When was the last time you connected with nature?

It’s easy to get caught up in a screen-to-screen routine – starting the workday in front of computer screens and ending the day in front of another screen. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most Americans spend 90% of their lives indoors. No wonder a lot of people are stressed out!

Now the good news: spending time in the great outdoors is a free and very effective way of releasing and managing stress. To improve your health and reduce stress, don’t forget to add “spend time outdoors” to that to-do list.

Here are seven reasons why getting outdoors can help with stress management.

Being Outside Reduces Stress and Anxiety

People need time in a natural environment to improve physical, emotional, and mental health. A study by Science Direct found that spending time outdoors can help improve mental health. According to their research, nature excursions can help alleviate feelings of time pressure and mental stress. Taking a break from urban settings and spending time outdoors in the wilderness increased life satisfaction, happiness and mindfulness in study participants.

Adventures Take Our Mind Off Stressful Routines

Taking time outs from work is not a luxury – it’s essential. The New York Times reports that taking breaks from stressful routines can amp up one’s creativity, productivity, and focus. Working non-stop without taking a break, on the other hand, can lead to stress and chronic exhaustion. Combine that with the health and stress reduction benefits of spending time outdoors, and you have yourself a powerful, stress-busting, creativity-producing outdoor adventure.

The Outdoors Recharges Us

There’s a reason why outdoor adventures can make you feel better. Research points out that the great outdoors has a “restorative” property. The mental load that comes with stress can affect your work performance. After a while, you lose your gusto and passion for your goals and plans. Nature can help restore your attention, creativity, and your desire to do more. Long story short: spend your weekends exploring the outdoors, and you’ll be pumped up and ready for Monday.

The Outdoors Can Improve Your Mood

Feeling down in the dumps? Don’t turn to anti-depressants just yet. Exploring the outdoors – whether you’re walking, hiking, biking, swimming, or camping – can improve your mood and your self-esteem. Increased blood circulation to the brain, as well as the release of “happy” chemicals like serotonin and endorphins, help contribute to this increased sense of well-being.

Nature Helps You See the Bigger Picture

Your daily routine can cause anxiety and stress that can feel overwhelming. Escaping the rat race and retreating to the great outdoors can help you see a bigger perspective. You will begin to see that life is more than just your cubicle or your office. Being outdoors will allow you to see the world as a big, bright, interconnected community.

Taking on Outdoor Adventures Helps You Feel Fulfilled

If you want to succeed at work, you need to live a life outside of it. It does sound pretty counterintuitive, but having an outdoor hobby can help you work better. One study found that hobbies provide instant stress relief to overwhelmed individuals. Another study noted that those who engage in creative hobbies are more creative and innovative at work. Hobbies like hiking and biking that allow you to be active outdoors combine the benefits of spending time in nature with the increased stamina and confidence of active pursuits.

Spending time outdoors is an inexpensive and highly effective self-care activity. Escape the urban noise, and let the outdoors heal you, fulfill you, and recharge your mind and spirit.


Written for The American Institute of Stress By Julie Singh

Julie Singh founded TripOutside.com with her husband Reet out of a shared enthusiasm for outdoor adventure and travel. In 2017 they left their corporate careers to pursue their outdoor passion and build a better way to get outdoors. An easier way to research top outdoor destinations, figure out how to find gear and adventures, and book it all online. TripOutside’s vision is to have a world where people recreate in nature more often and work towards preserving it for future generations. They now explore full-time in their RV, curating top outdoor destinations and making friends with outfitters and outdoor enthusiasts along the way.