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Cabin Fever? Take these Five Digital National Park Tours for a Nature Break

Grand Prismatic Spring. Yellowstone National Park. Photo credit: Heather White

For many people, spring and summer mean beach days, hikes outside, and road trips to expansive wilderness. But this year, things are different: Most of us heading into the warmer seasons with sadness and grief in some form, whether it be for friends and family affected by COVID-19, the loss of a job, or the disruption to daily routines.

At the same time, national parks across the U.S. are closed, and it's unclear when and how they will be reopening. Yet, we need the healing power of nature now more than ever: Countless studies show the benefits of spending time in the outdoors, from lowering blood pressure to anxiety to cortisol. Even looking at photos of nature can help reduce anxiety, and sounds of nature can limit stress. Here are five ways to connect to beautiful parks and wild places from afar and create your own healing journey from home:

1. Meditate to the night sounds of nature.

This soundtrack of national parks' night sounds, created by the National Park Foundation (the philanthropic arm of the National Park Service), is a powerful tool for meditation. These soothing 12 minutes of natural sounds can transport you to a state of tranquillity even if you live in a dense urban setting. Close your eyes. Be still. Listen. Feel the space between your heartbeats, and experience the wonder of the outdoors.

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