How Camping Can Help with Anxiety


camping in wilderness

Whether you’re going through a tough time at work or with a life change, anxiety can pop up at any time. Unfortunately, it can derail any progress you’re making toward goals, giving you unwanted stress in the aftermath.

We must understand what anxiety is and what helps stop it in its tracks. For many, a trip to the great outdoors, away from the confines of the city, allows for decompression and making it back to daily life feeling more refreshed than ever.

Camping is one of the most extraordinary things you can do in your spare time, and knowing it helps battle anxiety, hence why it should be high up on your list of things to do when you need a break. Keep reading as we look at anxiety in more depth before delving into how camping eases it.

 

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety tends to be a typical stress reaction, but some things define it.

If any of the following has happened to you, then there’s a good chance you’re suffering from a form of anxiety:

  • A feeling of fear: It’s not a nice feeling, but it is one of the things that could arise if you are suffering from anxiety. It might feel like the walls are closing in, but they’re not.
  • A feeling of dread:  This is a very common symptom of anxiety, especially if you are overthinking an upcoming event that you’re unsure about.
  • A feeling of uneasiness: It may sound familiar to fear and dread, but a sense of uneasiness can occur when you’re not feeling fear or dread. This could be considered one of the worst symptoms, depending on the person.
  • Shortness of breath: Many people have experienced shortness of breath at some point in their lives, but it is yet another symptom associated with anxiety.
  • Rapid heartbeat: This symptom is worrying the first few times, but once you know its cause, it becomes easier to handle.
  • Sweating: This one is pretty self-explanatory but still a risk factor.
  • Lack of concentration: For many, it’s tough to concentrate when anxiety takes over.
  • Lack of sleep: Getting the right amount of sleep is a great way to reduce anxiety, but it’s tough for many people to do so when they’re experiencing anxiety. Some people can go out like a light, while it’s more challenging for many others.

 

What Causes Anxiety?

Unfortunately, the cause of anxiety is unknown, although it can be triggered by an underlying health issue for some people. It’s always best to speak to your doctor about it to make sure they are not concerned. Moving on to get tests is the best foot forward if there is that concern.

The following medical conditions can be linked to anxiety:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Thyroid problems
  • Drugs
  • Withdrawal from alcohol or anti-anxiety medication
  • Chronic pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Rare tumors

 

Non-medical conditions can also trigger anxiety. However, it depends on the individual and the scenario it begins with.

You may be more prone to anxiety if any of the following sounds like you:

  • Stress buildup: Although more common than you would think, bottling up stress can adversely affect your mental health down the line. It’s always best to try to confront issues before your anxiety reaches that stage.
  • Trauma: Whether in your formative years or adulthood, you may find yourself facing anxiety due to a traumatic incident.
  • Illness: It’s in human nature to worry, but if you have a diagnosed medical condition, anxiety could be triggered if you are worried about it.
  • Personality: As mentioned multiple times, it comes down to the person, and people with certain personality traits are more prone to experiencing anxiety.
  • Family history of mental health: If a family member has had anxiety in the past and you’re exhibiting symptoms, there’s a high chance you have it as well.
  • Low blood oxygen: If you’re in a big city or around many people, it’s not uncommon to have low blood oxygen.

 

As with any symptoms, it’s always best to get these checked out by a medical professional to ensure you truly know what is going on because anxiety can lead to more severe conditions if untreated, including:

  • Substance misuse
  • Digestive problems
  • Bowel problems
  • Headaches
  • Chronic pain
  • Problems functioning in the workplace
  • Poor quality of life
  • Suicide

 

Can Anxiety Be Treated?

Some treatment options are available for anxiety, and for many, lifestyle changes are the way forward. Although you can find medications out there, it all comes down to what type of anxiety you are diagnosed with and whether your doctor thinks these can be managed without medicine or not.

Meeting with a therapist might be recommended by a doctor because, at its core, many symptoms of anxiety can be eased depending on the way you react to certain situations. Training your mind to think differently can help immensely.

The following are crucial in helping to ease anxiety:

  • Getting enough sleep: This is crucial for many aspects of life, but it will help scale back the symptoms of anxiety.
  • Staying active and exercising: This can be a great outlet, especially if you have some things on your mind.
  • Meditating: Although not for everyone, it could be a great way to help combat negative emotions and put your mind somewhere else.
  • Eating a healthy diet: People are happier when their diet is filled with healthy and nutritious food.
  • Avoiding alcohol: Alcohol can interfere with your mood and is known to make people irritable. Thus, avoiding it is crucial as it could make the difference between having a good or a bad day. Swap out alcohol to keep yourself in good standing.
  • Avoiding Caffeine: Many people need caffeine to function, but it can be a nightmare when it is time to get some sleep or try to concentrate. Swap it out for decaf, and you’ll notice a marked improvement in your mental health.
  • Embrace the great outdoors: Take that vacation, but make sure you get to feel what it’s like to be away from civilization.

