Feeling Funky? Get Outside!
With summer finally here, you might notice a little extra pep in your step when the sun starts shining, and the beach or the park start calling your name. For many, summer brings with it a sunnier disposition, and increased energy that tends to dissipate during the winter months. People often attribute this to the nice weather forcing them outdoors. Although a lot of attention has been given to the relationship between sunshine and depression, getting it’s own term, Seasonal Affective Disorder, not as many people talk about the link between the outdoors and our mood and health.
When we’re feeling lethargic, stressed, or exhausted after a long day indoors at work or school, going for a run, walk or really anything that doesn’t involve the couch and some takeout might feel completely unappealing. If you’ve had this experience, you might find yourself come Friday burnt out instead of excited and energized for a few days off. However, the magic fix to all this lies just outside.
With summer coming in full swing, no matter where you live, the outdoors suddenly become more accessible than ever. Biking, swimming, hiking, surfing, tennis- whatever gets you outside might suddenly be calling your name.
It’s important to recognize just how essential nature is year round and that simply going for a walk can do wonders for all sorts of ailments and issues- and it’s free of charge. Science is beginning to catch on to this phenomena and recognizing that nature is more than just pretty scenery, but an incredibly powerful tool. Ecotherapy is centered around the idea that nature brings the body and mind back into harmony, and helps us with anything from a sense of connection, to treating depression, to helping us solve our greatest questions.
We live in a fast paced society that forces us to be constantly plugged in, spending most of our time checking, staring and working in front of a screen. That leaves little time for being immersed outdoors, and getting fresh air. However, people are catching on to the relationship between stress, depression, and poor health with our addictive tendencies towards technology. It’s more important now than ever to reach for an old fashioned prescription of Vitamin D and Vitamin N: Nature, to keep ourselves in balance, healthy, and happy.
Here’s just some of the ways that getting outside can help:
Numerous studies have shown the beneficial effects that getting outside has on our mental health. Treating and reducing the risk of depression, reducing anxiety and lowering our stress cortisol levels, as well as just boosting your mood, are some of the known benefits of nature.
People who spend ample time outdoors are shown to have greater immune systems, which has caused people to suspect that nature can be helpful for more serious diseases, like fighting cancer. Reduces inflammation,the root of all disease some say, is also a plus. Not to mention, most time outside involves some sort of physical activity, and we all know just how beneficial an active lifestyle is.
Increased creativity, sharper memory, better concentration, and greater clarity are just some of the side effects that people report after spending extended time outdoors.
So what are you waiting for? Get outside... and don't forget to wear your sunscreen!