Ah, the great outdoors. There’s nothing quite like waking up and walking outside to sit by the lake and breathe in fresh air, away from all the stressors of everyday life.
With summer coming to a close, most people have their schedules jam-packed with road trips, family vacations and long weekend getaways.
But the hustle and bustle of fancy hotels and big cities can be overstated. On the other hand, the mental and physical health benefits of getting your nature on cannot be emphasized enough.
Ever notice how people who spend a lot of time hiking, swimming or even camping tend to seem happier and more relaxed? There’s a science behind it: Getting back to the basics can leave you feeling refreshed, invigorated and less stressed.
Being in nature helps you stay grounded.
Walking barefoot on the grass or even in the dirt helps us feel connected to the earth. The term for this is called "grounding" or "earthing," and it creates a positive charge in both the body and mind.
Feeling a connectedness to the elements can be both relaxing and uplifting at the same time.
Research shows nature boosts your mental health.
Some scientific studies conclude that even spending five minutes per day outside in nature can have a lasting effect on a person’s health and well-being.
A study conducted in 2009 in the Netherlands also found a significant relationship between being in nature and lower rates of depression and anxiety.
It's understandable that being away from the stressors of everyday life would be a helpful way for us to destress and recharge our batteries.
Nature promotes healthy alone time and quality family time.
Having alone time can be really, really good for us. Alone time gives us space to reflect on our lives, our decisions and the things that are truly important to us.
Nature is the perfect place to enjoy some alone time, even if it’s only for a few minutes per day. Sitting outside in the forest or with our feet in a lake can be an insightful experience. Even taking a long drive through the mountains or by the ocean can do wonders for clearing your mind of external noise.
Nature is also the perfect place to spend quality family time. When was the last time you spent time with your family without looking at your phone or glancing at a TV?
Get back in touch with your family while simultaneously getting back in touch with nature. Both of these things can give us a fresh perspective and appreciation for life.
It's a win-win.
Vitamin D exposure has its own health benefits.
Vitamin D, otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, has been shown to have a myriad of health benefits. Vitamin D is important for the normal development of teeth and bones, and has also been linked to fighting disease. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.
If you’re the city dweller type, there’s a distinct possibility you could be Vitamin D deficient. Choosing a summer getaway that puts you smack dab in the middle of nature and sunshine could take care of that.
Besides, who doesn’t feel happy sitting outside with the warm sunlight hitting their face?
You feel like a part of something bigger.
Busy work schedules, school, kids and family obligations can make it easy to forget the big picture. When was the last time you sat and contemplated the meaning of life?
Being in nature tends to put things back into perspective and make you feel like part of something bigger. Looking out over the ocean or standing on top of a mountain looking down at the city below can help you make sense of the crazy world, even if only for a little while.
It’s a reminder that we’re all on this crazy journey called life together. We’re all just trying to figure things out as we go.
Ideas for Getting Back in Touch With Nature:
Nature is all around us, if only we stop and take a moment to reflect and look around.
Go for a hike, take a swim, visit a national park, plan a camping trip or even lay in your backyard and gaze at the stars. The key is to stop what you’re doing and make a conscious decision to get back in touch with nature.
Next time you’re outside, take a moment to look up, look down and look around you. Pause and reflect upon the beauty. Ground yourself, de-stress and replenish yourself.
The world has so many natural, free options for us to get back in touch with nature, so we can also get back in touch with ourselves.