Weather and seasons can have a huge impact on your mood and mental health. If it is chilly and rainy out, you are far less likely to feel motivated to tackle your lengthy to-do list for the day. Luckily, spring is in full swing and summer is just around the corner, meaning temperatures are heating up and conditions are great for spending some time outside! Taking advantage of the longer days and warmer weather during this time of year can help boost your mood and improve your treatment and recovery experience.
The Science Behind It
Studies have shown that spending time outdoors can significantly reduce stress and lower blood pressure, as well as improve focus and energy. Exposure to nature has also been said to improve sleep, which directly affects daily functioning. Learn more about the impact natural exposure and spending time outside can have on human health here.
Time spent in green spaces has been found to reduce the levels of cortisol, which serves as a stress-inducing hormone. In addition to reducing stress levels, spending time with nature has also been found to increase endorphins and boost dopamine production.
Weather and seasons can have a large impact on the way you feel and can even trigger depression or depressive symptoms. Seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder has been studied for decades and can serve as a huge barrier to recovery efforts. It is important to learn how to avoid or cope with these feelings, should you find your mood dampens in the winter months. Adversely, it is equally important to take advantage of the warmer weather and increased natural light in the spring and summer as a way to improve your health.
There are many ways to enjoy the warmer weather this season brings, beyond just a quick walk to your mailbox or the few steps you take from your front door to your vehicle. A few ideas include gardening, walking, biking, or eating meals outside. These activities could be enjoyed with others or independently, and can often be very healing and helpful.
Gardening is a great way to get some fresh air and can be therapeutic for some. There is something about watching the literal fruits of your labor grow and ripen before your eyes that seems to bring a feeling of success and pride. During and after treatment, many find themselves seeking new hobbies or activities to fill their day that compliments their new, improved lifestyle. Gardening is an excellent, healthy activity to incorporate.
Walking can certainly be done indoors during the colder months, but in the warmer seasons, walking outdoors can benefit both your mental and physical health. Of course, walking in general benefits your overall health by aiding in weight management, as well as bone and muscle function. Walking outdoors, however, adds additional benefits as you soak in sunlight and are able to enjoy the beauty of nature.
Choosing to enjoy a meal or two outdoors is another great way to take advantage of a beautiful day. You have to eat, right? Why not get in a little extra vitamin D? Having a picnic may sound a little cliché, but packing a meal to eat while you take in some beautiful views is a great way to add a little something extra to your day while improving your health.
Riding a bike is not only a great form of exercise but can also be an excellent alternative mode of transportation if the commute is reasonable and the weather is nice. Using a stationary bike indoors is great, and maybe a little more accessible. However, there is nothing better than feeling the breeze as you ride along a beautiful trail! Make the most of National Bike Month by contributing a few hours per week to biking!
Outdoor Experiences to Aid in Recovery
As mentioned above, exposure to nature can have tremendous benefits on your mental and even physical health. If you are battling addiction or struggling with symptoms of mental illness, chances are, you are feeling stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed. Spending some time outdoors can not only help reduce stress and increase “happy hormones,” but it can also improve your sleep, which is likely lacking these days.
Choosing to incorporate activities that are advantageous to your overall health during treatment and recovery can significantly improve your experience and increase the likelihood of long-term success. Choosing a treatment center that offers and encourages outdoor activities and recreational opportunities can promote better habits and a more fulfilling new lifestyle. Take advantage of the season and spend some time outside. Your health will reflect your choice!
May flowers are in full bloom and the weather is ideal for outdoor activities! Whether you enjoy bike riding, leisurely walking, or even gardening, make it a priority to get some fresh air a few times per week. Spending time outdoors can greatly benefit your mental and physical health, and can complement your treatment or recovery experience. With reduced stress, better sleep, and an improved mood, you are bound to feel good and be able to better focus on your recovery journey. At Renaissance Ranch, we incorporate various outdoor and recreational activities to promote good health and habits. By offering a well-rounded array of treatment programs, we seek to provide a holistic treatment experience addressing your mental, physical, and spiritual health. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, don’t hesitate! Give Renaissance Ranch a call today at (801) 308-8898.