NATURAL CURE FOR THE BLUES
I heard it said somewhere, years ago, that sand between your toes does something positive for the brain and our feelings of contentment: It’s one of nature’s cures for the blues, anxieties and depression.
Others offer that it’s the time in the sun and the shot of Vitamin D… that too might be true, or the calming sounds of the waves, or the salty air; all good things for my soul.
The sand between my toes is like a direct connection to my early childhood spent on the beaches in Hawaii and it has a profound effect on my sense of contentment; quieting my mind.
KICK OFF THOSE SHOES AND FEEL THE SAND BETWEEN YOUR TOES
To feel the sand beneath my soles still takes me back, and brings a smile to my face.
When my family arrives at the beach I announce to my kids, “Shoes off! We need a dose of positivity for our minds!”
Off go our shoes as we walk to claim our spot on the beach. It’s something I hope my kids always remember me saying and recall if they’re ever feeling a bit blue, overwhelmed or anxious; a trip to the beach may be in order.
I can actually envision my daughter getting into a sandbox and standing there as an adult with a glass of wine, or sweet tea and telling herself, her future children, future husband or friends, “Mom told me when I’m stressed the sand between my toes is the cure!”
I will smile for that and it will bring a smile to someone’s face and then her own for sure!
FAVORITE FLORIDA BEACHES
We always have a sandbox on hand but whenever we can we take a break and a beach vacation with nothing on the schedule except to stretch out next to the ocean and dig our toes into the sand.
Florida Gulf Coast beaches are my favorite: Sand Key, Clearwater Beach, Sanibel Island and Destin win top billing on my list every time with their white sand beaches and emerald waters; so perfect.
FUN IN THE SUN; CONNECTING WITH SMILES
A sandcastle is a must for an afternoon spent on the beach.
My son built this castle with the help of a little girl his age from Italy. They had not a single word in common and worked together with smiles.
Just watching them gave me an enormous and deep sense of calm and peace and reconnected my soul to the simple moments of life. Beach-strollers walking past would smile or stand for a few moments to watch their sand construction and teamwork.
We end up with a lot of sand in our suits at the end of a beach day and even more joy and calm in our hearts.
There’s always time for sand between our toes as it creates a place in our hearts and minds where the sand moves the mountains in our thoughts and leaves us with a fresh outlook.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR MENTIONED FLORIDA GULF COAST BEACHS
Destin, Florida and their emerald waters are beautiful year around but they do have seasons on this northern part of the panhandle so winters are too cold for swimming. Early spring is still a bit chilly but you will find lessor crowds as with winter travel. Summer and fall are warm and beautiful. If you’re looking to walk on endless quiet beaches visit Destin in their low season and enjoy the privacy and retreat it affords.
Ckearwater Beach, is know for their white sand powder beaches. The sand is truly magnificent and the parking and crowds can be quite astonishing as well. Plan ahead for parking and take your patience along… the looping for a parking spot will be worth it. The best location is all the way down at the northern end where you’ll find Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill and perfect pay parking area for the beach with beach bathrooms, changing rooms and showers. It’s a small lot so timing is everything in finding an opening. For lunch or dinner Frency’s has the very popular “she-crab” soup and early winter the restaurant brings in Stone Crab claws from down off of Miami. If you’ve never had Grouper than you need to give it a try.
Sunset Festival Clearwater Beach, About midway upon entering the Clearwater beach area is the pier that hosts Sunset festivals each evening just like down in Key West. Vendors, entertainment and a beautiful view of the sunset are offered. It’s a great budget friendly evening for romance or a family evening.
Sand Key Park, If you drive a little south of Clearwater Beach you’ll go across another bridge and on your right you’ll see a sign for Sand Key State Park. The sand isn’t quite as powder-white as its sister Clearwater Beach but here you’ll find a slower pace. Early in the mornings you can experience several chartreuse green small parrots eating at the sea oats. Parking is ample and easy pay and they have beach huts with bathrooms, changing area and outdoor showers. Beach umbrellas and chairs are available for a fee just as you’ll find on Clearwater Beach.
Sanibel and Captiva Island, are known for their shelling and nature preserves. Located off the coast of Ft. Myers, Florida. The island can get very congested both in getting on and off the island but also at the public beaches but again this area is worth your patience. Sanibel offers some of the best shelling in Florida and beautiful waters. There are a variety of fun on the island things to do including a fairly unknown little zoo that’s free over at the RV Park off of Periwinkle Way. Many ice cream shops and other island treasures shopping and our personal favorite is Jerry’s grocery store to pick up some tasty snacks or prepared meals. Bicycle and surrey rentals are as easy as taking a ride down the paved paths. Each Easter a wonderful egg-hunt is sponsored on the island along with a Easter bunny meet-n-greet, crafts and inflatables.
A great article, “Drawn to the Ocean and Why it may Save you from Anxiety and Depression,” which offers a great perspective on the mental health benefits of spending time at the ocean.
From South to North: If you’d like a sharp contrast of the warmth and calm of beach days to the exhilaration of cold ski days, please visit my article “Family Bonding on the Slopes,” or if you find yourself in the bitter cold and looking to get outside to enjoy some wintertime activities and need some tips to keep warm my article “Snow Days – How to Keep Kids Warm on Extremely Cold and Below Zero Ski Days,” offers many great outdoor winter-management tips.
Happy sand or snow days and thank you for visiting Chasing Rockwell.