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Home > Medical Services > Employee Assistance Program (EAP) > Employee Resources & Support > EAP Educational Articles > Mental Health Benefits from Being Outdoors
Whether you’ve been cooped inside your home because of COVID-19 or by choice, remember to go outside to breathe in the fresh air. Being outdoors can benefit your mental health for multiple reasons.
1. Natural vitamin D. When you’re outside, enjoying the sunny day, your body is too! Vitamin D helps ward off depression, lose weight, decreases risk of developing the flu and prevents heart disease. The sun is a natural source of vitamin D, so take advantage of it!
2. Encourages activity. When you get your body moving, it relieves stress and tension you may be feeling. Walking, running, gardening, playing sports and kayaking are just a handful of options available to you that gets your body moving when outdoors. With its space and nice weather, being outdoors encourages you to do something fun which can go hand-in-hand with being active.
3. Sparks social life. Being indoors too much doesn’t provide a lot of social interaction options. Even through the pandemic, you can find social events that are properly social distanced to attend outside, such as yoga in the park, golfing, skiing, walking, camping or outdoor sporting events. Being social can lift your spirits as well as make you feel understood because others can be feeling the same way you do. Everyone has their own battles they are going through but talking with others can help everyone feel less alone.
4. Boosts your mood. Inhaling fresh air is good for your body and your mental health. Nature is a natural prescription to feeling happier, relaxed and inspires you to refresh. Your anxiety, depression, stress and anger can decrease as you start to enjoy the little miracles of life found in nature.
If you want to talk with a counselor about your mental health, please contact Mercy EAP at (319) 398-6694 to schedule a video, phone or in-person appointment.