The lingering COVID-19 pandemic, global uncertainty, and rising costs are taking a toll on stress levels. One of the easiest and least expensive solutions to combating stress is getting outside. According to the National Recreation and Park Association, spending as little as 20 minutes a day outside helps to reduce stress.
I am blessed to work as an RV Sales Specialist at Premier RV in Blue Grass. I work with an amazing team that helps outfit individuals and families with the right RV for their lifestyle and budget. The best part of my job is equipping people with everything they need to spend more quality time outdoors camping. People camp to escape their hectic daily lives and unwind in the splendor that nature has to offer. People camp to unplug, rest, relax, and rejuvenate. One doesn’t have to own an RV to enjoy the benefits of camping. There are a lot of good, affordable tents on the market as well. I just recently purchased an old, vintage 1959 Airstream. I’m calling it my “winter project” because I am completely restoring it. Before I purchased the camper, I tent camped extensively. My brother-in-law is a tent designer for The North Face, and he hooked me up with a comfortable tent that fits a large air mattress. I am looking forward to RVing because it is going to make packing camping supplies easier than ever. Next year, all I will have to do is pack up food, hook up, and head to the campground.
If you are reading this and saying to yourself that camping is not for you, well, you are not alone. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy the benefits of de-stressing by spending time outdoors. I just returned home from a vacation spent in Colorado. I took some of the most spectacular hikes in the Rocky Mountains. The most mesmerizing hike was up to Hanging Lake, just outside of Glenwood Springs. The hike was a little over a mile long each way up and down the steep and rocky mountainside. I took frequent breaks to catch my breath and take pictures of the canyon with the river running through it. This out-of-shape Muscatine County boy is not used to that high altitude. At the end of the trail, I found a walkway surrounding a small lake fed by 3 waterfalls with native trout swimming in the crystal blue water. The tough hike through the unforgiving terrain was worth it.
Driving down the mountain, on my way back, was breathtaking. The shimmering leaves of the aspen trees were yellow and glowing from the afternoon sun. Even though I was bummed to leave Colorado, I was excited at the prospect of experiencing the colors of fall around Muscatine. The red, orange and yellow oak and maple trees are spectacular here in eastern Iowa. If you are finding yourself a little stressed out, or your anxiety levels are higher than usual, I encourage you to go outdoors. This is the best time of year to take a little hike at Wild Cat Den, or to stroll around Weed Park to enjoy the colors of the changing leaves. Find a quiet place to do some stretching and deep breaths and see for yourself how spending a little time outside helps melt the stress away.