With everyone on the planet now effectively having lived through several long lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with kids having to attend their classes using Zoom, many people experiencing a sense of isolation from their friends and from their normal lives. Some people also have not had the opportunity to get outside and enjoy a sense of freedom from these restrictions, this time has taken its toll on the emotional and mental health of children and adults alike.
With things now starting to open up again, and a sense of normalcy and safety beginning to re-emerge around the world, many families are again beginning to plan a return to those activities that have long been unavailable. Planning nights out, holidays away and returning to those activities that have not been possible for so long. Having been effectively locked up indoors for a couple of years now, there is possibly nothing better you could do for your mental health or that of your family than going on a camping trip.
When camping kids can be directly connected back to the natural world that surrounds them. It has long been known that spending time in natural environments offers a very wide range of benefits for our mental health. Spending time out in the open air, in forests, near flowing water, and potentially seeing some wild animals all have a beneficial effect on and influence on our mental health. In fact, studies have shown that kids that have less contact with nature in their younger years can be more susceptible to psychological stress and have less opportunity for the type of mental rejuvenation and recharging of the ‘mental battery’ that kids that do get to spend lots of time outside from an early age benefit from.
Camping provides kids with a very important need that is expressed throughout their young lives, that is a sense of autonomy. Waking up in a tent or a hut in a wild area is very different from waking up in your bedroom in a house where the necessities of living a modern urban life mean a very regimented and repetitive experience for kids on most days. Camping provides kids with the freedom to wake up at dawn and create some new adventures every day. Even a holiday by the pool, in an apartment or hotel, while no doubt relaxing, does not provide the sense of freedom that camping does.
Sleeping outside, hearing the sounds of nature, the wind, insects, distant calls of animals, looking up at a sky filled with stars helps to provide a refreshing sort of ‘mental reset’ and really does break us out of any normal routines that we tend to fall into when living in our houses or staying in hotels or apartments when on holiday. Immersing yourself in nature provides a real antidote to the regimented stresses of urban living. It helps people to experience much higher alpha brainwave activity and also leads to increased production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain which is strongly associated with happiness. Did you ever wonder where the term ‘Happy Camper’ came from? 🙂