Going Back Outside…Safely

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As the approaching spring causes trees to sprout buds and birds to sing outside your window, more people are getting ready to look for ways to spend time outdoors. To safely avoid large crowds, one of the best ways to enjoy the good weather is to venture into the wilderness. After a long, cold winter spent cooped up inside, what better way to rejuvenate yourself than by getting back in touch with nature?

There are countless ways you can enjoy the great outdoors. Activities like hiking, swimming, ziplining, paddle boats, tennis, and simply walking through nature are all healthy, invigorating ways to spend a sunny day. Even just relaxing under the sky and taking in a beautiful environment can relax your mind and cleanse your emotions.

Nature Can Benefit Your Mental Health

Spending regular time in nature can have a positive impact on your mental stability and physical wellness. The serenity of nature can help reduce destructive emotions like stress and anger and improve your overall mood. Amid the hustle and bustle of daily life, taking out the time to enjoy the great outdoors can help you get more in touch with your feelings.

Studies have also shown that, compared to urban settings, a long walk in a natural setting causes less activity in the prefrontal cortex. This is the region of the brain that houses rumination, or repetitive negative thinking. This is the part of the brain that typically malfunctions when people experience high levels of stress. Nature provides an organic means of cultivating mental quiet that can have profound physical effects like lower blood pressure and a more regular heart rate.

Don’t Complicate It

Although there is a literal science to the benefits of nature, figuratively speaking there’s no need to bring science into it at all. Any time spent outside is good for you, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day for three days a week. As long as you make nature a normal part of your life, you are doing your mind and body a favor. You can start with a morning run, walk outside during your lunch break at work, or end your day with a sunset stroll.

If you’re so inclined, you can also turn your time in nature into a quick workout session. Start by finding a location and level of activity that makes you comfortable and explore how to use your time productively without overthinking it. The ultimate goal is to get away from your regularly scheduled mental programming and focus on the present moment, in all the enjoyment and beauty it has to offer. You can also contact your friends, who are also dying to go outside and coordinate safe group hikes or games. The commitment to a group activity will push you and your friends to spend time outside and remain consistent.

The Consequences of Nature Deprivation

A lack of time spent in the natural world can be seriously harmful to your mental health. The endless cycle of information through social media and the news can drag you down emotionally and taint your worldview. Between the television, computer screen, and cell phones, spending hours each day in front of a screen is heavily linked with depression. As a nation, we are also at higher risk of obesity and poor physical health due to weight problems. Much of these risks are credited to lack of diet and exercise, and the ongoing pandemic has made it easier than ever to stay inside, stop moving, and feel hopeless. Going outside will help you engage in regular physical activity, which can promote healthier weight, and expose you to sunlight and the organic calm of the living world, which can help combat depression and digital fatigue. Reclaim your body and mind by making this spring the season that you get back in touch with nature.

Bringing Nature into Your Home

You may not always have the time or desire to go outside. No matter what your circumstances, you can keep a piece of nature nearby to boost your mood. Plants like peace lilies, lavender, and snake plants will freshen the air in your home, and bright flowers can liven up the atmosphere and bring a smile to your face. Even if you don’t care for plants, the sound of nature can make a difference, too. The sounds of nature can serve to clear and relax your mind, resulting in a restful night of sleep. However, you choose to introduce nature into your home, use it to create an environment that stimulates your mind and soothes your emotions.

After spending nearly a full year in a global pandemic, it’s no surprise that many people are struggling to find the energy to spend time outside. As the weather warms up, choose to be proactive in taking advantage of the benefits that nature can have on your mental health. Enjoying the outdoors can relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, and help you feel rejuvenated in your daily life. Put on your favorite sneakers, or go barefoot to stick your toes in the grass. If you’re struggling to overcome obstacles to your mental health, reach out for help. Kimberly Center in Fort Myers, Florida, can provide you with treatment and care in your time of need, no matter what issues you’re facing. We offer a plethora of effective therapies for mental illness and addiction. You don’t have to do it alone. To learn more about how our services can help you, call us at (855) 452-3683.

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