The Human Rights Watch reported an increase in mental illness among the pandemic. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed how stress and anxiety often accompany a pandemic. Some research shows how going outside can remedy the struggle.
According to Harvard Health Medical School, spending time outdoors increases vitamin D levels, which helps the body fight off certain health conditions like depression.
Christian Jepsen, a freshman studying biochemistry, spent the majority of his summer outside so far.
“This summer I’ve gone cave spelunking, cliff jumping, hiking, Frisbee golfing, camping, boating, played beach volleyball and even Spikeball,” said Jepsen. “I feel like getting outside really helps my mood after being stuck in quarantine for so long. I feel a lot healthier after getting outside and I’m just loving life.”
Safety remains a concern for outdoor community gatherings, which is why many residents choose to stay inside.
“I am careful about where I go and who I go with,” Jepsen said. “I spend a lot of time with my grandparents and so it matters to me that I stay healthy for them. I feel like as long as you are careful about who you go to places with and you keep the rules the CDC has given, going outside is fine. Healthy even.”
Not only has Jepsen felt that going outside has helped his mental health, he feels it has made life more exciting. One of his favorite adventures includes going to King‘s Bowl in American Falls, Idaho.
“Everyone always says there’s nothing to do in Idaho but honestly, there’s so much,” Jepsen said. “King‘s Bowl is this huge cave not too far away from Rexburg. If you stand by the edge and throw a rock down to the bottom of the cave, it’ll take 10 seconds to hit the bottom. It’s that deep.”
He also enjoys time boating at Lake Powell with his family.
“Honestly, nothing beats getting outside and spending time with your family, especially right now,” Jepsen said.