As the Autumn settles in for us in the UK, I have been doing lots of thinking about how the outdoors helps us with wellbeing. I know from my own experience that being out in nature is very beneficial and healing for many health issues, and it is especially good for emotional wellbeing.
Being in ‘greenspace’ is known for helping with depression and medical professionals often recommend being outdoors. It is a well known fact that sunlight on the skin helps the body produce vitamin D, which is needed for bone health. But it is not just the sunlight which is good for us. Research has shown that “healthy places” make people feel comfortable and at ease, increasing social interaction and reducing antisocial behaviour, isolation and stress. They are known to be restorative, uplifting, and healing for both physical and mental health conditions. It has been shown that greenspace can be beneficial to people who suffer with mental health issues and dementia.
There is also evidence that hospital patients feel better and are discharged sooner when they are able to see greenery outside their window or enjoy a hospital garden.
There is also evidence that blue spaces (by the sea) are also beneficial. And its not just about being at the beach or in a forest. Research suggests that urban parks and sports fields can be just as beneficial and they also support the social element where people get to socialise and meet others, which can be an essential part of recovery.
So whatever healthy space you have access to, whether it is a park, a forest, a beach or even just your garden, get outside and enjoy the fresh air and all that comes with it.
When I have been ill, I have found one of the biggest influences in my recovery was being outdoors. I took lakeside walks, beach walks and sat in the garden whenever I could. I found that on days when I felt unwell indoors, being outside lifted my mood and diminished any physical symptoms I was experiencing.
If you are able to do so, get out and enjoy the outdoors, the Autumn is a great time to explore with its lovely colours.