Life is stressful and demanding! And while we may have one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce that stress right at our fingertips, we have a hard time taking advantage of it. However, the research proves it is well worth it – spending time outside is good for our overall wellness, for our physical AND emotional health!
Spending time outdoors improves our memory, productivity, creativity, and concentration. More specifically it…
- reduces mental fatigue! With multimedia and technology everywhere, our brains rarely have a chance to “switch off” and get grounded. Research shows we are more likely to “simplify” our thought processes when outdoors, providing an opportunity to think through things more quickly, improving our problem-solving, decision-making, and concentration skills. This can significantly improve our academic or work performance and allow us to be more creative!
- alleviates stress! Just 20-30 minutes spent outdoors every day can significantly reduce cortisol levels (improving your body’s ability to balance hormones and maintain a healthy weight).
- helps fight depression and anxiety! Spending time in nature has been shown to not only reduce the risk of becoming depressed but can also mitigate the symptoms of depression for those who already live with the illness.
- elevates your mood! Exposure to natural light is conducive to higher self-esteem and better moods, particularly when combined with “green exercise” (exercising outdoors).
- improves short-term memory! Research has compared the memory of those who spend time in nature versus walking on a busy city street, and those who walk in nature have shown to improve their short-term memory performance and attention spans by as much as 20% while no improvements were recorded for the other group.
So many benefits for our physical and emotional health. Many activities and tasks cannot be moved outside, yet so many can. What do you do daily or weekly that can be moved outside? Here are a few ideas:
- Reading/Journaling: Find a comfortable spot, whether on your own porch or at a park under a tree, and breathe in the fresh air while you read or write.
- Work: Often times we can move our WORK outside, as well. Charge up your phone or laptop, prepare a bottle of water, and allow nature to invigorate you while you work.
- Exercise: Weather may not always permit a walk around the block or a jog along the trails, but it does more often than we realize. And remember… it can also help with short-term memory, better academic or work performance, and more.
- Meal-time: Pack a picnic for the park or simply eat on your back deck. Get reconnected with nature as you fuel your body!
- Game Night: There are usually an increased number of social events toward the end of the school year/beginning of summer. Invite some friends to join you for a game night and have it outside with scavenger hunts, kickball, or simply bring your board games outside with you.
So many activities that we default to doing indoors can be enjoyed outdoors. Join us outdoors and experience the multiple health benefits from the inside out!