Too many Canadians not getting enough time in nature to support their well-being
Oak Hammock Marsh, Man., January 15, 2024 – The third Monday in January, or “Blue Monday,” is billed as one of the most depressing days of the year. Gloomy weather, seasonal affective disorder, and more all contribute to this downshift in our collective mood.
A study published in 2019 showed that spending at least two hours per week in nature is associated with improved health and well-being. Yet, an online survey of 1,000 Canadians commissioned by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) in January 2024 suggests that as many as 43% of us are getting less than one hour per week in nature, or even no time at all. 26% report they are spending less time in nature than before the pandemic, citing time constraints (the most common barrier), weather, transportation and access limitations, safety concerns, lack of interested companions and lack of interest.
To help change that trend, DUC is launching a sweepstakes that encourages Canadians to share how spending time in wetlands and natural spaces has improved their life, inspiring others to reconnect with the outdoors in time for World Wetlands Day, February 2nd. DUC will be giving away a DUCGear™ and YETI® prize pack valued at $870 CAD MSRP: a DUC Gear™ YETI® Rambler® bottle, a YETI® Panga® 75L waterproof duffle, a YETI® Loadout® GoBox 30 gear case and a DUC Gear™ $50 eCertificate.
“Considering that over 90% of our poll respondents told us that spending time in nature improves mood, reduces stress, and supports physical exercise,” says Janine Massey, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, “we need to be doing everything we can to promote it. People noted that nature connects them with loved ones, educational opportunities, wildlife, and even provides an opportunity for their body to heal and recover. At this time of year, we need that more than ever.”
“Sadly, we are continuing to lose our natural spaces like wetlands, making opportunities for time in nature more scarce. As conservationists, we know that not only does spending time outdoors make people feel better, it also makes them better champions for nature in their communities,” continues Massey.
Summary of poll results can be found here (PDF).
Blue Monday is the name given to the third Monday in January. It is unofficially considered the glummest overall day of the year.
February 2nd has been designated by the UN General Assembly as the international day to build awareness and reverse the rapid loss of wetlands across the globe.