The great outdoors – great for the mind

great outdoorsResearch has shown that getting out in nature can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Research has also shown that spending time outdoors can lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone responsible for the fight or flight response). We know that spending time in the great outdoors is good for us, so how about some suggestions for how to get out there!

Get outside

The idea is simply to escape the hustle and bustle and constant noise of the urban environment.

Try taking your workouts outside and incorporate your regular exercise into your nature visits. Think trail runs/walks, coast walks, swimming in the lake or the ocean. Even if it’s raining!

My favorite – spend weekends in nature. Camping in nature is always good for the soul and research now shows it’s great for the mind too!

Katie and I grew up tent camping on our dad’s godfather’s property with cousins and second cousins. It was near the beach and we have the best childhood memories of swimming, fishing, lots of family time and even a few sunburns here and there!

great outdoorsFast forward and last year my family purchased a motorhome to create our own memories. It didn’t go completely as planned…our first trip with friends resulted in a flooded camper as soon as we set it up and multiple warranty issues. After a couple of months in the shop, we were rearing to get it out and about. We started with an Easter weekend trip fairly close by and had no issues – we were off and racing!

We’ve spent 6 weekends away this summer; one (not camping) at the beach (desperately needed some beach time), and five camping in various forests around California. It has been simply amazing and has created a thirst for more and longer trips.

The quiet has been incredible, switching off from technology (except family movie nights here and there) has been great for everyone, and the time we’ve spent together as a family has been priceless. We sit together and chat and play Uno and checkers. There are no distractions like those of everyday life and we have been able to see and experience some really cool things together.

The thing that I love the most about it is that everything is simplified. We have a tiny house (motorhome) that’s relatively easy to keep clean for the three or four days we go, we don’t do laundry, meals are simple, there are no bills to pay, work to be done in the yard, video games, homework or tv. Instead, it’s kids riding bikes and playing with the new kids they meet at the park, it’s husband and wife sitting together chatting about life and future camping plans, nature hikes and paddling on the lake, it’s meals outside, roasting marshmallows on the fire and star gazing. It’s just pure connection with nature and each other and it is utterly relaxing.

Of all the ways to spend time in the great outdoors, I recommend camping. Living simply and simply living is a wonderful way to bring everything back into balance, not to mention it soothes my gypsy soul!