Exploring the Great Outdoors When You’re Depressed

Before we know it, March will be here, and with that comes warmer temperatures and springtime. Many people who love the outdoors will be up and ready to explore what nature has to offer. Kayaking across the waters, cross country, the list goes on.

However, not everyone can go outside. For some, their depression is so bad that it’s difficult to leave the house, let alone get out of bed. If you have depression, especially on an off day, planning a hiking trip is out of the question. Here are some ways to get the outdoors experience when you don’t want to go outdoors.

Listen to Some Nature Sounds

If you don’t feel like getting out of bed or going far, why not use your phone or another device to immerse yourself in nature. If you go on YouTube, you can find plenty of videos that are just 10 hours of nature sounds. Alternatively, you can find similar apps as well.

Listening to some nature sounds has many uses. For one, they can be a great sleep aid, or a way to relax. For a depressed person, listening to some sounds can help them.

For example, play some forest sounds. Imagine yourself in the woods, breathing in the fresh air, listening to the birds, and setting up camp. Listen to some cricket sounds and imagine yourself camping. Maybe add a fire sound effect to it.

Besides being calming, these mindful imaginations can help with your depression.

Start a Garden

If you can’t go too far, why not try to tend to a garden? It does not have to be outdoors; it can be a potted plant inside as well. A garden helps with your depression because you’re now responsible for a life, and it can be a part of your routine. When you’re depressed, you tend to fall out of a routine, and something as simple as growing a flower or tending to another life can help with your depression.

Take it Slow

For many depressed folks, it’s difficult to leave the house without it being a slog. Don’t worry too much about that. In fact, slowly walk out of your home to tend to something. Maybe you need to check the mail. Perhaps you can walk around your home and enjoy the ambiance.

Write Down Goals

This one is continuing from our last tip. Write down some goals relevant to your journey of enjoying the great outdoors. Maybe you can start easy with something such as leaving your home, then work your way up to going to a local park. The end goal should be something that’s extremely difficult for you right now, such as going to another town, but when you accomplish your smaller goals, it can be a whole lot easier.

Take Care of a Pet

This is another way to enjoy the outdoors while you’re depressed. A pet helps to relieve depression in many different ways. A cat’s purrs can soothe your mood, and a dog’s loyal smile can cheer you up. If you have a dog, walking them around your house is a good way to enjoy the outdoors.

Plus, taking care of a pet puts you on a routine. When you’re on a routine, it can be fantastic for your depression.

So go to your local animal shelter and see if there’s a pet waiting for you. Of course, if you’re home alone and too depressed, taking care of one may not be something you want.

Have a Friend

Have a friend or family member keep you accountable for going outside. Perhaps you can find a workout buddy who helps you run, or find someone else who is willing to go outside with you. A friend can not only improve your mental health by giving you someone to socialize with, but they can hold you accountable when you feel like you can’t leave your home. So try a workout buddy and see if they’re for you.

Do it for the Mental Health Benefits

Going outside and spending more time outdoors can work wonders for your depression. While no complete substitute for medicine and therapy, the great outdoors are great for a reason. Here are just some reasons why the outdoors are good for you.

  • Going outdoors keeps you more alert and focused. When you’re outside in the sunlight, it can wake you up and energize you naturally. If you want to improve your sleeping, spend some time outdoors in the morning and get some sunlight.
  • The outdoors can inspire creativity. When you’re outside, you may find something you’re curious about, or something you want to write about in your next story. The outdoors do get those creative juices flowing much better than you may think.
  • The fresh air outdoors can make you feel much better than the air you breathe in your home. This especially applies if you try some meditative breathing outdoors. Mindful, meditative breathing is already good for you, but there is a reason many prefer to do it outside.
  • Taking a walk and getting in a little exercise can release endorphins, a feel-good chemical. As your endorphins are released, you may end up feeling much better and want to work out more.
  • Getting a little exercise in can help you sleep better, too.

Seek Therapy

Finally, we have one of the most important tips that we can give you, and that’s seeking help. You may be someone who already has a therapist, but leaving your home can feel like a great task. Sometimes, you can’t even get out of your bed.

This is where online therapy comes in. An online therapist uses a mobile or other device to communicate to you. It’s possible to get live assistance as you make a journey outside to try to enjoy the day. We know it isn’t easy, but with a little bit of practice, you can do it. Good luck with your depression. Let the outdoors bless you.

Marie Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.