Article

Wellness in Nature

Infographic describing the six steps to becoming a park health ambassador within the power of parks for health initiative.
Six steps to becoming a Park Health Ambassador

NPS/Michael Mojarro

You are invited to become a Park Health Ambassador

Experience the Power of Parks for Health and become a Park Health Ambassador by exploring wellness in nature and sharing your experience with others!

Follow our six easy steps
Following our six-step process, anyone can become a Park Health Ambassador.

The six steps are gradual and realistic:
• Start with you;
• Tune into nature and yourself;
• Choose simple activities that are simple and fun for you;
• Don’t get stuck on goals;
• Share your experience with others;
• Now you’re a health ambassador!

Be sure to RSVP your wellness in nature experience during National Park Week, April 17-25, 2021 to join thousands of individuals and organizations who are tapping into the Power of Parks for Health. Share your amazing park experiences on social media using hashtag #PowerOfParksForHealth and sharing how you feel after giving yourself a park prescription (ParkRx) by using hashtag #BeforeAndAfterParkRx.

Steps to Becoming a Park Health Ambassador

Health and healing begins with you, by connecting with parks

Health and healing begins with you. Being a Park Health Ambassador is all about self improvement in a simple self-guided approach, using the resource of parks. While this may be the hardest step to overcome, once you dedicate your mind to it, it can be an easy experience. All that is needed is the ability to get up and get after it, whatever you decide “it” to be. The most valuable, and obtainable, achievement of Step 1, is that you are beginning. After this, the rest of the steps will much more easily fall into place.
The breathtaking landscapes throughout this country can motivate you to cultivate a stronger, healthier, happier, and more fulfilled version of yourself. Take a break from a fast-paced life and live in the moment. Sometimes all you need is a little pick me up, a mood-booster, a breather, or some inspiration. Fortunately we know that during difficult times, a dose of nature can be the best medicine. Wherever you are, whatever your life’s circumstances, you have an open invitation to take care of yourself by tapping into the healing power of nature. Any time spent outdoors can really bring you to a better understanding of nature and sense of peace within yourself.

Really connect with nature and allow yourself to take in all it has to offer. Here are a few ways you can experience nature from the window, the neighborhood, a nearby park or trail or virtually.
  • Do you know what time the sun rises and sets?
  • Enjoy a view of nature from your window, your porch, or balcony.
  • Enjoy a five-minute break in front of the window.
  • Participate in the Spring Bird Migration Watch from your own backyard.
  • How many different birds you can see?
  • How many different bird calls you can hear?
  • Can you see any birds making nests?
  • Can see any birds with worms in their beaks?
  • Can you find any signs of spring in the plants around you?
  • How many different blooms can you see?
  • How many trees or shrubs are coming into leaf?
  • How many people can you count walking outside?
  • How accurately can you guess the outside temperature, the wind speed, and the humidity?
  • Watch the clouds go by.
Through step 3 of this journey to becoming a Park Health Ambassador, you want to pick activities that can be easily incorporated in your life and schedule. These can be brand new activities you have never tried, or activities you are picking up again after some time off. The choices are endless. Here are some ideas for spending time in nature while maintaining social distancing:
  • Take a walk, run, or bike ride outside.
  • Take your dog for a walk.
  • Go fishing.
  • If you have a backyard, pack a picnic and have it with a couple others.
  • Read a book or magazine for half an hour on your stoop.
  • Try a neighborhood workout on your driveways like Zumba.
  • Take your yoga mat outside and try out some poses with a video. Try a free app or a fitness YouTube channel.
  • Make a video call to a friend or loved one while outdoors and share the view.
  • Draw a hopscotch board on your sidewalk for passersby.
  • Put a zipline, hammock, or tree swing in your yard.
  • Set up a tent in your backyard, deck, or balcony.
  • Have a bonfire.
  • Start your own garden (plant seeds).
  • Hang nest-making materials from your balcony, porch or a tree branch for birds to find.
  • Join the #GoingOnABearHunt campaign. Put a stuffed bear in your front window for neighborhood kids to find. Take a walk in your neighborhood to see how many you can spot.
Can’t get outdoors? Explore these ideas for a virtual experience:
  • Practice mindfulness by downloading a mediation app
  • Bring the outdoors inside with Find your virtual park and explore your favorite national parks virtually.
  • Take yourself on a virtual camping trip. Set up your tent/pillow fort, project a campfire, and play nature sounds on a speaker.
  • Try using Virtual Reality (VR) headsets to take a walk in nature to reduce anxiety and stress levels. Check out YouTube for 360-degree virtual hike videos
If you are visiting a park or trail, check out these health activities that are proven ways to enjoy the benefits of parks as a health resource.
With step 4, you are reminded of the saying “life is about the journey, not the destination.” If a precise, and possibly overly ambitious goal, is the only notion you think about, then you miss out on the enjoyment of the rest of the experience and the self-growth that comes at each step. Remind yourself that what may be successful for one person, may not work for you. Feel free to change your activities and goals as you please. Nothing is set in stone here!
Use step 5 to enhance and share your experience with others. Encourage family, friends, or a loved one to join you or map their own path to becoming a Park Health Ambassador. Join the Healthy Parks Healthy People movement! #SundayFunday
#MilitaryMondayPlus
#TrailTuesday
#WellnessWednesday
#FitnessFriday

#PowerOfParksForHealth
#HealthyParksHealthyPeople
#YourParkYourHealth
#NatureForAll
#HealthForAll
The time has come to officially be a Park Health Ambassador! Continue the first-hand fulfillment of building a relationship with parks by restarting your wonderful experience and showing others the way. Post your progress on social media with #PowerOfParksForHealth and #BeforeAfterParkRx.

Two digital people congratulating one another with a scenic mountain background and confetti falling from sky. Sun rising over mountains in background.
Two people congratulating one another for becoming Park Health Ambassadors

NPS/Michael Mojarro

Congratulations Park Health Ambassador!

Share your experiences with the hashtags:
#PowerOfParksForHealth
#BeforeAndAfterParkRx
#NatureForAll
#HealthForAll

Remember to Find Wellness at Nature at Your Workplace

Even in the workplace nature makes you stronger, smarter, healthier, happier, and more productive. Check out these simple way to bring the health benefits of nature into your work place.

  • Take your lunch break by the window or outdoors.
  • Include houseplants in your workspace.
  • Bring fresh flowers into your workspace.
  • Walk or bike ride to work.
  • Host a walking meeting.
  • Get outside and practice mindful breathing for 5 minutes in fresh air.
  • Put on some headphones and listen to nature sounds while working.
  • Schedule outdoor nature breaks.
  • Include nature photos and pictures in your workplace.
  • Listen to nature sounds on your work break.
  • Use your favorite nature scene as a screensaver.
  • Use nature scenes as video backgrounds for virtual meetings.

Last updated: March 25, 2021