Posted on June 24, 2014
Did you know that June is National Great Outdoors month? Yeah, us either! We all know that being outside is important to our health, both physically and mentally. Sunlight produces Vitamin D; fresh air is revitalizing to the soul; and physical exercise is known to relieve depression, but so many of our modern conveniences make it easy to go days, weeks or months without spending any significant time outdoors. ::cough, cough:: air conditioning ::cough, cough::
That’s why since 2006, American presidents have issued official proclamations designating June as Great Outdoors Months. Lawmakers as well as leaders of the business, civic and recreation communities gather in Washington during the month to focus their attention on the amazing outdoor opportunities our nation offers. According to AmericanTrails.com, “Topics of discussion range from the link between recreation and health to the need for increased public-land volunteerism, from partnerships and other tools to enhance recreation resources to building connections between urban children and the outdoors, from enhancing access to outdoor recreation opportunities to the designation of a nation commission on recreation policy.”
Great Outdoors Month isn’t just for the “powers that be”, though. It’s also a time for all of us to focus on getting outside and learning what we can do to protect and advocate for the amazing land we live on. So how can you participate? There are a million ways, but we’ve listed a few here.
First of all, simply step outdoors even if it’s just for a few minutes!! Life in scrubs is demanding! Difficult workloads, difficult patients, difficult schedules, can all add up to lots of stress. It can even be easy to forget why you do what you do. Simply taking time to step outside, breath fresh air, feel the sun on your face and the wind on your skin can make a world of difference. Hectic shifts can make it hard to find the time to step outside, but as we are always saying, self-care is something you must not neglect. You can’t take care of your patients if you haven’t taken care of yourself.
Second, find larger amounts of time to really enjoy the great outdoors. The National Parks Service website makes it easy to find places to explore in your back yard and across the country. Your local Parks and Recreation website will also have lots of great information. Get your friends together for a monthly hike or picnic, find a local splash pad to take your kids too, or participate in the Great Backyard Campout this Saturday, June 28th, or make this the year you plan a trip to that place you’ve always wanted to go. We vote for the Grand Canyon! It’s amazing!!
Third, consider getting involved in an organization dedicated to preserving the great outdoors. Surfrider works to clean up and protect our beaches, coastlines, and waterways. They have chapters all over the country and plenty of ways to get involved! Volunteer.gov are great resources for finding local ways to get involved, too.
Whether it’s a trip to the Grand Canyon, picking up trash at your local lake, or simply stepping outside during your next shift, take the rest of June to focus on the great outdoors and everything it has to bring. As always, we want to hear from you! Head over to our Facebook page, or find us on Twitter (@tafford) or Instagram (@tafford) and tell us, if you could visit any of the national parks or landmarks in the US, where would it be?