Between COVID-19, online classes and social media addiction, realizing the importance of stepping back from screens and experiencing nature is vital. Whether that be going on a hike, camping, exploring or just going for a drive, the ability to reconnect with nature is something easy to do and good for mental health.
Social media can be a way for people to relieve stress, but according to a Harvard study, social media accesses the part of our brains that are linked to addiction. While I am guilty of using my phone to get a break from homework, work or just to unwind, checking social media constantly is a bad habit we need to curb. Falling into a Tik Tok trap and spending hours at a time on Twitter are more than easy to do, but setting the phone down and getting in touch with the world around us is important.
Residents in Manhattan are lucky to be living in one of the most beautiful parts of Kansas if not the most beautiful, the Flint Hills. The Tuttle Creek Reservoir is a great place to hang out with friends, and there are multiple places to visit between a swimming beach, boat rentals, fishing, picnic areas, hiking trails, campgrounds (multiple can be visited, including state parks) and a frisbee golf course. The possibilities are endless at Tuttle Creek Reservoir for getting together with friends or going on a hike to enjoy nature.
Another place to visit is the multiple golf courses around the area. From Colbert Hills, Stag Hill and Wildcat Creek (that also offers footgolf, batting cages, putt-putt and walking trails), each are great places to get together with friends and have a fun day on the course.
For those that live on campus and do not want to travel off-campus, there are multiple ways to enjoy your surroundings without having to get in your car. One of the great locations on campus to visit are the K-State gardens. With a beautiful assortment of plants, just a 15-minute walk around the gardens is a great way to achieve mental reset. There are also several sports on campus where students can attend a multitude of sporting events, as well as participate in intramural sports through the recreation complex. To get a good workout in as well, the recreation complex has every amenity one can think of when it comes to a gym. Finally, Memorial Field is open at all hours for students, with a turf field and a running track available to all.
With school and work weighing heavy on students’ mental and physical health, taking time for yourself can be helpful. Studies show spending time outdoors or working out rather than spending time glued to screens is much healthier. These different activities are good alternatives that are fairly cheap, if not free, for students to take advantage of without having to travel out of Manhattan.