Not in a bikini-clad spring breaker way (Sorry to disappoint!)…I mean roughing it without the modern luxuries we take for granted at home and at work.
When did you last get out into the big, bold, unpredictable outdoors and escape the laptop, disconnect from email and social media, and forego many other everyday comforts for more than a few hours?
Just this past weekend, my husband, daughter Natalie, her friend Megan, and our 9-year-old boxer mix, Luna, drove 4 hours upstate to a hunting lodge known as the “Handy Dandy Lodge.” Whatever possessed the avid outdoorsmen to name it as such decades ago is beyond my realm of comprehension, but I can attest that “Handy Dandy” is not the moniker I’d have chosen to represent it best.
The Handy Dandy Lodge is not in any way plush. It’s musty, dusty and has its fair share of spiders in dark corners. It doesn’t have indoor plumbing. Yes, it has a water faucet at the kitchen sink, but it functions only after someone twists an outdoor valve which directs water from the neighboring stream to funnel through it. While the sink has hot and cold handles, the water is ice cold regardless which you’ve turned on.
The bathroom is a good 30 feet from the main building—and it’s not the flushing kind. Several years ago, a visiting female discovered a porcupine emerging from the “tank” just after she finished using the facilities.
When you visit the Handy, don’t expect to make calls from your mobile phone or Google anything – that is unless you decide to hike 2 miles up the mountain to where the 3G and 4G gods will once again bestow signal upon you.
(I must disclose that the Handy does have electricity [provided a storm hasn’t knocked it out], a refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave, radio, and a propane gas stove. But it’s still plenty rustic and rough by standards other than that of a “Survivor” contestant.)
No. A trip to the Handy isn’t for everyone. But getting away from it all is for anyone who has been gasping for a breath of fresh air.
5 Ways Roughing It Can Make You a Stronger and More Satisfied Solopreneur
Nature gives energy levels and mental health a boost
According to a University of Rochester article, psychological studies have shown people experience less exhaustion, increased energy, and an enhanced feeling of well-being from exposure to nature and engagement in outdoor activities. “…Research has shown that people on wilderness excursions report feeling more alive and that just recalling outdoor experiences increases feelings of happiness and health.”
One sure way to appreciate all the conveniences you have is to do without them for a while. It’s good to step away from all that we take for granted and the things that make life easy for us.
Experiencing nature can make you a better thinker.
Attentive Restorative Theory (ART) suggests that in contrast to urban settings that expose us to harsh stimuli like electronics, machinery, car horns, etc., nature provides soft stimuli—wind blowing, leaves rustling, birds chirping, etc.—which restore and improve cognition. The Earthday.com blog post The Effect of Nature on Cognition shares about a University of Michigan cognitive psychology and industrial engineering researcher’s experiment which determined walking in a natural setting improves cognition dramatically over walking on a busy street. As a business owner, what’s not to love about being able to focus and process information better?
No influx of external messages gives you time to think for yourself and renew your creativity.
Even the most independent thinkers can get sidetracked by the barrage of everyone else’s viewpoints and opinions. When you’re out in nature with no connection to social media, email, or electronic media sources, you have an opportunity to be at one with your own thoughts and perspectives.
You’ll set your imagination loose to think freely without second guessing where your thoughts are going. Nature has a way of making us realize there’s so much more than the finite world we surround ourselves with day in and day out. It puts us in awe of things great and small and opens our minds. Just make sure you keep a pen and notebook close at hand – so you can capture each brilliant idea before your brain moves on to the next one.
(Tip: Out in nature is a great place to trip over ideas for new blog posts and snap photos of objects that have the potential to represent something beyond themselves for your blog and social media.)
It forces you to play and leave worry behind.
Without a to-do list hovering over your head, you have no choice but to kick back and enjoy yourself. When you’re busy all the time, it’s easy to forget how much fun it is to play for the simple purpose of just playing.
During our weekend at the Handy, we spent hours playing Apples to Apples and Pass the Pigs and laughing hysterically at how the odds were either in—or out of—our favor.
It tests your endurance.
When you escape to the great outdoors, you have opportunities to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Hiking, kayaking, sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag, going without a shower for 2 days, using an outhouse…there’s always something to experience to grow your frame of reference and toughen you up.
I realize “roughing it” is subjective and everyone’s accessibility to natural surroundings varies. I typically only get away to tap into my wild side two to three times each year, but I’ve found a little goes a long way in refreshing my mind and perspective.
How about you? How often do you get away from it all and get back to nature?
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By Dawn Mentzer
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