Intermountain Health logo

Please enter the city or town where you'd like to find care.

Get care nowSign in

Health news and blog

When you’re stressed, go outside

When you’re stressed, go outside

When you are stressed go outside

Life is stressful even without a worldwide pandemic to deal with. Normal stress can come from work, school, raising kids, dating, marriage, or family life. And sometimes all those things are stressful all at once. Then, add in the restrictions and fright of COVID-19, and it’s really a good time to hone your stress management skills. There are probably as many ways to de-stress as there are ways to get stressed. We’ve all heard the benefits of self-care, mindfulness, exercise, eating healthy, massages, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. But what if de-stressing was as easy as walking outside in nature? Instead of trying a million and one ways to de-stress, spend some time outdoors. Go to the forest. Breath in nature. Take a walk along a river or lake. It’ll help you feel better.

Benefits of de-stressing outdoors

It seems too easy, right? There’s no way that simply going outside can help you feel better. But many research studies say it will do just that. When was the last time you really spent time outdoors for the sake of being outdoors?

Look at some of the amazing benefits of de-stressing outdoors.

  • You’ll get the vitamin D you need. There’s not a lot of it in the foods we eat. In fact, the best way to get enough vitamin D is to be exposed to the sun. In the summer this isn’t so hard, but wintertime can make it challenging. Get outside, even when it’s cold. You’ll feel better and your mood will improve.
  • You’ll strengthen your immune system. We tend to think that being outside in the cold can get you sick. But sickness usually comes from being exposed to others in an indoor setting. Here’s how being outdoors will help to improve your immune system: As you are exposed to dirt, allergens, and more outdoors, your body becomes better-equipped to handle those things later. So if your kids need a good reason to go outside, this is it!
  • You’ll pack in the endorphins. Sure, you can enjoy nature by just sitting outdoors. There’s nothing better than swinging in a hammock or sitting next to a campfire. But most of the things we do outdoors are active. Walking down the block, hiking in the mountains, swimming in the lake, etc. When you move your body, you produce endorphins that will help you feel good. Outdoor activity is the ultimate de-stressor.
  • You’ll cut your stress. Studies show that being in nature lowers your stress-hormone cortisol and decreases your heart rate.
  • You’ll improve your mood. Walking in nature can help ease depression and anxiety.

Stress affects both your body and your mind. Taking the time to go outdoors may help reduce some of that stress and help you feel better. Spending time outdoors has numerous benefits to your body and your mind. It can also improve your mood.

However, it’s essential to seek help from your doctor or a licensed clinical therapist if you can’t seem to de-stress or if your symptoms of stress get worse.