What is the 20-5-3 rule that targets anxiety?

Taking the time to be outdoors is good for morale. — Tarja Hoikkala/Vastavalo/Visit Finland handout pic via AFP-Relaxnews
Taking the time to be outdoors is good for morale. — Tarja Hoikkala/Vastavalo/Visit Finland handout pic via AFP-Relaxnews

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NEW YORK, June 25 — There’s a method that can help you feel better just by leaving home. It’s referred to as the 20-5-3 rule. This magic formula is designed to help combat anxiety and stress by taking advantage of the benefits offered by nature and disconnecting from the digital sphere. We give you the lowdown.

It became clearer than ever to many of us during successive lockdowns and stay-at-home mandates: Taking the time to be outdoors is good for morale. Now that health restrictions are easing in many parts of the world, why not try a method that promotes the benefits of outdoor air and nature?

Also known as the “nature pyramid,” the 20-5-3 method comes straight from the United States, as described by writer Michael Easter and neuroscientist Rachel Hopman. There’s no need for a complicated name or elaborate theories. The instructions are very simple, everything is in the name. Each number corresponds to a duration of time to be spent outdoors and which builds to a crescendo: 20 minutes, 5 hours and 3 days.

Initially, it’s recommended to spend 20 minutes per day outside, if possible in a park or a place with vegetation. This first approach allows you to expose yourself to the sun, to fill up on vitamin D and to improve your mental well-being. And if you can do without your smartphone, that’s even better!

Then, try to spend five hours a month in the forest, or a place connected with nature. According to advocates of sylvotherapy, this allows us to rebalance ourselves at the mental, emotional and physical level. 

Finally, three is the last number, corresponding to the number of days you should disconnect completely. A real digital cure to be done once a year, again in the midst of greenery. This period is essential for refocusing oneself, taking time to reflect and coming back from this experience with a calm, clear mind. — ETX Studio

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