Love of the outdoors during COVID-19 Like many, my experience of COVID-19 has been bitter sweet. It has taken me away from family & friends but it has given me a new appreciation for the outdoors. My anxiety hightened during lockdown and I had an unreserving urge to 'get out' and breathe. Walking gave me the outlet I needed and helped me to discover some amazing places. It gave me a true appreciation for the beauty of Yorkshire and how lucky I was to have it all on my doorstep. At home, I was unable to escape the incredibly sad developments of the pandemic but out in nature, for a while, the distress of what was happening would disappear. All of my senses were alert, taking in the wonderful scenery, the sun/rain on my back, the smells of nature and the touch of the grass as I enjoyed a much needed sip of water. Being in the moment helped give my brain the break it needed. I definitely noticed a big difference to my mood after a walk and it helped me manage the day ahead so much better. Because of lockdown and being hauled up in our homes, my need to be outside is greater. I even took up gardening over the last year, something I never thought I would see. Inhaling fresh air, as opposed to the circulated, stale indoor air, is such a great way to clear our minds and bodies. The sun exposure topped up my vitamin D levels, which is important for maintaining serotonin levels and avoiding seasonal affective disorder which I struggle with during the winter months. To top it off my fitness levels improved. Not everyday is easy and there are days when I can talk myself out of going but then I remember the incredible benefits and it motivates me to get up and out.