Visit Sweden Shares Tips on How to Alleviate Pandemic-Related Stress

Lockdowns, isolation, and working from home have caused elevated levels of stress for many people: 45% of Americans say they experience anxiety because of the pandemic, according to a UN report. But there are ways to alleviate the stress. Research shows that spending time in nature lowers stress levels – one of the many benefits of grabbing a few minutes to enjoy some greenery or planning a getaway in the great outdoors.


Photo: Martin Edström/imagebank.sweden.se

The positive effects were tested through Visit Sweden’s very own initiative, “The 72-Hour Cabin,” with participants from major cities who had demanding jobs. They were examined before and after spending three consecutive days in the Swedish countryside where they slept in glass cabins next to water. The study proved that being outdoors surrounded only by nature dramatically reduced negative emotions and lowered stress levels.

In Sweden, 70% of the country is covered with forest, and nature is easy to reach, with open fields and meadows, old-growth forests, quiet lakes, miles of coastlines, and thousands of islands. Swedes have a unique
Freedom to Roam, The Right of Public Access (‘Allemansrätt’), which maintains that everyone has the right to walk, cycle, ride, ski and camp on any land. It is no wonder Swedes maintain an unusually close relationship to nature and draw from the healing power of spending time outside. “Natural environments are an important resource for meeting the health challenges in our society. Research shows that time spent outdoors reduces negative emotions and stress, and promotes positive emotions, mental recovery, and performance,” says Cecilia Stenfors, a researcher at the Aging Research Center at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and the University of Chicago, USA.

As nature experiences are an effective way to provide a bit of normality after months of pandemic-related stress, anxiety, and loneliness, below are five ways to incorporate a bit of green in your life, as illustrated by the Swedes:

  • You only need twenty minutes in nature to reduce stress, so there is no excuse not to pop outside for a few moments, even a lunch time walk will help clear your mind.   
  • Boost your mental health by taking your meal outside. Swedes dine al fresco nearly all year round and enjoy foraging in nature’s own pantry. For further inspiration, check out Visit Sweden’s outdoor dining and do-it-yourself cooking concept, Edible Country.
  • Swedes love outdoor activities like cooking, hiking, canoeing, and mountain biking, with proven long-lasting effects on their well-being. Pick up a hobby that gets you moving outside!
  • We know to eat our greens but spending time in green areas also has a positive impact on our health. According to a meta-analysis from the University of East Anglia, published in Environmental Research, nature can lower your blood pressure, cortisol, and heart rate. For those living in cities, even surrounding yourself with indoor plants or gazing at pictures or videos of nature can be soothing. Try these VR films.
  • When the time is right, book a trip to enjoy Sweden’s lush landscape and stay high up in the Tree Hotel, or experience a glass cabin, house boat, or maybe even a lighthouse. Let this list and image gallery of engaging experiences and unique accommodations in nature guide and inspire you to find balance after this turbulent time.

Press Contact:
Melinda Martino, Senior PR Manager, Visit Sweden USA
(+1) 917 340 9330
melinda.martino@visitsweden.com

Visit Sweden is Sweden’s marketing company. Visit Sweden markets Sweden abroad as a destination to contribute to more jobs and increased income in Sweden. The company also provides and sells communication and knowledge services related to the hospitality industry, tourism and travel. Foreign tourists spend approximately SEK 144 billion annually in Sweden and approximately 172,400 people are employed in the hospitality industry’s companies alone. Visit Sweden is owned by the Swedish state through the Ministry of Trade and Industry. www.visitsweden.com

About Us

Visit Sweden is a communications company promoting Sweden as a destination and as a brand. Our vision is to create a desire for Sweden, to encourage more foreign travelers to travel there. We are present in 10 countries worldwide and combine local presence with market-wide communication. Visit Sweden is equally owned by the Swedish Government through the Ministry of Enterprise & Innovation and the Swedish Tourism Industry through Svensk Turism AB. www.visitsweden.com

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