The Cure for Depression: Get Outside

A woman sitting on a cliff over a mountain lake.

I can’t believe I plan on spending an entire post on this obvious tip, but …I can count on two fingers the number of times I walked around in Mother Nature last week. Clearly, some of us are not practicing what we preach.

Therefore, I’m totes going to push the advantages of getting outside:

  1. Nature’s pretty. This prettiness helps instill happiness and inspirational thoughts that just might lead to award-winning poetry (though, you may want to only tell those poems to yourself).
  2. It smells nice, at least somewhere like a park. I’ve heard you might need air to breathe, too, so bonus!
  3. As a human with skin (unless you have solar urticaria), you need sunlight to soak up UV rays and make Vitamin D.
  4. Happy sun rays combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
  5. Time outside has a buttload of benefits for your mind. We’re talking improved short-term memory, mental energy, concentration, sharper thinking and creativity, and overall mental health.
  6. Walking outdoors lowers depression and perceived stress, according to a study at the University of Michigan.

It’s highly possible your backyard doesn’t look like this. Does that mean that you shouldn’t even bother? NO!

Waaay back a full year ago when I started talking to my counselor, she gave me this one direction: get outside.

“But… but, the kids…” (Me, making excuses.)

“No.” (Her, the one paid to help me.) “Tell your husband that I said to drop everything and go outside. Grab some food from McDonald’s or something, go to a park, and just sit out there.”

I don’t care if you slip yourself out the side door at lunchtime, if you sneak out before kids are awake, if you walk home because you missed the bus, or if you decide to go camping and sleep all night where our ancestors did -just grab some time and DO IT.

Since we’re about starting small, just tell yourself you’re going to hang out for a few minutes. Next, try 15. Ideally, we’ll work up to 30 minutes as a minimum daily exposure. Who knows? Maybe you’ll feel so inspired we’ll have to drag you back to cavedome.

If you’re fair-skinned and/or burn easily, put on some sunscreen. Otherwise, go to it with my blessing.

Of all the expensive, time-consuming, stressful things people consider for helping with mental issues; this is the best because it’s FREE.

Seriously, just look at that. What are you waiting for?

unsplash-logoBecca Tapert
unsplash-logoJannis Brandt

24 Replies to “The Cure for Depression: Get Outside”

  1. I can really appreciate this. We do tend to forget that being outside does help with our mental health. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whether it’s the beach, the park, or my back porch it always makes me feel better. (except yesterday when I discovered a bees nest on my back porch)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree with this! For the last few weeks just sitting outside on my lawn has brought my mood back up dramatically.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post Chelsea! This is something that’s been on my mind too. I really need to get outside more. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that would be nice! I live in AZ and it’s ridiculously hot right now. This is my hibernation season haha! But in the evenings it’s not as hot. Last night I went for a bike ride and it felt so good to be outside. 😄

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, we will! That’s about the only outdoor activity we can do during the day!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Fresh air and fewer toxins outside, too. Don’t have to worry about chemicals in furniture and furnishings off-gassing, or toxic mould and dangerous bacteria potentially breeding inside walls etc. Lots of ventilation outdoors!

    Liked by 1 person

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