My name is Holly Shahverdi and I’m a final year trainee Psychologist at Teesside University.

Prior to this, I studied an MSc in Health Psychology and a BSc in Psychology (Hons) – both also at Teesside.

I am particularly interested in writing about student wellbeing and love to share my tips and tricks here at The Vibe.

Today, I’ll be sharing my top 5 reasons to spend some time in nature as a student – particularly in the midst of a global pandemic.

Top 5 benefits of nature

  1. Better physical health

Maybe an obvious one, but studies have consistently linked getting out in nature with better health outcomes including improved sleep, blood pressure, less inflammation, improved vision and more. In an era where we spend so much time working, adhering to deadlines and putting pressure on ourselves, it’s more important than ever to take a break and get outside. 

  1. Increased motivation

As students, we can put so much pressure on ourselves and work long hours. Much of the time, we work jobs alongside our education. This can result in feeling sluggish and having a decrease in motivation. Studies show that spending time of nature is a great way to improve our energy levels and in turn, our motivation – much healthier than coffee.

  1. Getting away from the screen

Screen time is no stranger to any of us students who are constantly juggling assignments and research alongside social media habits and Netflix binging! Did you know that increased time in front of screens has been associated with sleep disturbance, low mood and self-esteem, poor posture and weight issues? It’s important for us to get the balance right and therefore, scheduling time in nature can contribute to a healthier student lifestyle.

  1. Better mental health

Getting out in nature can help boost those all-important vitamin D levels which can be responsible for fluctuations in mood. Nature has been associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression as well as improved energy levels. In addition, nature has been consistently linked to reduced stress levels. For tips on stress management, check out my previous blog post about managing pre-university anxiety. 

  1. A little ‘you time’

Do you ever find as a student that your time is spread so thinly between deadlines, managing your social life and employment? Research suggests that taking time to be mindful and reflect can have significant health benefits. Getting out in nature is a great way to disconnect and slow down the pace. If we do not do this from time to time, it can be easy to lose sight of our own needs and goals and this can lead to lower wellbeing.

Take home message

Nature is so important for student health and wellbeing. It’s right on our doorstep and it costs nothing! With all these benefits, the only question left is ‘when will you next be getting outdoors?’ For some inspiration on places to visit in the area, see my separate blog post here: A spot of nature: Teesside’s outdoor hotspots as recommended by Teesside students .

Thanks for reading,

Holly Shahverdi.