Appreciation for winter weather is often overlooked. A majority of people enjoy the warm, ocean-scented summer months. For me, summer is enjoyable, but winter gives my soul motivation; there are still plenty of activities to do outside throughout the colder months of the year.
I primarily write about things to do outside and how to enjoy nature. But for this blog entry, I’m going to write about why we should appreciate North Carolina, especially during the colder months, and all that it has to offer.
According to researchers in California, nature has an immense impact on the cognitive health of people. Spending time outdoors helps reduce anxiety and rumination and increase working memory. So, spending time outdoors, even in the winter, helps mental health and creates a better living environment for people.
Western North Carolina is home to an abundance of breathtaking waterfalls, ranging from simple short hikes such as Hooker Falls in DuPont National Forest, or more difficult treks like the hike (more like a climb) to Big Bradley Falls. Hiking to a waterfall in the winter is incredible. If you were to look closely, you might even notice ice forming over running water. For me, this small occurrence is stunning. When I think of the running water under the ice it reminds me that even when things get cold, life continues on and ends up creating something magnificent.
Snow freshly fallen on the parkway also illuminates the incredible beauty of Western North Carolina. The snow covered trees and ground form a winter wonderland. Hiking on the parkway when it’s roads are closed is the best part of winter for me. Being able to enjoy the landscape without the disturbance of passing cars or loud tourists really exemplifies the healing qualities of nature in North Carolina.
Although this past winter did not last for very long (only about a week), I was still able to experience my favorite parts of winter: water under ice and freshly fallen snow. Being who I am, I really feel as though any outdoor time, is not time wasted. So whether time outside is spent during the winter, spring, summer, or fall, it is extremely important to the mental health of people.
As usual I am ending my blog with a quote. This one relates directly to the impact nature has on people’s health and wellness.
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’”
—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar