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Nature is powerful medicine—one that supplies us with many of the essentials we need for healing and overall wellness. By simply getting out into nature, we can improve many aspects of our lives, including our thyroid health.

If you’ve been feeling fatigued, overwhelmed, stressed, and unable to manage your weight or your emotions, one of the first moves you can take is simply stepping outdoors. Shifting your lifestyle habits to allow for time in nature can be beneficial for your hormone health, along with mental wellness.

Below, I explain some of the ways you can elevate your thyroid health by incorporating the great outdoors into your daily routine.

Get Your Vitamin D

When temperatures are freezing, it might not sound appealing to venture outside. However, even 10 or 15 minutes spent outdoors in the sun can do wonders for your vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D, which needs to be absorbed through the skin, goes a long way toward improving your thyroid health as well as balancing your immune system, among other benefits. This is why it’s so important to get out into nature all year long whenever possible.

Enjoy Mindful Moments in Nature

In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to get caught up in all of your responsibilities, spreading yourself thin and never being fully present in each moment. Getting outside has a way of forcing you to be mindful as you take in the sights and sounds around you.

To practice mindfulness in nature, be proactive about using your senses as you walk or hike. Even if you’re just strolling through your neighborhood, mentally note the things you can see, hear, smell, feel, or even taste. Maybe pack a picnic with your kids and make a game of it—or try it as a solo activity from time to time.

Be Mindful of What You Listen To

If your walk is an exercise in staying present, that means it’s not a way to catch up on your calls, texts, or the latest true-crime podcast—which, by the way, isn’t exactly the best way to unwind and alleviate stress.

Instead of feeding anxiety with thoughts of death, destruction, or your long list of responsibilities, try playing some peaceful music or a guided meditation. If your mind tends to wander, the gentle background noise will help you stay present.

Notice the Details

As you’re out and about in nature, take pictures of anything you notice while engaging your senses. It could be a tiny raindrop on a leaf, the intricacies of a snowflake, or the petals of a beautiful flower. Maybe you catch a squirrel running up a tree or a cat lounging in the grass.

Over time, you’ll gather quite the collection of pictures. What things were you drawn to? What did you find interesting? Over a period of months or years, you’ll see what types of things caught your eye in nature.

Be Curious

As you investigate nature, you’ll come across things you’ve never seen before. It could be an unusual bird or maybe a plant you’ve walked past 100 times.

So what do you do? Get curious! Look things up. What did you see? Why was it there, or what is its purpose? You can always download an app that identifies plants and animals in nature, or journal about your experience and let your mind wander.

Clean Up

Masks, water bottles, wrappers, and other garbage tend to accumulate in nature unless someone picks up the trash. Make a point of taking along a small trash bag and collecting any trash you see on the ground.

For the sake of the land, the neighborhood, and Mother Earth herself, it’s a good feeling to leave nature better than when you found it.

The Benefits Are Manyfold

The goal of walking in nature isn’t to break a big sweat or work toward a specific calorie burn. Rather, the point is simply to spend even 15 or 20 minutes engaging in an activity that will calm your system, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and blood sugar, and reduce anxiety over time.

By engaging in outdoor activities with mindfulness, you’ll be doing something soothing and restorative for your body. You might even be spending more time with friends or family as you get outdoors together.

There might not necessarily be a direct correlation between time spent outdoors and thyroid health, but ultimately, all of these cumulative benefits will help your thyroid function better.

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