 

It’s best to get help early because, as stated earlier, it could lead to worse health issues if you don’t. You need to keep your health in good standing to maintain a good quality of life.

We’ll now dive into ways you can use the great outdoors to your advantage when trying to combat anxiety.

 

Camping: Does It Help with Anxiety?

One of the best ways to leave the big city behind and get some much-needed respite is to go camping. Although it may not be for everyone, being in the middle of nowhere and spending time in the great outdoors helps a lot.

Indeed, growing evidence suggests that spending time in natural environments can help with mental health—and it makes a lot of sense. Anxiety can be triggered in busy locations, so leaving the things that trigger it behind is an excellent way to get some rest and mental reset.

Yes, camping helps a lot, especially if you are with the people you are most comfortable with, including your loved ones and pet.

Let’s take a further look at how camping aids in dealing with anxiety:

  • Being alone or with your person: If you’re worried about being in contact with people you’d rather not, it can help you break free for some time away from it all.
  • There’s plenty of oxygen: As already covered, low blood oxygen is ordinary in people with anxiety, meaning that you want to rectify that as often as you can.
  • Come to terms with events: If you’ve been struggling to process some things, being away from the confines of the city will help you find that clarity.

 

Tips for Stress-free Camping

Camping is great, especially if you can leave those pesky phones and tablets at home. Although, there are some things you should do to make sure the whole break runs smoothly.

We’ve rounded up some tips to help you set yourself up for a successful respite:

  • Leave technology at home: Something is satisfying about not checking status updates, emails, or dreaded to-do lists. Constant phone calls and messages are grating, and ditching them will give you more time to indulge in what you like doing best.
  • Prepare food before you leave: You don’t want to have to worry about what you’ll be eating when you’re there, so plan your meals and snacks in advance to give you more time to relax. Make sure these meals are camp-fire ready.
  • Leave loud friends off the guest list: You’re going camping to relax, first and foremost. And if you have loud people around you, it will take away from the tranquility you’re seeking to be enjoying.
  • Go for walks: If you’re just sitting around all day, you won’t have burned enough energy to allow your body to sleep. Staying active is crucial while camping, so you can relax at night, drift off into the clouds, and wake up the following day feeling refreshed.
  • Don’t plan anything to do with work: The purpose of camping is to relieve the effects of anxiety. Thus, taking the office with you in the form of reports or any other work is going to ruin that opportunity for a real break.
  • Comfort comes first: Make sure you are weather-ready when you go camping. You want to be comfortable, so having the appropriate clothing, tent, and equipment will help keep things running smoothly.
  • Games are good to pass some time: Instead of reverting to technology, bring some board or card games. There is a lot you can do to keep the fun flowing into the night.
  • Practice setting up your tent: If your tent is new, you want to make sure you know that it’s working as it should and that you know how to set it up. Do a practice run-through in advance. It will help avoid a potentially stressful incident on the day of camp set-up.
  • Know your campsite: Knowing everything there is to know about your camp is not a bad thing. For instance, are there toilets or cooking facilities nearby? These are always good things to know.
  • Go during the week: This may be tough for some people, but many families will camp on the weekends. This means the place you have earmarked may be busy. But if you go during the week, you are more likely to get that break you’re seeking.
  • First aid: Always have a first-aid box. When traversing the great outdoors, cooking, cleaning, and everything in between, the unexpected can happen. That’s why it’s always good to have a contingency plan.

 

These are just a handful of tips, but the possibilities are truly endless. Try to consider any potential issues that could pop up while camping and find a way to resolve them before you go on your break. It’s the perfect way to be prepared if something happens and to avoid creating additional anxiety.

 

Embrace the Great Outdoors

Being cooped up in an apartment or house with many occupants will not be doing your anxiety any good. It’s always a great idea to plan to get a break, especially if your anxiety is getting worse with time.

Even if you can’t camp due to work commitments, you could still go somewhere fun for a few hours to relax and unwind, even if you have to work the next day.

 

Know Yourself and Prepare in a Way That Works Best for You

Anxiety has many triggers, but there’s always the great outdoors to help you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. You might find that it enables you to think better if you have something big you’re planning.

One thing to note, however, is that what might work for others might not work for you. Easing the symptoms of anxiety is not going to be an easy process, but if you know that you can take some measures before going camping, you will have a much more rewarding trip.

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