5 ways spending time outdoors can positively affect your mental health

We know that spending time outside makes us all feel better, and comes with a wealth of benefits for improving our mental wellbeing. Whether you step away for a stress-reducing walk during your lunch break, set time aside for a jog in your local park, or schedule weekend family walks in the woods or the country - nature is powerful.

At Rohan, outdoor exploring is what we know and love. We want to make the great outdoors more accessible for everyone in the hopes of improving mental wellbeing across the UK, which is why we’re supporting Mental Health UK’s vital work throughout Mental Health Awareness Week.

To help you along the way, here are 5 ways spending time outdoors can positively affect your mental health:

1. Mindfulness

Nature is known to have calming qualities, which you can easily make the most of by practising mindfulness; you could sit in your favourite green spot, enjoying some quiet time, reading your favourite book. Whether you're going no further than a park in your local area, or taking yourself on a trip to a more remote location, there are so many ways to wind down while outside.

Take the time to consciously make yourself aware of your surroundings by absorbing the greenery, sounds of birdsongs, the gentle breeze or smell of the plants and flowers - refocusing your attention on the outdoors helps to shift any feelings of stress or worry you're currently facing.

2. Better wellbeing

While exercise often means different things to different people, the effect is much the same – it gives your mental health a boost. Whether you enjoy racking up your steps during a walk, going for a run or hitting the gym - exercise helps reduce blood pressure and releases endorphins, improving your mood and supporting body positivity and mental wellbeing.

3. Building connections

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week in 2022 is loneliness, to call attention to the periods of isolation faced by many during lockdowns throughout the pandemic. According to the Mental Health Foundation, almost half of 18 - 24 year olds expressed feeling lonely during a November 2020 survey, while 76% of young people claimed that being unable to see friends negatively impacted their mental health. And in the over-50s, it’s predicted that the number of people experiencing loneliness will reach two million by 2026.

Spending quality time with loved ones, meeting new people and identifying as an active member of your local community works wonders for your mental health, and the great outdoors is the perfect place to do this.

4. Mood boosting

Spending time outside relieves feelings of stress and anxiety; if you're having a particularly stressful day, stepping outside to burn some energy and go for a walk is a revitalising way to give yourself a break.

Mental health charities and organisations, such as Mind, recommend ecotherapy as an effective type of therapeutic treatment. Ecotherapy tends to be led by trained professionals, involving spending time in a green environment, doing an activity, exploring the natural world around you, and interacting with others. Even if you’d prefer not to attend a formal session, you can still implement learnings from ecotherapy by spending time in nature, for improved mental health and a boost in your mood.

5. Immersing yourself in nature

The beauty of the natural world is striking – if you're feeling uninspired by your usual environment, there's so much more to see and experience. Take in blue skies, coastal views and ocean waves, or reach new heights on mountain trails; exploring new places and immersing yourself in nature is the perfect way to lift your spirits.

That's where we come in. At Rohan, we're big believers in the power of getting outside, exploring the world around you and connecting with others. We're proud to be supporting Mental Health UK for Mental Health Awareness Week, and encouraging everyone to make the most of the outdoors this summer.

To find inspiration for your next adventure, take a look at our recent Explore article on different activities to try in the great outdoors this season. Or learn more about the advantages of connecting with outdoor spaces by reading our piece on the wellbeing benefits of getting outside.

To highlight Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 9th – 15th May 2022, we're joining forces with Savoo to raise donations for Mental Health UK. When you use Savoo they make donate on your behalf. To make your donation to Mental Health UK, at no extra cost to yourself, simply use the link on Savoo’s website to do your Rohan shopping during Mental Health Awareness Week.

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