Earlier this month, we celebrated World Mental Health Day and new research has found that a third of Brits felt that camping or caravanning has had a very positive impact on their mental health.
The research from Specialised Covers also found that 70% of the UK public believe “outside therapy” should be prescribed to people suffering from depression or anxiety.
Those based in London and Manchester were most enthusiastic about outside therapy (82% and 80% respectively) perhaps showing that those in larger cities crave the calming effects of prolonged time in nature more than others. Only 54% of people in Southampton thought prescribing outdoor therapy was a good thing, alongside 57% of people in Norwich.
Sometimes called “forest bathing”, outside therapy is the practice of spending time in nature and practising mindfulness in the great outdoors. Research suggests that this could calm those who feel stressed or anxious and help people (especially children) fight the “always-on” culture promoted by social media.
A recent government study found that people who spend more time in nature are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who don’t visit nature at all. Places like The Woodland Trust are now campaigning for the NHS to encourage more patients to spend prolonged periods of time outdoors.
When it comes to experiencing nature, the UK public agree that camping and caravanning is one of the best ways to do it. 93% of people believe that a caravanning holiday is “calming”, 44% think its “family-friendly” and 93% think its “affordable”. However, only 8% of the UK public would call it “glamorous”, and only 14% would describe caravan holidays as “modern”.
Those aged between 35-44 seem to believe in the healing powers of caravanning the most (44%), with those aged 65+ the most sceptical (20%). Surprisingly, the younger generation (18-24) are very enthusiastic about spending time in nature, with 27% believing a caravan holiday has helped them become closer to their family, 31% believing it has had a positive effect on their physical health, with 40% wishing they could caravan more often.
Fitness Coach Amy Elisabeth believes in the physical benefits of prolonged periods of time outside. She says:
“Spending time outside increases our Vitamin D levels and balances our Melatonin levels. Vitamin D helps regulate the calcium and phosphate in our bodies and melatonin regulates our sleeping cycle, so both are very important when it comes to the feeling of well-being.
“With fewer modern-day distractions (such as watching tv just before bed), people get better sleep as well, helping with their overall health.”
Katie Fishwick from Specialised Covers said: “We all feel the benefits of relaxing outdoors when we do it, but it’s often hard to make time in our busy schedules to really get immersed in nature.
“It’s great to see how many people are getting behind the healing benefits of outdoor therapy, and perhaps if it was prescribed, people would take more time to connect with the outdoors.
“Caravanning and camping are shedding their out-dated reputations and rightfully being seen as a wonderful way of relaxing, switching off, and connecting with ourselves and our families.”