Over the past year now, we have seen a huge shift in the mental health of not only adults but in most children and adolescents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more adults are reporting having symptoms of anxiety and depression in 2020 than the previous year. Over 40% of respondents from a CDC survey in June 2020 reported having at least one mental or behavioral health condition. These trends are also similar in children and youth.*
However, we have also seen how getting outside and being in nature may help to decrease many of these symptoms. Spending even just a short amount of time outside during the day can improve confidence, promotes creativity, gets everyone moving, and lowers anxiety and stress.**
Creation connects us to God
Perhaps the reason our mental health is improved by being outside in nature is because it helps us to connect back to our God, the creator of Heaven and Earth. The Message version of the Bible begins in Genesis by painting a beautiful picture of God the creator.
“First this: God created the Heavens and Earth – all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.”
God is the creator of everything, from nothing God created everything.
God created nature beautifully and made it for us, his children, to enjoy and be a part of. It’s no wonder that nature improves us just by being around it, that is how we were designed.
Getting outside can be challenging.
“It’s not always easy to find time or space to get outside. Maybe you can glean a few ideas from our staff. Even if you live in a city, you can walk outside, appreciate trees or find a pond in a park. Our creator God’s hand is everywhere!”
- “I love to hike! It’s so exciting to me to be able to explore somewhere I’ve never been, or to revisit a place I’ve been before and see what I can notice for the first time. I love to travel and see the different kinds of incredible landscapes that God has created (I can’t get enough of the mountains), but I love to see what I can discover closer to home too!” -Kathryn Spencer, Children’s Ministry Coordinator
- “I always look up. The sky is always a new hue of blue or changing with a sunrise/sunset, clouds are never the same twice, and I love the brilliance of God’s creation on a clear night to see the stars and planets.” – Stefanie Wessel, Guest Services Director
- “I like to walk and hike most of all. I get outside because it’s essential for my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. It’s where I see God most and slow down enough to hear his voice best.” -Jane DeVries, Camp Registrar
No matter what you do outside or for how long you spend in nature, just make sure to make it happen. Don’t forget to bring your family or a friend along!