Reduce Holiday Stress with Time in Nature

The holiday season can be a magical time, but it can also be overwhelming. Beat the blues by taking a break to spend some time in nature. Denver Botanic Gardens provides tips to reduce stress.

As the song goes, “It’s the hap-happiest season of all” but is it really? With all the holiday cheer that this season brings it can also be incredibly overwhelming and stressful. This time of year is full of shopping lists, family expectations and parties to attend that can all just be too much. 

Denver Botanic Gardens Plant WinterSpending time outside has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress, find clarity and rejuvenate the body and mind.  It doesn’t matter where you go— to the mountains, a local park or your backyard, nature is all around.
When your holiday isn’t looking so merry and bright, take a trip outside to recharge with nature. That feeling of calm that washes over you when you breathe in the fresh air and “get away from it all” is not just in your head.  
Here are three tips to help you unplug this holiday season in the great outdoors:

Use all your Senses
When we engage our senses our mind chatter slows down and we are immersed in theSquirrel in Fall Denver Botanic Gardens present moment. This exercise doesn’t take long, and you don’t need any special equipment to instantly feel grounded.

Take a deep cleansing breath and start to notice:
5 things that you see such as a tree, the sky, your hand, a squirrel, etc.
4 things that you can feel: clothes on your body, the sun on your face, the breeze in your hair, etc.
3 things you can hear: birds chirping, the wind rustling leaves, etc.  
2 things you can smell: the fresh air, pine needles.
1 thing you can taste: the taste in your mouth, the fresh air.

Grow a Plant
If growing a whole garden seems daunting, start out with just one plant. One plant can fit on a balcony or a windowsill so there is no need for a large piece of land. When you start watering, pruning and re-potting your plant you begin to unplug from the daily stresses.

Recent research has proved that there is a natural antidepressant in all living soils. The bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, has been found to stimulate serotonin production, which help you feel relaxed and happy. So, go ahead and get your hands dirty!

Notice the Details
Our natural world is full of small wonders that we can only experience when we slow down and take a close look.

Fall Plants Denver Botanic GardensNotice how each tree displays a different bark texture, observe the small insects that scurry around the forest floor or watch the clouds move slowly across the sky.

While observing the small things you will begin to realize that we are all apart of something bigger. You will begin to see that life is more than the biggest presents and the gourmet meals of the holidays.  
Start a new tradition this holiday season by leaving the stress and worry behind and spending some quality time in the great outdoors.  
Another great holiday tradition is Blossoms of Light. CU Medicine is proud to partner with the Denver Botanic Gardens this season for the holiday display. Advance tickets are required, click/tap here.

Blossoms of Light

TAGS: anxiety, Blossoms of Light, Denver Botanic Gardens, mental health, stress

CATEGORIES: Health Education, Mental Health

This post was originally posted on November 23, 2021