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Freeport, ME, December 9, 2021

For many, the transition from fall to winter loses its charm once we turn the corner into January and February. Even though the days get longer after the winter solstice, the sun still rises and sets later than it does in spring and summer. Simply put, it’s darker more often than it is light. And, it can seem like there are fewer opportunities to include getting outside into your routine.

There’s a difference between breaking your routine and revamping it. Routines help ground us, make us feel more secure, keep us balanced. In the winter months when the effects of a sunlight deficit start to weigh heavy on us, the answer isn’t a sun lamp or bingeing a TV series, the answer is revamping your routine to make time for getting outside.

Studies conducted by psychologists at the University of California at Berkeley showed that feeling awe during a nature experience has a singular ability to lower stress and improve our overall well-being. Even more compelling, the research suggests that we don’t need to climb a mountain or run a river to get the healing power of awe—the simplest moments outside are all it takes.

What if, for example, you took a different path to work or school, walking through a would-be green space that’s now a vision out of a Thomas Kinkade winter landscape because of freshly fallen snow? What if the spin class on your stationary bike was a hike on a nearby trail? What if dinner around the table were dinner around the fire?

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