North Carolina’s cities are known for their rapidly growing technological industries, innovative startups, and entrepreneurial spirit. But outside the glare of city lights, North Carolina offers a robust landscape with striking views and endless opportunities for exploration. As you may already know, Bloom is all about reconnecting with the natural world and finding your passion through petals. Rather than just telling you to go outside again, here are some reasons why you should get outdoors and what you can do when you get there!
Forest Walking & Biophilia
Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest air.” It is also referred to as “forest walking” or “forest bathing.” Scientific data has shown that Shinrin-yoku has a significant effect on blood pressure, stress, and even boosts the parts of the immune system responsible for the detection and destruction of cancerous cells.
The idea of Shinrin-yoku ties in with the Biophilia Hypothesis, which states that we as living creatures have an innate desire to connect with other living systems. You can read more about the Biophilia Hypothesis here.
To take a nature walk, you’ll want to immerse yourself in a natural setting. You must be free of distraction, so unplug, turn off your phone, and be present in the moment. Take your time and contemplate the different natural elements you come across. Listen closely to your surroundings. What do you hear? Birds singing, bugs moving through the branches, wind in the leaves? Appreciate the beauty in nature and tune all your senses into that one goal.
Places to Go
The options for reconnecting with nature in North Carolina are endless. It ultimately depends on your level of mobility, your geographic location, and what you feel like experiencing. Here are a few fan favorites to consider when planning your next expedition.
Chimney Rock State Park is home to hiking trails of various difficulties and the most stellar view from the top. It acts as a haven for different flora, fauna, and unique geological features. The combination of cliffs, waterfalls, and trees make it the perfect natural setting for family outings, quiet reflections, and even weddings.
While you’re at Chimney Rock, be sure to stop and appreciate some of the blooms! The Blazing Star is particularly unique and beautiful.
McDowell Nature Preserve
If you aren’t feeling up to the state park experience, check out a local nature reserve. McDowell Nature Preserve is home to 119 species of birds, 21 species each of reptiles and mammals, and 14 species of amphibians. That’s not even touching on the various forms of plant life.
McDowell Nature Preserve is 1,116 acres of mostly undeveloped land, with 7 miles of trails for your enjoyment. Keep an eye out for the endangered plant, Schweinitz's sunflower. Other blooms of note include the Georgia aster and prairie dock.
You don’t have to go far to reconnect with the wild. Freedom Park is one of the many parks in Charlotte that offers walking trails and vibrant gardens for your enjoyment. Spend a lunch break relaxing by the lake, or walk the trails with a friend over the weekend. Be sure to peruse the Liz Hair Nature Walk and demonstration gardens on your journey.
Why Your Boots are Made for Walking
We’ve already talked about the health benefits of nature walking, but what about the personal development benefits? Taking a nature walk can help you clear your mind and reconnect with your creative core. Rather than stressing about daily responsibilities, you can take some time to let your mind ponder where you are in life. Are you pursuing your passion? Do you need to make changes so you can feel this calm more often?
While nature walks can be an effective way to determine where you want to be in life, working with a coach can take it a step further and help you determine how to get there. Coaches can create a safe environment for you to develop your skills, identify gaps and obstacles in your path, and map out the best route for you to follow.
The terrain ahead may be rough, but a coach can act as your compass and guide to lead you to the view from the top. Click here to see how Bloom can help you start your journey on the right foot!