Go take a hike and be happy!

October 24, 2022

Sara Huffman

As it gets deeper into the semester, it can be easy to get so caught up in schoolwork. The work may seem endless, from many assignments to back-to-back exams. And when you finally get a moment actually to breathe amongst the chaos, there’s an abundance of activities vying for free time. Whether that moment is often spent getting ahead in a class, catching up on sleep, participating in extracurriculars, hanging out with friends, or simply relaxing, there is always something to be prioritized.  

While doing well academically and socially is important, it’s just as important to take a breath and get out and about to enhance your personal well-being. Research shows that walking outside reduces stress and improves focus. By taking the time to recharge, you will be better equipped to manage your time and focus on what matters. Therefore, we recommend that you go take a hike! 

Apart from the exercise, you are also soaking in vitamin D. Researchers have found that vitamin D improves brain function and helps to facilitate the production of serotonin. Serotonin interacts with your body and brain to promote positivity and happiness, as well as aid in the regulation of your sleep patterns. By getting outside and moving around, you’re not only refreshing your mind; you’re also increasing your mood and bodily functions.  

The wonderful thing about a hike is that you don’t need to bring anything besides yourself and the shoes you are wearing. (And maybe water to stay hydrated, but the point is to just get outside; you don’t need anything special to enjoy the outdoors.)  

While out on your hike, it may be quite tempting to use that time to get lost in thought and dwell on all of the things you have to do in the upcoming days. Instead, try looking for beauty in the little things around you and be present. Also, try going without music, as it often prevents you from truly living in the moment. Take notice of the way the clouds are shaped or how colorful the surrounding foliage is. That way, you can also be fully present in the moment, and it can help you step away and decompress from everything on your plate.  

Places to check out: 

Around campus, there are a handful of places to explore. Located on the west side of the residential campus past Hillenbrand, Horticulture Park is a wooded park with plenty of wildflowers to stop and smell on your hike. I especially enjoy going here because it feels serene and secluded from the hustle and bustle of campus, yet it’s close enough to go visit during the academic day. If you don’t feel like immersing yourself in nature, take a walk in a part of campus you don’t typically visit - be it the engineering mall, residential campus, or agricultural side of campus- and enjoy a change of scenery. This will help you decompress and get away from your regular routine. 

So, in short - take a hike and be happy!  

Sara Huffman

Sara Huffman is a sophomore studying Industrial Engineering within the College of Engineering. Her hobbies include bouldering, crafting, and hanging out with friends, as well as enjoying the little things in life.

Well-Being Resources:

Office of the Dean of Students, Student Support Services

Counseling and Psychological Services


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