The Benefits of Nature
Do you ever feel like you spend too much time online and not enough time outside? It's no secret that being in nature can have both physical and mental benefits, providing opportunities for healing. Nature has the power to keep you healthy in more ways than one. Spending time in nature can be an opportunity to emotionally recharge, with many positive physical benefits like decreases in blood pressure, muscle tension, and stress hormones. The benefits of being outside can be attributed to a number of benefits such as physical activity.
The distractions of scrolling the internet, binging Netflix,, and browsing social media for the latest updates makes it difficult to be aware of what is happening in the present moment. Practicing mindfulness and relaxation can lead to improved self awareness, increased empathy, and an understanding of why we are feeling different emotions and thoughts.
Common Reasons People Don't Spend Time In Nature And How To Overcome Them
Living in a large metropolitan city can make some people doubt their ability to spend more time outside. Even just walking to and from the grocery store or corner store can improve your mental health. Don’t discount even the simplest of walks or the smallest balcony you can find.
Level Of Physical Fitness
You don't even have to do any physical activity when you are outside to receive some of the mental health benefits of nature. Visual or virtual reality has been shown to increase mood and provide lasting benefits to your mental health. When you are feeling your best mentally, you are more likely to get up and move, creating an upward cycle to carry you through your week or stressful day.
There could be many financial issues that relate to finding the time to get outside. Prioritizing your time and finding the value in spending more time outdoors is going to be what makes the financial costs worth it to you. If the cost of outdoor equipment is the main obstacle, there are a few options. Buy gently used equipment from either a sporting goods store or a thrift shop to increase the likelihood of spending time outside playing with equipment that passes the time. There are also many things you can do outdoors that don’t cost anything at all, like having a picnic in the park, or jogging on the beach instead of on a treadmill.
Not Having Time
It can be easy to feel like there is not enough time in the day to do everything you need to do. Everyone has too much on their plate at times, but it does not take an hour each day to get the benefits of being outdoors. Make it a point every day to walk down to your mailbox instead of once a week. Instead of driving down the street to the grocery store for a couple of things, ride your bike. Or, go for a five minute walk around your office building twice a day. There are ways to benefit from nature without it ruining the routines you already have in place.
Examples Of Ways You Can Spend More Time Outside.
You might be one of the lucky few who can partake in almost any outdoor activity any time of the year. For others, you might have to get as much out of each season as you can. Either way, here are examples of some outdoor activities you can take part in throughout the year.
Spring is like the new beginning of the year. Snow is melting and everything is blooming. A few examples of spring outdoor activities include walking around a botanical garden, or watching butterflies outside at a park. A short nature hike with awareness of hearing the birds coming to life is a great way to spend your time outdoors. You could take a picnic to a nearby park or practice yoga in nature. Anything you enjoy doing can probably be done outdoors.
Depending on where you live, summer can be hot, or at the very least, the warmest weather you'll have all year. So, take advantage of it. Try a new water sport like stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. Go mountain biking on your next camping trip to the mountains, or meet up with a friend at a local beach or community pool. Visit a local garden and pick your own food or walk around a farmers market and catch up with old friends. Summer is the perfect time for social gatherings as warm weather and water activities are fun outdoor activities this time of year.
Fall is typically the perfect time to huddle around a campfire. Star gaze in the backyard or on an overnight backpacking trip. Gaze at the beautiful changing leaves on your hike. Raking leaves in your backyard or neighborhood park is a great way to not only keep your surroundings looking beautiful, but it is a great way to get in a workout.
Winter is the perfect time to be outside if you love the snow. If you're fortunate enough to live in a snowy climate there are so many winter time sports you can take advantage of. Skiing and snowboarding are classic examples of winter sports, but even snowshoeing and shoveling snow can keep you physically fit. If you prefer to stay warm you can look out a window while you enjoy your morning coffee and take in the beauty of winter from the comfort of your living room. You will still be receiving many of the mental health benefits we talked about earlier.
No matter your physical fitness level, there is always something that can be done outside. Hopefully you can see the many benefits of spending more time in nature and give your mind many ideas to play around with when it comes to ways you would enjoy spending more time outside.
Brittney Bertagna, BSN, RN
Brittney Bertagna is currently a nurse and writer in Las Vegas, NV. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration she completed nursing school and became a registered nurse. While working a night shift in the neonatal ICU she went back to school to get her second bachelor’s degree in nursing from Western Governors University. Now she enjoys working with children in the surgical setting as well as with her adult patients as an infusion nurse.