I remember commercials from when I was a kid coming on to interrupt my favorite program and telling me to "get outside and play." I would sigh heavily, knowing it would mean 60 minutes of not being able to watch that channel. And how could I go outside and play when it was storming? They obviously did not consider the weather before forcing me to pace around and bother my mom before she handed me a book and told me to go read.

However, now I am overly aware of the importance of going outside. Not because of the silly commercial breaks or because I fell in love with reading in flower gardens and big comfy chairs, but because of the major benefits. I found that when I walk outside away from the hustle and bustle of my college campus or the city, I come back feeling invigorated and more relaxed.

I am lucky to live near several forest paths that lend me a form of escapism. These walks do not have to be long to be beneficial; a 30-minute walk can provide all the benefits that come along with eco-therapy: relaxation, energy level boosts, combatting depression and anxiety, and improving sleep.

Go outside, put in headphones or listen to the birds, follow the beaten path, or make a new one. My favorite thing to do is to take a friend with me. We can talk or not talk, walk together or just meet at the end of our journeys. A lot of the time it brings us closer and gives us a chance to catch up away from the stressful school environment.

There are a ton of benefits of being outside, whether you're gardening, walking in a forest preserve, or just sitting outside for a couple of minutes a day. This weekend, try to escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday life and grab some fresh air. It will not only boost your mood but your energy levels for the next work week!