Stress & The Benefits of Getting Outside

Stress.

We’ve all dealt with it at some time in our lives.
Anyone who says they haven’t is lying…

Recently it’s been something I’ve really struggled with… entirely self inflicted as well, so I’ve nobody but myself to blame.

However, it does mean I’ve found some great ways to deal with it…

Winfields‘ Walk & Talk campaign has taken stress as a starting point – the core idea being that setting off into the outdoors is a brilliant way to zone out from daily stress, declutter your mind and have fun!

The wellbeing benefits of a simple walk are immeasurable 🙂

Where is my stress from?

My stress comes from doing ‘too much’ (apparently) although that’s not how I see it. I thrive on being busy and under pressure, and am not one of these people who can coast along happily in life, unfortunately! When you’re spending most evenings volunteering, writing a book & a blog, completing a course, going to the gym and trying to find some time to have a social life? Well, I’ll let you imagine the toll it can have…

It got to a point where I was a little overwhelmed, my Fitbit was screaming at me, as if I was running an ultra marathon (Oh yeah, I’m training for one of those as well), I couldn’t breathe and wanted to scream.

I’m not one to take a step back and didn’t want to break commitments, so I had to think of ways to manage my stress and bring it to a healthier level…

So what did you do?

As cliche as it sounds, I got outside.
I switched off my phone, went for a long walk and ignored the world.

It was fantastic.

As well as reducing the stress hormone cortisol, being outdoors has the added benefit of lowering your blood pressure and your heart rate… My Fitbit was glad of this, I’m sure! There’s a theory that we unconsciously respond to things that are good for us and our survival in a positive way, which is why being in nature helps to lift your mood so much!

Always ill and run down? ​

Being outside can improve the function of your immune system too. It promotes the total opposite of the ‘fight or flight response’ and as when stressed your immune system functions poorly, when outside, the opposite happens. Nobody is quite sure why, but next time you’re stressed and run down, make sure you’re getting enough time outside. This has helped me loads! I’m far healthier since getting outside after work every day.

As for the turning off your phone aspect? We live in a world where everything is instant. People message you and expect a response immediately. In my case, I’ve had people unfollow me because I’ve not replied instantly, and got quite stroppy when I have ‘ignored a message’ – Never mind the fact I have a full time job. I’ll chat to anyone when I’m able to…

 

I struggle to sleep quite regularly thanks to stress, and if you’re the same, then getting outside may be the answer to your problems too.

Our circadian rhythms are linked to the sun,. and so if you spend too much time indoors, under artificial light, it can affect this and, in turn, our sleep patterns! I don’t know about you, but the less I sleep the more wound up I get, and lying there counting the hours tick by does nothing to help.

If you can manage to get outside in the mornings, even for a short amount of time, for some much needed daylight, it can help to normalise your sleep cycles.

 

We all know that getting outside is good for us, but it’s also good for your mental health too!
So, the next time you’re getting wound up and stressed, step outside and see if it helps you too!

How do you de-stress?

2 thoughts on “Stress & The Benefits of Getting Outside”

  1. Great post Kate. As a massive advocate of the health benefits of getting outdoors I’ve been dismayed this winter at my lack of motivation for getting out. I forced myself to go snow holing but even that didn’t help for long. It’s been the first signs of spring that have sorted me this year. Good luck with the ultra marathon!

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