When we get closer to nature - be it untouched wilderness, beautiful mountain scenes or
glorious sunsets over the beach - we are undertaking an act of great self-care that benefits
our physical and mental health.
The problem with a hectic modern lifestyle
There’s no denying that life is stressful right now. Stuck at home for hours in front of
screens, with ongoing restrictions, lockdown and isolation is not good for anyone’s mental or
The problem with our modern way of life is that our body gets forgotten and our mind takes
over. What we don’t realize is that our mind is totally dependent on our body, and if we fail
to prioritize our physical health it can quickly take its toll on our mental health. A fit and
healthy body very often equates to a fit and healthy mind.
When the mind takes over and becomes disconnected from the body, we can get stuck in a
pattern of not moving and living a sedentary lifestyle. The longer we stay in that pattern of
not moving, the harder it is to get the motivation to move again. This vicious cycle repeats
itself over and over until we build up the strength to break the pattern which can be
incredibly difficult if we are feeling down or depressed.
One easy and accessible way to break this pattern is to reconnect with the earth by going
The health benefits of the great outdoors
Even during lockdowns, people have the freedom to go outdoors. Often the challenge is that
we don’t feel like it, particularly if we are stuck in the pattern of not moving.
Getting out in the great outdoors for as little as just 5 minutes a day has been shown to be
all you need to quickly improve your mood (1).
Exposure to sunlight, fresh air and movement significantly impact on our wellbeing. Sunlight
itself offers a rich plethora of health benefits including stimulation of Vitamin D, a potent
antioxidant that is essential for a health circulatory and nervous system. Not only does it
boost endorphins which are those amazing ‘feel good’ chemicals that we can produce
naturally, but it also stimulates the production of the hormone serotonin which helps us feel
calm, happy and focused and stabilizes our mood.
Many people struggle with sleep patterns during times of stress. The good news is that
exposure to sunlight stimulates the production of melatonin which is essential for the
regulation of our circadian rhythm. A good night’s sleep can make all the difference not only
to our mental health but is necessary a healthy functioning immune system which is of
particular importance to the entire global population during the coronavirus pandemic.
Supporting your immune system should be top of your list of New Year’s resolutions!
The perfect antidote to stress
We live in a world full of natural beauty. With sights to behold and new terrain to explore
there’s almost always a new corner of the earth that you can explore if you get curious and
try a new path.
New research carried out in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic found that experiencing new
things on a daily basis led to more positive emotions every day (2).
Even “travelling” to new places within your own town is shown to have positive benefits on
Finding a way to bring excitement and new experiences into your everyday life can bring
that real zest and enjoyment of life, the spark that lights you up and adds spice to your life.
Whether you’re an adventure seeker or someone who prefers to take their time mindfully
enjoying nature, there is something for everyone in the great outdoors if you know how to
Finding an outdoor activity
Here are our top tips for finding an outdoor activity that suits you:
1) Make a list of nature experiences in your hometown and plan time in to go and visit
them. Even if you live in a city you can often find nature parks, bike paths or river
walks that get you a bit closer to nature
2) Pick an activity outdoors that suits your fitness level. There are no age restrictions to
taking up an outdoor activity so whether you feel like walking, running or cycling is
for you, pick something that you feel comfortable doing and that brings you joy.
Cycling is a good activity for all age groups and often takes us back to a younger,
more playful time where we were able to enjoy the journey and adventure of going
on a bike ride.
3) Give yourself a challenge. Setting a challenge like running 5k or cycling from one
town to the next can give you something to focus on, a purpose for your outdoor
activity. Achieving a new goal has an incredibly positive impact on your self-esteem
and mental health.
4) Make a commitment to yourself to go outside for at least 5 minutes a day. Start
small if that’s what you need right now and work up to spending 30 minutes out in
nature each day. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Spending time outdoors will help you combat the stresses and anxieties of our hectic
modern lives, and anything that we can do to take care of our health and wellbeing is an act
of great self-care and self-love.
At the end of the day, we come out in nature not because the science says that it's good for
us, but because of how it makes us feel inside.
1) Journal of Positive Psychology, 2019,
2) Nature Neuroscience, 2020 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-020-0636-