4 reasons why picnics can boost your mental health and wellbeing!
Now that summer is finally here we can make the most of the great outdoors. And what could be better than combining two of our favourite things – food and sunshine?! Yes, it’s picnic season, AKA time to stretch out under a blue sky with a sarnie or two, picky bits and a bottle of pop. Bliss.
Picnics aren’t just an opportunity to fill your belly and soak up some sun – they’re also a chance to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Here are four reasons why picnics can give you a much-needed injection of positivity!
1. FRESH AIR FEELS
Breathing in a deep lungful of clean, fresh air does wonders for clearing the mind. It really is nature’s best remedy! It’s also great for calming anxiety and soothing nerves.
PICNIC POWER TIP – Take a brisk walk to find your perfect picnic spot. Get your body pumping and fill your lungs with fresh air to wake up your body and mind. By the time you reach your picnic place, you’ll feel energised, happy and 100% ready for an alfresco feast!
2. SUNSHINE SEROTONIN & VITAMIN D
Did you know that sunlight can boost your mental health? That’s because sunlight triggers the release of a hormone called serotonin – that’s the hormone that’s responsible for those happy vibes. Serotonin helps to stabilise your mood, which is why it’s often called the ‘happy hormone’. Vitamin D is also made when the skin is exposed to sunlight and this is by far the best way to top up your vitamin D levels.
Whilst this can improve your mood, do exercise caution and wear sunscreen. You only need between 5-15 minutes a day in the summer sun to top up those levels.
PICNIC POWER TIP – Take a picnic rug or blanket, a sun hat and sunscreen, and stretch out in the sunshine for a short while. You can have a sneaky snooze or read a few chapters of a book, chill with mates or count the clouds in the sky. Reap those sunshine benefits!
3. BONDING BONUS
Having a picnic with friends or family (or both!) is a great time to strengthen those relationship bonds. Being outdoors and feeling free takes a lot of the anxiety or stress out of even the most fraught relationships. It gives you all a break from your busy lives and gifts you time to talk and relax.
PICNIC POWER TIP – Bring along a fun game to your picnic. It’s a good way to get people chatting and laughing to make some amazing new memories!
4. MINDFUL MAGIC
Picnics can help you be more mindful – to live in the moment and really pay attention to your surroundings. The sound of the birds singing in the trees; the babbling and bubbling of a nearby stream; the feel of grass under your feet… Being mindful helps relieve stress and teaches you to be grateful for your life and the world around you.
PICNIC POWER TIP – Go barefoot! Dip your toes in a stream and enjoy the shock and feel of the cold water running over your skin. Laugh at the tickle of grass on the soles of your feet. Focus on the squelch of wet sand as you run along the shoreline.
How will you picnic this National Picnic Month? Who will you go with? What will you eat? Where’s your perfect picnic spot? Don’t forget to tell us on social media using the #PowerOfPicnics For more outdoor fun ideas to help improve your mental health and wellbeing, click here.