We are in Phase 1 of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order. During this phase, going outside solo, with household members or safely practicing 6-foot physical distancing for exercise or relaxation is allowed and encouraged by health professionals to maintain and improve physical and mental health. Thank you for practicing safe physical distancing, wearing a face cover, washing your hands often, and most importantly staying home if you are sick.
Unity Care NW Parkscriptons Video
Our partners Unity Care NW produced a detailed video on Parkscriptions. Megan Stephenson, Unity Care NW Wellness Resource Coordinator does a great job explaining the program, how to use the ParkFinder.org website to locate a park near you, and what to do while outside to improve your mental and physical health. Thanks, Megan and Unity Care NW!
“Studies have proven that even the smallest bit of nature — a single tree, a small patch of flowers, a house plant — can generate health benefits,” said Kathleen Wolf, a UW research social scientist in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “Look closely in your neighborhood, and the bit of nature you may have taken for granted up until now may become the focus of your attention and help you feel better.”
Thousands of studies have shown nature’s positive impact on health and well-being, even in urban areas and for people living in more confined areas. One study found that a 20-minute “dose” of nature in cities reduced stress levels. Another showed that more tree cover helped lessen symptoms of depression among residents of nursing homes. A study in Sweden found that access to a garden significantly reduced participants’ stress. Access to gardens or views of nature can even reduce the strength and frequency of food cravings.
For people who can’t go outside, studies have shown that gazing out a window or looking at nature photos or videos — including virtual tours — are also effective in promoting positive mental health.
A key aspect of accessing these benefits is to bring a level of attention and mindfulness to the activity, something we might not normally do when looking out a window, scrolling through photos or walking down the street.
Getting Children and Teens Outside While Social Distancing for COVID-19 – Healthy Children
Getting outside provides more than a fun break for children and teens. It is also good for their physical and mental health and development. For example, children and teens who spend time enjoying nature can be:
Physically healthier. Children play harder outdoors than indoors. Especially without the structure of preschool, school or afterschool activities, children especially need opportunities to move. Children who spend more time outdoors have improved motor development. More outdoor time is linked with lower obesity rates.
More engaged in learning. Playing outside promotes more curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. Studies have found that children who spent more time in nature exploration had improved learning outcomes.
More positive in behavior. Research has found that when children spent time in natural settings they had less anger and aggression. Impulse control also improves. This might be especially important when normal routines have changed for children.
Mentally healthier. Stress and depression are reduced for all people who spend time in nature. Children show increased focus and reduced symptoms of for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
If you are looking for a beach setting for being mindful and using your 5 senses, Teddy Bear Cove on Chuckanut Drive is a great location. The parking lot is limited, which actually has a lot of benefits to it with our current Stay Home, Stay Healthy order in Phase 1. If the parking lot is packed, then there are too many people there and you can go to your plan B or C location. Also checking and planning a visit to the park at low tide will give you more beach access to spread out from other visitors.
“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson