With April being Stress Awareness Month, here are some 12 fun and easy ways to de-stress outdoors!
Mother Nature. Think of it as nature’s anti-anxiety, anti-depressant medication. When you live in an urban area or have an indoor desk job, you are very likely suffering from a lack of nature (and vitamin D), also known as Nature Deficit Disorder. Studies have actually shown people who begin to exercise outdoors in a natural environment become less agitated and have an easier time focusing. Studies suggest that 90% of patients with depression would not need therapy if they simply exercised regularly. Imagine combining exercise with the powerful effects of getting back in touch with nature – that’s one potent anti-stress combo!
- Go for a Walk: Exercise releases stress and gives you a boost by releasing mood-enhancing endorphins. Pair that with vitamin D from the sun, fresh air in your lungs, as well as greenery or the beautiful, calming ocean nearby and feel your stress slip away!
- Sit Outside and Listen to Music: Research has shown that your mood can be greatly affected by the music you listen to. Listening to loud, upbeat music cheers you up and distracts you from negative thoughts. Unwind with some of your favorite tunes while getting some vitamin D and fresh air outside for a gentle mood booster.
- Take your Dog to the Park: Not only does your mood boost, but your blood pressure actually drops when you pet a dog. Give your dog some love by taking them to the park or the beach. It will be therapeutic for the both of you!
- Meditate on the Grass: It may seem daunting to do so, but research shows mindfulness is an ever increasingly important skill for our health, and that people who meditate (even for 5 minutes a day!) receive amazing benefits! Try downloading some free guided meditations or listen to some on YouTube to get you started.
- Read a Great Book under a Tree: Prevent negative thoughts or obsessive thinking by providing a distraction. Even if you don’t like reading, you can listen to audiobooks to take your mind to a whole other world.
- Have a Meal Outside: Enjoy breakfast in your garden, on your balcony, or take your lunch outside if you’re at work. Stepping away from distractions and enjoying your food and your natural surroundings helps to calm the mind.
- Take an Outdoor Yoga Class: Yoga is a proven stress buster, but inverted stances such as backbends and headstands may be even more powerful. Research suggests the part of the nervous system that relaxes you may be stimulated by bending the spine. Regardless of what your yogi skills are, enjoy some deep stretches and calming yoga poses any time of day is beneficial for your mind and your body.
- Dance It Out: Gather some friends, play some music, and have a backyard party for a great stress-reliever. It helps to revitalize your energy, boost your confidence, renew your creativity and even strengthen your immune system, reduce anxiety and boost your serotonin levels.
- Grow a Garden: Not only does adding greenery and flowers to your space make it look nice and homey; gardening gets you out of the house, away from distractions and closer to nature. Just being outside can improve your mood drastically, but seeing your little edible garden grow or a flower you planted bloom also gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride. Serving up a salad fresh from your garden? Priceless!
- Take a Hike: Head to your local park or the nearest climbable mountain and enjoy the picturesque views while moving your body. You’ll get your adrenalin pumping, see some amazing sights, challenge yourself, and feel a great sense of accomplishment at the end.
- Take your Kids to the Park: But don’t just watch them, play with them! Rediscover those fun, carefree childhood vibes by swinging on the swings, chasing your kids around the sand, going down the slide, and playing imaginary games. Not only is it amazing for your health, your kids will love it too!
- Go for a Bike Ride: Riding your bike is not only amazing exercise, it is fun too! If you haven’t hopped on a bike in years, just try again. Feel the breeze on your face, the adrenalin through your body, and the endorphins kick in as you ride around your local area. There’s something liberating about riding a bike that reminds us of childhood summers and good times! Bring your dog too!
Science continues to prove the powerful benefits of nature. How it can calm the brain, improve your mood and concentration. Even hospital patients can recover faster when they can see trees or flowers from their window (or take a sit outside). So, enjoy getting back to nature, whichever way you prefer – we guarantee you won’t regret it! We live in sunny St. Pete, where we can enjoy the beautiful sunshine and the outdoors all year around – let’s take advantage of it!
Reference: Food Matters