Benefits of Spending Time Outside
What is your favorite animal that you have seen in-person? How about your favorite flower or plant? How many different types of birds can you name? Have you been to a waterfall before? When was the last time you watched a sunrise or sunset? Does it feel good to lay on the grass and watch the clouds? Do you know any of the constellations in the night sky? Have you seen a shooting star before? Have you heard about the meteor showers that can be seen in the night sky this month?
One of the best things we can do for our mental health is to spend time outside. Research shows that spending time outdoors improves mood, decreases stress, increases energy, builds motivation and expands creativity. Spending time outside also makes us stronger and improves our physical health. We all have ancestors who spent the majority of their lives living outside, so it makes sense that we are all meant to breathe natural air and experience the sounds, smells, colors, shapes, and textures of nature, and to do so daily. Connect with your roots and branch out towards your future by connecting with Mother Earth and Father Sky.
Being outside is good medicine. You can set a goal to spend time outdoors every day for at least 30 minutes somewhere close to home. You can set another goal to have a “Big Outing” once a week by going on an adventure to one of the places listed above, or somewhere else by spending at least 1-2 hours, or even a whole day or night camping outside. Northern Nevada has plenty of open space to enjoy and explore outdoor activities while still maintaining social distancing. Go to your favorite place outside. Or, better yet, find a new favorite place outside. Exploring this beautiful Earth is one of the greatest pleasures in life; you need it and you deserve it.
By Aaron Blackham, MSW, Behavioral Health Provider