At WayAhead, each year, we put together a page of stress-less tips for helping people find ways to improve their day to day life through small changes and one of these is to “be active everyday in as many ways as you can”. While it is widely recognised that exercising regularly improves your physical health it is less commonly acknowledged that it improves your mental health. Physical exercise causes the body to release endorphins which are proven to improve your mood. But sometimes there is more too it than that.
The Snowy Mountains are breathtaking in summer – their higher elevations means the temperature is ideal and there is little risk of snow. What’s more, animals like Brumbys, are more active and you can see the diverse beauty of Australia’s native alpine flowers in all their glory. And you can easily scale the highest mountain Mt Kosciuszko.
The space and time afforded in these wide open spaces and day long walks means that time takes on a different aspect. When you consider that you are in the middle of the bush without the pressing needs of work or technology there is more time to think and discuss bigger issues.
Matt recalls how the chance to hike the mountain with his wife allowed them a sense of time and space which wasn’t available to them in their everyday lives – “I’ve been married a long time, so obviously we talk a lot, but when you go for long walks each day in such a beautiful environment, you get the opportunity to talk in so much more depth – it’s wonderful”
So did the “stress-less tip” work? Absolutely. Finding time to be active, especially if i can be away from the hustle and the bustle of the city is a great way of destressing. Of relaxing and stretching out your mind and of escaping the pressing needs of the moment to maybe think longer term. The combination of physical exertion and natural beauty allows for a new outlook on life and sometimes that is the best form of therapy.
But even if you can’t get away, just walking around the park in your lunch break, or going for a swim at the beach on the weekend can help to relax you, both physically and mentally, from the stresses of everyday life. And you never know – maybe it’ll help you to climb your own mountain.
Photographs – Matthew Keighery