Tag Archives: hiking

Outdoor Odessey

14 Jan
Smith Falls State Park. Photo courtesy of www.visitvalentine.org

Smith Falls State Park. Photo courtesy of http://www.visitvalentine.com.

Whether the outdoors is blanketed in snow or not, there is plenty of nature-loving fun and fitness to be had by all. Bundle up and start your trek to the great outdoors…


If you fancy a hike or long for a snowshoe or cross-country ski expedition, then pack your thermos with chili, throw some almonds in your pocket, and get your warm-clothing-layered awesome self outdoors! The beauty of hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing is that you can do it in the comfort of your neighborhood or venture out to a nature center (and the fact that it works every major muscle, increases cardiovascular fitness and burns 400-700 calories per hour is pretty cool too). Most parks have equipment you can rent or you can pick up your own gear at an outdoor sports store. So strap on your shoes (or skis) of choice and try your neighborhood park or any of these beautiful nature centers:


Boyer Chute (Omaha, NE)

Fontenelle Forest (Bellevue, NE)

Hitchcock Nature Center (Honey Creek, IA)

Indian Cave State Park (Brownville, NE)

Mahoney State Park (Ashland, NE)

Neale Woods (Denton, NE)

Pioneers Park (Lincoln, NE)

Ponca State Park (Ponca, NE)

Smith Falls State Park (Valentine, NE)


For more information on state parks, nature centers and outdoor fun, visit the Nebraska Games and Parks website.




Sweet Relief

18 Nov
Uber Happy Mountain yoga in Utah

Happy Mountain Yoga in Utah

Do you daydream about traveling to a secluded cabin with a good book, fireplace and bowl of chili? Or playing frisbee on the beach with your family after you’ve buried your smartphone in the sand? How blissful would it be to take one moment to just LIVE in the moment? What if you had the best my-mouth-hurts-from-laughing-I’m-gonna-pee-my-pants 5-minute ticklefest? I partook in that with my niece and nephew this weekend and it was pure Happy Therapy. And it also got me thinking… what did I enjoy as a kid when I didn’t carry all of my self-worth in how many hours I worked and how “busy” I was?

I cross-stitched, read, danced everywhere, played outside, colored, built pillow forts and laughed. What did you do?

I propose a pinky-swear. A pinky-swear to invest at least 30 minutes per week stepping into “rejuvenation time” and embracing it for what it truly is–not a selfish act, but a self-care act. You cannot be fully present, healthy and loving towards others if you are not fully present, healthy and loving towards yourself. Ahhh… I hear the choir singing.

Here are some activities that have soul and heart healing benefits, proven to reduce stress, improve heart health, increase neurological pathways and are down-right awesome.

  • Flowing Movement: yoga, dancing
  • Touch: massage therapy, hugging, tickling, playing an instrument
  • Arts and Crafts: knitting, painting, drawing, jewelry-making, cross-stitching
  • Nature: walking, hiking, gardening
  • Reflection: reading, meditation
  • Breathwork: deep breathing, singing, laughing

Okay, Action Jackson, let’s take a deep breath right here, right now. Yes, you might be “shoulding” all over yourself at the THOUGHT of putting your work down and taking time for yourself because you’re just too busy, but humor me for one minute. Ready? Read this paragraph first and then close your eyes and continue with the activity. Sitting comfortably, pay attention to the beating of your heart, the tension in your muscles and the thoughts racing through your mind. Inhale through your nose for two seconds and then exhale out your mouth for two seconds. Continue to breathe, extending each inhalation and exhalation by one second until you reach five seconds. Feel your heart beat slow down and your muscles relax. Acknowledge any thoughts that come into your mind and allow them to leave. No judgements or self-criticism; just sweet, beautiful, releasing breaths.