You guys may have noticed how much I love being outside. I even like being outside during the winter months even though it can be so cold. I truly feel like being outside has so many benefits for our mental health. Honestly, I'll spend 1 or 2 days relaxing in the house without much outdoor time and I feel different. I feel sluggish, depressed and sad. It's safe to say that Johanna also enjoys being outdoors more than indoors so that's a plus for me! The girl even likes dancing in the rain to kudos to her! I hope she keeps her love of nature forever. For today's wellness Wednesday, I want to share five benefits of being out in nature! I'm sure you guys have noticed or may even be one of the people who resorted to going outside during this pandemic! Good for you for doing that! It's probably one of the most beneficial things we can

  1. You will be happier! Research suggests that light makes people happy! Being outside and in the sun raises your vitamin D levels. This could be proven by the realness of seasonal affective disorder. Some individuals even use a light box in there house during the winter months when it gets dark outside early. The light box is a form of treatment and has shown to improve symptoms of SAD. Being out in nature has profound effects on our brain as well as our behavior. This is because nature reduces our anxiety and stress. Have you ever gotten the advice to take a walk outside when you're feeling stressed? It's because it really does work. It also increases our attention capacity (your way more vigilant about your surroundings when you're outside), creativity and our ability to connect with others. A research study showed that individuals who spent time outside had lower levels of cortisol and a decrease in heart rate versus those who spent more time inside.

  2. Reduces mental fatigue! Nature has been proven to relax and restore the mind. Outside is a restorative experience meaning it helps rest your mind and brings back your mental energy. You know those days or week where you literally feel like your brain is coming to a halt? You can't think anymore or make any decisions for the week. Get outside even if it's just for a brief moment. If you can't physically go outside, look up some pictures of nature or keep them on your desk. Just a glimpse of the great outdoors will do wonders for mental fatigue! Humans find nature inherently interesting and we have the natural ability to focus on what we experience outdoors. It provides a respite for our overactive minds.

  3. It helps you get exercise! I think this is probably the most obvious one! If we are walking outdoors, we are exercising. Who doesn't need to exercise even if it's just for health benefits? We've seen so many people during the pandemic change up their workout area to the great outdoors! We also send our children outside to run around when they need some exercise!

  4. Human contact! Unless you are enjoying nature off the grid, it's likely that you'll come in contact with other people. Human interaction is necessary for our mental health. I've talked about this before but we are not meant to be alone! It's not only mother nature that you'll see outdoors but it's people too! Don't be afraid to just say hi or give a wave. That interaction is everything for us especially in today's pandemic times!

  5. It improves your sleep! Being outdoors can help set your sleep cycle. Light in your eyes has been proven to get your body's internal clock working. This will help you out in the long run as it becomes more beneficial over time and when you're older. Another thing to think about is being outdoors makes you somewhat tired and ready for sleep. It's much easier to fall asleep after a day of the outdoors than it is after a day of being indoors. Test it out and see what happens!

As you can see there are some really great benefits to spending time outdoors! I have a weekly goal that I set to make sure I spend 4 out of the 7 days of the week doing something outdoors. I will say it's much easier to meet that goal now that I have Johanna to tag along with me! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

*DISCLAIMER: I am not a Doctor or practicing professional in mental health. I earned my M.A in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University. I am currently a member of the peer support team for first responder's and those who work with first responder's. I enjoy studying mental health and I take training's to further my education on current mental health issues.