Sadly, mental stress is on the rise, especially among families and young adults trying to carve out a place in the workforce. While there are many contributing factors, the exponentially increasing pace of life is one we can’t ignore. There is just too much our brains have to process in too little time. Our minds need a break to release all that stress. When we say “break”, many imagine a luxurious trip to Europe or a beach resort idyll in the Cook Islands. But a break doesn’t have to be so costly or travel-intensive. There has to be a way to take a break without breaking the bank.
Don’t let these dilemmas add to your stress; the outdoors may have an answer to your problems. Numerous scientific studies demonstrate the healing properties of nature. A trip that takes you closer to nature tends to have a positive impact on your mind and body. So, why not consider a camping trip as your much-needed break? There are very real reasons as to why camping is a great stress-reliever for those who are ground down by routine. Let’s take a look at why you should consider camping.
Nature is a natural mood enhancer
As absurd as this statement sounds, there is no other straightforward way to say it. There have been several studies that back this claim, including one by the University of Michigan that concluded a few minutes’ walk in the bush can work wonders for depressive symptoms. A similar study conducted by Stanford researchers concluded that a stroll in natural surroundings could eradicate one of the major root causes of mental health issues: negative thinking. So, basically, being close to nature can make you feel happy, hopeful and fill you with positive energy.
You sleep better at a campsite
Despite the perceived dangers lurking around in the open, most people experience a more peaceful sleep while camping. Due to excessive stress and pollution, sleep quality tends to be poor in urban areas. The vast majority of people feel sleep-deprived. A lack of work/life balance also results in a lack of sleep or a disturbed sleep cycle. One reason you’ll often sleep better in a camp is that you’re far away from pollution. Also, research suggests that our mind and body feel more rested when we abide by the sun’s natural schedule. A short nap at the right time can make you feel fresher than a long slumber at the wrong time. So, don’t be surprised if you don’t feel groggy, despite waking up with the dawn.
A break from the buzz
Your gadgets might seem like an indispensable part of your life, but did you know that these devices can add to your stress and anxiety? Excessive use of these devices also puts a strain on your eyes and neck, causing neurological issues. Your mind and body both require a break from the tech. When you’re camping, you often don’t have any other option but to unplug. Go a day or two without checking your emails and notifications and you will experience a clear reduction in your stress and anxiety level. Instead of your phone, connect to the people around you. Or, if you’re not much of a social animal, try connecting to your natural surroundings and enjoy their therapeutic benefits.
Let’s talk about oxygen
The further you are from the city, the fresher the air you breathe. With more trees and greenery around you, the oxygen level in the bush is higher than in urban areas.
What your grandma told you about breathing fresh air is actually backed by science. Yes, fresh air is good for your body as well as your mind. A higher level of oxygen helps your brain release a greater amount of serotonin, which can have an anti-depressant effect. People who spend more time in the open air tend to feel happier. So, if you ever feel like you need an extra dose of serotonin, just go camping!
Cheap and cheerful
You don’t have to take out a loan or sell your car to go on a camping trip. There are many people who experience post-holiday stress solely because they’ve overspent on such trips. First of all, most of your camping supplies, such as tents and bags, are a onetime expense. Other supplies, such as food, aren’t that expensive and general camping supplies are far cheaper than an airfare. Basically, you can let your wallet take some rest along with your mind and body!
So, let’s sum it up. If you think you’re too busy or too broke for a break, think again. A camping trip may be the perfect way to get away from your stressful everyday life. Don’t keep waiting for the big break. Pack a lightweight camping tent and take refuge in the arms of nature until you are recharged and refreshed.
Jenny Harrison is a passionate technology and lifestyle blogger and freelance journalist based in the United Kingdom.