May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
And let’s face it, we’ve all been through a lot lately. As we continue to do what we need to do to keep ourselves and everyone around us well, let’s find joy in making our mental health a priority.
What makes you happy?
This isn’t just a nice idea. Your mental health is critical to your overall health. Yet it’s so easy to ignore it. Yes, we all have a down day occasionally. But when most of your days are full of stress, unhappy, or unmanageable, there’s a problem.
According to the National Council for Behavioral Health:
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
- 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year.
And according to a recent poll by the American Psychiatric Association, Americans are feeling significantly more anxious this year (2021) than last year (2020).
This is a problem. A big one.
For a long time, mental health problems were swept under the rug because they were difficult to talk about and there was a sense they weren’t as important because they weren’t “real”.
Believe me, they’re real. And they’re important. There’s help out there. Therapists, your doctor, various organizations and practices can help you find your way back to your self again.
Another thing that can help supplement treatment is spending time outdoors, in nature.
Mother Nature can help your therapist
A few years ago, I went through a hard period in my life.
I had the help of a great therapist and some understanding friends, but I was struggling to get on with my life and barely made it out of bed some days, let alone to work.
That period was when I truly realized the healing power of nature. Every day, whether (weather) sun, wind, snow or rain I got out and took a long walk in the woods by my house. Some days I was deep inside my own mind, and others I became absorbed in the wonder and beauty around me.
No matter where my mind was, each day I returned from my walk in a far better place. Eventually, I rebounded- stronger, more confident, happier, and better than before. Nature was my great therapy and still is.
We’re not getting outside enough
Yes, it’s been a hard year for some of you to get outdoors. But things are opening up now, and all the research has shown that the risk of catching COVID outdoors is practically nil.
I recently read a statistic that was quite disturbing. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has figured out that, on average, Americans spend 93% of their time indoors.
That’s 87% inside and 6% in cars. Yikes!!!
This is especially sad because if there is one thing that researchers can agree on it’s that spending time outdoors in nature is good for you. Really good.
Here are some of the benefits of spending time outdoors, based on over 10 studies:
- You’ll experience a natural elevation of your mood because spending time in nature allows you a more positive outlook.
- Experiencing nature can help improve your short term memory
- Being outdoors in nature improves your mental health by relieving anxiety and depression.
- More than 10 studies have shown improved self-esteem and elevated mood after time spent outdoors.
- Most people experience higher energy levels, improved focus, and flourishing creativity.
- Being outdoors can potentially boost in your immune system.
Where SunWindSnow fits in
At SunWindSnow, we’re all about healthy and beautiful skin, healthy aging, keeping active, and enjoying the outdoors.
Are you wondering how all this comes together? Well, they’re all connected!
The health and the appearance of your skin is a reflection of your overall health.
Being active and exercising regularly is proven to make you healthier and is the best medicine to ward off the signs of aging.
Taking care of yourself and your skin is a sign of good mental health (and a route to feeling better about yourself).
Being outdoors, makes everything better, including your skin!
How is nature good for your skin?
- Fresh air allows your skin to breathe better which increases circulation and nutrients to your skin.
- Interactions with nature lower your stress levels which means that those pesky surges of cortisol that prematurely age your skin are reduced.
- Nature also helps to lower your inflammation levels which means less damaging free radicals, less premature aging, and better functioning skin.
Being outside feels good! When you feel good, it shows on your face in a radiant glow.
If you haven’t spent much time outside lately, don’t be discouraged.
Spring is here and it’s a perfect time to start a new routine
All you need is a few small steps to get started. Begin your morning with a vitamin C serum, moisturizer and a top coat of SPF . Then take a 15-20 minute stroll through the park, your neighborhood or your favorite walking path.
No time in the morning? No problem. Go at the end of the day to relax and release some of the day’s tensions.
While you’re out there, take a few moments to take in the beauty around you. It might be a mountain, a tree, or a perfect dandelion bloom (and they’re everywhere, right?). Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Feel the ground under your feet
Your stress level will take a dive, your mind will clear, and your body will sing. You’ll sleep better. Your overall health will improve. And guess what? Your skin will look better too.
With all those benefits, it’s hard to say no.
Your mental health is critical. It’s as important to your overall health as healthy eating, getting good (and enough) sleep, and exercising. If you’re experiencing a difficult time, depression, anxiety, or just don’t feel like yourself, you’re not alone.
Now is the time to reach out and get help. Reconnect with family and friends (safely). Take time for yourself. Get outside.
It’s the most important self care there is.
What do you do to take care of your mental health?
Note: this article is for informational purposes only, and is in no way intended to be medical advice.