Feeling Stressed? Get Outdoors!

We have been staying home for most of March and we needed to get out of the house.  But we still wanted to avoid being around other people since we just aren't sure how easily coronavirus is transmitted.  So we decided to keep to ourselves and go on a family bike ride down to the duck pond.  When I'm stressed I just want to get outside and explore.  There are many studies that show how the great outdoors can help with stress management.  Check out this article, How Being Outdoors and Getting Active Impacts Stress Management.  It is a great way to get us all out of the house, soak up some immune-building Vitamin D, get some exercise, and get a breath of fresh air. 

We made the ride to the pond and got off our bikes for a while to enjoy the scenery.  These "ducks in a row" made me smile. 

My teenager who used to love being in front of the camera now rolls his eyes at Mom taking pictures of him.

But Little Bit still smiles for Mommy.

I loved that someone had set up a small community pantry of items on the picnic tables.  The signs say "If you are out, take some.  If you have extras, leave some."  There were various food items and the highly coveted toilet paper.  What a wonderful blessing for the neighborhood!

We decided to keep riding.  We often go to the end of this particular trail and take a break at the bench.  I first found this spot about 15 years ago when I was walking with Nicholas in a stroller.  We used to stop here and I would let him out of the stroller to feed him a snack while we sat together on the bench.

A beautiful dandelion!  While these are typically considered to be weeds, they are actually a very edible herb.  The leaves and roots have medicinal qualities.  They contain anti-oxidants and they also reduce inflammation, cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure.  The roasted roots can be used to make a great alternative to coffee.  Our local farmers market actually sells dandelion leaves next to the lettuce in the produce section.

We kept riding until we made it to Fish City Grill.  

The restaurant's dining area was closed but we were able to go in to place an order for takeout.

It was sad and almost eerie seeing the restaurant so empty and unused.  I'm sure their business and so many other restaurants are really hurting during all of this.

We were able to use their restroom and wash our hands.  I love their sign about washing your hands!

We each ordered a cup of gumbo.  Oh it was so delicious.  Now that is Cajun comfort food.

Time to head back home.

On the way back, we stopped and played in a creek that we love.

It made me happy to look at the buds and new growth on the plants as if it was reminding me that this virus will soon pass and the shut downs will be over and we will all be able to get back to normal life with a brand new outlook and a fresh start of our own.

Boys always love playing with sticks.  As they get older the sticks just get bigger.

And they must be used as a tool to make a big splash!

If a big stick was fun then a whole tree might be even better....

I know it is hard to read the chalk writing in this picture but it says, "The whole country would be tested by morning if Chick-fil-a was running the drive thru testing centers".

I love the shirt Stuart wore today.  Our church gave it to him to wear when he baptized Rachel.  We could all use a little Hope these days.  

Notice the little blessings all around you and you will soon find joy and hope in your heart again. 

If you are feeling stressed and anxious, take some time to go outside.  Here are some publications and research studies which support the idea of Nature Therapy for healing the body and mind:

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