Boosting your mental health and in turn your mood, needn’t be expensive. In fact there is a whole host of things you can do in nature and the great outdoors that do not cost a penny! We’ve complied our top 5 activities to get you started. Don’t forget you can check out our other ideas for self-care activities in our Wellness & Self-care section.
How can Nature Improve My mental Health?
There is no denying that nature is beautiful. Spending time outdoors has countless benefits, but they go beyond the ones that help your physical health, such as exercise, improving breathing and absorbing much needed vitamins.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Whilst there is becoming more emphasis on looking after your thoughts and feelings, it is easy to forget just how vital it can be. One of the easiest and indeed cheapest ways to give your self a boost and get a little self-care, is to be outside.
The benefits of being outside are immense. The act of taking a walk, sitting in a park or perusing a beautiful garden is in itself mindful. You’re in the moment, enjoying the serenity of nature and the simple pleasures in life. However, this can also help you to improve your focus and concentration. It can relieve anxiety and stress, as well as have an effect on low moods.
Nature can induce positive emotions, all of which give you those hits of dopamine and serotonin which make us happy. Feeling calm, joyful and moments of wonder all contribute to feeling better overall.
Of course you could sit in the garden if you have one, but here are a few other ideas to help you get out and about.
Take a Walk in the Woods
The woods are a great place to explore. Filled with animals and critters, stunning foliage and of course trees, there is plenty to see, all of which will change from day to day. This means there is an ever changing landscape to enjoy!
Aside from your standard woods and forests, there are many that have adventure parks for the kids to use, places to rest and eat, as well as trails. Some of these trails will be exploring the nature in which you are surrounded, but others might feature sculptures to find, or specific plants and trees.
Visit a Local Park
Parks are another great way to spend a few hours. Generally free of charge, many feature lakes or ponds, which adds to the variety of wildlife that you can observe. As a rule you’ll find benches to perch on, an abundance of flowers and plants, as well as a multitude of creatures to try and spot.
Some parks will have facilities catered towards children also, such and swings, slides or even sandpits!
Spend Time at the Beach
If you are lucky enough to live on or by the coast, then the beach is a wonderful option for some much needed outside time.
Whether you are looking to build sandcastles with the kids, take a stroll along the sand or collect shells, there is always plenty to see and do.
There is the added bonus of the sea! Water can be extremely calming to watch, but there’s nothing stopping you taking a paddle or if you’re brave enough, a little swim. Many beaches have enclosed pools to make it safer for children now too and if you wanted to tackle a new hobby, you can always try some water sports.
Take a Hike
Hiking is great exercise and lends itself to new experiences and vistas. Whether you decide to ramble along a marked trail in search of a landmark, or follow a map, you wont be short of options.
Spending time in the rolling hills, lush and green can be really uplifting!
A Day on the Farm
Animals are one of the gifts that nature has given us and there are so many farms dotted around the country. Of course, there are ones that charge entry and so a little outlay may be required for this option. However, there are farms that have free days, discounted entry or are just free and rely on donations, such as those run by some charities.
Not only do you get to be around adorable animals, but you also are outside among the fields and plants, so it’s a double whammy!