I recently had the pleasure to take a family trip to Cornwall. We stayed in a lovely campsite near Newquay, and I’ve completely fallen in love with the place. With the colourful town, the stunning scenery, and the lovely atmosphere. Not to mention I had the best latte of my life in the trendiest cafe – and I’m Italian, so that should tell you a lot. Probably one of the reasons I feel so drawn to the place though is that for a number of years now, I’ve been daydreaming (and pestering my husband) about living by the sea. Every time we go, I find it such a beautiful experience. It makes me think of one of my close university friends. Born and raised in a seaside town, she’d often say how she missed the sea. In my early twenties, I didn’t quite understand that. Now I do. I get that feeling. And I’m sure I’m not alone because there’s ton of research out there that proves exactly why living by the sea is so good for you. So here are five mental and physical benefits of living by the sea.
You get to sleep better.
Let’s start with the physical benefits. And one of the top ones in my book is that living by the sea can help you sleep better. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ll take anything that helps me sleep better! Sea air is (or should be) cleaner and fresher. And higher levels of oxygen generally help you sleep better. And if, like me, you don’t live by the sea just yet, try a Dodow!
How to sleep better – read “Breathe Better, Sleep Better” by Anandi, the sleep guru.
What keeps you awake at night with worry?
How mindfulness helps you sleep.
Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success, by Shawn Stevenson.
The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night, by Dr Guy Meadows.
Breathe Better, Sleep Better, by Anandi.
You get to relax more.
Now that’s not necessarily true when you have three children in tow. And it certainly wasn’t true when I spent five days by the seaside on my own with the children earlier this summer! But I’m sure you’ve experienced that feeling before. When you face the sea or the ocean, looking at the regular motion of the waves, and just feel at peace. Calm and relaxed. Taking in that sense of space and openness. It’s an amazing feeling. And one you can experience on a sunny day on a white-sand beach in the middle of the Indian Ocean (I’m thinking Reunion Island here) or on a wintery weekend at a deserted British beach. (We do love a winter trip to Bournemouth as a family!)
If you think about it, it makes sense. How many times have you used a mindfulness app that has waves in the background? The rhythmical sound of waves soothes the brain. It helps yuo relax. And relaxing more means you get to lower your stress levels and strengthen your immune system too. What a win!
Stress management: 3 must-read books to get stuff done and stress less.
5 must-watch TED talks on stress.
Stressed and overwhelmed – top tips from the Mind your Mamma blog.
My top 3 apps for mindfulness meditation.
You probably get to exercise more.
I have this vision in my mind that if I lived by the sea, I’d get to take a walk on the beach every single day. Okay, people who do live by the sea probably don’t do that. Life gets in the way – I get it. But I like to think that if I lived by the sea I’d take a stroll when the children are at school, after work, or on the weekend. Regular walking may not sound like a very extreme form of exercise, but get that walk in daily, and you’ll see a change in your physical and mental health. And if and when you’re ready to take it up a notch, you can start running on the beach too! Ever thought about mindful running?
Not to mention that if the sea conditions and the weather allow you to (and you enjoy these sports), you could take up swimming or surfing. And if you’re up for a less intensive and gentler form of exercise (my kind of thing), walking in the sea is also great for you. You don’t get the strain and impact that you get when you work out ‘on land’. Hence why when you’re injured or suffer from chronic pain, water workouts are one of the first things you’re recommended to do. And if you’re not into any of the above, maybe you’ll be up for a yoga or pilates class on the beach? I’ve not tried that, but it sounds bliss to me.
Mindful running for a happy life – Run For Your Life, a review.
You get to enjoy the benefits of salt water (and spend more time in the sun too).
Yes, that’s right. And I don’t mean you have to start drinking salt water now – we all learnt that lesson at a young age, didn’t we? But salt water is generally good for your health – it’s rich in magnesium, which is very much needed for things like muscle function, blood coagulation, and metabolism, for example. Dip into the water regularly, and you can wave goodbye to the need for supplements.
Speaking of which, if you live in the UK, you’ll probably be familiar with the recommendation of taking a daily supplement of vitamin D between the months of October to March/April. Now, when you live by the sea and spend enough time outdoors (working in an office five days a week and spending all your days indoors doesn’t count), you get to absorb lots of vitamin D. And we all know (or should know) how good that is for your mental and physical health. Vitamin D helps you combat depression, makes your bones and your immune system stronger, and even helps with your digestive system. Because the seawater reflects the sun’s rays, you get an extra boost of the good stuff. So just go and soak it up! (Oh, but be mindful you don’t get sunburnt, as that‘s not fun. And that’s probably another lesson we’ve learnt earlier on in life, haven’t we?)
You just feel happier.
It’s really as simple as that! And when we lead busy, stressful lives that are full of demands and external (and internal pressures), we can all do with a little more happiness sprinkled on our daily tasks and to-do lists. Being unhappy and feeling down when you’re staring at the sea or the ocean is just a lot harder to do. When facing the water you can experience that feeling of calm and deeper connection to nature due to the endorphins (think of them as ‘happy hormones’) that are released in our brains. There’s a lot of research that supports the connection between mental health and green spaces. The sea has that same effect on us (if not a deeper, stronger effect than green spaces do). It helps us feel more at peace. Perhaps connected to and part of something bigger. Whatever that may be for you.
Mental health: could you be struggling but be unaware of it?
Happy: Finding Joy in Every Day and Letting Go of Perfect, by Fearne Cotton.
So, are you now itching to move to the seaside as well? If I haven’t convinced you yet, watch this short video of Newquay…
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on a link and decide to buy one of the products I recommended, I get a tiny commission for it. (And I’ll be doing a happy dance in return!)