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  • Writer's pictureColby Mullis

Mental Health & Fishing: It’s Okay to Talk About It

Updated: Mar 12

What does fishing and mental health have to do with one another? Actually, as it turns out, mental health and fishing have a lot to do with one another, the outdoors are great medicine for our internal well-being.

We were inspired to write this week’s blog post about depression because after reading a study that pointed out how men’s mental health has largely been ignored, forgotten or misunderstood we wound up learning a lot about the role that nature plays in supporting mental health, depression and anxiety.

So for this week’s blog, we thought we’d talk about it. Talk about depression. And talk about what we find helpful for our own mental health.

Because as it turns out, according to research, men are less likely to talk about, acknowledge or express their mental health issues. Rather than expressing themselves out loud, men typically internalize depression and even turn to substances as a form of medication. These are some of the reasons why men’s mental health has been misunderstood for a long time.

Studies show that if men do talk about it, they tend to describe their emotions with words like “tired”, “irritated”, “angry”. Often men who are depressed get viewed as “aggressive” or “rude”. Yet, men also make up 80% of all suicides in Canada.

The silver-lining is that a Google search on mental health will also bring up studies that show nature is a great place to be if you’re suffering with from mental health complications.

1 in 4 Canadians report that they are experiencing depression or post-traumatic symptoms since the 2020 lock downs. It can feel like the world is a bleak place, and it’s okay if it does. This blog post isn’t about “fixing” anything. We just thought it was interesting and worth talking about.

Men can hurt too.

There’s no real “one-size-fits-all” answer here, is there? What works for one person might feel like a band-aid on a bullet-hole for another person.

We would never claim to be mental health experts, but we do believe in the benefits of being outdoors. We’ve put together a list of activities that help our mental health, and we would love to hear any ideas you have in the comments.

Ideas for Outdoor Activities

Cast a Line!: No surprise here, our first recommendation for mental health support is “fishing!” But guess what? Fishing actually lowers cortisol levels in humans. Corisol is the stress hormone. Long-term fishing can, as a result, lower blood pressure as well. You don’t need to come to Cree Lake Lodge to go fishing. If it helps your mental health, then get out there and listen to the sounds of the wild.

Throw Stones: Honestly, this isn’t backed by any scientific study that we know of, but sometimes just getting out into the fresh air, grabbing a rock, squeezing it and then hucking it as far as you can…well, sometimes that’s helpful. And maybe throwing stones isn’t super “science-y, but we didn’t claim to be experts. This is just a list of things we like to do. Maybe you will too!

Water Sports (Swimming, Kayaking, Canoeing): We’re suggesting this one for a couple of reasons. A.) Negative ions are in moving water, and generally speaking, negative ions = positive vibes. No seriously, there’s plenty of research that has found that these negative ions help create higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy. B.) You guessed it, we suggested water sports because…drum roll…you can fish in water! Ha! Two opportunities to fish in one list.

No matter where you are, what you’re going through, what you’ve done or what you’ve said, it does get better.

It might seem cliche to say that, but sometimes getting out into the bush is the best medicine because it helps us remember that there’s something bigger. There’s a sun that will rise and set and there’s things that we’ll never understand.

Maybe life isn’t so much about being “perfectly happy” all the time, but learning to accept it for what it is. Accept ourselves for our highs and lows and accept that we can’t always control whether or not we catch the big one…but we can show up and toss a line out there and see what comes of it.

If you are struggling or need support you can call the crisis line at 1-833-456-4566 toll free. Cree Lake Lodge is not a medical authority and this blog piece does not substitute seeking trained, professional help. You can connect with the Canadian Mental Health Association to get support in finding help if you are in need.

Interested in booking a trip? View our guest packages & connect with us.

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