Give a boost to your mental health with time spent outdoors.

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Hiking in Alaska photo by the author

Right now, for many, we are in a season of uncertainty. With lost jobs, kids at home, and lack of social interaction, many of us feel mentally and emotionally strained. There is, however, one haven to help those who are suffering from the many struggles that 2020 has brought us. This haven is time spent outdoors.

Many different studies led to the myriad of benefits that time spent outdoors brings. Harvard Medical School lists exercise, happiness, and overall health improved with time spent in an outdoor setting.

As an outdoor enthusiast myself — I enjoy many different recreation activities. However, I would have to say one of my favorite activities is just going on a hike. Hiking is physically and emotionally stimulating. …


Quantity is great, but comprehension is better.

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Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash

Many writers and productivity gurus preach methods of how you can increase the number of books you read. These tips help establish a routine reading habit, but they don’t guarantee you’ll get anything from your reading.

I’m an avid reader like you, but I don’t strain myself to complete a certain number of books by the end of the month. I prefer to take my time to enjoy the books, gaining new knowledge, and finding purpose in my reading time. After all, reading a bunch of books is hardly productive if it doesn’t mean anything for you.

Shifting your mindset so that you focus more on comprehension rather than quantity dramatically affects how much you get out of and enjoy reading. In turn, you may find that when you enjoy the books you read, you can read more than ever before. Here are some methods that I’ve used to get more from the books I read. …


Convenience certainly comes at a cost.

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Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

Just admit it, you probably love the ease and convenience of food delivery apps. Life can be busy and hectic, and you just don’t have the time to go to the grocery store and prepare your food. Life can be so busy that you don’t even have time to stop by the actual restaurant.

This is when phone apps like Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats come in handy. All one needs to do is open the app, choose some food, and then it shows up at your doorstep or office. …


And it’s not because of a crazy night out on the town.

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“Drunk Trees” Photo by NASA in the Public Domain.

Many trees found in northern climates are suffering what looks like too much time spent with the wine glass. Although at first glance, these “drunken trees” may appear innocuous, they are a grave indicator of the rapidly changing climate resulting from human mechanisms.

There are many reasons in northern climates for trees to be tilted vertically. Some of these include natural processes such as frost heaving, earthflows, and earthquakes. However, many trees are now falling victim to drunkenness through the melting of the earth’s permafrost. This melting affects not only the trees but also entire ecosystems and human landscapes.

What exactly is permafrost?

According to National Park Service scientists, permafrost is below ground soil or rock that has remained frozen for at least two consecutive years. Essentially, it’s an ice sheet or wedge below ground. This permafrost is characteristic in arctic tundra and sub-arctic boreal forests of Alaska, Canada, Siberia, and Nordic countries. …


It is not what you would expect.

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Like most of the writers here on Medium, I love to write. The incredible part of the platform is being able to freely express yourself and pursue writing in the topics and formats that interest you. After writing here for a few months, I’ve found that there is one aspect of writing that makes it so enjoyable. That aspect — is reading.

I’ve always been an avid reader. I love to consume and read books on a variety of subjects. I think time spent reading and writing go hand-and-hand and complement each other quite well. What makes writing so enjoyable for me is being able to research, read, and construct my thoughts on a subject. …


Using the natural world around us to stimulate creativity.

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Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash

The great thing about plants is that they are all around us. Even if our children are stuck at home this fall, there are many ways for them to learn by engaging with the natural world.

Activities that incorporate plants are one way for children to learn many different ideas in the sciences and arts. Chances are there are a variety of plants close to home or in your backyard. No matter what the age of your kids, plants can capture their imagination and creativity like nothing else.

Here are some activities that can be done with kids close to home and utilize plants to captivate with the natural world, inspiring a love for learning about nature. …


Their sounds provide more benefits than often realized.

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Snow buntings flying in Alaska photo by author.

Simply opening my patio door in the morning can be quite a joyous occasion. I’m greeted with the chime of innumerable songbirds filling the air with their cheery, light, and carefree songs. I’m fortunate enough to live in a place where birdsongs make up a great portion of my ambient soundscape.

Yet even with having all these tranquil sounds around me, I often don’t pay close attention to them. The sounds usually sit in the background as I go about my busy life. During the past few chaotic months, I took even less time to observe their calls.

As you read this from wherever you are, stop and sit in silence for just a moment. …


Mountains, deserts, forests, and more have all been apart of great storytelling.

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Photo by Keith Hardy on Unsplash

The outside world is full of breathtaking beauty, inspiration, and endless opportunities for adventure. While many see our natural lands through these lenses, there is also a uniquely human element we assign to these spaces of sublimity.

Whether it be the ocean, mountains, or deserts — all of these natural spaces have been used in human storytelling since the dawn of time. Whether it be the cedar forests in the Epic of Gilgamesh or the open ocean world of Finding Nemo, humans have always used natural spaces to craft their narratives.

John Truby is an American screenwriter and director who has consulted on the scripts of over 1,000 films in his three-decade-long career. In his book The Anatomy of Story, he highlights the many ways in which the world of nature is used in human storytelling and how important it is in crafting meaning-making. …


The top productivity hack that actually works

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Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

You have a busy day ahead. Zoom calls, impending deadlines, and an exhaustive fresh list of unread emails that inevitably piled up over the weekend. The average workday may sometimes seem like a never-ending struggle to get your work done. Just when you feel as if you are on top of things — more projects get added to your workday juggling trick.

There are so many tips and tricks out there on the internet that sell to you a listicle of tantalizing hacks that claim to get you on top of your project management. …


How adequate hydration is vital for your runs and health

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Photo by Maria Di Lorenzo on Unsplash

Probably the worst runs I’ve been on are the ones where I failed to drink enough fluids. Drinking water is a necessity of human life, and the right or wrong amount can either make or break your exercise routines. One of the things I didn’t learn right away is how much water you should bring on a run, and how important it is for not just for your performance, but your overall health.

Drinking proper amounts of water before, during, and after your runs will reduce your risks of dehydration, allow for more exceptional running performance, and be a positive boost to your overall health. …

About

Ian McDermod

Outdoor Enthusiast | Naturalist | Photographer | Filmmaker | Educator | Writer | Based in Southern California

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