“Stepping out into nature gives me a mental break”

For endurance runner and veterinary surgeon Sabrina Verjee, the outdoors is a much-needed escape from the stresses of everyday life.

“Life is busy, we focus on our careers, how to manage our homes, families and pets. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day and not take any time out for yourself but that can quickly lead to a downward spiral of lack of sleep, poor diet and lack of exercise.

I have found running the best escape and mental break from work and stress. It’s a simple hobby requiring basic equipment – good trail running shoes, running tights and a top, a headtorch for the winter. It takes minutes to get changed and ready for a run and as soon as I’m heading out the door I start to feel the release and the freedom.

Photographer: Steve Ashworth

When I’m outside I feel free and all my senses are awakened – the sounds of nature, the smell of pollens and trees, the feeling of the gentle breeze cooling my body or the sun glowing on my face. I even enjoy the wetness of the rain sometimes especially when I am clothed in the right kit to protect me from the elements so I can still enjoy the outdoors on bad weather days.

Visually, there’s all the stimulating colours and we are so lucky in this country to experience such wonderful changes in seasons that the same place can look completely different at a different time of year. It has been scientifically proven that being outside improves ones mood, is relaxing (reduces blood pressure), gives us an energy boost and increases our daily doses of vitamin D…. but who needs science to encourage us when it just simply feels so good?

Whatever is going on in my hectic work or home life, stepping out into nature gives me a mental break and release and the time to simply live and breathe.”

Inspired by Sab’s story? Visit the handy activity finder from Get Outside for ideas on getting out into nature at a place near you.