In a world where smart phones serve as a portal to loved ones, work obligations, entertainment, and so much more, it’s easy to spend hours immersed in your screen. Often, we don’t even realize how much time we have lost. But setting down your electronics to enjoy a few minutes outdoors comes with an abundance of benefits, and it’s likely to put a smile on your face. No matter where you are, we encourage you to find at least five minutes to go for a walk without your phone each day.

It really is amazing what there is to discover when you’re not glued to your screen. On Sanibel, daily nature walks mean we’re always adding to our collection of tiny horse conchs – it takes concentration to find them in the vast piles of larger shells. We like to smell the frangipani blooms, each tree with a slightly different aroma, and appreciate the rotten egg-like scent of the mangrove mud, caused by the release of hydrogen sulfide as decomposition occurs and supports our entire ecosystem. We’ve also found a favorite canal-side spot to watch sheepshead feeding on freshly fallen berries. If you have children, bring them along! They are very good at finding the magic.

Additionally, spending time outside has been scientifically linked to increased energy, a stronger immune system, enhanced creativity, and a better ability to focus. You will also get your daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun. We think making time in your schedule for fresh air is a worthwhile investment in your family’s health and happiness, and it is possible from anywhere. Nature is all around us – on Sanibel and Captiva, in the mountains, or in the middle of a big city – so slow down, take a closer look, and enjoy. Sanibel Sea School is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. To learn more, visit sanibelseaschool.org.