Patient Blogs | Depression
How Being Outdoors Helps My Depression
photo of girl in the autumn park

There is something about being outside that is often so profoundly rejuvenating. Though the days that are extremely hot and humid (thank you North Carolina weather!) trigger some of my depression symptoms like irritability, sadness, and apprehension, the cooler days can transform the way I feel after a long day. I don’t consider myself an outdoorsy person at all, but I do know that taking walks outside can help me immensely, in ways I may not realize until I’m indoors again and feeling refreshed.

Being in nature seems to liven up the colors around me. When my world feels dark, I can look at the shimmering leaves on the trees above me, the greens, the browns, the yellows, and the pops of color on the side of the trail where weeds and wildflowers grow.

I inhale the wind, filling my lungs with the breath of the woods. When I’m walking outside, I don’t have time to think about my sadness and anxieties, instead, I just put one foot in front of the other, step on the crunchiest-looking leaves, and feel the warm breeze on my skin. The earth is calm when I’m not. The ground is firm when I feel broken. The trees are strong when I cannot be.

In the past few years, I have learned to truly notice and appreciate the outdoor world around me. I have experienced the benefits of simply being outside, soaking up the sun, and looking up at the blue sky above me. I’m grateful to live in a beautiful state, where the terrain includes a lot of trees, trails, and the beach and mountains just a few hours away.

I hear the sounds of birds ahead, and of bicyclists whizzing by. I hear bugs chirping and the streams trickling. It’s as if the world is telling me, bellowing really, “I am alive! Do you hear me?”




Photo Credit: martin-dm / iStock via Getty Images Plus

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Kristen Luft

Kristen Luft

Diagnosed since 2013

Kristen Luft is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate who has been living with depression since 2013. She is currently a marketing professional in North Carolina. Kristen is also a mental health advocate and writer, sharing her story to offer hope that we can all live full lives in recovery. When she's not working or writing, you can find her reading or spending time with her loved ones and dogs. Connect with Kristen on Instagram.

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