Mental Health Month Tips: Get Outside This Summer
It’s Memorial Day, which hopefully means you’ve got a day off work or school. You probably want to make the most of the holiday. And what better way to enjoy it than in the great outdoors?
This isn’t just about taking advantage of the coming summer months. Spending time outside can deliver a serious mental health boost.
Why fresh air helps
Getting outside can make you happier and more focused. Whether you’re looking to boost your mood or your cognitive function, it helps. Heck, if you’re looking to do both — say you’re feeling crabby because you have a big work presentation hanging over your head — fresh air can help you kill two birds with one stone.
Plus, whenever you’re feeling stressed, getting outside can help. Taking a break in the fresh air can help you psychologically recover faster.
The benefits don’t stop there, either. Spending time outside can:
- Help you sleep better
- Fight symptoms of depression
- Improve your immunity
- Help you avoid respiratory diseases
- Give you motivation and energy to exercise
- Fight nearsightedness
- Relieve sadness and worry
Try it on for size
Research shows that just 20 minutes in nature can make a big difference. But you don’t have to take our — or mental health experts’ — word for it. Try it out for yourself.
Make some time this week to spend 20 minutes outside. The more natural the space, the better. A park will go further than a parking lot, for example. Green spaces and blue spaces (areas by water) give you the biggest bang for your figurative buck.
If you’re not sure where to go, open up Google Maps. Switch to satellite view and zoom out near you. Look for green and blue. You might be able to find a rooftop terrace that’s open to the public, a parklet, or some other outdoor access close by. Even if you can’t, it’s worth hopping in the car, on your bike, or on a local bus.
Get there and chill. Spend 20 minutes reading, breathing, just looking around. Do anything that feels good. Then, before you leave, check in.
Do you feel better? If so, there’s something to this whole time-outdoors-for-mental-health thing. And you’re getting the hang of it just in time for summer.
Spending time outside is just one way to boost your mental wellness. If you want more tips and tricks there, check out our Doughp4Hope blog.