When you’re having a rough day, a little sunshine and a cool breeze can work wonders for health. There’s just something about being surrounded by nature that lifts your spirits. Time outdoors makes even the most stressful of days seem just a little bit better.
The idea that spending time outdoors can improve your mental and physical health is more than just a happy thought. It’s also backed by scientific research. Time spent outside can relieve stress, balance the mood, boost the immune system, and could even improve your cognition.
Here are 6 ways spending time outside is great for your mental and physical health:
- It could improve your memory. Walking in nature has been shown to provide greater benefits for improving short-term memory than walking in urban settings.
- It may help relieve stress. Spending 20 to 30 minutes in the great outdoors has been shown to help lower production of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
- It could boost productivity. After spending time outside, you may find you have less difficulty concentrating on tasks which could improve your productivity at work or around the house.
- It may speed healing and recovery. UV rays from the sun help the body produce vitamin D which plays a protective role for your health. Natural light may also speed the recovery process.
- It could relieve anxiety and depression. Natural light has the potential to elevate your mood and may help with symptoms of anxiety and depression. It could also improve your sleep.
- It can help boost mental energy. If you struggle with mental fatigue, a little sunshine may do you good. Spending time outside may have a restorative effect on the mind.
These are just a few of the many ways spending time outside can benefit you. It may require you to make a few simple lifestyle changes or to simply be more intentional about how you spend your time, but the results will be well worth it. If you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, spending more time in nature could help. It is still wise to consider seeking professional help. Online counseling makes it easy to get the help you need from home. Spending more time outdoors could boost your mental and physical health, and there are plenty of simple ways to do it.
Here are some ideas to start spending more time outside:
- When possible, try walking, biking, or jogging to work or to other places you frequent like the coffee shop or the library.
- Spend your lunch hour or work breaks outside. Find a local park or simply go for a walk around the neighborhood for the added benefit of exercise.
- If you like to work out at home, try taking some of your workouts outside. Stretching, yoga, and bodyweight movements are all easily adapted to the outdoors.
- Instead of meeting your friends at a bar after work, find a restaurant with outdoor seating or invite them over for a barbecue or bonfire at your house.
- Spend 15 minutes a day on simple outdoor tasks like weeding or, if you have a green thumb, start a garden and dedicate some time to tending it each day.
If you really want to immerse yourself in the great outdoors, consider a True Nature retreat. Explore exotic locations like Costa Rica, Iceland, and Mexico while engaging in service projects, taking educational tours, and practicing yoga with some of the world’s best instructors. A nature retreat is the perfect way to get away from it all and you may just find you return home feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to tackle the next phase of your life.