The vast majority of Americans would love to see improvements in their memory retention, cognitive function, stress levels, and overall health. We know we’re supposed to eat well, get exercise, plenty of sleep, and take our vitamins, but there is also one key element that many of us are neglecting; spending time outside.
Getting outside for just 20 minutes three times a week can bring huge benefits to our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Not only that, but it’s very often free and easily accessible.
Sadly, Americans have by and large stopped taking the time to enjoy nature, opting instead for working long hours and remaining in a high-stress state, which actually does very little for our effectiveness and productivity.
In an average 80-year lifespan, Americans will spend 13.2 years working and less than one year socializing. It’s no wonder we are among the most depressed countries in the world. It’s pretty standard for employers to grant full-time employees 10 paid vacation days every year, however, even with such a small allotment, less than half of us even use those vacation days each year.
Compare this to the average of 30 paid vacation days per year in Finland, and it’s understandable why Finland is statistically the happiest country on earth for four years running, and the US is definitely not.
The irony of all our hard work and stress and lack of outdoor activity is that, were we to actually take the time to step outside, destress, and stop being “on-call” for a little while, we’d be more productive, more efficient, and ultimately more valuable at the jobs in which we are so concerned with succeeding.
For some of us, the stress of planning a vacation, or concerns about the cost are the main reasons we neglect this valuable choice. However, planning an outdoor vacation could not be simpler, nor more cost-effective.
The US is still full of wonderful outdoor places to explore. They can be anywhere from just a few miles away to hundreds of miles, and they can range in cost to match our budgetary needs. From camping for free or a very minimal amount, to taking a “glamping” trip, which combines hotel amenities with the advantages of an outdoor experience, it’s still as easy as ever to get outside alone or with friends or family for some much-needed fun and downtime.
It's time to take a deeper look at how exploring the outdoors could be the vacation you need in order to better focus and balance your life.