I’ve been reading a book, Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe, that talks about a lot of things. Mostly it talks about dealing with stomach issues via gut flora management, which is an overly-flowery way of staying “make your stomach stop being fucked up by filling it with bacteria.” I promise it makes sense.
Part of the book deals with stress, and how it affects the gut. I’ve long suspected that my anxiety, stress levels, and habit of putting a lot of pressure on myself has at least something to do with my unpredictable stomach. The book also includes ideas on how to reduce stress, and since I don’t actually want to die at 30 from a stress-induced heart attack, I figure I should give the whole stress-reduction thing a shot.
The recommendation of getting out in nature for 30 minutes a day stuck out to me the most. I love camping, hiking, etc, but rarely get a chance to go out and do those sorts of things. However, every afternoon I have a dead zone of time between when I get off work and when I pick Peter up from his work 10 minutes away. So I googled around a bit and found a local park near my work I’d overlooked before, and drove over to check it out during the dead zone.
It was wonderful, dear reader. The Duwamish Hill Preserve is a tiny oasis of nature within a mostly-industrial area. It’s a relatively short hike up the hill, just enough to get your heart rate up a bit without being exhausting. It was especially nice today, because due to the wind and intermittent rain, combined with me going in the mid-afternoon, I had the entire park to myself (minus the parking lot, where another person was sitting in their car).
It felt great to get out in nature again, and to be exploring a new place at that. Right now the park is full of fresh shoots of grass due to the rain, and moss is abundant on every rocky surface. There’s even a stand of ferns up near the top! The trails were hard-packed gravel-y earth, crumbing concrete, and simple dirt. None were too tricky to navigate. I also enjoyed the semi-barren rocky hillside in places. It reminded me a lot of being back in California and hiking around the Sierra Nevadas.
I hope I can continue to go out in nature more often. I do think it would help my stress level, and who knows how that would affect my general health? I bet it’d be positive. At the very least, it couldn’t hurt.
Where are your favorite spots to get out in nature? I’m especially interested in recommendations for the Seattle area, because we have a million little parks, greenbelts, and nature spots, but it’s always hard to tell which are rad and which are landscaped to hell and back.