Whether you’ve been cooped up for weeks under a “stay at home” order due to the Coronavirus, or you’ve been busy with work, kids, etc., you may find yourself spending a lot of time indoors.
But, getting outside has never been more important. During these times of uncertainty and stress, being able to reconnect with nature and reap some of the benefits can make you feel better and calmer.
Studies have shown that spending time outside can help with everything from high blood pressure to boosting your immune system. Doing something you enjoy while spending time outside is a great way to practice self-care, which you already know is essential for your mental health.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few more health reasons why you should get outside, and how it can benefit you now, so you’ll make a habit of it in the future.
It Can Fight Mental Fatigue
It’s easy to feel burnt out, stressed out, and simply exhausted – even inside your head. Research has shown that being out in nature is considered a restorative environment. As a result, it can help you to boost your mental energy. One study even showed people pictures of nature scenes and it had the same effect. But, we recommend getting outside and experiencing the real thing!
If it feels like your brain has come to a complete stop and you’re on the verge of burnout, take a few minutes to step outside and appreciate everything the great outdoors has to offer. You might be surprised at how quickly it gets your wheels turning again.
It Relieves Stress
Everyone deals with stress on a daily basis – some more than others. But, too much stress can cause health problems like:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
There has been quite a bit of research done on nature’s effect on stress, and it consistently has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the brain. Spend some time in the most natural areas you can find, like the woods. Go for a hike, and unwind for a few hours. Be sure to wear protective clothing and stay safe to avoid things like Lyme disease or Lyme disease co-infections from ticks.
It Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation isn’t a huge problem for some people, but for others, it can contribute to things like aches and pains, depression, and even certain autoimmune disorders.
One study performed in 2012 found that students who spent time in the woods had reduced inflammation when compared to those who spent the same amount of time in the city. This could be, in part, due to nature’s way of reducing levels of hypertension and suggesting to the body that it doesn’t need to respond to threats that aren’t there so easily.
If you suffer from an autoimmune disease or you regularly experience pain due to inflammation, getting outside more might be the best natural cure to find some relief. If you really struggle with pain or have mobility issues because of inflammation, be sure to bring someone along with you as you head outside so you can stay safe.
It Can Improve Your Focus
When you spend all day staring at a computer or sitting in meetings, or even at school trying to pay attention, there probably comes a point in the day where you feel like crashing. As a result, you’re probably not paying attention anymore, and you might find it difficult to concentrate on even the simplest of tasks.
Taking a break to get outside can make a big difference. Some people might think it would be distracting or take their focus away from the task at hand. Really, it has the opposite effect! Stepping away from whatever is causing you to lose focus can make a big difference after a few minutes of fresh air.
We’ve already talked about the fact that nature is restorative, but it can also restore your focus! Even a few minutes spent outside can give you the mental boost you need to get back to work, school, or whatever needs your concentration. Some people even use it as a method to help children with ADHD when it comes to focusing on one thing at a time.
It Can Boost Your Creativity
If you’re feeling stuck in a creative rut, can’t figure out a problem, or you’re just lacking inspiration, step away from the desk and step outside. Being in nature naturally boosts your levels of serotonin, which not only can make you feel happier but it can also give you a burst of creativity.
You don’t have to be an artist to benefit from using your creative mind. Being able to use your imagination in creative and unique ways can help you with a variety of real-world issues, from dealing with a problem your kids are having to finding a solution to something at work.
Speaking of kids, getting outside with your children can be beneficial for both of you. It’s important to encourage your kids to use their imagination. Unfortunately, many children spend a lot of time using technology nowadays, and perhaps not enough time in the great outdoors. Spending time outside with them, whether it’s taking a walk or going to the park, can provide the same mental health benefits for them – and can help them to burn off some extra energy in the process!
Stepping outside for Mental Wellness
There are so many additional reasons we could touch on as to why spending time outside is so good for you. Depending on what you do, you can get in a great physical workout and improve your cardiovascular health while building muscle.
But, no matter what you do, you can take advantage of the natural mental health benefits being outside can provide. It’s the easy form of self-care that doesn’t cost anything, and has no negative side effects!
So, whether you’re feeling stressed out or burnt out from the state of the world today, or you’re just ready to give yourself a natural boost that can easily form into a daily habit, step outside and take advantage of everything nature has to offer!