Outwit Quarantine Brain: Nature Parks & Mind Medicine

The second week of May has everyone antsy to get out of our homes while we spend another week in quarantine. Fortunately some states and counties have opened back up throughout the country. The ones that still are on stay-at-home order are starting to feel a little restless. If that sounds like you; don’t worry. A way to overcome your anxiety driven, stressed quarantine brain is by stepping out into nature’s mind medicine.

Most of those stuck in quarantine over the past couple months, have been taking advantage of the extra free-time. More people than ever are seen outside. They are taking family walks, jogging, riding bikes, and I have even seen some kids out with Razor scooters. When I venture out, I see a lot of nice looking yards and gardens. All of these activities are a great way to get our minds off of the usual thoughts of the effects of COVID-19. Just make sure to stay six feet apart, wash your hands, and wear the right protection while encountering others.

Escape Your Quarantine Mind

The Quittie Creek Nature Park located in Annivile, PA

A great way to break away from the quarantine mind is by visiting your local nature parks. As long as you follow the guidelines set out to stop the spread of the coronavirus and the park rules; you can find a peaceful day, morning, or afternoon out in nature.

Having daily activities ouside can help reduce anxiety, release stress, and create a better mood for most people. That’s wy taking a trip to a local nature park is the perfect way to outwit a quarantined brain with some natural mind medicine.

You can find all kinds of parks; some with a trail that follows the path of a local water source, one that leads up into the mountains, or even a park based soling on learning more about the natural habitats. You can always find outdoor activities while visiting a nature park.

Nature Park Outdoor Activities

There are many outdoor activities that you can participate in at nature parks. If you are outside you can find something to do. Nature parks bring their own personal activities to help get to know nature and yourself better.

Take a Hike/Walk

There are many benefits to hiking/walking in nature. One of them being physical health; like any other exercise, it is beneficial to your bodies health, inside and out. When walking through nature you find your mind starts to go quiet. You sen out and focus more on your breathing. Almost like a natural meditation. It brings with it a mood boost that can influence natural stress relief and part with the pressures of anxiety.

Walking trail at The Quittie Creek Nature Park

Fishing the Water Banks

Most nature parks you find will have a source of water. If you find yourself near one of these parks, pack up your fishing gear and spend some hours on the banks casting. This is a great quarantine activity because it involves a lot of focus. Having something to turn you attention completely one can help take away your internal convective thoughts. This will in turn leave you less stressed and more relaxed. Finding the right cast can help fight off depression. With depression being something a lot of people struggle with and these feelings can be heightened during an uncertain time like the present. That is why getting out and even listening to the flow of natural water, can help turn your day or week around.

Quittapahilla Creek flowing through The Quittie Creek Nature Park

Try Bird Watching

Bird watching or, birding, is a well renowned hobby among wildlife observers. It is a way of connecting with nature. Birds are everywhere and that means you technically can go birding anywhere. Nature parks are a great destination to participate in this hobby. You can find all kinds of birds from tree goers to the more aquatic bird. Other than being quite peaceful, birding has more added benefits like, growing you patience skills and increasing the speed of your reflexes. We all need a little more patience in this time, so practice by gaining a new hobby like bird watching.

Sycamore and old oak tree canopies at The Quittie Creek Nature Park

Trail Riding

Most of the time you can find a nature park with a long trail that is perfect for bike riding. This low-impact exercise is relied on for releasing stress and increasing your mood. This is because when you cycle, your body releases endorphins that make you feel good. There are more benefits than the obvious physical health riding a bike in nature can bring you, such as, helping stabilize your emotions and helping to leave you feeling better in a mental state of mind. Riding nature tails is a great family activity that can help you gain more connection with each other and nature.

A nature trail at The Quittie Creek Nature Park

Gaining More Knowledge

If you are at a local nature park you might find there is some history and lessons behind the ground you are standing on. In most parks you can find a little background information on how the nature park came to be. There could be a single founder or a local organization that came together, to build park projects and raise funds to help improve the park. Maybe there was an old company that used the land years ago that since went out of business allowing the founding of the park. Historical monuments and park projects can add a nice reading feature along the sides of trails and waterways. Some parks even have informational guides on active wildlife and species that can be located throughout the grounds. There is a lot you can learn about your community by just taking a break from civilization and venturing out into nature.

Pedestrian Bridge built in 2007 in The Quittie Creek Nature Park

Finding Local Nature Parks

If you are feeling the need to take a trip out of quarantine, you can find your answers easily online. Start by looking at your counties website or your communities social page. Most likely you can find suggestions to great outdoor locations in you backyard.

If you are looking for more of a day trip adventure check out Find a Park to locate National Parks by state.

If you are local to the Central Pennsylvania region, here are a few parks you can checkout.

The Quittie Creek Nature Park (Annville, PA)

As you can tell all of the pictures used in this post are from this local nature park right down the street from me.

This nature park was formed by the organization, ‘Friends of Old Annville’ in 1989, after residence became concerned about unregulated dumping in an old limestone quarry. This dumping site was right next to the Quittapahilla Creek. Over the years, the FOOA, raised funds that supported park projects. There actions granted The Quittie Creek Nature Park, 36 acres of land, a 1.3 mile long hiking path following the Quittapahilla Creek, a bridge that connects the park to the Annville community neighborhoods, and the recognition as an important birding site.

Wildwood Park (Harrisburg, PA)

This nature park is located right outside of main suburbia Harrisburg. It is full of different natural habitats from, Wildwood Park Lake, forests, meadows, and marshes that are both filled with cattails and open. Nature trails flow throughout this 210 acre park. The trails come in all sizes and terrains. If you want an easy trail to lessuraly walk alongside nature, the park has trails for you. If you are feeling more of a challenge then they have trails that are longer or trails that have a tougher terrain. Each trail has a different look at habitats and you can always find wildlife. During hours of operation, the Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center is open. This is where you, and if you have children, can learn more about the park and what wildlife you can find within it. In 1987, ‘Friends of Wildwood’ a nonprofit organization, promoted the enhancement of the park. It is now run by Dauphin County Parks and Recreation Department, with the help of ‘Friends of Wildwood’.

Deleware Water Gap National Recreational Area (Bushkill, PA)

This National Park was developed during the conservation and environmental movements throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. If you are looking for more than your typical walk in the park, this is the location for you. At 67,000 acres full of forests, mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, and trout streams, there is always something you can find in Bushkill, PA. To make your trip an educational experience, during operating house you can find learning activities and resources for the whole family.

Outwit and Use Quarantine Brain

During this time we still have to take precautions. Before you head out to a park near you, make sure you are following the proper guidelines. This ensures the safety of yourself and others who might be out for their own mind medicine. Keep practicing social distancing and remember to wash your hands.

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