Being in quarantine and juggling having online classes, work and staying healthy has been an issue for numerous college students. 

It’s incredibly important that we look after ourselves and take small breaks so that we can check up on our mental and physical health.

The weather is getting a lot warmer and spring has finally sprung. With the blooming flowers and the returning birds, it’s a great idea to decompress and get outside because spring is a season of growth. There are numerous health benefits to stepping outside and exploring nature and what it has to offer. Certain benefits include: receiving increased levels of vitamin D, lowered levels of cortisol, increased brain activity and lowering blood pressure and heart rate. 

Taking a breath of fresh air and receiving heaps of natural sunlight are the simplest ways you can better your well-being. It takes no time to take a break and it's very simple to take a few minutes out of your day to keep up with yourself. You should treat yourself like a little plant and nourish your body. 

Luckily, if you currently reside in Athens or the surrounding areas, there are various beautiful parks around. If you’re willing to drive about 15 minutes, there is a large state park named Strouds Run. Strouds Run offers many different types of recreational activities to keep your mind and body occupied. There are a lot of hiking and biking trails. The park also features Dow Lake, where you can participate in recreational fishing and boating. 

Other state parks that are a further drive away include Burr Oak, Lake Hope and Hocking Hills.

Roughly, 40-minutes away from Athens is Burr Oak State Park. A beautiful hidden park, Burr Oak features fishing and boating at Burr Oak Lake, tons of hiking trails and numerous options for camping and recreation. 

Another park similar in size to Burr Oak, is Lake Hope State Park. Also about 35-minutes east of Athens near McArthur. Lake Hope features many areas and trails to hike and has numerous cabin areas to rent and stay in. The park also features Lake Hope, a large-sized lake home to numerous types of fishing and boating opportunities. There is also the Hope Furnace, a large rock furnace that was once used by miners to melt iron ore. 

The largest park of the three is Hocking Hills State Park and is one of the better-known parks in the state. Hocking Hills offers camping, hiking, biking, swimming, fishing and an immersive forest that is home to several large caves and waterfalls. The park has received national and international acclaim for being the top park in Ohio to visit. Only about a 45-minute drive from Athens, in Logan, Ohio, it is quite stunning to witness.

Considering how important it is to have some sort of control over our mental well-being and mental health, fresh air and nature can play a huge role in stability. As a student and resident of Athens County, you should take advantage of the beautiful natural landscape of Southeastern Ohio and go outside!

Tre Spencer is a freshman studying photojournalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Tre know by tweeting him @trerspencer1.