Especially now, when it’s easy to feel cooped up indoors, getting outside is a quick way to reset and refresh. Plus, science says that spending time outdoors is good for your mental health. Studies revealed that spending time in nature reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This might explain why we feel more at peace and relaxed in nature.
Most people, however, aren’t spending enough time outside. And sometimes it can feel challenging to find things to do outside so you’re not just sitting around. Taking walks around your neighborhood and hitting the beach on weekends are a good start. Maybe you’ve even started working out in your yard. If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy the great outdoors, Soothe has you covered. Mix up your routine with these typically indoor activities, and experience the surprising benefits of taking them outside.
When you think of a yoga class, you probably picture a dark room, maybe a few candles or some essential oils diffusing in a corner. People often feel intimidated by yoga, thinking they need a fancy yoga outfit, special mat, and props to do “real” yoga. But a yoga practice doesn’t actually need anything at all—just your body and the breath. And because yoga seeks to connect us to our environment, doing yoga outside can actually enhance your practice!
Next time you’re getting ready for a yoga session, take it outside. A nearby park, the beach, or even a few sun salutations at the peak of a hike offer a chance to experience something new. When you practice yoga outdoors, take time to notice the ground supporting you, the breeze on your skin, and the sounds of nature around you. You’ll reap all the stress-reducing benefits of being outside, plus the amazing health benefits of yoga at the same time!
Massage therapy is typically done in quiet spa rooms or at home, with soothing music and dimmed lights. But have you ever tried an outdoor massage? Given the right setting, receiving a massage outside can enhance the overall experience. Because massage increases circulation and blood oxygen levels, being outside can amplify this effect. Natural elements and sounds also provide a soothing environment for your massage.
When booking an outdoor massage, it’s important to have a setting that’s safe and comfortable. The ideal outdoor massage space is private, and large enough to fit the massage table with enough room for the therapist to easily move around it. Make sure your outdoor area is also shaded, so you don’t get too hot or exposed to too much sun. Early mornings and sunset are great times for a massage outside to avoid the hottest part of the day.
Soothe is now offering outdoor massage in some areas. Book now using the Soothe App!
Dining outdoors is a common practice during spring and summer. And we can see why. It’s quieter, the fresh air feels nice, and it makes the whole meal feel more laid-back. Eating outside can actually be good for your health, too. Research shows that spending just 20 minutes in green spaces like parks lowers stress and blood pressure. But you don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to reap the mood-boosting benefits of dining al fresco.
The easiest way to dine outdoors? Simply take your food, and go out your back door. To start, try drinking your morning coffee on your deck, balcony, or front stoop. It’s amazing how peaceful and serene you’ll feel. You don’t need a huge space or elaborate setup, either. A folding chair will work just fine. Ready to up the ante? Pack a picnic and head for the nearest park! It doesn’t need to be an elaborate meal. A few sandwiches, a reusable water bottle, and a piece of fruit is a healthy, simple lunch that’s easy to eat anywhere. Bring a blanket, put on some sunscreen, and enjoy the causal atmosphere.
You don’t need to be the next Rembrandt to get artistic. Having a creative outlet is a good way to help you process your feelings, reduce stress, and cope with difficult situations. In fact, art therapy is an increasingly common treatment for mental health conditions. You can double the positive effects by taking those creative abilities outside! Try taking a sketchbook to the park, and drawing the things you see. If photography is your calling, snap a few shots on a beautiful hike, or at the beach. Remember, nobody is going to be judging your work, so do what feels right for you to get the most benefit.
If you don’t feel confident in your artistic abilities, that’s ok! You don’t need to draw or paint to try outdoor art. A newer subsidiary of art therapy, sometimes called eco-art therapy, encourages using natural materials to create art. This can be as simple as using a stick to draw in the sand, or arranging pine cones and evergreen branches on a forest walk. Interacting with natural elements in a tactile way helps us feel connected to the earth, giving us a calming, peaceful feeling.