by Spencer Raymond Madden
Many of us have live or work in the city, but we don’t have to accept the city stress! Get in touch with nature even when you’re in the city!
Many of us in the Sunwarrior Tribe are extremely active in nature throughout our daily lives. We run, we jump, we bend, and we sweat—all under the canopies of lush forest and beside chilly streams. One might go as far as to suggest we are in love with Mother Nature. However, for many of us, there is a slight issue: we reside in the big city. While some of us city tribe members are blessed by being able to venture into the wilderness after work, many of us can only explore the Great Outdoors on weekends. Throughout the week the blaring sounds, unclean air, and anxiety ridden energy of city life can be overwhelming. So how do you avoid going insane while living in the city when all you crave is nature?
1. Find a new playground
Almost all big cities have stunning parks and recreation areas. Locating these spaces can help detox you from city living. Open your computer and search for your town on Google Maps. Scope the map for pockets of green. Follow rivers and creeks as they typically lead to parks. Once you have a destination, head there with some friends and revel in your new oasis. Be sure to skim the perimeters on your city as there are many parks only a quick bike ride away.
Quality time with your pup is a great way to stop the stress and start the relaxation. Take your dog to a park and play fetch. Or, if you are crunched for time, stroll around your neighborhood. Both options will help keep the hyper simulation of the city at bay. If you don’t have a puppy of your own, offer to walk a friends’.
3. Relax with a Documentary
Make a cup of quality tea, grab your kids or friend, and watch a nature documentary. You could also put on a nature show—just avoid advertising as that won’t help your sanity. Watching documentaries about the outdoors and finding inspiration in the landscapes will excite you for the weekend. I recommend sticking to positive outdoor documentaries in order to keep your stress level from rising. Bonus tip: add in some light stretching while viewing in order to be ready for the weekends.
4. Log a Run
Put on your running shoes, load up a great playlist, and go outside for a sunset run. Do some pull-ups on tree branches, pushups on the grass, and crunches on a hillside. Work your body, feel it strengthen, and enjoy the sweat on your brow. By training sensibly and with purpose, you will feel great about yourself and be able to enjoy quality sleep. Side effects include a healthier body and being ready to tackle that big weekend hike.
5. Click it!
The city is a great location to practice the art of photography. Among interesting buildings, lots of characters, and ever changing weather, there are endless possibilities for snapping the perfect Instagram shot. Look up video on YouTube before heading out to gain knowledge and spark your creativity. The biggest benefit is that your weekend nature photography will become increasingly more professional due to your hard work.
I am always on the internet looking at pictures and information for my next weekend adventure. Look over interesting blogs, check out Sunwarrior articles, or relax with an adventure magazine. Just don’t do it too much or you may start feeling overwhelmed that you aren’t in these stunning locations. Moderation with your planning and research is important.
7. Enjoy your Garden
The act of planting is one that is primordial to humans. Working the soil is proven to reduce anxiety and you get the added benefit of an increased immune system. Plant some flowers, fruit, and vegetables in your backyard and watch them flourish with tender loving care. I guarantee you will feel great after an hour spent in the dirt. Don’t have a backyard? Easy solution: look for your community garden initiative. Not only do you get to plant in a great locale, but you will meet neighbors who may just share their knowledge with you.
By giving back to your community, you help out others in need and you will also feel great about yourself. Since you are into the outdoors, look for organizations with this slant. Options include Girl Guides, volunteering at the zoo, or becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister. The act of sharing your expertise with another is a great act of karma.
9. Breathe & Stretch
Sign-up for a local yoga class. It doesn’t matter if it is hot yoga, meditation practice, or Bikram, the regular practice of yoga will benefit your body and soul in ways you won’t know until you try. It will leave you feeling sane and energized afterwards. You can then translate your practice into the great outdoors on the weekend, as there is something special about mediating with a great view. Warning: this point can change your life and will lead to a huge reduction in city related stress.
Cities attract a whole host of interesting birds. Start a journal of all the birds you have seen over the year. This is a great activity to involve your kids in—the quest for the elusive humming bird is amazing. This can very easily turn into a lifelong passion once you have started. When you review your logbook with your kids, you will be stunned at how much anxiety disappeared and knowledge was obtained as you looked for our feathered friends.
For many of us in the Sunwarrior tribe, the booming city can be a difficult place to live. However, many of us live here for important reasons such as proximity to family, working a great job, and being around amazing friends. Make the most of your time with the above points and you will reduce city induced stress. Your weekends with Mother Nature will also become that much more amazing.