Modern life often means a lot of noise, traffic, and distractions, all of which can interfere with mental health and quality of life. If you’re looking to get away from it all, but don’t have the funds or time to go on an expensive vacation, you can still find solitude in nature. The benefits of unplugging—which include getting away from your phone, the Internet, and other gadgets—can help you achieve peace of mind and feel better about yourself. Here are five reasons to take an unplugged vacation in nature this summer.
Unplugged: How a Nature Getaway Can Improve Your Mental Health – Wellness 101 with Certified Fitness Trainer, Certified Bodybuilding Coach, and Certified Sports Nutrition Coach Maxwell Alexander
Why do we need time alone in nature?
People in today’s world are often too busy to go on vacation, and many people work remotely or have flexible schedules. But regardless of our schedule, we all need time away from distractions and technology. Being alone with our thoughts gives us time to reset, recharge, and refocus — something that’s harder to do when we spend every minute responding to emails and calls. In fact, research shows that people who take regular vacations tend to be happier and more productive at work than those who don’t. It may seem counterintuitive, but going offline can actually help you get back online.
By taking time to unplug, you can learn how to better manage your stress levels and focus on what matters most—whether it’s your health, relationships, or career goals. The benefits of unplugging extend beyond just mental health; spending time in nature has been shown to improve physical health as well as sleep quality for adults and children alike. As adults age, they tend to spend less time outdoors due to responsibilities like work and family commitments—but it’s important not to neglect your physical health as you get older by spending less time outside than you did when you were younger. Getting out into nature regularly is one way of combating aging-related declines in physical activity levels.
The psychology behind it
There’s ample evidence to suggest that simply being exposed to nature can alleviate depression and anxiety. A study published in 2008 found that participants who took part in green exercise or hiking through an area with lots of trees reported lower levels of stress than those who exercised in an urban setting. The researchers noted that green exercise could be used as a low-cost alternative to anti-depressants, which are often ineffective for people with milder forms of depression. Another study found similar results—that forest bathing (taking long walks in natural environments) was linked with reduced symptoms of psychological distress.
What do we see in the media about this?
The current state of our society’s mental health is in crisis. The number of people suffering from depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders has skyrocketed in recent years. There are many factors that have contributed to these growing problems, but our increasingly urban/social media-filled lifestyles cannot be overlooked as one of them. It can sometimes feel like we are living in a world that’s more concrete/digital than it is natural; nature has been largely replaced by technology, buildings, and traffic.
Main Ways to Experience Nature
When you’re getting ready to visit nature, you can choose from several ways to experience it. The one that will work best for you depends on what you enjoy most, so look at these options and think about which ones are your favorites. Then you can narrow down your list of places to visit based on those preferences. For example, if camping is more up your alley than kayaking or bird-watching, then plan a trip around that activity.
Just recently I had an opportunity to stay at the Getaway House in Western Catskills. Just the experience of getting there was already amazing: a picturesque drive in the Catskill mountains with beautiful waterfalls, lakes, and creeks all around. Even though there isn’t a cellphone reception at the Getaway House site, I would definitely recommend using the cell phone box to hide it. It’s insane how years of using it create these subconscious urges to open and check the phone, even logically knowing that there is absolutely no service and there is nothing to check 🙂
What are you waiting for?
Whether you like it or not, people are busier than ever. Smartphones and laptops give us access to all of our colleagues, friends, and family at any time—and when we’re not working or spending time with loved ones, we often spend our downtime browsing social media. This constant stream of information is changing how people interact and relate with one another, as well as their sense of fulfillment and happiness in life.
List of Activities
Surfing. Hiking. Camping. Watching Wildlife. Staring at Stars. Any activity that puts you in touch with Mother Nature has been scientifically proven to improve our mental health and overall wellbeing, but what if you don’t have much time on your hands?
Here are 3 practical steps to reconnect with Nature
Step 1 – Discover your Inner Wild Side
For many of us, there’s an inherent wildness inside us. (WILD is an acronym that researchers use to describe what it means to become deeply engaged in an activity.) Letting your WILD side out helps you take time for yourself and allows you to focus on life away from the distractions of technology. When people embrace their wild side, they report feeling less stressed, more alert, and more alive than when they are disconnected from nature.
Step 2 – Finding your Destination
While there are numerous articles and blogs that discuss what you should pack in your carry-on, there is not as much information on how to select your destination. To help you plan an effective nature getaway, we’ve put together some great advice on how to choose an exciting and inspirational vacation spot. I definitely recommend the Getaway House as a way to ease into experiencing nature more closely, as it’s still a pretty comfortable alternative to camping.
Step 3 – Packing & Practicing Mindfulness Techniques
One of the most important tips for meditating and using nature for mental health is to plan ahead. Go through your checklist to see what items you’ll need and pack them, as well as any books or articles that might be useful. Then, take five minutes to prepare yourself by doing some deep breathing or visualizing a peaceful place. If you practice mindfulness techniques beforehand, it will make relaxing in nature that much easier. Let nature work its magic on your stress levels, happiness, and outlook on life!
Step 4 – Take it to the Next-level with Meditation and Yoga
The nature getaway setting is a perfect place for a meditation and yoga session. For your guided meditation and yoga, I’m going to give you my own book as a reference: “Introduction to Yoga and Meditation” on Amazon Kindle. Yoga comes in many forms. Despite what many people believe, yoga does not always mean challenging postures, uncomfortable exercises, or extreme diets…
With yoga, you can take years off your face, years off your body, and add years to your life. Several secret techniques enable Yogis to retain the flexibility and “spring” of youth in their joints, muscles, and limbs well into their declining years.
Yogis of their seventies and even their eighties can often be spotted walking down the crowded, colorful streets of Bombay or New Delhi, with the straight, graceful posture of a boy, walking with the elastic, springy step of youth… with firm, healthy bodies, their hair dark and glossy, and free of gray. They have firm, unlined faces, and clear, undimmed eyes…
Yoga makes you look and feel years younger, as well as makes your body healthier. Because it enables the body to reach its full potential of health, it works like magic…
Nature has built into your body certain “defense mechanisms” for self-repair and as a natural safeguard against disease. By practicing yoga and meditation you help your mind + body machinery work smoothly, efficiently, and at their best…