How spending time outdoors can help you improve your mental health

The outdoors is a wonderful place. Based on where you live the outdoors might look very different - for example in Manitoba right now it is cold and snowy everywhere. Over the summer its usually very hot and humid but there are lots of amazing parks to visit year round. Whether you live in severe or moderate climates - there’s always bound to be some beautiful spots you can find. There are so many ways to take advantage of the outdoor environment around you.

According to the Ontario Parks blog, spending time outdoors can help relieve stress, anxiety and depression. Just being around nature can or green-space can reduce cortisol production (a stress hormone) and boost production of endorphins and dopamine which help increase happiness. It can also improve your energy level and provide a sense of focus according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

There are many ways for you to get out into nature and get the dose of green-space that you need to improve your wellbeing.

These are just a few of our favourites:

  1. Go for a walk or hike

    This can be done no matter which season it is. There are always parks around that you can check out (we love Beaudry Park just outside of Winnipeg - but in the summer be sure to bring bug spray!) or you could even just go for a walk around the block near your house.

  2. Go for a bike ride

    You can go wherever you like - near your house or find a park that you can go to and bring your bike along. You can go alone or bring a friend and go on an adventure.

  3. Go swimming

    If the weather permits, the beach or any other spot nearby is great. We love going out to a lake and finding a spot on the rocks. It’s so relaxing and you can just sit by the water or go for a dip.

  4. Go camping

    Camping is a great way to engage with the outdoors for longer periods of time. Whether its just overnight or for a week or two we LOVE camping. Seriously. You can grab a tent and rent out a cheap spot somewhere and go exploring. Campgrounds usually have trails, parks and beaches nearby so you can do everything while you’re there. Just getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and being surrounded by nature can be a huge help. Our favourite place is Whiteshell Provincial Park where there are lots of different lakes and parks to adventure in.

  1. Go for a picnic at the park

    For this one you can go far or close by. There are usually some really nice bigger parks, for us in Winnipeg that would be places like Assiniboine Park or St. Vital Park - but you don’t really need to go somewhere like that unless you want to. Those places are really nice to be at but if you just have a field or park down the street from your house that always works too.

  2. Do your workout or run outside

    Do you run on the treadmill? Do you do yoga or strength workouts? Or really any other kind of workout? Well you can get your dose of the outdoors by simply moving your workout routine outside. If you have a yard you could workout there, if not community parks are always a great place to break out a yoga mat or do some push ups.

  3. Just relax and enjoy it

    As we mentioned before, just sitting outdoors and enjoying it is so wonderful. Find a place that you like, or go on a new adventure every time, and take a second to just sit and listen to the air around you. See if you can hear animals or the rustling of leaves. Just simply observe and relax for a little while. This is one of our favourite ways to enjoy the outdoors

Let us know what you like to do outdoors to boost your mood. We’d love to hear!


Resources:
http://www.ontarioparks.com/parksblog/mental-health-benefits-outdoors/

https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/90720.html