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Celebrate World Sleep Day, take a solo hike or learn to meditate in Northeast Ohio this weekend: Mar. 13-15

With big events canceled due to coronavirus concerns, we have others ideas for everyone to have a good time before it's time to clock back in to work
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
World Sleep Day is Friday, March 13, 2020.

CLEVELAND — It has been quite the week in Northeast Ohio, but just because big events are canceled doesn't mean we can't all still have some fun, whether that's on a solo hike, taking part in much-needed self-care, or catching up on your rest.

Coronavirus concerns prompting health officials to order that events with more than 100 people be shut down temporarily, so we've put together options you can enjoy without compromising your social distance.

Read on for suggestions, and tips to make the most of downtime between now and when your alarm clock goes off on Monday morning.

Hike a trail at Holden Arboretum

At Holden Arboretum, there are 3500 acres to explore, making it plenty big enough to keep doctor-recommended social distancing of six feet from the people around you.

As a public service, the grounds of the arboretum are also free to the public right now.

“Our highest priority is the health and well-being of our guests, staff and volunteers,” said Jill Koski, president and CEO of Holden Forests & Gardens. 

“We’re pleased to be able to keep the Holden Arboretum grounds open and make them free to the public. During these stressful times, getting back to nature can be a much-needed health break.”

If you decide to enjoy of the trails, it's recommended that you bring water in reusable bottles and trail snacks like nuts and energy bars. Keep in mind that the Murch Canopy Walk and Kalberer Family Emergent Tower are currently closed for the season.

The Holden Aboretum is located at 9550 Sperry Road in Kirtland, and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

With beautiful weather expected this weekend, it's not a bad idea to get outside and get some fresh air.

Learn how to meditate

Meditation can be a helpful practice to quiet our minds during a stressful time, and tensions are certainly high right now. 

For those just getting started with meditation, it can be overwhelming to think about, because even thinking about it seems in contrast to what many of us consider to be the goal of mediation. But just because some of us can't instantly stop our brains from concocting thoughts doesn't mean we're not doing it right, according to Mindful.

Mindful is a mission-driven non-profit, dedicated to inspiring, guiding, and connecting anyone who wants to explore mindfulness, to aid in enjoying better health, more caring relationships, and a compassionate society, according to the organization's website.

When it comes to beginners, the Mindful says: 

"What we’re doing here is aiming for mindfulness, not some process that magically wipes your mind clear of the countless and endless thoughts that erupt and ping constantly in our brains. We’re just practicing bringing our attention to our breath, and then back to the breath when we notice our attention has wandered."

Through meditation, you may be able to better understand your pain, lower your stress, connect better, improve focus and reduce brain chatter.

Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love is a fan, even when meditation is hard, emotional work.

“People are afraid to meditate because of what it really is...you have to quiet your mind and all sorts of stuff comes to the surface. A lot of it can be happy, but a large majority of it, at least for myself, is confronting those really tough fights," Love said. "That’s something I have had to learn to deal with. This isn’t something that’s just going to go away.”

Here are three simple steps to follow from Mindful to help get you started at home: 

1. Get comfortable and prepare to sit still for a few minutes. After you stop reading this, you’re going to simply focus on your own natural inhaling and exhaling of breath. 

2. Focus on your breath. Where do you feel your breath most? In your belly? In your nose? Try to keep your attention on your inhale and exhale. 

3. Follow your breath for two minutes. Take a deep inhale, expanding your belly, and then exhale slowly, elongating the out-breath as your belly contracts.

For more in depth tips, check out Mindful's site here.

Make a vision board

This might be the perfect time to start that vision board you've been putting off since January 1. And maybe the best part about a vision board is it's not possible to do it wrong.

The idea behind a vision board is that visualization helps brings you closer to achieving your goals, a concept which is supported by science, as reported by Psychology Today

So what do you put on a vision board? The answer is whatever you want. It can focus on things you want to achieve, the kinds of people you want to bring into your life, and how you'd like to feel. 

For those who would like a little more direction on what to incorporate, HuffPost lifestyle blogger Elizabeth Rider has this suggestion:

"[nclude] anything that inspires and motivates you. The purpose of your vision board is to bring everything on it to life. First, think about what your goals are in the following areas: relationships, career and finances, home, travel, personal growth (including spirituality, social life, education) and health."

Rider adds: "What you focus on expands. You'll be amazed at how things just start popping up all over the place once you set the intention for what you want and how you want to feel."

And if you'd like guidance on the more artsy part of things, check out this post by blogger Christie Inge on the nuts and bolts of it.

Celebrate World Sleep Day

World Sleep Day is an awareness activity sponsored by World Sleep Society, founded by World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) and World Sleep Federation (WSF). 

"Time and time again, sleep medicine professionals and researchers came up against the belief that sleep was not important enough in personal health and well-being to be a priority," the website promoting World Sleep Day reads.  

"That coupled with society’s 24/7 flow, the founders of this awareness event aim to celebrate the importance of healthy sleep."

Chair of the World Sleep Day Committee Dr. Liorio Parrino also points out that increased sleep periods mean less consumption of fuel, electricity, food and oxygen, since breathing is attenuated during sleep. 

Better quality sleep also reduces the risk of labor-related and road accidents, promotes the secretion of melatonin and protects the natural circadian clock, which can prevent premature aging in humans. 

"Extending our sleep period also improves our mental and body performances during the day and, last but not least, enhances our dreaming experience, as REM stages are mostly concentrated in the final portion of sleep, which is often curtailed by the urging rules of modern life," Dr. Parrino  says.

According to Phyllis C. Zee, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, actions we can take to better our sleep habits include prioritizing sleep with exercise and nutrition, maintaining regular sleep and wake timing, and averaging 7-9 hours of sleep duration. 

If you suffer from a chronic sleep disturbance, it's best to discuss sleep with your doctor, Dr. Zee says.

With concern over coronavirus spreading from person to person in the US, there's literally no better time to catch up on your rest and take a nice, long nap. 

This is great time to regroup and recharge. Enjoy the weekend and we'll see you on What's New at 5 p.m. on Monday.

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