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Johnson County

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Johnson County
11811 S. Sunset Drive
Suite 1500
Olathe, KS 66061

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Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

(913) 715-7000
(913) 715-7005 fax

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Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service

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Getting Outdoors with a Stay at Home Order

It’s easy to find research and news articles that share how beneficial being outdoors is for our physical and mental health. The exact numbers and figures will vary some between institutions, but most will agree that even getting outside for just 20 minutes can be beneficial.

We have a big challenge ahead of us with the recommendation for social distancing and to stay at home as much as possible. We need to find new ways to keep ourselves entertained, healthy in both mind and body, and able to tackle these new challenges while keeping our friends, family, neighbors, and communities safe.

My suggestion for you all is to get outside. You don’t need to go to a National Park to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. Johnson County is filled with trails at local parks and even in neighborhoods. If there isn’t a trail near you, consider a walk through your neighborhood. Even just seeing your neighbors from a distance can help reform that sense of community. Going for a twenty-minute walk can do wonders for stress loads coming from working at home and implementing new continuous learning programs.

If going for a walk isn’t your cup of tea, I would direct you to check out some resources from our Horticulture Agents, Dennis and Zac, which can be found on our website. Planting a garden this spring can bring its own level of therapy. If you’re wanting to find a food source of your own, a veggie garden is a great solution. Or if you have a love of pretty, colorful flowers, a new flower bed is a great way to work through stress and anxiety. It also has the benefit of a tangible reward! Eating a tomato fresh from the vine while smelling blooming flowers can be a goal for later this summer with some work now.

I know some folks aren’t that enthused about going for long walks or getting their hands dirty. For you, I wonder if some wildlife watching would do the trick? Springtime is a great time to get into watching wildlife. No fancy binoculars are needed to watch for birds. But a simple pair can be helpful to have! There are many resources online to help you identify what you find!

Other wildlife, like squirrels, can be the ban of our existence. They can chew through our patio furniture like crazy, but they can also be incredibly entertaining to watch! Have you ever seen a squirrel get frustrated at another squirrel or bird? Their chatter and antics can be hilarious to watch if you can see it play out.

And for those that really don’t want to venture out, or can’t do so, I would suggest just sitting on your patio, balcony, or front step. Many studies have showed that just breathing some fresh air can be incredibly beneficial to both body and mind. Take the time to just breathe and watch the sights around you.

We may be tasked with staying home except for the necessities, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get outside to help clear our minds. Take advantage of the sunshine when we have it and get outdoors. I know I will be!