Dank, woodsy smells and the sound of leaves rustling in the wind can provide some of the most powerful stress relief we have available to us. Studies have demonstrated that just 20 to 30 minutes of being immersed in nature can lead to a significant drop in levels of cortisol, or the stress hormone. We’ve come up with a few ways you can access nature’s medicine even more.
One of the best things about Blix bikes is that you can choose how strenuous each ride is. While pushing your body further might seem counterintuitive to stress relief, it will in fact help a great deal. Exercise produces endorphins, or chemicals in the brain that work like a natural painkiller. Endorphins enhance your ability to sleep, which can have a big impact on stress reduction, as well as all that stress impacts—like alertness, concentration, energy levels, and cognitive function. So, head out for a ride and lower your PAS to push your body further. If you’re on the Packa or Aveny, stash a blanket on the rear rack and find a nice shady place to take a break mid-ride. Spend additional time in nature by reading a book, or simply just sit and relax. You’ll be surprised by how much stress you leave behind when you turn around to ride home.
One of the best ways to access all of the benefits of nature is to fully immerse yourself in it! Instead of answering that inner call to post a few nature photos on social media, turn your phone completely off, or set it to “Do not Disturb.” Consider this time to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of daily life and instead connect with the natural splendor that surrounds you.
Stop and Smell the Roses
To be even more present, get all of your senses involved. Take the time to look—really look—at your surroundings. How does the sunlight hit the leaves or the water? Depending on time of year, do you see growth, or are the trees losing their leaves in preparation for the winter? How about smell; can you smell damp forest soil or salty air? Perhaps you find yourself on a noisy city street or a quiet country road—wherever you are, take it all in.
Practice Self-Affirmation and Gratitude
Simply getting outside is an accomplishment in and of itself. You have a lot to be proud of, and on every ride, it’s good to take some time to recognize your accomplishments. Whether you ride to your favorite trail or park or wait until you return home, cozy up with a blanket, cup of tea, and journal and reflect on how you’re taking the time to optimize your physical and mental health. Meditate on your day’s adventure and express gratitude for yourself and our beautiful planet. Many Blix Riders from all around the country have expressed how their rides are reducing stress and allowing them to connect with their emotions and thoughts. If you find yourself in the same boat, feel free to share your Blix story. We’d love to hear from you.