LA Direct: Stressed? Retreat to nature

LA Direct: Stressed? Retreat to nature

Our environment can increase or reduce our stress, which in turn impacts our bodies. What we are seeing, hearing, experiencing at any moment changes not only our mood, but how our nervous, endocrine and immune systems are working.

Most people find nature pleasing and choose a natural setting to retreat to when stressed. With a little planning we can also fit nature into our everyday activities.

Spending time in nature not only increases your physical activity levels, but can be great for your mind too. How come?

Research shows that regularly spending time in the green outdoors can reduce your anxiety, lift your spirits and help clear your head.

Getting outdoors can easily fit into your schedule – whether you go for a walk in a nearby park during your lunch break, or get out and about in the afternoons or weekends, soaking up the sun. If you are wondering what to do while you are outside, here are some suggestions to get you started and add some extra interest or challenge:

  • Sign up at your local environmental volunteering agency and get involved in beach clean-ups, tree planting or rhino babysitting.
  • Explore places you perhaps wouldn’t otherwise have known existed by signing up for hobbies, such as Geocaching.
  • Participate in physical outdoor activities such as rock climbing, water sports, cycling and hiking.
  • Expand your knowledge of different hobbies, such as bird watching, identifying rocks, landscape photography and meteorology.
  • Join a group activity such as a walking/running club or sign up for beach volleyball or beach cricket.
  • Make use of “pick your own” offers from local orchards which is a fun (and cheap) way to get fresh produce.
  • Relax and soak up the scenery by having a picnic or even camping overnight if you are feeling more adventurous.

Getting children to appreciate the outdoors can be easy when organising fun activities for them. For example:

  • Organise a treasure hunt as part of a birthday party celebration at one of our beautiful picnic spots.
  • Teach them to identify things in nature, such as birds, bugs and trees. A trip to the zoo can spark their interest in our wonderful fauna and flora.
  • Give them new tools to try out in nature, such as a spade, bug box and magnifying glass.
  • Start a collection of findings, such as rocks, shells and feathers and help them to organise their findings.
  • Get their help in starting a vegetable garden or build something in the garden, such as a flower box or bird feeder.
  • Take them on an overnight walking or camping trip and share experiences such as gathering around the campfire and stargazing.