A Weekend In Nature Can Significantly Improve Your Health
Day to day life has become busy, especially for the modern-day city dweller. We rarely find ourselves in situations where we can escape the hustle and bustle of our lifestyles. We juggle responsibilities like work, family, friends, etc. and become disconnected from nature, fresh air and space to clear our thoughts. This disconnect can have adverse effects on our bodies and psyche. Today, many people find immense value in taking time to vacation in the wilderness and find that getting in touch with Mother Nature is undoubtedly the best investment you can make in your overall health and wellbeing.
What Are The Physical Benefits of being in Nature?
Escaping to nature for a couple of days of healing can do wonders for the physical body and even increase immune health. In a 2009 study, Japanese adults who spent a three-day, two-night trip in forest areas increased their “natural killer” (NK) activity. NKs are white blood cells with antifungal and antibacterial properties, and they kill damaging cells in our bodies. The immune-boosting effects of NKs come mainly from phytoncides, which are aromatic compounds emitted by plants and trees. Significantly, these health benefits lasted more than 30 days after the trip in nature. These results suggest that long term immunity is supported by just spending a weekend in nature each month!
Activities like walking, swimming, picking fruits and connecting with animals are fantastic ways to enjoy the environment and improve physical health. Unfortunately, due to the lack of greenery in our urban lifestyles, we are often not breathing high-quality air every day. Air quality improves with the presence of trees as they are natural air makers and pollutant cleaners. Although too much sun can be damaging, it is your best natural source of Vitamin D, which is vital for absorbing nutrients like calcium and minimising the risk of disease.
Why is Being in Nature is Good for Mental Health?
According to a survey by Bloomberg Business, South Africa is the second most stressed country in the world. When we stress, our body produces the hormone cortisol and prolonged elevation of cortisol in the body results in anxiety, depression, poor concentration, anti-social tendencies, and impaired memory. Keeping up with busy schedules and ever-growing technology has left most populations feeling out of control, particularly those residing in urban areas. Obsession with our screens and social media has also created a complete disconnect for many of us. A relaxing nature retreat can help to ground and heal our mental and emotional health.
There is something about an incredible sunset, a starry night sky, the cascading sound of ocean waves and the fresh smell of the forest that quiets the mind and leaves our souls in awe. We find ourselves in tune with our fives senses. It may be unfathomable but somehow, being in awe because of the majestic scene that unfolds right before our eyes gives us a feeling of hope and an innate knowing that there is more to life than just our tiny world around us.
Disconnect to connect
Immerse mind, body and soul entirely in your nature retreat and take a break from any screen time. Instead, engage in mindful practices that can help you turn inwards and appreciate the environment. Daily yoga and meditation in the forest, on a mountain or on the beach can make your stressful city life seem a million kilometres away. Idyllic scenery helps relax the mind and body and encourages restoration and relaxation.
A vacation in nature is an excellent time to reclaim your Self. The more space there is around you, the more opportunity there is to discover within yourself. Focusing your attention on specific sounds, smells, and sights will connect your being with the earth. Nature in itself is a magnificent source of inspiration, giving you a boost of creativity. Channel your inner artist and get creative by drawing or painting animals or nature scenes, or let the environment inspire a poem, story or song. Whatever gets your juices flowing!
A time to reset and focus on your healthy goals
Nature retreats give us the perfect opportunity and inspiration to reset our life and wellness goals. If you want to kickstart goals such as eating healthier, exercising regularly, reading more books and sleeping longer – a time away to rejuvenate is the place to do so. You will return to your normal lifestyle a whole new person and with fresh motivation.
Meditation practice is a great deal more effortless when surrounded by nature and can help boost mental, physical and brain health. Studies say that being surrounded by trees versus tall buildings increases our general feelings of gratitude, improving our relationship with ourselves and others. The rejuvenated feeling after a nature trip stays with you long after you return home, and your increased energy from the trip will carry you through weeks or even months! Therefore, if you are on the verge of burning out, a retreat to nature might be essential!
In conclusion, whether you are under stress from work, need creative inspiration, or feel lethargic and overwhelmed by crowded cities, an out-of-city nature trip will do your health wonders. Of course, the benefits of being in nature go far beyond this list, but let it be a friendly reminder to explore the wonderful world that Mother Nature has to offer and venture away from our screens, inside our homes and within our minds. A getaway in nature has several benefits that will not only help your body and mind but will uplift the soul as well.
Escape to Stonehaven Farm for a peaceful yet adventurous nature retreat. Visit our site to book one of our eco-cabins, designed to inspire creativity and honour the farm’s plant and animal life. We look forward to welcoming you!
What are the benefits of being in nature?
Studies show that being in nature or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, anxiety and stress. Spending time in nature reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones.
What nature does to your brain?
Scientists are beginning to find evidence that being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behavior, helping us to reduce anxiety, brooding, and stress, and increase our attention capacity, creativity, and our ability to connect with other people.
Why is nature good for mental health?
Nature can generate a multitude of positive emotions, such as calmness, joy, creativity and can facilitate concentration. Nature connectedness is also associated with lower levels of poor mental health; in particular lower depression and anxiety levels.