Nature Deficit Disorder: How Your Vacation Can Make You Healthier

Nature Deficit DisorderNature-deficit disorder is the idea that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors, and the belief that this change results in a range of behavioral problems (Source: Wikipedia). Richard Louv is credited with coining this term in 2005 with his book Last Child in the Woods. I had always heard of the book but hadn’t read it until recently. The book really resonated with me. I spent my teens and early 20s as a children’s counselor in various forms (community day camp, Girl Scout sleep away camp, dude ranch). Spending time with children outdoors and in nature is a passion of mine. As my career has evolved, I’ve found that exposure to nature is a human need (regardless of age).

Nature Deficit Disorder

Nature Deficit Disorder

Last Child in the Woods talks about that staggering divide between children and the outdoors and how it results in nature deficit disorder. That is not the case at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch. Our home and livelihood is inextricably linked with the outdoors. Even our power and water sources rely primarily on nature: specifically solar power. We have great respect for our natural surroundings and encourage our guests to do the same. In everyday life, many people don’t have to think twice before turning on a light, running a bath, or cranking up the air conditioning. Part of a stay with at our ranch is educating guests about how we operate. It is this unique lifestyle that we love to share with our guests. After all, where else can you gaze upon 360-degree views with no signs of civilization (power lines, cell towers, houses, etc.)? Louv says this direct exposure to nature is essential for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.  

Digital Detox

Nature Deficit Disorder

In a previous blog post, I touched on the benefits of taking a “digital detox“. We encourage our guests to disengage from the rat race of everyday life and fully immerse themselves in their vacation experience. We emphasize personal, human (and animal) connections. Even our dining table is set to accommodate guests family style and encourage conversation. While out on the trail, we encourage guests to engage with nature. Observing elk, red-tailed hawks, and other creatures in their natural environment, noticing the unique geological landscape, or looking up at a two-hundred-year-old tree are just a few ways to engage. It is these quiet moments of absorbing natures beauty that sticks with many of our guests.

Engaging with history is another way to re-evaluate your connection with technology. Seeing remnants of mining and livestock operations or viewing 1,000-year-old cliff dwellings and pictographs make you realize that our reliance on digital devices is just a blip on the map of human history. Immersing yourself in the sights, scents, and sounds of the current moment is the hallmark of a truly memorable vacation. 

How Your Vacation Can Make You Healthier

Nature Deficit Disorder

You may be tempted to memorialize each moment of your vacation with a digital snapshot. Think instead about how connecting with nature and the outdoors will benefit your physical and emotional health. And which is a much better way to have a lasting memory of your vacation?

Nature Deficit Disorder

 The next time you are planning your vacation, think about more than just the logistical details. Think about how your vacation can improve not only your physical and emotional health but also the physical and emotional health of your family. Contact us today to learn more about how Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch can help!