Week 7: Retreat To Recharge

We must unplug, specifically in nature, in order to recharge. If I have a chance to do yoga, meditate, or take any part of my practice outdoors, I will. Connecting to the spirit and power of nature is so beneficial for clarity, perspective, and health—which is why I’m going to suggest that you retreat to nature whenever you can.

Ever hear of ‘going off the grid’? I challenge you to do just that, whether it’s for a few hours, a full day, or even longer. You’d be surprised to know how powerful getting outside can be for you.

Head to the ocean, take a walk through rural farmland, or hike through a local forest—and you will almost immediately feel the calming and uplifting effect nature has on your mood, psyche, and overall wellbeing.

The problem is, many people don’t take time to make true contact with the earth anymore. For one, we wear shoes and live indoors. But it’s more than that: We’re bombarded with technology from all angles, and it’s always demanding our attention. That’s enough to stress anyone out, especially those of us who don’t take the time to disconnect!

Reasons to Get Outside

  1. Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, has been shown to reduce anger, fear, and stress. In fact, just being in nature increases pleasant, calm feelings. Exposure to nature also reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. For these reasons, it’s a great place to mindfully walk or meditate.
  2. Another plus? Vitamin D, which we get through sun exposure, is deeply connected to our energy levels (plenty of people are actually deficient in vitamin D). A sunny walk for just 15 minutes per day can easily up your levels.
  3. Studies show that people who walk in a wooded area (for 90 minutes) show reduced blood flow to their subgenual prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain linked to worry and stress.
  4. Earthing or grounding is defined as putting the body in direct contact with the earth. This means that out skin touches the soil, sand, or a natural water source. In fact, research shows that this touching of body to earth is electrically conductive, and has some effect on our physiology and health.

Retreats & Day Trips

If you’d like to really disconnect, a retreat might be right for you. They can last for anywhere between a few days and a few weeks, and they can be as far away as another continent or right in your home state.

I’ve been blessed with many opportunities to travel this world on retreats, and they have made for the most eye-opening, soulful, relaxing times of my life. They’ve allowed me to connect with nature and other guests in honest, vulnerable ways and in good company while learning, practicing, or simply resting. Retreats can vary in length and location, but often include a relaxing natural setting, nourishing meals, and time for personal reflection.

Here are some websites with which you can peruse retreats:

If you can’t go on a retreat, it’s important to schedule small doses of nature into your life. Whether it’s a short walk through a park path each day, taking time after work to watch a sunset near a lake, or going for a swim in a lake or ocean on weekends, you’ll see that these simple acts of revisiting the earth can have a profound effect on our physical and mental health.

Watch the weather, observe the cycle of the seasons, and literally ‘stop and smell the roses’! Nature teaches us splendor and silence, and that renewal and rebirth are necessary.

Make a plan to build nature into your life from here on out.