Outdoors and Mental Health
The outdoors can be an amazing form of therapy for many people. This became very apparent to me while I continued to work from home. I’ve been working from home for three years and I live alone. I found that at times I would want to just stay inside because ‘ I had too much to do’ and ‘ I don’t need to leave the house, it’s too much effort’. I realized that this was definitely unhealthy and I needed to make some changes. I was feeling isolated and anxious. A few things that have really helped me are getting outside and scheduling something in the morning.
Here are a few ways to get your body moving outdoors in the morning. Enjoy!
Walking dogs! I always feel better when I take my girlfriend’s dogs for a walk before work, it gets my body moving and it’s purposeful. I enjoy spending time with them and it’s a great way to jump start my day. Not all of us have dogs, but if you feel comfortable walking dogs as a side hustle or walking your neighbors/friends dogs I highly recommend it.
Taking a meditative walk in the morning. I’m very thankful to live in Chicago in Lincoln Park which has a gorgeous large green space with plenty of nature and trails (pictured above on this week’s morning walk). I make it a point to go on a walk either silently or listen to an hour long podcast while I enjoy my time outdoors. Listening to a podcast does help me time my walk so that I make sure to be out for at least 30 min to an hour.
Scheduling a yoga class in the morning. For me, if it’s on my calendar I’m more likely to do it and it feels like a more permanent part of my routine. If you can, get a gym membership or go to a studio. If not, you can watch a video and do yoga outside or develop your own practice. Developing your own practice can be a great way to strengthen your body awareness which can increase your mindfulness.
Creating these outdoor routines will significantly help ease depression and anxiety. Vitamin D is such a great way to perk up, fresh air is great for your body, and the endorphins from moving around make us happier!
I hope you all can find some joyful ways to spend time outdoors!