Summer--the season of sunlight, warm temperatures, and outdoor fun! For many, longer days and warmer weather mean improved mental health. There are some activities perfect for a summer day that will make a genuine difference in your state of mind. Here are some ideas on how you can spend some time outdoors for improved mental health this summer.
Getting outdoors is so good for the mind. Using muscle tension, blood pressure, and brain activity in adults as a measure, stress was found to be decreased within minutes of exposure to nature. Even just sitting outside instead of on your couch will help improve your mental state.
Go for a Stroll
Consider exercising instead of just taking a seat though. Go for a hike at a local nature preserve. If you can’t get away, a long, ambling walk around your neighborhood can even do the trick. If you’re a city slicker, consider finding a neighborhood in your city that you haven’t visited. Adventure around it and become an explorer in your own backyard!
Splash Around in the Water
Swimming and watersports are great ways to get outdoorsy exercise. Swimming for just 30 minutes a day is shown to help lower incidences of depression or anxiety and even helps improve sleep. Natural springs, rivers, and lakes are all great places to get in touch with nature and go for a swim.
If natural bodies of water aren’t prevalent near you, consider investing in a pool this summer. Asking questions like, “What’s the right size pool for my yard?”, “How long does a pool take to build?” and “Where can I find pool builders near me?”, may seem daunting. They don’t have to be though. With the help of professionals, you’ll have the perfect spot to cool off only steps away from your back door.
Bike the Neighborhood
There are many other exercise-related activities you can take part in to enjoy some sunshine aside from swimming and walking too. Biking is another great activity. Many cities or local bike shops rent bikes and make it easy to go for a ride.
Try an Outdoor Exercise Class
If biking isn’t for you, look up local exercise classes and take part in an outdoor boot camp, HIIT, or even a yoga class. Sweating is good for the soul. Plus your mood will be improved by a little sunshine. Yoga has its own set-out health benefits like improved breathing and mindfulness. Generally speaking, exercise releases endorphins, which lead to a sense of well-being and general happiness.
Grow a Garden
If exercise is a deal-breaker, there are other ways to enjoy the summer. Consider starting a garden. Gardening is shown to positively impact mental health, including reduced depression, less anxiety, and improved mood. If you’ve only got a balcony to work with, urban gardening is all the rage right now. A community garden is another great option because you’ll learn to grow fruits and veggies and it’s an opportunity for social engagement.
Visit a Farmer's Market
If gardening just isn’t in the cards, visit a local farmer's market. Shopping at a farmer's market gives you the benefits of eating fresh and locally grown food and it’s good for the environment. Even though you’re not growing yourself, eating plenty of fresh veggies and fruits may have benefits like making you more optimistic and reducing physiological distress. Plus, knowing you’re making a positive impact on the environment in a small way by shopping locally can only be good for your mental health.
Plan a Picnic
Another way to spend a sunny summer afternoon, take those fruits and veggies you purchased at the market out on a picnic. Eating a meal outside in a park or near a body of water can be so relaxing. Plus, all the fun of packing a picnic and making some treats to share with a friend can be very enjoyable and lighten your mood.