Friends of the St. Clair River offers tips for reducing anxiety in the times of social distancing

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Friends of the St. Clair River to pause its classes and additional programming, the environmental group dedicated to preserving the St. Clair River and its many watersheds wants people to know that St. Clair County’s natural resources are invaluable when searching for peace of mind in times of shutdowns and social distancing.

Anxiety can be quelled by the natural world.

"In a world where everything is closed, it’s important to remember that nature is not," says Sheri Faust, president of the Friends of the St. Clair River.

"Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t go outside."

Faust has no shortage of suggestions of how to enjoy some time outside.

You can move yoga and other workouts outdoors. The Bridge to Bay Trail stretches 54 miles, from Lakeport State Park to New Baltimore. There’s the Blue Water River Walk in downtown Port Huron. And the Columbus County Park offers nearly 400 acres of hills, prairies, and woods with the Belle River winding through it all.

Birdwatching is easy to do from home, especially with the mild winter and early spring. Put black oil sunflower seeds out to entice birds to yards. Build birdfeeders and birdhouses with children.

Faust also recommends downloading the Merlin Bird ID app for your smartphone, a free app that identifies birds by the sounds they make.

"It’s mostly just finding the time to unwind, to enjoy some deep breaths of the fresh air," Faust says, noting that one silver lining that can be found in the cloud of social distancing could be a more noticeable calmness and stillness that can be had outdoors.

"The sounds of spring go a long way in helping to reduce stress and anxiety."

Visit the Friends of the St. Clair River online for more about their environmental programming.

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