What is your favorite wellness activity?
Getting outside in nature. I remember sitting at my desk in my medical office (which had no windows) thinking, “I’m not sure when the last time was that I saw the sun?” I had been getting in there early and leaving late and this was SO not me. I had always been an outdoorsy, farm girl and by not being connected to nature, the season and just breathing fresh air was a major contributing factor to my un-wellness.
How long have you been doing it?
Like I mentioned, I was always an outdoors person. I planned camping biology club excursions in college. I was still getting outside and walking my 1st and 2nd year of med school but it was around the time of 3rd year, I just stopped. I don’t know if it was the busyness of it or what. So I went about 5 years missing nature. But now have a solid 5 years of going the f*** outside!
How did you get started?
I started going on walks, blocking out a slot on my schedule before or after lunch just so I could get outside. Then I got interested in Spartan (obstacle racing) and that got me training outside more. After doing that first Spartan race, I was like, “I NEED MORE!” And since then I commit to one day a week either trail running, hiking, kayaking, some outdoor fitness activity that gets my feet dirty in my local wildlife, forests or rivers.
How does this activity impact your mental, physical, and / or emotional well-being?
Clarity. Both emotional and mental clarity is what I get from getting outside. Physically, I feel like it’s a different workout than a gym workout because you never know what might occur…snake in the path, downed trees, flood stream. It totally breaks up the running flow and it’s taught me, “Walking is OK too!”
How does this activity bring wellness to your life when other activities have not?
To me, it’s very centering to know I may see a bird, leaf, sunrise that no one is getting to experience quite like this. That if I never came back, the woods would continue. It’s helped me gain perspective and get me out of some negative head space and down funks. I feel more alive after I have interacted in nature that I don’t get from civilization, the gym or my career.