chronic illness · mental health

why trying to get outside everyday is good for mental health

Sunday afternoon is generally a good day to catch up on relaxing, sleeping, eating, cleaning, and doing absolutely NOTHING. And this is exactly what we decided to do, after countless binge watching Rick & Morty on Netflix, eating and passing out on the sofa for a delicious mid-afternoon nap, the sun was still beautifully streaming in through the window and I could feel the beginnings of cabin fever stirring inside me.

Even though (hands down) the house is my NUMBER ONE favourite place to be – it is safe, comforting, reliable, consistent, calming & quiet – there is something about being stuck in one place for days on end that does begin to drive you a little mad. I feel it even more severely when Dave goes out to work, and I’m left alone in the house with just my thoughts to keep me company, with little energy to leave the house and try to be sociable, I end up staying inside and talking to myself a lot of the time. This can have it’s rather amusing moments I’ll admit, but oftentimes it leaves me in nothing but a spiral of self doubt, emptiness, anxiety and feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can be especially dangerous if you are already feeling low in the first place.

Getting out for even a few minutes gentle walk, into nature, into a nurturing environment, whether it be a park, a forest, the beach, you name it. Anything to help to break up the routine of being in the same suffocating space can do the world of good for an overactive mind. We are super blessed to live 5 minute walk from Swanage Downs, a beautiful green space overlooking the bay and jurassic cliffs, it is fast becoming one of my all time favourite spaces to go to when I need time to think.

swanage downsdownss

There is something truly beautiful and ‘unwinding’ about physically moving your body, getting out for a walk, shifting up the energy in your body. When we become anxious, worried or trapped in a negative thought cycle, all of our energy can feel trapped in our heads, too high up in the body for us to feel grounded. One thing I have learnt about regulating my emotions is to try to keep our energy as down in the body as possible, through gentle physical movement, deep breathing exercises, stretching, yoga, pilates, tai chi, do-in, as well as grounding foods such as whole grains, salty foods such as miso and root vegetables. When our energy becomes trapped up in the body, it can worsen symptoms of anxiety, fear and mental health issues, and we need to do what we can to bring it back down in the body to feel grounded again. This is a constant relationship and you need to do what you feel you need at any one time, so constant self regulation and emotional management.

The safe space of the house is a wonderful thing, but there is definitely something magic about getting out, shifting the energy around our bodies and deep breathing some fresh air into our lungs, breathing out the old stagnant negativity that gets trapped inside us. Surrounding ourselves with natural beauty is always a stunning reminder that the world is bigger than us, that we are part of something incredible, which can often feel out of reach and out of touch when depression and anxiety takes over and we feel locked into our negative thoughts.

It does help that the season’s are changing, and spring time is opening up again. The sun is shining brighter and earlier every day, and even this brings with it a beautiful energy of a hope for better things to come.

daffodils

Go gently,

Mell x

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