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Don't Hibernate This Winter!

Happy December, or as some refer to it, the month with the shortest days!

Before I started this business, i had an office job. I worked long hours sitting behind a desk all day. For me, this time of year was dreadful. I'd go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. By the time I got home I just wanted to snuggle up in my PJs on the couch. I never went outside during the day and I didn't understand why I was so depressed in the winter months. I ran in to a friend recently who said "I just love seeing your Facebook posts, you're always outside, doing something in nature." And it's true. I do try to get outside as much as possible even when it's cold. (It helps that I teach classes outside 7 hours a week!) It wasn't until I started this business and had a little more flexibility in my schedule that I realized how important it was to get out doors as much as possible, even in the winter. There's something about being in nature that grounds us, takes us back to our roots and connects us to the vastness of the world around us. There is beauty to be found even when the flowers lay dormant, the trees stand naked, and the darkness of the night overcomes the day.

Nature offers a reliable boost to your mental and physical well-being all year round. If you need an extra push to bundle up and brave the cold, here are just a few potential benefits;

1. Restore Energy & Mental Clarity - We often coast through our days in a mental haze, just going through the motions. There are natural restorative properties in nature. Just spending 10 minutes in the fresh air can help revitalize your mental clarity, while the cooler air can energize your whole body!

2. Relieve Stress - Studies have shown that being outdoors, exposed to the clean, crisp air of winter helps release serotonin in the brain and reduces cortisol levels, thereby reducing stress.

3. Increase Vitamin D - It's common knowledge that sun exposure raises Vitamin D levels, but did you know that increased Vitamin D can help boost immunity, fight depression, and ward off cold & flu?

4. Increase Self-Esteem - Just going out for a ten minute walk can leave you with an elevated mood, and an improved self-image. In a study conducted by The University of Essex, researchers found that outdoor activity positively affected the participants' mood and self-esteem, regardless of the amount of exercise or the intensity of the activity.

5. Improve Concentration - Recent studies have revealed that spending time in nature helps improve concentration - even in those suffering from ADD/ADHD. Perhaps it's the mere beauty surrounding us that demands our attention, blocking out our worries and cares.

This month, I challenge you to spend more time outdoors. Walk the dog, take the kids to the park, or join us at Weed Beach for an outdoor workout! Whatever you choose, just spending a short amount of time outside each day will brighten your mood and make the shorter days easier to bear.

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