10 Reasons To Jump On The Hammock Bandwagon

10 Reasons To Jump On The Hammock Bandwagon

It's the best bandwagon around!
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I have a hammock. I adore my hammock. I got one to join the stereotypical freshman scene at my university, becoming one of the many hammocks spread across campus. It was the hipster, yet mainstream, thing to do. And I fell in love. I was in my hammock every minute I possibly could be. I did homework in my hammock, I read, I napped, I invited my friends into my hammock. I did anything and everything in this piece of fabric that I had become over attached to. And now you can too!

1. You can experience nature without touching nature.

Bugs rarely try hard enough to break such a fortress as a hammock. You’re off of the ground and dirt. You really only have to interact with nature when putting the hammock up -- once you’re in, you’re in. You get to smell the naturey smells, feel the sunshine (unless you’re in a heavily wooded or cloudy place), and breathe in the fresh air. Nature, without the dirt and bugs.

2. Cuddling.

I will put it simply, you cannot be in a hammock with another person and not be cuddling. I think I have said enough.

3. It’s kind of like a swing if you push enough.

If you sit perpendicular to the hammock you can dangle your legs out and if you’re close enough to the ground, you can push yourself like you’re a porch swing. Except it’s better than a porch swing, because you’re in nature.

4. You can put them up in the woods to achieve isolation.

If you need to focus to do homework or you just plain want alone time, you can put your hammock up in the woods. Obviously this is subject to situation and placement, but if you try hard enough I’m sure you can avoid seeing other human beings. It’s wonderful to sit in a hammock alone in nature, breathing in the air and thinking. Listen to the birds and animal sounds, experiencing nature in it’s solidarity and all that great stuff.

5. Sleeping in them is supposed to be super good for you!

I’ve taken several naps in my own hammock and I can say, they were some great naps. Once you get over the weirdness of basically napping out in the middle of nowhere, it’s quite relaxing. You could even rock yourself to sleep, using the method described in number three. It’s supposedly really good for your back, as it is fabric and is limited in how it restricts you. Also, you can be protected from the wind, while still feeling the sunshine through the fabric! What could be better?

6. You can post cool hammock pictures.

Look up Instagram accounts that are focused on hammock pictures, they rock. So hipster. Very nature. Such artsy.

7. It makes you feel more outdoors-y and cool.

It’s very hipster (slash mainstream) to hammock and hike and do nature things. Hammocks mean you’re cool, I promise.

8. Sometimes it forces you to be more adventurous.

If you have a hammock then you’re forced to be outside and go find cool places to hammock. Once I got my hammock I found myself searching for the perfect hammock spots, hiking further into the woods or even driving to parks and such. It’s so much fun to find a new spot and sit there for a few hours. The more wonderful spots the better. It’s even more fun to go find these hammock spots with other people who have hammocks! Haven’t you seen those pictures of people stacking hammocks? How cool is that?!

9. It’s a handy way to go camping, but more short term.

In the order of least portable to most portable: skyscraper, house, camper, tent, hammock, umbrella. I’m just saying.

10. They are like hugs of outdoors and fresh air.

Laying in a hammock is like being hugged by nature. That’s all I can say.


I have presented some of my best arguments. Please feel free to challenge them, but please consider them deeply first. Think about it. Hammocks improve your life enjoyment. Hammocks help you make friends. A hammock can be your best friend. That is all. I’ll see you at the nearest REI.

Cover Image Credit: Rebekah Lang

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Me Vs. Food: My Secret Battle With Eating Disorders

Shedding light on a silenced issue
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Eating disorders around this country are spiraling out of control, but not all disorders are able to be seen. Sure, you may be able to tell that someone is underweight or someone is eating too much, but by looking at my own picture, would you be able to tell that I switch between restriction of food and purging? I don’t think so.

Since February of this year, 2018, I have had a silent battle with food. In the beginning, I would restrict myself from eating at all and would limit myself to no more than 500 calories per day. That battle persisted until everyone started noticing I wasn’t eating and was losing weight, so that’s when my battle with a different kind of disorder began.

I started eating more so that everyone around me would stop asking me questions and forcing me to eat when I clearly didn’t deserve that. Therefore, I began eating and engaging in purging activities to eliminate that food from my body. I still maintained my weight, but I stopped losing weight like I had been before, and that was my only goal.

No one ever knew about this secret battle of mine. I consistently told others that I just wasn’t feeling well, it was a side effect of a medication, or I’d just completely lie and tell them that I had eaten that day. The reality is that there is a reason why I began this battle with these difficult eating disorders.

At first, I struggled with eating because I believed I didn’t deserve food. I believed that the pains of hunger from not eating for days was what I had deserved for being who I am. I can’t lie and say that this still isn’t a partial reason why I still struggle with this today, but that reason has gone behind another very strong, loud one.

In the middle of April, as I started leaving the past behind me, I met a guy that I thought was going to make my life so much better. This was the truth until I started finding myself becoming an entirely different person because of him. The only real reason I even started seeing him was because I believed that that’s what I needed to keep other things off of my mind; a man.

The reality is that after only a couple of weeks, I started receiving messages from him telling me that I should only ever find myself in public if I looked “good” and that whenever I had time off work I should find myself only with or talking to him. Nothing else. He’s told me directly something that I will never be able to take off of my mind for as long as I live. He said to me:

“Look, I don’t feel like claiming you. Maybe if you just lost more weight, wore different clothes, or changed your body more, you’d be more attractive to me and then I’d claim you. But right now, you’re not good enough.”

When I got this message, it was a sure sign to me that I clearly needed to do something about my body. This is when I started engaging in purging behaviors, though I kept eating to ensure no one would ask me questions. In addition to this, I tried buying and wearing different clothes, engaging in other behaviors and even started acting very out of my normal.

My point in sharing this information that no one knows at this point, is that I know what it’s like to have to hide feelings and emotional abuse because of a fear of questions or judgements from others. More importantly, I understand what it’s like to have to hide entire disorders because of a fear that others will always have something to say about it. My belief now, though, is that even though this is a battle I still deal with daily, others can say all they want.

My reality now is that I still do speak to this guy and I still do struggle with these harmful eating habits. But what I can’t do anymore is try and pretend like it’s not real because of a fear. My hope is that someone reading this knows that there are other people out in the world with these issues, fighting the same battles.

During this battle, my self-worth is determined entirely by your acceptance of me.

Cover Image Credit: Brianna Gavin

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