Nature experiences can help to find a way back to normality after months in the shadow of the pandemic. Shut-downs, isolation and working from home have caused stress and anxiety for many but there is a way out. Research shows that spending time in nature lowers stress levels — one of the many benefits of outdoor holidays for both mental and physical health.
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In Sweden, where 70 percent of the country is covered with forest, nature is easy to reach. Visitors find open landscapes with fields and meadows, virgin forests, quiet lakes, miles of coastlines, and thousands of islands. For people who are awaiting safe travel soon, Visit Sweden presents 15 unique experiences and accommodations in the country’s most fascinating natural surroundings.
For a long time, people have sought mental well-being in nature. According to research, that there are several benefits to staying outdoors, such as reduced negative emotions and lowered stress levels. The positive effects were tested and proven through Visit Sweden’s very own initiative, “The 72 Hour Cabin” (link), with participants from major cities who had demanding jobs. They were examined before and after spending three consecutive days in the Swedish countryside where they slept in glass cabins next to water.
With travel opening up slowly and steadily over the globe, people are finding unique destinations to visit to drive away their pandemic blues. One of the destinations on their list is Sweden in order to regain balance by spending time in nature. More than two-thirds of Sweden is covered with trees, and it is not only the sparsely populated North that boasts lush wilderness: Cities throughout the country have lakes, meadows, forests, scenic coastal paths, and vast archipelagos around the corner, which makes nature easy to reach wherever you go.
No wonder Swedes maintain an unusually close relationship to nature and draw from the healing power of spending time al fresco. In several places around the country, experts offer experiences in nature that foster mental health: Outdoor cooking, hiking, canoeing, and mountain biking are classic activities with a lasting effect.
“Natural environments are an important resource for meeting the health challenges in our society. Research shows that time spent outdoors reduces negative emotions and stress, and promotes positive emotions, mental recovery, and performance,”
says Cecilia Stenfors, a researcher at the Aging Research Center at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and the University of Chicago, US.
And the list goes on: Whoever takes the step out into the green does himself a favour by lowering blood pressure, cortisol, and heart rate, according to a meta-analysis from the University of East Anglia, published in Environmental Research. (IANS)