Colorado’s outdoors offers a kind of therapy. But it’s not a magic pill. |

Colorado’s outdoors offers a kind of therapy. But it’s not a magic pill.

Colorado's outdoors offer nature therapy — "Vitamin N" — to help improve mental and physical health.

Dan England
The Colorado Sun
Kylie Bearse, the morning meteorologist for Fox31 in Denver, says outdoor activities including hiking and skiing are an important part of her mental health regime. During the pandemic she and a friend slowly built up their endurance on hikes until they were hiking 13 miles together in Staunton State Park.
Dave Puente/The Colorado Sun

COLORADO — Spring, a time when the bluebirds sing — maybe on your shoulder — and the sun cracks the worst of winter’s cold and the air smells like life, can be a time of darkness for Kylie Bearse. 

Spring means muddy trails and slushy slopes, a time when both hiking and skiing are difficult and, quite frankly, no fun for Bearse, and yet she needs that time outdoors, and not just because she’s the morning meteorologist for Fox31 News in Denver. 

Bearse was 25 when she was diagnosed with anxiety eight years ago. She’s comfortable enough with it now to make amusing observations about her job: People with anxiety need control in their lives, but the one thing no one can control is, of course, the weather. It makes her giggle.

Her anxiety can be crippling. Even though Bearse says, over and over, how much she loves her work, there were days this spring — more than a few — when her job was difficult. “Every day, for a month and a half, I hated going to work and having to smile on TV every day,” she said. “I was tired of pretending to be happy.” 

Bearse considers getting outdoors an important part of her mental health regime, in the same way others might jog four times a week to maintain their health and keep their hearts strong. It’s an approach that some health professionals endorse, and some, including Weld County’s health department, are asking doctors to push their patients to spend more time outside.


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