As an author and fitness coach, I regularly talk with colleagues and clients about the need for weekly nature visits to boost endorphins and maintain good mental health.
Among the many benefits listed in a University of Minnesota article, How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing, this statistic stands out:
In one study in Mind, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced.
I accredit regular doses of nature — hiking, biking and even yard work and neighborhood walks — for helping me maintain my mental health during the 10 years it took to realize the psychological impact of growing up in a neurodiverse family before that term and phenomenon became known.
I write about the experience — and reference my 5-hour bike rides! — in Bliss Road, (June 6). In all honesty, I don’t think I could have written about that journey without the cleansing nature of nature.
But convincing ourselves to take the time necessary to do an outdoor activity can be difficult. We tell ourselves there are other more important tasks to do.
More important than our well-being? I think not!
If you have trouble making time for nature, here are 6 strategies I use:
make getting out into nature easy as possible: assemble the right clothes, check out nearby locations, find websites that help with weather and directions
put the outing on your to-do list and on your calendar
arrange to meet a friend or group for the activity, which gives us the added opportunity to open up to others about what difficulties we might be facing
set up an after-activity treat, like lunch with friends, a hot shower, or even a nap
volunteer for outdoor preservation activities like river cleanups
make a sign or screensaver, or surround yourself with photos of past trips, to confirm the message “I deserve nature time!”
Because you do!
Good luck getting out there!
For updates about Martha’s forthcoming books, new and giveaways, subscribe to her website: MarthaEngber.com.
Bliss Road, a memoir, June 2023, vineleavespress.com/bliss-road-by-martha-engber.html
The Falcon, the Wolf and the Hummingbird, a historical novel, Sept. 19, 2023