Ah, the great outdoors. What is it about being out in nature that makes us feel free and more alive?
Not only is camping refreshing, but did you know that it actually has multiple mental health benefits? Read on to learn more about the positive effects of camping—and our special Work Hard/Play Hard Camping Giveaway for First Responders!
1. Camping reduces our stress.
Face it. Even if you love your job, all jobs come with their own stressors, and stress can be harmful to your mental, physical and emotional health. While one camping trip may not completely reduce your stress, you’d be surprised at the impact it can make.
- Nature is associated with higher levels of serotonin, a chemical produced by our body that boosts our mood.
- Nature provides a relaxing “soundtrack” that is soothing and peaceful. There’s a reason sleep apps are full of noises from nature. Studies have shown that the babbling of a brook or the sound of wind through the trees promotes relaxation and feelings of well-being.
- From a practical aspect, you can escape the “to do” lists and pressures of work and home. You have less to worry about.
2. Camping provides a digital detox.
As a population in general, we spend too much time indoors in front of our screens. This can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, lack of focus, and sleep problems. It also can be a contributing factor to obesity. Camping gives us a much-needed break from our digital devices.
- Camping allows us to be social. It can promote face-to-face conversations, form bonds, and strengthen relationships.
- It also allows you to be solitary if you prefer, and spend time with your own thoughts. Nature offers the perfect setting for reflection and meditation.
- Unplug during your camping trip. Keep the digital devices to a minimum, set designated phone-free zones, and you’ll enjoy more of what nature has to offer.
3. Camping gives us sunshine and fresh air.
The sunshine and fresh air on your camping trip not only feel good, they have real health benefits. That will make you feel even better about being outside.
- If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t get enough Vitamin D, important for bone growth. Sunshine helps our bodies make Vitamin D, so being outdoors is a natural vitamin boost.
- As you breathe in fresh air, your oxygen levels increase. This helps you to feel more energized. It improves your ability to concentrate and remember.
- Fresh air also can help lower blood pressure, help in digestion and boost your immune system. Enjoy that breath of fresh air. It’s good for you!
4. Camping promotes exercise and resilience.
Camping doesn’t have to be a survival test; you don’t even have to camp in a tent! You can plan your camping trip around your family’s needs and choose enjoyable exercise and favorite recreational activities. This is a chance to try new things and feel good about all you’ve accomplished.
- Choose a favorite outdoor hobby or explore a new one. Examples include fishing, biking, hiking, or orienteering (using a map or compass to navigate between points).
- Plan to make your own food over an open campfire, even if it’s just hot water to pour over Ramen noodles. Not only will it be fun, you’ll be building confidence with your newfound skills. Just remember to keep campfire safety in mind.
- If you brought the kids along, this is a great time to teach them personal responsibility.
5. Camping improves sleep patterns.
Because your days and nights will be guided by nature, you’ll escape the light pollution and sleep patterns associated with life back home. And getting an adequate amount of sleep each night has been proven to have a positive impact on your mental health.
- The sun emits short-wave blue light in the morning and long-wave reddish-orange light in the evening. This signals our bodies when to sleep and when to wake up.
- Camping allows you to get in touch with your internal clock and natural sleep cycle. A weekend camping trip can move you closer to the ideal sleep-wake time.
- Unlike your normal workday, when you are camping you make your own schedule, meaning you can get rest and wake up whenever you would like. No morning alarms = automatic stress reliever.
- Pro tip: Don’t skimp on sleeping gear. Bring that inflatable mattress for an extra cozy night.
6. Camping brings you home with a new perspective.
You’ll return home with your mind and spirit recharged. You will also appreciate the comforts of home more. Here are just some of the added mental health benefits after a camping trip:
- Improved focus, higher levels of confidence, and self-esteem
- Reduced levels of stress and anger
- Stronger family bonds and good memories
California Casualty’s 2022 Work Hard/Play Hard “$10,000 Camping” Giveaway will award one lucky First Responder $10,000 for outdoor gear that lets them disconnect from the daily grind and reconnect with friends, family, and nature.
Firefighters, EMTs, and Law Enforcement officers can enter by clicking here. The deadline to enter is November 18, 2022.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.