This week is Mental Health Awareness Week in the United States, and boy could we all use a boost. 2020 has been quite a ride – especially for our collective mental health. A pandemic, unemployment, schooling at home, sheltering in place, uncertainty about the future and more – all this affects mental health. What can you do to help yourself? Get outside!
Building meaningful connections to nature is something we had been eliminating, systematically and exponentially, before the pandemic. But since March, the number of people rediscovering the healing power of the outdoors is exploding. That’s why it was so heartening to see the news today that Winnebago and the Outdoor Foundation joined forces to help support Thrive Outside, an Outdoor Foundation initiative to encourage more folks to get outside and make those meaningful connections to nature.
One way to connect to nature meaningfully - Forest Bathing - an excellent, low-impact, evidence-based practice accessible to all ages that is seriously good for your mind.
The medicine of the forests is deep and rich, multilayered and mysterious. We have barely scratched the surface of what time in nature might be able to help us with – but what we do know is this: research has shown repeatedly that spending time amongst the trees is incredibly beneficial to us.
One big benefit of this outdoor mindfulness practice is addressing burnout via reduced stress. Other benefits include better focus, improved mood, an increased sense of calm, more altruistic behavior, and enhanced creativity. A recent study reports that you only need two hours per week in nature to gain the most benefits. Time in nature has also been shown to reduce symptoms of PTSD and ADHD. Another benefit, reinforced by continued research, is the boosting of our immune systems – something the whole world could use at this moment.
Whether you have 20 minutes, 2 hours, or 2 days to spare, spend it outside. Winnebago has known this for over 60 years, and forests have been around since time immemorial – so choosing an outdoor experience will always be a way to benefit your mind, as well as your body.
If you are contemplating a mental health wellness break for yourself and/or your team – please reach out to Motz Studios here for a custom forest immersion walk this fall.