Updated: Jul 17
According to a recent American Psychology Association poll, more adults are more stressed out than they've ever been and it's taking a toll on their physical health, as well. It's incredibly obvious that this last year has played a major factor in these record high stress levels. One way to combat stress is to try camping. There are multiple potential benefits, according to the National Park Service, including improved mental health.
One excellent way to get away is to, literally, remove yourself for a time where you can focus on the here and now. Spending time in nature is like a big ol' reset button, so we've put together a few ways for you to get started on your camping journey.
The "Why" of Camping
Let's start with the basics. The Yale School of the Environment reported that more than half of adults are spending less than five hours in nature per week and children aged 8-12 are spending 3 times that many hours just on their screens. But, Why is spending time outdoors so good for your mental and physical health? Check this out:
Increased outdoor time lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress -
Your mood improves - Researchers have found that nature makes us happy! Anxiety, depression and anger are notably decreased after spending time outdoors.
Being outdoors improves your immune system
Time spent outdoors gives us time to reflect, meditate, and eschew all the pressures of society.
These are only a small sample of the benefits you'll get for spending time away from screens and in front of nature. Here's a more extensive list we've put together. Suffice it to say, there are a ton of good benefits and reasons to take the time. But, where should you start?
The "Where" of Camping
The great thing about camping is that you can do it just about anywhere. Public campgrounds dot the landscape, and once you start searching for private places, you'll be able to go to even more unexplored corners of the state.
Explore Minnesota has a pretty good list of almost 800 locations but, you could start looking here:
Public Campgrounds - State parks, state forests, national parks, and US forest service are just a few of the places you can search to find a place to camp. You're sure to find one near you (or far away, if that's what you're looking for, haha).
National Parks - Minnesota is home the Voyager's National Park, but you don't have to limit yourself to just one's in state. But, be aware that national parks are extremely busy in the summer, and have often resorted to reserved entrance. Do your research, and be ready for lots of people.
Glamping Sites - If you're just getting your feet wet and aren't totally down to get dirty, there are locations that will fit you perfectly. It's called "glamping" (glamorous camping) and is camping in extreme style. Often used in resorts or locations...um...not so in touch with nature, it's still a way to get outdoors. This is a good half step, before jumping in fully.
The "How" of Camping
You've done your research. You know the necessity of just "getting away." But, how is it done? What are your first steps? If you're just learning about camping, you'll want to give this a try:
If you're hesitant in taking the plunge, try car camping. You'll just drive your car to a site and do all the fun activities (or lounging around!) that you'd normally do while camping, but if things start going poorly (like too much rain or a bear attack), you'll be able to grab your gear and simply drive off. All the fun of camping without any of the liability.
For those looking at a little more comfort while "roughing it", there's always the option to go with an RV or camper. Campers give you the tranquility of the great outdoors without giving up the comforts of home. Often equipped with kitchens, bedrooms, and sometimes even bathrooms, you'll be giving up very little to get outdoors. However, there is a larger dollar investment, so taking this plunge is something only for those that are more certain they're down with the camping vibe.
If you're looking to completely disconnect from life and isolate for a bit, the most thorough way to do this is by wilderness camping. That "always connected" feeling evaporates when experiencing nature this way. Often miles from roads and cell phone towers, this option really isn't for the inexperienced. A lot more planning is required and luxuries are limited to what you can bring in on your own feet. Nora put together an extremely information-thick post that I encourage you to read if you're even considering wilderness camping.
No matter how luxuriously or spartan you're camping trip is shaping up to be, there is always room for a good first aid kit and a little preparation. With proper fore planning, you'll have a safe place for food and a safe source of water. Check out our previous post to walk you through the right steps for putting out a fire, (and always be sure to check if there's any sort of burning ban in your area. If there is, prep a propane stove top instead. However, there's nothing too bad about eating at a cold camp, it's just a different sort of experience.
The final word that we have to say about camping is that it doesn't really matter HOW you get outdoors. The important thing is to breathe in that nature. Get your hands dirty. See green. Our mental and physical health are so important. Finding ways to keep both in tip-top shape is paramount.
Do you have any other camping tips you'd like to share with us? Leave a comment below!