According to the American Institute of Stress, most Americans are stressed during the day. Research suggests that time spent outdoors can help reduce anxiety and mild to moderate depression. If you’ve found your stress levels escalating lately, it might be time to escape into the great outdoors with a camping trip. Fortunately, enjoying the benefits of being in nature doesn’t have to mean roughing it.
Benefits of camping for mental health
Minimalism reduces stress
Most of us aren’t minimalists — we own too much stuff and spend too much time taking care of it. Why not leave it behind for a weekend of minimal living in a tent, cabin, isolated tiny house, or RV? When camping, pack only the necessities and equipment to get outside. Having less stuff to worry about means you can spend more time hiking, biking, fishing, and pursuing the health benefits of nature.
The link between nature and mental health benefits goes deeper than just getting exercise outdoors. When we strip life down to the essentials, we often experience a clarity of mind that’s hard to find at home. The purpose of a camping trip can be as simple as relaxing and having fun, but it can also give us space to think deeply about our lives and reorganize our priorities.
Camping combats nature-deficit disorder
Author Richard Louv coined the phrase “nature-deficit disorder” to describe the human cost of alienation from nature. The symptoms of nature-deficit disorder include anxiety, obesity, lack of focus, and even depression. Of course, one camping trip won’t solve our physical and mental woes. Still, it’s a great way to start enjoying the benefits of camping outdoors. Even better, a regular camping habit can be a great way to cultivate a more outdoor lifestyle and combat nature-deficit disorder.
If you have limited time off or don’t feel like trekking cross-country, keep it simple and camp close to home. Small adventures can have big rewards for our mental health. If you’re new to camping in an RV, learn how to get started as an RV beginner and build your confidence.
Camping provides opportunities for exercise
Sitting inside all day can be tempting in a house or apartment filled with all of life’s creature comforts. Spending all day inside a tent or RV (depending on the size of the RV) is much less appealing. Camping drives us into the great outdoors and keeps us immersed in the health benefits of nature all day.
No matter what outdoor activities you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to pursue them if nature is just outside. Many campgrounds have hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming options steps away from your site. The health benefits of camping aren’t limited to exercise. Unlike other types of vacations that can lead to paying for expensive and oversized meals in restaurants, camping trips allow us to make our food and keep it as healthy as we want it to be.
Camping builds self-reliance
Heading out to the campground doesn’t have to be an exercise in survivalism. But camping should inspire all of us to become more self-reliant. If you want to embrace your inner Bear Grylls, you can plan a backcountry tent camping trip or go boondocking in your RV (check out the best RV’s for boondocking).
If glamping is more your style, you can choose a private campground with a pool and a hot tub. It’s all up to you. Whatever trip you plan, the important thing is how camping makes you feel and what you and your companions can learn from the experience
Camping provides socialization or solitude
In some cases, the benefits of camping for mental health depend on the reasons for your trip. Spending time outdoors is a great way to reconnect with family and friends, undisturbed by the distractions of the modern world. Evenings in conversation around the campfire can strengthen relationships with those you care about the most. But camping is also a great activity for those seeking solitude in a gorgeous natural setting.
If you need time to meditate and refresh your spirit, find a cabin or campsite far away from the madding crowd. Camping can be whatever you want it to be. Just pick a campground and campsite that help you accomplish your goals for the weekend.
Camping gives us a new appreciation for home
We all need to get away and escape into nature. It’s good for our bodies, and it’s good for our souls. Throughout your journey to the campground you may feel anticipation and excitement. The time spent at the campground, can be relaxing or filled with high-adrenaline adventure. But the benefits of camping don’t stop when you pack up the tent. The journey home is also important. You’ll find yourself refreshed when you return home after a camping trip. Your home will feel warm and welcoming again.