concrete–just nature.
The next thing I did while out at the park was meditating, which I think is highly underrated in today’s society. I’m no meditation expert and I admit, I don’t get to do it often but being out by the lake seemed like almost too perfect of a setting. I could’t pass up that opportunity.
Meditation does’t always have to mean sitting with your legs crossed and repeating mantras to yourself. It can be done anywhere and at anytime as formally or informally as you want. For me, I followed this simple little guide and just focused on getting my stresses out. I didn’t think about texts I may be getting or emails that I possibly missed I simply focused on being right there in that moment.
I do not have the attention span to sit and focus on breathing for very long so I only meditated for about 10 minutes. None the less, it was such a good experience. If you’ve never meditated (even if you can’t get out in nature to do it) I highly recommend it.
For the rest of my time out there I just kind of hung out and relaxed. I snapped some pictures, laid down and sunned for a little bit, and explored a little around the area. All together, I ended up spending about an hour and a half out at the park and I’m so glad it worked out this week.
So now it’s your turn. Make sure you don’t keep putting this one off until “next weekend”. Get out and do this while the weather is still nice! You can use this handy site to find all National parks in your area and this one to find hiking trails. Don’t make any excuses–get out there and connect with nature. You won’t regret it.