Go on a #HockingHiatus: Five Ways Nature Can Make You Happier & Healthier

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Hiatus. Escape. Freedom. The great outdoors.

Sounds good right about now, doesn’t it?

But it isn’t that easy, right? There’s bills to pay. Friends and family depending on you. Not to mention your job.

But what if someone told you there’s a way to incorporate that dream of peace, silence and rejuvenation into your life?

This isn’t some ploy to sell a Hocking Hills travel package or convince you that a visit to the region would suddenly solve all your problems.

That’s not what this is about. This, my fellow traveler, is about you.

Of course, not everyone has the fortune to take a month to restart or have the pleasure of working at Hocking Hills Tourism Association. But, that doesn’t mean those who do can’t help provide some valid arguments and motivation to finally unplug and just get away from it all.

For you, that reprieve may be found on the beach, the mountains, Europe or maybe even that cozy chair in your backyard.

If you like, Hocking Hills could even provide the solstice you’re looking for.

Either way, there’s a reason great minds of the past and present have returned to nature in times of need. When, in times of turbulence, they still find appreciation in the silence and beauty of pretty green things and the life it sustains.

Turns out, it feeds not just your heart and soul, but your health, too.

It’s true, scientifically proven fact.

So, as if you needed another reason to go on hiatus (just in case). Here are a few facts to help convince your boss, friends, significant other, family – and even yourself -- that it’s high time to hit the trials:

  1. Nature helps to reduce stress


Though how exactly nature impacts our health is still a bit hazy, scientists agree that it’s good for us, especially when trying to lower stress. Even just a window with a good view of trees and grass can affect people’s health. People in hospitals recover faster, students perform better in school and there’s less violence.  Short doses of nature, when observing the central nervous system, proved to help regulate hormones, respiration, heart rate and even sweating, sharpening folks’ performances and calming them down.

Looking for a tranquil spot in Hocking Hills? We suggest a visit to Rose Lake. The area doesn’t have as much foot traffic compared to other park sites. A long walk around the lake, paired with the sounds of water, could turn any stressful situation into a can-do day.

  1. Nature can make you happier


It’s no secret people naturally respond positively with things that are good for them. For instance, trees offer a sense of protection and nutrients thanks to shade, fruits and nuts. The thinking behind it is these things that are good for people, are things they actually like, especially if they help us, which is why natural subsidence can give folks the lift they need.

Need a bit more joy while at Hocking? It may be time to consider a nice long massage at one of our member’s cabins or the Spa and Inn at Cedar Falls. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to take that gloom and do something good for you.

  1. It can literally lift you out of mental fatigue


There’s something about a natural setting that helps to clear the mind. There’s not as much stimulation or distraction when out in the wilderness. Scent can also play a part as smells like jasmine, lilac, roses and pine have proven to be helpful in easing those mental headaches.

If you’re in search of a place to clear your thoughts and think more clearly, try a hike to Airplane Rock. As a less populated trail with a high view overlooking the valley, it provides a secluded spot to think things out and stop to smell all the pretty things.

  1. It helps you lose weight and regulate blood flow


With the release of certain hormones, the body positively responds to being outdoors. In fact, there’s studies that show people that live in more country-like settings are healthier than those city-dwellers. Staying active does play a part, as well, which is easy to do while you’re outside enjoying those rays and the hobbies that come with it, like swimming or hiking. More frequent movement inherently helps to regulate blood flow.

Hocking Hill’s list of activities and events at explorehockinghills.com/events is a great place to start when looking for inspiration to get moving and involved. Listings range from hikes, 5ks and more.

  1. It prevents disease


When a group of Dutch researchers examined people who lived within a half mile of green space in 2009, they found a lower rate of at least 15 diseases ranging from not just depression and anxiety, but heart disease, diabetes, asthma and migraines. Just last year, an international questionnaire found that people who lived in neighborhoods that simply had more trees had better heart and metabolic health.

Take a walk through all the pretty green things and check out Rockbridge. Near the park, a brisk walk through a field and a gorgeous view would make anyone smile. Especially in the winter.