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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Maire

Greenspace (spending time outside) and Stress Reduction

Time has rushed by this year quicker than you know it. Summer is coming to its end, even though it feels like it just began. Fall is just around the corner, before you know it winter will be right in front of us and our opportunity to get some sunshine and spend all of our time outside will come to a halt. Here at Xenia Counseling, we would like to discuss with you all the benefits of spending time out in the sunshine and appreciating the great outdoors while we have the opportunity. No matter where you live, be it near a beach or a park, the mountains or you have a patio, there are options to be part of the space around you to get these benefits!

Friends blowing off stress in nature greenspace

1. Stress and Anxiety Reduction

When you think of spending time outside, what kind of activities do you picture in your mind? Swimming, hiking, gardening, biking, going to the beach?

Well, guess what? Not only are most of the activities mentioned great because you’re getting vitamin D, they also often require some kind or either exercise or social interaction. Both of which are great for lowering your stress and anxiety!

Instead of sitting inside and letting all of your pent up energy fester, giving you stress and anxiety, go get a breath of fresh air and find a distraction as well as a release. So if you have the opportunity to take your workouts outside, take it! Watch the benefits of your exercise dramatically improve as well as boost your mood and lead you to a better state of mind.

2. Depression

Ever heard of seasonal depression? It is common for people to feel more depressed when the outdoors are not as accessible during the winter time. Not only is there less sunshine (again with that vitamin D), but the activities we tend to engage in are for the most part indoors.

Man hiking in the winter to reduce stress

Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years encourage excessive eating and drinking and can bring about happy memories. Once the holiday season is over the glum winter months from January to March can be very difficult for those who suffer from depression because of the limited activities available once the weather becomes cold and the roads get icy. So let’s get outside and be grateful for the sunshine while we still have it!

Need some extra motivation? Multiple studies have shown a decreased likelihood of many mental health disorders in individuals who spent lots of their time in childhood and adult years outside in nature. Getting outside is not only good for you, but for the children around you.

3. Expanding your creativity

Spending time outdoors is a great time to be creative. As a kid, how did you spend your time outside? Playing pretend, climbing trees, helping with the yard, playing sports? One of the beauties of childhood is appreciating the time we have in the moment. The more creative we are with our lives, the easier daily activities become. Here are some activities to try:

-Having a picnic at the park

-Borrowing or renting a projector and setting it up outside, for a movie night! Create memories you won’t forget whether with your partner or close friends.

- Going swimming with family or friends

- Going for a nature walk around your neighborhood or local parks

- Having a barbeque outside

- Doing an art project outside like oil painting, watercoloring or other paper crafts

-Bringing your journal or a book outside

4. Improving Your Sleep

Not only does spending time outdoors affect your mood while you’re awake, it also helps you achieve a deeper sleep. According to an article by Claire C Caruso PhD, RN, FAAN, and L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH with the CDC:

“Getting bright light during the daytime strengthens your biological rhythms that promote alertness during work and sleep at the end of your day. So, during the daytime spend 30 minutes or so outside in the sunlight. Getting bright light during the first hours of your day is particularly helpful. Even time spent outside on a cloudy day is better than exclusive exposure to dim indoor light.”

In other words, spending time outside with bright light especially around the first couple hours of the day is very helpful when it comes to achieving deep sleep. Begin taking yourself to the next level on your sleep schedule and prepare yourself for a good night's rest by spending a little time in the sun.

woman sleeping, greenspace improves sleep

The benefits of spending time outside goes on and on. Effecting not only your mental and emotional wellbeing but also your physical. At Xenia Counseling we would love to discuss with you more ways you can continue to enjoy these last few months of sunshine while we still have it. It is easy to obsess with our worries over our growth but over time the healthier habits we create for ourselves, the more prepared we will be for upcoming stressors or difficulties brought about into our lives.

For more information and counseling make an appointment at to create a strategy best suited for you and your needs.

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