There’s something about nature that’s good for the soul. It’s refreshing to kick back in the sun with sunglasses and a good book. It’s fun to run through water on a sunny day or even to run through the rain. Being outdoors is good for anyone with an ailment, but it can prove especially beneficial for people recovering from troubling life experiences. Seniors, especially, need to make sure they’re spending enough time in the sunshine and fresh air.
Courtesy of Bob and Brad, here are some reasons why those struggling with anxiety, stress, and depression can greatly benefit from spending time outdoors.
The Sun Provides Much-Needed Vitamin D
Direct exposure to sunlight produces vitamin D in the body. Although many people don’t get enough of it, vitamin D is essential for the body’s calcium levels and immune system. The vitamin has also been linked to decreased depression and anxiety and is being used more and more in addiction treatment, according to Science Direct and the Journal of Medical Hypotheses and Ideas. Although you can obtain vitamin D by purchasing supplements and eating certain foods, why not go outside and get it naturally? Not only is it free, but you’ll be able to reap all the other benefits of being outside along with it.
You Get More Exercise
One of the worst things you can do when struggling with depression is to become a hermit who never goes outside. Spending too much time indoors is unhealthy for anyone, and for someone suffering from stress and anxiety, it could be extra detrimental to their overall well-being. On the other hand, National Geographic notes that going outside and moving helps you feel productive and can lead to higher self-esteem.
Naturally, people are more physically active when they are outside. Hiking, running, cycling, swimming and any kind of ball sport are all examples of fun and healthy outdoor activities. You should choose something you enjoy; otherwise, you’re likely to give up on it. The benefits to outdoor exercise and recreation for the body, mind, emotions and social life are endless. Like vitamin D, exercising can also help decrease depression and anxiety, so putting the two together makes for a great combination.
It’s Healthy for Your Mind
Being outside is also good for the brain. Taking a walk in nature is believed to be better for your mind than walking on the treadmill or in urban areas. It can improve short-term memory and concentration, which can help you conquer everyday tasks at work and home. Even sitting or standing for a moment amidst the sounds of nature can be relaxing and restorative.
It’s worth making it a regular part of your day, if possible, to close your eyes and listen to the birds chirping, the wind rustling the leaves, and the stream running nearby. You could even transform your backyard into a relaxing oasis where you can just sit back, relax with some self-care products from Bob and Brad, and enjoy the outdoors. Hire some professionals to touch up your yard — search “yard maintenance near me” and read through reviews to find a service that can make your backyard a relaxing escape.
Man’s Best Friend
On top of trying to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices, many people experience loneliness on a regular basis. However, spending time with animals can really improve your life. One of the best ways to alleviate negative emotions is to get a dog. For one, being responsible for another living being gives you purpose beyond yourself, and it can be a great way to build character and keep you accountable. Having a dog is also a way to engender unconditional love and affection, and has been known to decrease sadness and help with stress and anxiety levels. This is particularly beneficial to seniors, who often experience isolation and loneliness as they grow older.
While it’s important to live healthily, sudden massive changes in your lifestyle aren’t always effective. According to Zen Business, “By focusing on the goal, and not on the process, sometimes we try to do too much at once.” That’s why it’s important to set reasonable, achievable goals for yourself. Remember, depression is tough. Getting over it takes time. Go easy on yourself. Use the resources available to you -- including fresh air!
There are many benefits to spending time outdoors for those recovering from troubled times. The sun provides the body with vitamin D, and you are more likely to be active when you are outside. Also, being outdoors serves your mind well by boosting concentration and memory. Perhaps the best thing you can do if you’re feeling lonely, however, is to get a dog. After all, they are called man’s best friends for a reason.