Snow covered lake with blue sky

This is your brain on nature!

Nature? We’re here for it and so are our friends at Coleman Canada. Read on to find out how they’re helping us encourage Ontarians to spend more time outside!

It’s easy to feel a bit low at this time of year. It seems to get dark outside immediately after lunch, the sun is elusive, and our bodies are still adapting to cooler temperatures.

There’s a part of our brain that really wants to hibernate.

But we’re going to fight that urge, and you should too! Here’s why: our brains need nature!

We need nature

Spending time outside is good for your body and your mind!

We all know this on some level. That’s why some of our happiest memories are based around time we have spent outdoors.

Hiker sitting on rock next to snowy shoreline

Nature makes us feel great. We sleep better. We feel more relaxed, and less stressed or anxious if we’ve been in nature.

Fight the winter woes

We get it. Suiting up to get outside at this time of year can be a hassle. There might be snow. It might be cold. The flannel sheets on your bed might be calling your name.

Person hiking on trail in snow covered forest

But it’s worth it to make the effort to get outside, and the research backs it up!

Big brain benefits

Making time for nature – and getting outside for around two hours over the course of a week — can make a huge difference to your mental health.

Here are just a few of the brain benefits of spending time in green (okay, sometimes white) space:

  • People who walk in nature report an increase in positive emotions.
  • Kids need nature! Spending time outdoors can reduce anxiety and improve concentration and self esteem.
  • Nature is an antidote to stress and can increase feelings of happiness and satisfaction.
  • Spending time in natural spaces can increase your attention span, creativity and ability to connect with other people.
  • Getting outside for some time in natural light can help you fight seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that affects people at this time of year.

Nature is “awe”some!

Our friends at Coleman Canada also know that nature is calling us to get outside to improve our mental health. They have a few other reasons why it’s great for your body and brain to get outside during the colder months!

Various animal tracks in the snow in winter forest

Peace and quiet! You might find that there are fewer people on your favourite hiking trail or nature walk during the winter, so you can enjoy the pure silence found only in a snow-covered forest!

Time to try something new! Winter gives the perfect opportunity to try a new activity, like cross country skiing, snowshoeing or ice fishing.

Winter = wildlife! Winter’s a great season for wildlife viewing. The trees that can block our view of wildlife in the summer are now bare. If you don’t see the wildlife, the footprints they leave in the snow will let you know they were there!

Fresh air, fresh eyes! Getting outside in a different season brings a different perspective! A natural space you’ve visited a hundred times can look completely different covered in snow, making every walk a new adventure!

Nature is “awe”some! Spending time in green space can inspire feelings of awe and can be restorative and elevate your mood. Being surrounded by nature helps us realize how spectacular the world really is and reminds us to unplug from modern life and live in the moment.

Try it for yourself!

Feeling inspired to bundle up and get your dose of nature?  Get outside!

You will boost your mental health and make some magical winter memories!




Ontario Parks thanks corporate partners like Coleman Canada for their support.