I unexpectedly had an hour free in Milwaukee this week and capitalized on it by going to the shores of Lake Michigan. Even though I was only a few miles from the heart of downtown, it seemed like a million miles away. I encountered only a handful of people. Heard waves instead of traffic. Saw multiple shades of blue and the sun glistening on the water. Sat on the bench and let the wind carry away all my thoughts.

After only an hour, I came back refreshed and renewed in a way that only nature can do.

For many, the only fresh air they breathe in a day is between their car and the office. Don’t let that be you. Instead, experiment with a 15-minute immersion in nature and see what impact it can have on your mood and focus. A walk around the building is much more of an energizer than the candy bar you are hoping provides the same effect and a few minutes sitting outside on a bench during your lunch hour will make you more productive in the hours that follow. Walking the dog around the block can even be more relaxing than an hour of television.

Not every city is lucky enough to be along a Great Lake but everywhere has pockets of the outdoors that can become a refuge for you. Don’t let this free, accessible mental health elixir go to waste.

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