By Ciara Glynn
Summertime in Northern Michigan is the ideal place to be! Endless hiking trails, restaurants, shops, and of course beautiful beaches. Locals and visitors alike look forward to the days they can spend alongside the lake, but did you know that a day at the beach has numerous health benefits as well?
Stress Relief - In an article published by NBC on the effects of the beach on the brain, clinical psychologist Richard Shuster stated, “The color blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace,” says Shuster. “Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.”
Soaking in the Sun - Laying in the sunshine on the beach not only is relaxing but also allows for Vitamin D intake. According to an article published by Harvard, “Under the right circumstances, 10 to 15 minutes of sun on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the vitamin D we need.” There is no better place to receive a week's worth of nutrients than at the beach!
Taking time to do something for yourself is pertinent to your physical and mental health. Taking an hour, a day, or even a weekend and allowing yourself to relax can improve your mood and increase productivity in your day-to-day life. When in doubt, just head to the beach!
If you are looking for a place to reap these benefits, here are some of my favorite beaches that are well worth a trip. In Leelanau County, my favorites are Good Harbor, Vans, and the Suttons Bay Marina. If you happen to be making a trip to the East Coast, I must recommend Nantasket Beach in Hull, Massachusetts.
By Ciara Glynn
Leelanau County attracts millions of visitors each year primarily due to the county’s quaint villages, vineyards, cherry orchards, rolling hills, and seemingly endless beaches. In fact, the name Leelanau is said to have derived from the Chippewa phrase “delight of life” - a description that summarizes the natural beauty of the area. However, we feel it is the collective passion and beauty of the Leelanau County community that best reflects the “delight for life” style.
Here at the Leelanau Wellness Collective (LWC), we understand the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit that are parts of all of us and we encourage both locals and visitors alike to pursue and enjoy all the wellness opportunities that our area has to offer.
The main purpose and passion of the LWC is to connect Leelanau County residents and visitors with the county’s wellness professionals, and to boost awareness about the numerous wellness opportunities right outside their door!
In 2020, Yoga4, a prominent yoga and fitness studio in the heart of Leelanau County closed, leaving a void that the local wellness professionals were determined to fill. Through the efforts and determination of the area’s wellness professionals, the Leelanau Wellness Collective was initiated.
The collective houses over a dozen wellness professionals - each who bring to the collective different strengths and areas of expertise. Just to name a few, the collective offers:
Through the collective, residents and visitors in Leelanau County now have access to a hub of health and wellbeing classes and events, in addition to access to the extensive experience that the collective’s professionals have to share.
By Katherine Palms
Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after a hike or beach adventure in Leelanau County?
There is no hiding the direct relationship between spending time in nature and the enhancement of personal well-being.
Research in a scientific field called ecotherapy has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.
A 2019 article published in Scientific Reports claimed: "spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and well-being." The study reported 'good' health and 'high' well-being were significantly higher for all who had nature contact. Psychological research like this is advancing our understanding of how time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition.
We are fortunate to be surrounded by community members and visitors who care about protecting and preserving the land, water, scenic character of Leelanau County. Because of places like the National Parks, State Parks, Township and Village Parks, and the Leelanau Conservancy preserves, generations to come will have the opportunity to enjoy natural landscapes and partake in experiences that benefit their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being by moving the body, engaging the mind, and nurturing the spirit in nature.
If you are looking for places to explore nature in Leelanau County here are some resources:
Leo Creek Preserve
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Leelanau State Park
Township and Village Parks
Where is your favorite place to spend time in nature?
How do you feel after 20-30 minutes in nature?
Let us know below.
By Katherine Palms
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified eight wellness dimensions to optimize an individual’s overall holistic wellness.
The dimensions are the following:
Physical: Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep
Emotional: Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships
Social: Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system
Spiritual: Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life
Intellectual: Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
Occupational: Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work
Financial: Satisfaction with current and future financial situations
Environmental: Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being
As a Collective, we aim to foster community, connection, and resources to promote wellness across the above dimensions. We encourage using our collective as a resource for individuals on their journey of creating personal harmony in all eight dimensions. It is essential to set goals to achieve holistic personal wellness.
All individuals should incorporate their priorities, approaches, and aspirations in their self-care practices. Additionally, we feel each individual should consider their view of what it means to live life to its fullest. The questions we ask ourselves and the focus we take on maintaining our health are vital in understanding our bodies, minds, and souls. The outcome being the ability to take care of ourselves to our fullest potential.
By Katherine Palms
During this pandemic, our lives have been disrupted as we are encouraged to social distance and modify much of our active behavior. Humans are designed to move our bodies and interact with each other. For our own well-being we need to exercise both our bodies and our minds, which also includes our emotions. A frequent yoga practice can play a critical role in helping us overcome the increased stress and burdens placed upon us at this time.
"Yoga can be used as both a tool to move through the additional stress we are experiencing during this time, and also a framework for how to process a huge shift in the world and communicate along the way."
- Peloton Yoga instructor Chelsea Jackson Roberts
A 2018 Study found that depression, anxiety, and stress decreased significantly in women after 12 sessions of regular yoga, while a 2017 study determined that workers who took yoga classes for two to four months experienced significant reductions in stress and all psychological health measures.