A week in nature with my family, meditation, relaxation and a ton of walking. The perfect cure-all for stress and anxiety.
Every year for the past 25 or so years, my family has been “camping” in Pennsylvania. Everyone stays in cabins, and you spend the majority of your time outside walking around in nature. I averaged about 5-6 miles of walking a day, and a lot of that was up multiple hills while holding Apollo. It’s one of the most relaxing and pleasant places for me to vacation and get away from the every day hectic grind of work and living near DC.
I’ve been doing a lot of mental work within the past few months to help with my stress and overall happiness. It started with being mindful of how my body reacts to stress, and then searching for different ways to actively have more control over it. I got to a point in my life where I could acknowledge that there was always going to be that dark place in my brain, but I decided to not let it take over. It’s like a little cloud that wants to follow you around, but instead you decide that every day is going to be sunny and the clouds get pushed behind the sun. It’s something that I have to work on daily, but it’s also a priority of mine and I’m willing to put in the effort.
For the past seven years I’ve been in leadership roles, with this last year being the biggest position of my working career. It’s really easy to create unnecessary stressful situations in your head and even preemptively imagine how certain conversations could pan out, which isn’t exactly healthy. I’ve been using mindfulness and meditation to prevent and control that type of thinking. It’s also helpful for me to stay focused and see the big picture when my brain isn’t clouded with false perceptions created from stress.
I actually read a book for work called 10% Happier which is talks about using meditation to deal with stress and becoming a more mindful person, and it’s a nice introduction for anyone interested in meditating. Our vacation in the woods and without technology was the perfect outlet for me to test out my brain exercises and really work on them.
My favorite thing about nature is the refreshing silence. It’s not uncomfortable to be surrounded by simple sounds, like the lake water moving or the trees rustling in the wind, and it makes me incredibly calm. I spent a few mornings just sitting on the dock and watching the water ripple from the sail boats, and it was pretty damn perfect. It was really magical to watch Apollo and Luna spending time with their cousins, playing in the sand and running around. It makes me sad that we can’t all see each other more often, but it helps me cherish the little time that we have together.
Fred also foraged wild chanterelle mushrooms, and we ate them our first night back home with brown rice. They were insanely delicious! This trip helped spark some conversations about future adventures with the kids and how we can continue to spend time in nature with them.
What are you favorite places to travel? Do you prefer spending time in nature?