Nature and Anxiety Management

Nature and Anxiety Management
Nature and Anxiety Management
When it comes to managing physical and mental well-being, the benefits of nature are endless.

Did you know that there is an anxiety management resource out there that is:

  1. completely free
  2. readily available whenever and wherever you need it 
  3. has no major negative side effects or contraindications 
  4. has endless possibilities when it comes to how to "use" it
  5. can be enjoyed alone or with others 
  6. does not require a lot of time to be rewarded by it benefits
  7. is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year

Have you guessed what this miracle resource is? It's nature!

When it comes to managing physical and mental well-being, the benefits of nature are endless. It can relieve muscle tension, boosts your immunity, and improve concentration and creativity. 

In terms of our mental health, nature reduces anxiety and stress levels, not only by reducing blood pressure and the production of stress hormone (ie. cortisol), but also by increasing the production of “happy hormones” (ie. dopamine and epinephrine). Nature has also been shown to reduce negative “side effects” associated with anxiety, such as irritability, tension headaches, insomnia, and more. 20-30 minutes a day, three times a week is all that Dr. Strauss (psychiatrist at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance) says is necessary to experience the effects. Plus, you don’t have to be doing something strenuous either!

Unfortunately, we currently live in a world where people (especially young people) are spending far too much time in front of their screens, and far too little time outside and being active. This is especially true with the current world pandemic, despite the fact that there are many ways to enjoy this resource in a way that is safe, and following the social distancing rules. 

Live in the city? 

  • Socially distanced walk

  • Visit a greenhouse or nursery

  • Set up lawn chairs in the yard, hang out with neighbors and family, socially distant

  • Walk the dog

  • Go rollerskating or skateboarding
  • Bike ride

    • Many cities have bike share programs or rental shops you can visit if you don't own a bike
  • Road trip/ drive 

Live in the country?

  • Go fruit picking or visit a farm
  • Go for a hike
  • Plant a garden
  • Outdoor yoga/fitness
  • Camping trip
  • Picnic
  • Canoeing/ Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Bird watching

Looking for way to kick-start a nature habit that will last all year round? Here are some of our favourite activities according to the season. 

Fall

  • Go apple picking
  • Visit a pumpkin patch
  • Explore a corn maze
  • Go for a hike and admire the changing colours
  • Rake the leaves

Winter

  • Go snowshoeing or cross-country/skate skiing
  • Go ice skating (did you know there are parks with ice skating trails? Arrowhead Provincial Park, Gatineau Park, RiverOak are three such examples in Eastern Ontario/Quebec)
  • Go for a hike and look for animal tracks
  • Build a snow fort in the forest
  • Try downhill skiing/snowboarding or snow tubing

Spring

  • Plan an elaborate Easter egg/scavenger hunt in the forest
  • Visit a greenhouse or nursery
  • Go strawberry picking
  • Try gardening (flowers or even your own veggie/herb garden)
  • Forest bathing

Summer

  • Take your yoga outside (perhaps even try paddleboard yoga)
  • Go camping and disconnect
  • Do a day canoe/kayak trip
  • Have a picnic in the park

 

Whatever you decide, remember…

"Time spent amongst trees is never wasted" - Katrina Mayer

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