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This has been reviewed and updated as of May 7, 2020.

Coronavirus Updates

Ok, ok, you know this. It’s been written and spoken over and over. Let go of consuming so much media. (Of course, don’t stop consulting CreakyJoints or the Global Healthy Living Foundation.)

But it is important to let go of the shrill, frightening, and often overwhelming or confusing reporting that is flooding our social media feeds and TV and radio airwaves.

Yes, we need to be informed. But scrolling, clicking, channel-flipping, and going over and over the article with the most amount of dystopian forecasts really won’t help you cope.

There is of course an illusion of control: If we “know” something, we can figure out the next step. We can manage better.

But that is an illusion.

I recommend this: Once a day or twice at most, check in on news from a trusted and reliable source. Do a media fast. One of the popular kinds of fasting these days is known as “intermittent” fasting. This means that you abstain from eating during a long window of time.

Fast on Media, Feast on Nature

So, do a daily intermittent media fast. And in its place, consume nature.

The idea of “snacking” on the natural world is an odd metaphor. But I have been struck by the number of clients who have started our conversation by describing a walk, or a pause in their day to look out the window, tend an indoor plant, or enjoy a view from their patio.

One person said yesterday, “I usually go out back in the morning with my coffee, but I don’t really see what’s there. I’m noticing that now when I go outside, I look at the trees, and the sunrise, and I take it in.”

Another client described walking under the moon for a few moments, and how that “restored my sense of hope.”

Research indicates that being in a natural setting for 20 to 30 minutes leads to a reduction in stress as measured through lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

If you have access to the outside, go and stand or sit under the sky for a bit each day. Maybe even several times. Listen for birds, the wind in the trees. If you have the energy, go for a brief walk. When you do, linger, notice, savor.

Don’t power walk for exercise, but saunter for nourishment. All we have to do is receive.

If you don’t have easy access to being outside, sit by a window. Look at what is there that you may not have noticed. Look at pictures of natural beauty in books or online. Listen to nature sounds on your headphones. Go somewhere you love in your imagination and walk around. Let yourself feast.

Nature is offering some of the healing we need. May we be able and willing to take it in.

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Hunter MR, et al. Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life Based on Salivary Biomarkers. Frontiers in Psychology. April 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00722.

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