Take a healing break in nature

Enya Diamond in one of her favorite green spaces. Courtesy photo

By Enya Diamond

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by your new online course load, news of the coronavirus, or being trapped in a self-quarantine, take a break from the “coronapocalypse” the way I do. Get some fresh air and do some extreme social distancing, enjoying nature.

Whenever I hit a block in my homework or feel overwhelmed by my assignments, I close my laptop, and head out my front door. I walk until I find a park, grove, or a patch of greenery.

There, among the earthy scents of pine, the wildflowers spread like fairy dust on the grass, and the sounds of wild birds, my problems are put in perspective.

They’re small compared to the greatness of the clouds, the tall pines. I realize I can do this. It’s just an assignment. It’s not a gigantic tree.

Research has revealed that a daily dose of nature is healing.

One study from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health concludes that green space is closer to a necessity than of a luxury, since it fulfills the population’s need for nature as a source of relaxation, recreation, and recovery from daily stress. 

A green space is any publicly accessible piece of land that is partly or completely covered with grass, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation.

My favorite green spaces are ones that include pine trees. I find their scent relaxing, and their presence peaceful. Science seems to agree.

A National Library of Medicine study demonstrates that the scent of pine enhances immune system function, improves sleep, and reduces anxiety.

The beaches may be closed and FSW’s koi pond may be inaccessible, but there are still plenty of green spaces to choose from.

Even modest yards and humble lots can be green spaces.

Some parks, including the trails of the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, have remained open. If you go to any public parks, be careful to social distance!

To discover a green space near you, simply step outdoors. When your steps lead you to a space that contains grass, flowers, or trees, you’ve reached it.

There you might just find better spirits.

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