By Camille Aubin
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COVID-19 has transformed our reality in countless ways. What if instead of looking at what we’ve lost out on, we look at the hidden benefits brought to us by this strange period of our lives. No more defeatism, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught so much. The pandemic has allowed us to return to basics, to reassess where we come from, what is to be learned for our simple happiness, and what our priorities are in terms of our physical and mental health. Nature has taught us over the past year that there is a simple and effective solution to staying healthy in mind and body.

“Canadians report a greater awareness of nature in their lives since the pandemic began. It reinforces that nature and health are inextricably linked. Clean air, clean water and healthy foods all come from nature,” reported the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in a recent press release. The fact of having witnessed phenomena such as the one in Italy in which there was an increase of fish, ducks and dolphins in the empty canals of  Venice, as well as crystal clear waters, thought to be due to there being fewer boats during the lockdown. These experiences may have helped us to understand the importance of nature in our lives and those of the animals we share the planet with.

“Ninety-four per cent of people credit time spent in nature with helping them to relieve the stress and relieve anxiety of the pandemic’s second wave. The trend is especially prevalent among women and young families. More than 85 per cent of people surveyed say access to nature has been important to maintaining their mental health and three in four Canadians say time spent outdoors is more important to them now than ever before,” wrote the NCC.

One medicine that our doctors cannot prescribe enough is spending time outdoors. The benefits are numerous: daily dose of vitamin D, increased energy levels and better moods, lowered blood pressure, a boosted immune system, eased anxiety and depression, and so much more. What an impressive multifunction medicine! Isn’t that exactly what we all need a daily dose of, given the past year?

We are privileged to have access to mountains and forests, trails for walking, cross-country skiing and even fat biking, all maintained by volunteers, not to mention a marvellous ice skating path. It feels good to be stuck in a place like ours:  the beautiful Columbia Valley. Let’s take care of those precious places while we take care of ourselves.