Did you know that going outside just 30 minutes a day can help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression in adults, teenagers, and children? Fall is a great time of year to take in some beautiful nature with your family and enjoy the cooler weather. A fun way to connect with the natural environment is heading outside on a sensory nature walk. During a sensory walk, you focus on using your senses to observe the world around you. Tuning into your senses can reduce rumination and anxiety and help you see, hear, and smell things you might not have noticed before! It also helps hone mindfulness.
We’ve included some questions and activities below to help guide you through a sensory walk on one of our San Marcos trails. Take your time and enjoy!
- Describe what you see right now.
- What is the brightest color you see?
- Do you see any signs of animals like tracks, nests, or scat?
- Play a game of nature I Spy with your walking buddy(ies).
- What kinds of animals do you hear?
- What does the wind sound like?
- Can you hear any birds? If so, what do they sound like?
- If there is water nearby, throw a few rocks into the water and wait for the plopping sounds.
- Describe any smells around you.
- Find some different flowers and compare how they smell.
- Rub some juniper leaves in your hands and smell your hands.
Touch (Watch out for poison ivy. Remember: leaves of three, let them be.)
- Find some dried up fallen leaves and crunch them up in your hands or underneath your feet. This is both a great feeling and sound.
- Are there any rocks around you? What kind of texture do they have? Are they cold or hot?
- Compare how the bark of different trees feels. Is it smooth or rough?
Written by Rachel Lincoln Seets, a member of the Outreach Committee.