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5 Surprising Benefits of Being in Nature

I spend a lot of my time indoors.

For one, I live in a flat with no garden, so that doesn't make things any easier. And of course, like many other people, most of the things I have to do in life like work and studying take place inside buildings. Inside four walls.

If you care for someone, getting out in nature is even harder, especially if you can't take them with you easily or leave them at home alone.

I've always loved being in nature, despite the intense hayfever I get all year round and my pale skin that burns no matter how high the suncream. But actually getting out in nature can be hard - you have to find the time and also the motivation, because let's face it, when you do have free time - sitting in doors watching Netflix under the covers is a much easier option.

When I finally manage to drag myself outside, my mood is instantly brighter. My eyes feel more open, I feel more alert, yet relaxed, and most importantly, I feel in touch with my thoughts and feelings rather than everything racing a mile a minute.

It's no secret that being outside and in nature does indeed have great health benefits, both mentally and physically. But here are a few that might encourage you to get outside-

Being Outside Builds your Immune System

This one was especially surprising for me as it seems my body decides to attack itself with sneezing and itchy eyes the minute a piece of grass touches my leg. But it's actually true - being in nature can strengthen your immune system, actually 'training' your immune system to not overreact to triggers like pollen or dust. That's why people who have grown up spending a lot of their time outside tend not to be as allergy prone as others. I wonder how long I'll have to sit outside until my hayfever goes?

Being in Nature Helps You Switch Off

There's a Japanese trend called 'Forest Bathing', the practice of going into a forest or wooded area to spend time with the trees and wildlife - no going on your phone or even listening to music.

The thing is, of course it's tempting to go outside in nature and then just go on your phone while your there, but if you make a conscious effort to pay attention to your surroundings and connect with the nature around you, it can have great benefits for your mind and wellbeing.

Research found that people who had a walk in the forest compared to those who walked in the city had lower blood pressure and lower levels of stress hormones! It can also help you to sleep, giving your mind a chance to breathe and relax in your surroundings.

Being in Nature Gets Your Creative Juices Flowing

This one is especially true for me. Whenever I get into a creative slump, a walk where I pay attention to my surroundings (aka put away my phone) always gives me ideas and restarts my creative juices flowing. Being free from distractions and allowing your thoughts to come from your surroundings really gives you a chance to break free from the usual come-and-go of the world.

Sometimes I like to go to graveyards and cemeteries, they can be very calming and serene places, and reading the gravestones can be incredibly interesting and a great way of getting your mind off things.

Being Outside Gets you to Exercise

We all know the benefits of exercise, but a lot of the times it's easier said than done. That's the great thing of just being outside and in nature, exercise and moving your body just comes naturally, rather than something that feels forced.

Maybe it's the walk to find the perfect spot to sit? Maybe you see something interesting in the distance you want to investigate? Maybe you want to take a photo of the tallest tree? Whatever it is, once you're already in nature, it's much easier to get moving.

Being in Nature with Friends or Family Brings you Closer

The thing is, most of us talk to each other and communicate through screens and phones. And there's nothing wrong with that, but sometimes it's good to meet face to face, especially outdoors where you can talk freely without worrying about who can hear you. Ask a friend or take a family member on a walk, and use nature as a space to talk about things, open up, and connect with each other face to face.

Of course it's not easy for everyone to just get up and go whenever they feel like it, especially if you look after someone else. But remember, your wellbeing is just as important as everyone else's, and setting aside time for yourself during the week is incredibly important.

Set a goal - get outside and in nature this week and see how good it feels.

Comment down below how being in nature helps you, or your favourite things to do outside!

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