Today's Update: Wednesday, July 8

July 8, 2020

Dear Student Life Team,

I talk a lot about the importance of staying well and reducing stress in our new COVID reality, especially on Wellness Wednesdays. One of the most effective ways I’ve found to handle this stress is by engaging in environmental wellness and getting in touch with the natural world.

Our Student Life Student Wellness Center says, “The environmentally well person recognizes the responsibility to preserve, protect and improve the environment and appreciates the interconnectedness of nature and the individual.” (swc.osu.edu/about-us/nine-dimensions-of-wellness/)

As many of you know, Ohio State has a long history of environmental stewardship, going all the way back to our founding as an agricultural and mechanical college (Note: My wardrobe would look much different if we’d stuck with the original school colors of orange and black!). Ohio State’s Sustainability Institute leads the university’s sustainability efforts, and Student Life’s own Energy Management and Sustainability seeks to educate students and staff on how to live a more sustainable life.

Typically, when we think of being environmentally conscious it involves knowing what’s recyclable and reducing our water and energy consumption. That’s all important, but there are other benefits from being in touch with our natural world. Simply being outside can help you to reduce stress and anxiety.

There is research that shows being in nature helps reduce anger, fear and stress. It also makes you feel better, emotionally and physically. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell.

So, simply getting outside is a huge health benefit! Once you’re out there, you can practice mindfulness by listening to the birds or wind blowing through the trees. Feel the warmth of the sun or get a good workout (stay hydrated, please). Or you can simply spend time thinking about our natural world now and what it might be like in 20 years.

We should never be too busy to stop and connect with our natural environment. It’s yet another way to stay Scarlet and Great.

Melissa