Retreat to Nature for a Quick Mental Kick

Cool evenings, hillsides bursting with color, re-discovering your favorite pair of worn jeans…it just doesn't get much better than fall. One of the best things about this time of year is that it's a perfect opportunity to get outside and spend some quality time in nature. If you get the time, or can make the time, plan a long weekend camping trip and get outside before the falling leaves turn to falling snow.

Camping and hiking are ideal this time of year because heat and humidity are gone and many areas have had a first frost to eliminate the gnats and mosquitoes. If you're up for a little adventure try finding a large state or national park where you can hike, spend a couple of days away from civilization and have some quiet time of reflection. (To find a camping area near you, check out the National Park Service or Outdoor Places websites.)

Whether you're a "car camper," a backcountry camper, or not normally a camper at all, a few days in the woods can do wonders for your stress levels, your blood pressure and overall frame of mind. And it's a fast and effective way to get re-charged and re-focused for work, or to prepare you for the holiday mayhem that's just around the corner.

Here are some ideas that can help you get the most out of your outdoor experience:

Get Lost In Nature: Not literally but figuratively. Find something to concentrate on when you're outside that you can "get lost in" mentally. For some, this might be bird watching or fly-fishing. For others, it can be as simple as sitting by a small creek and watching water ripple over rocks and fallen leaves move downstream. Pay attention to what is going on in nature and let the normal concerns of life leave your mind completely.

Reconnect with an Old Friend: Life moves so quickly these days that it is easy to lose touch with your friends, especially if they live in another city or state. If you can relate, invite a friend to meet you at a park or camping area somewhere in between your home cities. Getting away from the phone, the television, even the family, and spending some quality time catching up can be just what the doctor ordered to breath new life into an old friendship.

Fall for Someone: Take your spouse or significant other out for a night or two this fall…really out. Sitting around a campfire and reconnecting, snuggling up in a tent, having a deep conversation under the stars… Camping can re-kindle (pardon the pun) your romance in a matter of hours.

Fall comes every year, and every year it seems to be gone before you know it. This year, make the time, free your mind…and get to know it.

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Member Comments

interesting article and comments Report
Good article. Report
Do you have any exercises that I can do in a chair? The reason is, I'm a right-leg, above-knee, amputee and I use crutches to walk with. It's hard for me to find ways to exercise. Thanks for all your help and may our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bless you all. Report
And don't forget, September - February is hunting season in a lot of areas so be careful where you hike. Report
We live in a place where there are lots of greenways and state parks with great kicking trails. There is also a great national park four hours away with hiking. We love to get out and walk or hike. We enjoy the scenery and the animals, and we do it all seasons. I had surgery last year and my surgeon said that outdoor exercise is a must! Report
Great trail in Nevada City, California. Herschmann Pond trail off Cement Hill Rd, across from the large rock near the corner of Hwy. 49 Report
Now I know part of why I miss my Dad so much it was ussally with him I spent most of my time in the outdoors. Report
I just happened to find a new park the other day and took a walk on a trail. It was such a refreshing break after so long a time, and it rekindled all the calming, curiuos, and joyful thoughts I had from more carefree times past. You might say I renewed my friendships with the trees, flowers, and critters! Report
I felt very eager to just DO it when I read this. I often crave time far away from houses. But, I'm married to a spouse who doesn't care for the out-of-doors, and it doesn't seem prudent to do these things alone in one's seventies. Younger friends are too busy with jobs and family, older friends would think I've gone batty .... Hmmmmm. I think I'm talking myself into a carefully planned mini-adventure .... Report
Wow the article and comments make me want to get out and go!! I live in upstate N.Y. and I just love going to all the parks and walking my dog. Report
Even a day out in nature is wonderful. I can't camp out, but just a get-away on a walk with my dog, binoculars & a field guide does wonders any time of year. Lovely article! Report
That sounds wonderful. Wish I could make time for a fall campout, but between work and school I may have to settle for a weekend walk in the park! Report
My S.O. and I went car camping several times this year. It was so nice being surrounded by Douglas firs within sight of a lake. The campground allowed us to lazy float in our inner tubes by day and sit by the fire under the stars and really enjoy each others company at night. It is now too cold to float on the lake but we can still enjoy ourselves with a good hike and a few nights in a yurt or cabin. I love fall! Report
We love to spend time outdoors, but find it hard to camp out because of husband's illness. We love to camp in motels and enjoy day trips through parks. I hike and he people watches ! Report
we are outdoors people. love hiking our trail through the county! We see all kinds of wildlife and nature that we have gone 5 miles before we realize! Report