Unplug and Recharge

Go….out….side. I’m pretty sure I heard my mother’s voice inside my head as I attempted numerous times this morning to sit down and write my belated Motivational Monday post. Which goes to show just how powerful my mother’s influence is on me since she is currently several hundred miles away. But these were the words that would come out of my mother’s mouth when I was growing up and would find myself all too comfortable sitting inside on a beautiful day when I should have been outside running around like the hyper maniac child I was.

It didn’t happen often, but when it did, my sister and I would grunt and ask if we could watch just one more Arthur show – at least we watched educational PBS television – before she would take the remote, power off “the boob tube”, and point at the door like we were puppies that made a mess and said “Out! It is too nice of a day for you to be sitting inside like a couple of couch potatoes. Get your shoes on, kick the soccer ball around, and go do something.” Before we knew it, our moods and energy levels would go from 0 to 10 and we found ourselves giggling until our bellies ached, and out of our mother’s hair, until supper time.

I’m thankful for those moments now and that my mom didn’t allow my sister and I to just sit around on the couch all afternoon when we’d get off of school. Because of this, and many other examples of how my parents encouraged me and my sister to be active and enjoy the outdoors, I’ve continued to live an active lifestyle and find myself thriving when I’m submerged in the simplicity of nature. I’d like to say this has contributed to my work ethic and stubbornly ambitious drive as well.

So before I could get too comfortable, I threw my hair up in a ponytail, grabbed my sunglasses and running shoes, and took my golden retriever to the Boise Foothills so I wouldn’t waste a beautiful day. And what would you know, mom knows best, again. After some fresh air, quality time with my furry better half, and being surrounded by the Idaho’s impeccable great outdoors, I found myself rejuvenated and inspired to post my Motivational Monday Wednesday post.

Get lost outdoors, find your motivation

Researchers at University of Michigan found that when people were able to lose themselves in Mother Nature for an hour, their attention span increased 20 percent. Can’t get away to the mountains or ocean on a daily basis? Get a pet plant to have at your desk as plants in offices have been linked to a more efficient work environment, uplifted mood, and cleaner air in the work place.

-Even on overcast days, natural lighting is far better than the artificial lighting you’re under inside. Find a few minutes during the day to go outside as exposure to natural lighting has been linked to increasing people’s moods, creativity, and drive.

-Your eyes will thank you. Chances are, you find yourself working your eyes for over 9 hours a day whether it’s staring at a computer screen or using them to focus on whatever’s requiring you to live a sedentary lifestyle during the day. Getting outside allows your eyes to take a break from the squinting and focusing and rather explore what’s around you instead.

-South Korea’s Chonnam National University found when the brain is exposed to scenic views of nature, their is increase in activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus which improves optimism and emotional stability. Don’t have access to much scenery from your desk? Keep a picture of one of your favorite moments in nature or change your desktop to an image of somewhere you’d love to visit.

Bali Temple

Source: Tourism Journal

-Sitting for too long can contribute to a disease referred to as “the sitting disease”. More importantly, if you don’t take the time to get up and walk around, you increase your chances of being disabled later on in life. It can also lead to weight gain, even if you exercise on a regular basis, and negatively impacts your mental health leaving you at an increased risk of depression and lack of motivation.

Solution: If you have a schedule that requires you to be in one place for several hours a day, like many of Americans do, it’s time you start hearing my mother’s voice on repeat in your head as well. “Out! Go…out…side!” Even if it’s just for a 10-20 minute walk. You’ll get the vitamin D your mood needs to stay uplifted, feel more creative and energized, and work towards the 2 1/2 hours of moderate intensity exercising a week recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Well, what are you waiting for? Grab that remote, power off your computer, and go…out…side!

Where is your favorite place to escape from reality or a location that’s on your bucket list of places to visit?

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