Getting Back To Nature: Improve Your Mental Health

01.10.2021

When we’re younger, our parents are always encouraging us to go outside and get some fresh air. It’s often where we build some of our fondest childhood memories and it helps us to explore and understand the world around us! As an adult, though, making time to simply be outdoors can often feel like an afterthought. Work, responsibilities and fatigue can take over and before you know it… It’s been a while since you’ve taken a good long walk outdoors. 

Making that time though is so important, not just for our physical health but to help support our mental wellbeing. Spending time in nature can help us feel more connected to the world around us and give us a break from the screens. Even a simple change of scenery can help shift our perspective and emotions!

Research has shown that people who are more connected with nature are usually happier… But why exactly? We’re going to look at some practical ways you can practice self-care in nature and how it can help boost your mood.

Nature Has A Calming Influence 

The outdoors is a great place to be when you’re in need of stress relief. Being out in nature helps to reduce stress, fear, and anger making you feel more at ease. This isn’t just because it gives you a chance to breathe and appreciate nature, but it helps physically reduce stress levels. Spending time walking has been proven to reduce muscle tension and lower heart rate, both of which are symptoms of stress.

Nature Lifts Your Mood

Exercise and nature go hand-in-hand, whether it’s hiking, a steady walk, or cycling. When we exercise it releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals produced by your body to relieve stress and pain and they actually help you feel happy. Exercise is great for looking after our physical health but it’s just as important for our mental stability. We recommend trying to go outside for some fresh air at least once a day! This can be as simple as a walk to the shops or a ramble through the woods.

You don’t need to be a pro-athlete either. A light walk daily is enough to improve your mood long term.

Exercise has an array of benefits such as:

  • Raising your self-esteem: Regular exercise is a great way to invest in yourself. When it becomes a habit, you’ll be surprised how powerful and confident the feeling can make one feel! Regular activity will help build your sense of self-worth. Even small goals have value when achieved through consistent effort over time.
  • Giving you more energy: Exercise is a great way to get your heart rate up. You’ll feel more energized if you increase your heart rate with exercise several times per week. Start off by doing just a few minutes of activity and gradually work up to longer sessions as desired, but don’t overdo it!
  • Building your emotional resilience. When life gets tough, exercise is an excellent way to help you cope. Regular physical activity boosts your immune system and reduces the impact of stress on emotional health. You’ll feel better both inside and out!

Nature Helps You To Unwind 

The stress of everyday life can become overwhelming which isn’t good for your mental wellbeing. Stress at work, for example, can have a serious impact on your health. If you need time to unwind, nature provides an opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle of life. 

5 Ways To Spend More Time Outdoors 

The benefits of nature are undeniable, but how do you put it into practice? If you’re struggling for motivation or ideas on how to spend your time outdoors, here are some ideas to get you started: 

Walk the dog 

Dogs need regular exercise just like us. What better way is there than taking your canine friend out for a much-needed walk while you take in nature? Knowing how much fun your dog gets from walking with you is an excellent source of motivation. 

Ditch the car 

We often find ourselves in a situation where the only option left is to drive. But when you can walk, it’s always better for your wallet and health! By choosing to walk instead of driving means you save money on fuel and get some fresh air and exercise!

Go for a picnic 

Picnics are the perfect way to enjoy your favourite foods whilst taking in some sun. With sunny days being rare and fleeting in the UK, it’s even more enjoyable to take advantage while you can! Perfect for all the family, pack a bag and enjoy a summer picnic today!

Camping 

If you’re looking for a break from the daily grind, camping is an excellent way to get away and connect with nature. You can spend quality time with loved ones in beautiful surroundings and unwind. if you’re looking for something more luxurious then ‘glamping’ might be the perfect option. 

Try a morning walk 

For many of us, morning can be a struggle and we find ourselves just wanting to crawl back in bed. Going for a morning walk as soon as you wake up can help to start the day right and get your daily dose of nature. 

Getting Support 

Whilst nature is a great natural remedy to fight low mood, it shouldn’t take the place of professional help. If you’re struggling with your mental health, there are professionals that can help. 

At LycaHealth, we have a team of trained psychiatrists that can diagnose, prevent and treat a plethora of complex mental health conditions. We also offer non-judgemental and confidential psychotherapy appointments carried out by a trained expert. Our medical team is committed to getting you back on your feet and leading the fullest life possible.

To find out more about other mental health services we offer, visit our Mental Health Services page.

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