May is Mental Health Awareness Month, also known as #MentalHealthMonth. At Time To Log Off we’re going to be focusing on two aspects of mental health affected by our 24:7 screen habits: social media and mental health, and the benefits of getting outside and connecting with nature.
Human beings have only been around for the last 200,000 years and most of that time we’ve been outside roaming in nature, living in caves, making fires and hunting. But in just a blink of an eye, over the last fifty years, we’ve transformed into almost entirely sedentary and indoor creatures.
We hardly go outside. We sit at desks for hours at a time, doing very little but staring at our devices. We eat lunch at the desk where we work, we drive or sit on a bus or train home, we watch TV or sit on another computer and we repeat this cycle week after week, after week.
Is it any wonder mental health issues are soaring? We’re simply not wired to live this way and our aches and pains and low mood after our week’s work are our brain and body telling us “Get off screens and get outside!”
We know so much now about how getting outside and connecting with nature can restore our mood and make us feel better. From forest bathing to the restorative power of the sea, to simply sitting in a green space. Getting outside in our busy lives can be easier said than done, but for #MentalHealthMonth here are a few ideas on how you can get off screens and get outside to boost mental health and wellbeing:
#1 Take a 15-minute fresh air break for every hour working on a screen. If you can’t actually get outside then look out the window and refresh your eyes with some natural light.
#2 At lunch don’t sit at your desk and continue to work and eat. Get away from the desk and find a green space to sit in – you’ll feel better for doing so and probably improve thinking and creativity for the afternoon.
#3 When you get in after work, avoid TV and screens for the hour before bed. How about quick walk outside in the evening to reconnect with nature instead of slumping at the TV? You might even find you sleep better at night.