It’s that time of year again when spring is in the air and we feel the urge to de-clutter our homes, but why not de-clutter your mind too? With the pandemic causing many people to suffer from anxiety, stress and other mental health issues over the last year, now is the time to discover the wellbeing benefits of nature and get outdoors more.
What are the benefits of springtime on our mental health?
- Because the days are longer, we can soak up more sunlight and much-needed vitamin D. Our body also produces less melatonin and more serotonin which improves our mood and makes us feel more energised.
- Warmer and brighter weather encourages us to spend more time outdoors and live a healthier lifestyle, which can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
If you want to bathe in nature and enjoy that feel good factor, there are lots of activities you can do outdoors to get those endorphins flowing.
Walking and The Wellbeing Benefits
Walking is one of the best outdoor activities not only because you can immerse yourself in beautiful surroundings and listen to the sound of nature, but because there are many other wellbeing benefits too.
- Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduces cholesterol and blood pressures
- Reduces the risk of diabetes
- Helps protect against dementia
- Helps fight obesity
Why not visit your local park, explore some woodlands or amble around a lake? Without even realising it, you’ll probably start to practice mindfulness along the way by paying more attention to your natural surroundings. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sound of birds, savour the smells of the trees and plants, or observe any wildlife you might come across. This is a great way to calm the mind and feel more grateful for the things that you might not normally appreciate in your day-to-day life.
There are 15 national parks in the UK, each possessing some of the most beautiful landscapes across the nation. Whether you want to tackle the fells of the Lake District, explore the moors and tors of Dartmoor, or lose yourself in the peace and tranquility of the New Forest, you’ll feel blessed to have access to so much natural beauty.
Walk4Life is a great online resource that provides walking routes, maps, challenges, and local walking groups if you’re not sure where to start.
In recent years, Shinrin-yoku has become a popular activity across the globe. Also known as forest bathing, this nature activity has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure, meaning the risk of depression, stroke, or even cancer is reduced. So, what does forest bathing mean? Well, the good news is, you don’t have to show up in a swimming costume! Basically, it’s all about spending time among the trees, switching off from the outside world, and being mindful of the natural surroundings. If you want to totally de-stress and clear your mind, this is a great way to do it.
Getting Sporty Among Nature
If you want to step it up a notch and get the adrenalin flowing, there are many outdoor sports and activities you can take part in from cycling and kayaking to swimming and sky diving. As well as having a huge amount of fun, these outdoor activities among nature can improve both your physical and mental wellbeing. Here are a few more ideas to get your blood pumping…
- Rock climbing
- Horse riding
- Fell walking
If you want to find out more about how nature and being outdoors can have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing, visit Mind for more information.