What happens when you video call a friend or a family member? Does it give you the same satisfaction as that of meeting them in person? Have you ever tried calling someone? Does that feel better than meetups or not? The pandemic has isolated everyone at home and without leaving the house, spending time outdoors, and not meeting their loved ones has made people frustrated. But this pandemic stress is manageable by spending at least two hours per week in any natural environment, according to a study.
The study reveals that the outer environment can impact the stress levels of a person which eventually improves or damages health. Anything that you see, watch, or hear affects your mood and also improves immunity.
When the environment around a person is stressful, such as the on-going pandemic, it is normal for him to get anxious. It may affect his sleep, appetite, mood, and relationships too. On the other side, a pleasing surrounding can have an exactly opposite effect.
A study published in the journal ‘Nature’ reports that spending time in a natural environment can have healing effects on the health and overall wellbeing of a person. However, this relation with exposure to nature is still under-researched. In this study, the researchers examined how a recreational environment in nature affects the stress levels of people.
It collected data from more than 19 thousand individuals, through the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (2014/15–2015/16). These people were investigated for their controlled interaction of 60 minutes. These results reported that the risk of poor health and stress levels can be minimized if a person spends 60 minutes to 120 minutes in natural surroundings.
The stress levels among the general public have been vastly increased ever since this pandemic has started. lockdown, restrictions, unavailability of treatment, and most importantly, the uncertainty of this disease has made people worry about their health. In addition to that, staying at home, work from home, and avoiding large public gatherings have also affected their mental health.
Another study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology (2019) estimated that spending only 20 minutes in any form of nature can reduce the stress levels inside the body. This role was always prominent but how often does a person need to arrange this type of engagement wasn’t clear.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the public health response. At first, this virus was considered a conspiracy, and the misinformation on the internet made people believe that it is a hoax. That’s why viral transmission was highest during the earliest years because people were not willing to accept it as a public health threat. Also, the precautions coming from researchers confined them at home which no one wanted and honestly, no one ever thought that they will be limited to their houses in the next few weeks.
Despite all these things, the infection spread like anything and when the people started to watch other people around them suffering or dying, they finally realized the severity of the situation and started to cope up with the precautions.
On one side, it is good because people are now prioritizing their health but the pandemic stress has already affected the mental health of people and it will take a long time to heal. Different activities including spending time with nature may help to get over this stress in the coming weeks.