There are few things that are as simultaneously calming and invigorating as taking a camping trip. The adventure of getting out into nature provides a multitude of benefits that prove to be useful for your mental health. It doesn’t matter if you’re out biking, hiking, fishing, or just relaxing in the woods, there are proven indicators that camping can be immensely beneficial to one’s mental well being (this is why nature trips are a common activity after someone has undergone mental health treatment). Here are several ways that camping can be a boost to your mental health…
Natural Environments Ease Stress
First of all, camping is something that happens out in a natural environment. Sure, you could theoretically pitch a tent and camp in your backyard, but usually when people camp they are heading out into the wilderness, to some degree. This is an important reason why it has mental benefits. Being in a green space that is full of natural beauty and wonder goes a great deal towards reducing stress and providing ease to one’s psychological state. It’s the same reason why people opt to move to natural areas in their older age.
Get Away from the Digital World
Today, it’s not much of a stretch to say that we spend far too much time in front of screens, on average. While there are plenty of benefits that the digital world brings us, it can also have a negative effect on our mental health, especially when we use it continuously as a means of escape. Using digitalization to detox can be a slippery slope to needing a constant distraction. When you go camping, you are more likely to put the phones and screens away for a little while as you endeavor into the activities that are all around in nature.
Catch Up on the Sunlight You Need
Studies today show that more people today might have a vitamin D deficiency than ever. Heading out camping means that you are getting out into the sun. That added boost of vitamin D helps reduce the risk of developing cancer, helps fight depression, improves heart health, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Just remember to also pack some sunscreen, so that continuous sun exposure doesn’t potentially damage your skin!
Engage in Physical Activities
When you’re out camping, you’re likely doing many other activities as well! Whether you’re out hiking in the woods, mountain biking through nature trails, mountain climbing, swimming, or any other variety of physical activities, you are getting much-needed exercise in a natural setting. This is good for your mental health because it helps your brain produce dopamine and release endorphins, which help you feel good and reduce the effects of things like depression. Continued exercise in nature is a great way to improve your mood and ease stress.
Use It as a Social Activity
When you go camping, it’s often a good idea to bring somebody along with you, whether that is your partner, a friend, a family member, or to go as part of a group. First of all, this is important for safety, as you shouldn’t camp alone unless you are a highly experienced camper. But another important element of this is that camping can be a social activity that brings us closer to the people we care about. Getting to go into a natural setting with the people who make us feel good is a double-win and many of the activities that you will do while camping are far more enjoyable when you have somebody to do them with.
Camping Can Mean Something Different to Each of Us
Another key aspect of camping for mental health is to find the right trip that makes sense to you. For some people, this will be camping in a tent far from any road. For other people, they may prefer to use a trailer and go to a designated campsite. Maybe they’ll even go in a teardrop trailer and get the most of both worlds. Don’t get into toxic ideas of what is real camping, though. The key is to think of what you want your camping experience to be and make it happen, including choosing where you are going, who you are going with, and the activities that you will do.