Enjoy a Mood Boosting Camping Trip this Spring
Head of Wanderlust at Camptoo shares guide to the health benefits of enjoying a camping trip this spring.
We all know that we need to spend less time indoors staring at screens, and more time outdoors reconnecting with the natural world and yet, spending time in nature often falls to the bottom of our to-do list.
Ed Bassett, Head of Wanderlust at Camptoo, believes that far from being a chore, reconnecting and engaging with the natural world should be a top priority, due to its ability to have such a positive impact on our overall mental and physical wellbeing. A recent study by the University of York found that taking part in nature-based activities led to improved mood, less anxiety, and positive emotions(1).
Ed says: “It can be hard to find time to enjoy nature when we’re already busy balancing work, relationships and a social life, and for those who live and/or work in cities and large towns, it’s nigh on impossible to enjoy more than a bitesize version of nature which is often just a quick stroll around the park during your lunch break.
“Enjoying any aspect of the natural world – no matter how small – is beneficial, but to really reap the benefits it’s important to give yourself time to fully immerse yourself and recharge before returning to your busy, modern life.
“A great way to do this is by planning at least one annual camping trip. Days are already getting longer and temperatures are slowly increasing, so now is the time to get ahead of the game and start organising a foray into nature to experience the delights of spring.
“We love a foreign beach holiday as much as anyone but would recommend a camping trip as a hugely positive addition to your families’ wellbeing. Getting back to basics in nature is important to maintain a sense of balance, make lots of fun family memories and support local economies. Holidaying in the UK is also a more sustainable option, creating a much smaller carbon footprint than flying abroad.”
Read on for Ed’s guide to boosting wellbeing with a camping trip this spring…
Reacquaint yourself with the natural world
Breathe in the fresh air, get lost in the woods, explore hidden coves, walk winding trails, listen out for local wildlife, look up, look around, build your own fire, cook over the flames, sleep under the stars. The Japanese strongly believe in the benefits of forest bathing, or ‘shinrin yoku’ where you spend time in woodland and connect more deeply with yourself – so much so that it has formed part of the Japanese health programme for over forty years.
A camping or glamping trip offers so many opportunities to connect with the natural world from mountains, hills to our glorious coastline, but beyond simply being able to leave the chaos of modern life behind, the more contact we have with green space, the more we breathe it in, feel the different textures and get our hands dirty in the soil, the more we allow good microbes to infiltrate and nourish our immune system.
Boost your mental health
A weekend spent immersed in nature offers the opportunity to physically distance yourself from the rigours of everyday life. Leave the tech behind, switch off all notifications and allow yourself to be fully present.
You’ll not only enjoy a greater connection both with nature and with your travelling companions, but you’ll experience increased levels of endorphins and dopamine (the happiness hormone), lowered blood pressure and reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol, leaving you feeling calmer, less anxious and less irritable. What better way to spend your weekend?
Enjoy a healthy dose of exercise
A key benefit of spending more time outdoors is that it’s easy to enjoy more exercise as a result. We naturally enjoy more time walking in order to explore our new surrounds and thanks to the growing awareness of the benefits of cold-water swimming, more Brits are being inspired to take the plunge outside of the traditional summer swim season.
The benefits of exercise include improved cardiovascular health, reduction in stress and anxiety, as well as increased endorphins – our body’s happy hormone. So why not consider trying some new activities on your trip like kayaking, wake boarding, stand up paddle boarding or surfing. There are companies providing a range of courses all around the UK but make sure to do your research and book before you travel to avoid any disappointment.
Reset your sleep-wake cycle
Many of us struggle to enjoy eight hours of quality sleep a night, but a weekend immersed in nature is the ideal opportunity to reset your sleep-wake cycle.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, however our modern lifestyles, which tend to include working in artificial light for long periods of time or working irregular hours, can suppress levels of this hormone.
Increased exposure to melatonin-friendly yellow light – natural light from the sun – can help you achieve a more natural sleep-wake cycle, aligned with sunrise and sunset, and enjoy an altogether better night’s sleep.
Breathe in the fresh air
In times of high stress when we’re busy with work and burning the candle at both ends, we often forget the importance of simply taking a moment to breathe.
Conscious breathing, or breathwork, has the ability to balance blood pressure, boost energy levels, improve quality of sleep, strengthen respiratory function, support healthy functioning of the immune system as well as relieve feelings of stress.
No matter what the weather was like, how burnt the food was that night, the number of mozzie bites you got, or how cold the shower was that morning, there will always be so many happy, hilarious, or even humbling memories from a camping trip. Yes, it’s always a little less structured, a little chaotic, but being fully immersed and at one with nature will always deliver on adventure, fun and new experiences, giving you something to look back on with shared fondness. It’s difficult to feel anything but calm when waking up to the sunrise with coffee warming on the stove and the birdsong all around you.
So, after the couple of years we’ve all just collectively experienced, there’s never been a better time to let our proverbial hair down and allow nature to blow the cobwebs away on a wholesome and revitalising camping trip.
To find out more and book a van for your next road trip, visit www.camptoo.co.uk.
Notes to Editors:
- (1) https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2021/research/nature-can-improve-mood-and-reduce-anxiety/
- Camptoo’s UK Country Manager and Head of Wanderlust, Ed Bassett, is available for interview or comment upon request.
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Launched in the Netherlands in 2014, Camptoo is a sharing economy platform that connects the owners and renters of campervans, motorhomes and touring caravans. The company was ranked the #1 fastest-growing travel company in Europe by Financial Times (FT1000, 2020).
Since it was launched, Camptoo users have booked over 500,000 days in vehicles rented through the site. Owners can generate income from their campervan when it’s not being used while renters have greater flexibility when booking their vehicle so that it best suits their needs.
There are over 1,700 vehicles listed in the UK, with over 4,000 vehicles to choose from across Europe, and a further 400 across Australia, with more being added every week. Vehicles are properly insured to allow both owner as well as renter a carefree holiday, with Camptoo providing all the necessary paperwork, checklists and roadside assistance. For more information, visit www.camptoo.co.uk.