Summer is almost here and with it comes sunshine. The invisible burden of winter has already lifted and by this time of year some of you may be feeling more cheerful. For most of us sunshine means not only better moods but more energy.

Did you know that spending time outdoors helps boost your mood. Research shows that being outside in a natural setting, or even looking out at a beautiful view helps people feel more restored, less anxious, less depressed, and helps them feel a greater potential for growth. Working out outside even leads to greater calories burned! Here are a few ideas to try this summer. Bear with me because although these points may sound silly or simplistic it’s often the simple things that help the most and the ones we struggle to make a priority. So go grab your coral reef approved sunscreen and give these a try!

  • Grab a rocking chair. Seems like our grandparents had the right idea.The repetitive, soothing motion of the rocking chair along with being outside can be extremely calming. Give it a try when you’re feeling a little anxious or just need to relax.
  • Work beside a window. Enjoy the sunlight of the day to wake you and help you feel more energetic.
  • Sleep with your curtains open and allow your body and brain to wake with the day.
  • Get to gardening. There are so many metaphors to be made for gardening, so much so in fact that it may need its own blog entry. But in the meantime, if you’re not already a gardener, start small. Learning to grow something is both extremely challenging and rewarding.
  • Play with your kids outside! Put your to-do list to the side, and take a few moments to spend quality time with your children. Jump on the trampoline, have a picnic, ride bikes, take a walk, pick flowers, or dance outside. Enjoy some fun time.
  • Enjoy and appreciate nature. Bird watch (shameless plug inserted here for those transparent bird feeders that suction cup to the windows, we have one in the kitchen and it’s amazing to see the birds up close!), go for a hike, play in a creek, stop and smell the flowers, spend time in prayer while sitting on the beach etc. In our busy and chaotic lives we are so distracted that we often fail to see the beauty that surrounds us. Taking time to appreciate your surroundings and slow down leads to a healthier you.

No matter how you choose to do it, allow yourself to enjoy the beauty of creation and be drawn into worship of the Creator.

He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name. Amos 5:8 (ESV)