EngagePerspectivesRhythms of Wellness, Nature
Wellness Icon

Rhythms of Wellness, Nature

Being attentive to wellness, especially during quarantine, often means developing practices that balance work with the kind of breaks which allow attentiveness to the present moment. This is a gentle rhythm that makes work better and guards against burn out. Like a marathon runner who adheres to a plan that gradually builds each day while keeping pace, developing a rhythm around work with breaks can help to maintain an inner steadiness.

Woman watching the sunset

Part of my rhythm has always involved nature.  For reasons still inexplicable to me, just walking outside calms me almost instantly.

In his posthumously published collection of essays, neurologist and author Oliver Sacks writes,

All of us have had the experience of wandering through a lush garden or a timeless desert, walking by a river or an ocean, or climbing a mountain and finding ourselves simultaneously calmed and reinvigorated, engaged in mind, refreshed in body and spirit. The importance of these physiological states on individual and community health is fundamental and wide-ranging.

– Everything in Its Place: First Loves and Last Tales, “Why We Need Gardens” (2019)

To counteract the glare of screens and the two-dimensionality of Zoom, nature provides an instant remedy that “simultaneously calm(s) and reinvigorate(s).” We are able to be healed and awakened by outdoor activity and vibrancy and this can bring inner peace. And walks do not have to just be in the pastoral wilds that Sacks describes. Some of my best memories as an undergraduate at Penn involve the walks I took over the Walnut street bridge to clear my mind, the sky ablaze with color as the sun was setting. I am excited that this idea still resonates and is part of a new wellness effort at Penn. In these times of quarantine, I encourage you to get out and see what that does to your interior life. According to Sacks, it has implications for our community health as well.

Related Content

Keep Reading

Friends sitting next to lake watching sunset
Podcast

How Perceptions of Support Network Impacts Emotional, Physical and Social Wellbeing of College Students

In this special episode of the The PARK Podcast, Steven-John Kounoupis and Venus Tian of the Icarus Research Group weave together academic research and first-account interviews to deliver a multi-dimensional conversation on social isolation and mental health. The discussion focuses on the nature of social isolation and social networks in college, sharing diverse perspective on how socialization impacts health and how social wellness impacts our ability to have strong connections with others. Learn More
Photograph of old house
Blog

Contemplative Social Movements and How We See

The desire to change society resonates well with Gen Z for whom political activism is a generational hallmark. John Della Volpe’s book, Fight: How Gen Z is Channeling their Fear and Passion to Save America, uses survey data to demonstrate how Gen Z is using democratic means to voice their frustrations with older generations’ inaction on pressing social issues. “For them, America at times has resembled a dystopia. But they won’t sit back and take it. They’ve decided to fight their own war against injustice and inequality right here at home.” From climate change, to gun control, racial equality to reproductive rights, Gen Z is speaking out and showing up to contentious political battles. Learn More
book cover
Blog

A Book Club Where You Don't have to Read the Book to Feel Included in the Conversation

Nineteenth surgeon general of the United States Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, traveled the nation to contextualize loneliness. He listened to voices often unheard, met with change-makers, and started a wellness group with friends. His findings toward a connected life served as a starting point toward a conversation on empathy in this year's SNF Paideia fellows’ book club.Learn More