Summer isn’t usually thought of as the time of year for depression. Winter is the season with the reputation for bringing black clouds of rain and loneliness over people, and there is truth to this reputation. For some, winter is dark and gloomy, and makes them not want to get out of bed. For others, they experience a severe deficit of one of the most important nutrients – Vitamin D.
During winter months, exposure to the sun is limited. The sun provides the UVB light that initiates vitamin D production in the skin. Vitamin D deficiency contributes to depression and hundreds of other common health problems.
However, for many people, depression isn’t seasonal or the result of a vitamin D deficiency – it comes and goes all year in unpredictable cycles. While exposure to artificial UVB light increases vitamin D levels, exposure to the bare earth increases feelings of wellbeing and can be an ally in the fight against seasonal and year round depression.
Spend time connecting with nature
Science has confirmed that spending time in nature, digging your feet into the earth and your toes into the sand, naturally reduces stress and balances your mood. This used to be our natural way of life, but over the years we’ve covered our feet with rubber soles that insulate us from connecting with the earth’s current.
If you can’t step outside your door and “dig in,” you may want to plan a unique type of vacation – one that makes spending time in nature your only objective.
Don’t take a vacation to escape from your life
Traditional vacations – at least the way they’re sold – consist of flying to some faraway place and stationing yourself in a hotel room with a view. Usually, the hotel has a resort with a pool, and sometimes beach access. Vacations are sold as a way to escape daily life, and generate instant happiness. In reality, that’s not what happens.
To shed some light on why some vacations fall short of their intended outcome, Shawn Achor from the Huffington Post partnered with happiness researcher Michelle Gielan from the Institute of Applied Positive Research and Monograms. They studied a survey taken by 414 travelers and discovered why some people don’t feel refreshed after a vacation.
“Poorly planned and stressful vacations eliminate the positive benefits of time away,” their study concluded. On the other hand, “a positive, well-managed vacation can make you happier and less stressed, and you can return with more energy at work and with more meaning in your life.”
The factors travelers cited as stressful included having to figure out too many details, uncertainty, transportation, wasting time figuring out the small things, and not being familiar with the location.
If all you want to do is get away from your hometown, a vacation sounds like the answer. If you want to get refreshed and infuse yourself with a passion for life, there’s a better way, and you don’t have to go far to find it.
Make connecting with the Earth your reason for taking time off
Vacation spots like Florida and Hawaii are popular due to their reputation for warm water, sandy beaches, and fun outdoor activities. However, camping out in a hotel room and only venturing out for planned activities and sightseeing doesn’t give you time to truly refresh your mind, body, and soul. To do that, you need to spend time alone, connecting with the earth.
One way to get personal connection time in is to trade the hotel room for a camper. With an RV, you can park near the beach or other natural water sources like lakes and streams and enjoy nature on your own terms. You won’t have to spend any time fussing over your accommodations, transportation, or a time-sensitive itinerary.
It’s important to move into nature as soon as you wake up
Stationing yourself in a hotel room puts at least a couple of hours between waking up and actually digging your feet into the earth. By the time you reach your destination, you’ve been navigating other people as well as other drivers, and it will take longer to reach the state of calm you were in when you first woke up.
There’s something magical about waking up and
taking one step out into nature without having to interact with anyone. When
you wake up, you’re in a fresh state of relaxation. Stepping into nature in
this state makes it easier to connect with the earth because there’s nothing in
your psychological space. You’re able to receive what the earth has to give,
and your mind is peacefully clear.