How nature can help your mental health in the colder months

How nature can help your mental health in the colder months

All good things must come to an end, and although we’ve experienced the hottest heatwave in history, we’re now heading into Autumn and Winter.

Whilst some people love the colder months, for many the downturn in weather can be a source of sadness and result in low mood, lack of motivation, and feelings of lethargy.

At Sprayway, we’re big believers in the healing nature of the outdoors. Despite the cold, fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your mood.

That’s why hillwalking is such a great activity when you’re feeling the Winter blues. Here’s some of the reasons why.

It’s a social activity

When it’s hot outside, there’s no end to social opportunities. A lazy Saturday which would normally be spent indoors watching quiz shows is much more likely to be spent at a park, cafe, or beer garden with friends and family.

But sadly, the incentive sometimes isn’t there when it’s freezing outside. No one wants to be sat, imobile, in one spot whilst it’s cold.

That’s why taking a hike and exploring nature is such a great way to socialise. Invite people to go on a walk with you, wrap up warm, and begin your adventure. We love solo hillwalks, but there’s something special about sharing that experience with someone else.

Even if you don’t know anyone who enjoys hillwalking, there’s plenty of groups and clubs of avid walkers out there who you can get in touch with and meet some new people.

It’s good and easy exercise

One of the reasons people’s mental health can suffer during the transition to colder months is the sudden change in routine. It’s much easier to motivate yourself to go outside, go for a run or a walk, and play sports when the weather is warm and sunny.

And that’s part of why many of us are happier during the Summer. Even just a 10 minute walk has been shown to increase our mental alertness, energy, and positive mood - so our reduced activity when it’s colder can have a major impact.

Hillwalking is a great counter to this. It’s one of the most accessible outdoor activities; for most walks, you don’t really need any equipment other than the right clothes to keep you warm. But it’s also great exercise, and extremely fulfilling.

Plus, you can go on as long or as short a walk as you like. Have you started a trail but it’s starting to get too cold? You can always turn back, but you’ll still have experienced some good exercise and some gorgeous views.

It’s relaxing

Sometimes the best cure when you’re feeling sad or anxious is to try and clear your mind and focus on something else.

Exploring nature is one of the best ways to do that. Whether you’re hillwalking on your own, or meeting up with a friend, taking a long walk does wonders to calm and relax you.

But don’t just take our word for it. It’s actually proven that walking releases endorphins in the brain, a chemical which actively stimulates relaxation.

So if you’re having a stressful week, and haven’t had the chance to look after yourself and your mental health, there’s few better activities than going out on a hillwalk.

Feel more connected to your local community and surroundings

Behind every trail, every mountain, every valley, and every National Park, there’s a rich and fascinating history.

Whether a nature spot near you was the site of an ancient battle, or has been frequented for generations by the local community, there’s always something to learn through your surroundings.

We strongly believe that it’s important to build ties with the world around us, and getting to know your local nature spots is a great way to do that. Becoming more connected with your area can create a sense of cohesion and community, which makes you happier and more fulfilled.

It’s also great if you’ve just moved to a new part of the country or world. Fresh starts can be lonely, especially in the Winter, so exploring through hillwalking can help you resonate with your local area and help you find your belonging.

Come prepared

Of course, if you’re not properly equipped for the cold weather, you won’t make the most out of hillwalking.

If you want to get out and relax in nature during the colder months, you’ll need a good and reliable set of clothes.

Take a look at our collections for the right apparel for you.

And if you find yourself on an adventure with some Sprayway kit, we’d love to know. Send us a picture of yourself on your next hillwalk on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #Sprayway and you could feature on our social media.