• Lauren McLaughlin

Spend time in nature! It's good for you

We can probably all admit that a global pandemic, to different degrees, was rough on us all. I feel like I am one of the lucky ones; I have a roof over my head and I haven't had to worry too much about putting food on the table. Despite that I desperately miss my parents, my friends, and my daily swim.

During the lockdown I have spent a lot of time trying to focus on the things that I am grateful for, one of those things is spending time outdoors. I strongly believe that spending time in nature has helped me to navigate through these really weird times.

A lot of us have more free time than we had before; no commute, no restaurant dining, no in-person game nights with friends, no gym, the list goes on. I personally have been spending a lot of this extra free time outdoors and it helped! Of course, like a lot of people, I had the occasional 'office' marathon on Netflix but I had remembered all the journal articles I had read in the past citing the numerous health benefits of spending time outdoors. One of those studies has suggested that 120 minutes per week is the threshold for those benefits to manifest. The study did consider that physical activity could be contributing to the feeling of wellbeing attributed to spending time outdoors but concluded that benefits can be gained by 'Sitting passively in a natural setting' similar to that of Japanese "forest bathing" or Shinrin Yoku.

This to me, highlights the importance of maintaining and creating green spaces in urban areas, Toronto has so many hidden gems for us to enjoy.

Maybe when restrictions are lifted we could all set ourselves a target of getting that 120 minutes of nature time into our weekly schedule (while following government guidelines, wearing a mask, and social distancing of course) we may all feel better for it. My favourite times in nature are always in mossy forests or at the beach. What is your favourite natural happy place?

If you want to read about the study I mentioned you can do so here


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