There is something about being outdoors that invigorates and refreshes, and there are important benefits of caregivers getting out in nature. Sometimes it can be just the trick to recenter and invigorate. Now that the weather is warmer, being outside becomes even more appealing. Let me inspire you further by sharing 5 important benefits of caregivers getting out in nature.
For us as caregivers, the benefits of getting out in nature is invaluable. I don’t know about you but I really enjoy being outdoors. Growing up in Wisconsin, it seemed I was always playing outside. During the long days of summer my friends and I would play all day out in nature. So much so our parents would have to eventually call for us to come inside after dark.
Being out in nature felt freeing and energizing to me, like I was made to be outdoors. I felt in unison with nature, and it felt very, very good.
Today I find my peace when I walk the beaches of Cape Cod. With the long stretches of sand at low tide, the sun glistening on the water, and the many birds enjoying the surf. There really is something about being outdoors.
Getting Out In Nature – Nature Benefits
I have since come to learn there is a term for this, and it’s called ecopsychology. Ecopsychology seeks to expand and remedy the emotional connection between humans and nature, treating people psychologically by bringing them spiritually closer to nature. (1)
It is difficult to research the effects of nature on human health through random controlled trials but research looking at before and after exposure to nature is growing. Research shows that those who get out in nature, report a reduction in stress, more positive social interactions, increased happiness, and a greater sense of meaning to life. (2)
Studies also show being out in nature helps with psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety and mood disorders.(3)
These are great benefits for everyone but for caregivers, who are at a greater risk of experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, and declining health issues, the benefit of getting out in nature is even greater.
Getting outdoors is healthy for many reasons. Here are my top 5 important benefits of caregivers getting out in nature.
5 Important Benefits of Caregivers Getting Out In Nature
- Less pain /quicker healing – those exposed to more natural light may experience less pain and quicker healing. One study showed those who underwent spinal surgery healed faster, experienced less pain, and took fewer pain medications.(4)
- Vitamin D – being out in nature, and exposing your skin to sunshine, helps your body produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin, and it helps to combat osteoporosis, cancer, depression, and heart attacks.(4)
- Boosts immune system – spending time in nature increases your white blood cells, and more specifically natural killer cells. White blood cells help to fight viral and bacterial infections, cancer and more.(5)
- Reduce stress – getting out in nature helps to reduce stress, and researchers found that just 20 minutes of connecting with nature reduced cortisol and other stress hormones.(6)
- Strong sense of well-being – those out in nature a minimum of 2 hours per week are more likely to report good health and well-being. 2 hours is the minimum but those 2 hours can be broken up into short bursts throughout the week .(7)
The benefits of getting out in nature are significant but I truly just enjoy the fun and freeing aspect of exploring the outdoors. Here on the Cape there are many things to explore, for instance the herring run that just happened a couple weeks ago.
In spring, when the weather starts to warm up here on the Cape, I know the herring are going to start running. During this time, Doug and I head out to watch them almost daily.
We watch the rushing brook, which holds the ladders that help the herring reach the pond to spawn. The seagulls, that’s when you know for sure the herring are running, when the birds are out. If I need to be more explicit, think lunch, yikes! Not always easy to watch but truly the circle of life.
The beautiful sunshine and light, the smells, and sounds, all hit my senses. No wonder why getting out in nature is so therapeutic.
Find Your Herring Run
As a caregiver, it is important to take time out of your day to care for yourself and to refill your energy stores. It does not have to be for a long period of time. Even just 10-15 minutes a day will help.
I encourage you to find time to get out in nature, to heal, restore, explore and reenergize. May you find something that centers and calms you, washes your stress away for a minute or two, and then helps you to refocus and get ready to take on the world again.
In essence, I hope you find your herring run.
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Video: The Herring Run | Benefits of Caregivers in Nature
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I hope you find this information helpful, and you are able to put it to use in your life as a caregiver. If you do apply some of this information, and you find it works for you, please let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
Also you can always follow me, and my life on Cape Cod, on my Instagram page @dawndunkin.
to help reduce stress as a caregiver, check out this post
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