Spending time outdoors is so important for our physical and mental well-being. Being in the great outdoors can help lower stress, promote happiness and improve productivity, what’s not to love?
As we know, the process of self-care is not always straightforward and committing enough time to get out into nature is easier said than done, especially for those in the NPUK community who may need to plan ventures ahead to ensure accessible friendly journeys. Below we have tried to outline some simple ways to incorporate a couple more mins of sun (I’m an optimist!) into your day to day life.
Head Out for a Midday Walk.
If possible, try to schedule to spend at least half an hour outdoors every day. To make it less likely you’ll miss this important part of self-care, you could schedule it into your phone to remind you- treat it like an important meeting that you can’t afford to miss.
Whether this is strolling around your local park, walking instead of driving to work or sitting in your garden, interacting with nature has been found to give your brain a much-needed break from the constant over stimulation of the modern world.
Dine Al Fresco.
When we eat indoors, maybe in front of our telly or looking at our phones, we start to mindlessly eat. Outdoor eating encourages us to enjoy our food and our fellow dining companions.
To get started, commit to one meal outside a week. Not only is it a simple way to feel great and soak up some vitamin D, it will allow you to slow down and be more intentional with your food. It can be as easy as taking your work break outside or, if you want to extend the invite, organise a picnic with other members of the NPUK community in your local area.
Note to Reader: We don’t recommend this during British wintertime, unless you have some very thick thermals!
There are so many outdoor exercise classes to get involved with whether this is yoga, jogging, Zumba or, in the case of my local patch of green, tightrope walking! For those of us who feel like we need a purpose to be somewhere, these fitness classes offer a good excuse to treat yourself to some time outside.
If you can’t find any classes near you, how about starting your own? Get a group of pals together and organise a weekly jog or walk. Or, grab your headphones, crank up the music and step into your own fitness regime.
You don’t need green fingers to get into gardening. If you’re lucky enough to own a garden, start using it! Most of us save up gardening chores for the weekend, creating a momentous task that is not always fun. Instead, garden in shorter spurts all week long. This will get you outdoors more frequently, and you won’t get bored due to the shortness of each task. Best of all, come the weekend, the garden will be look radiant and you can simply feel slightly smug and relax.
If you don’t own a garden you could try hanging some flower baskets at the front door or adding window boxes, even the daily act of watering these plants is an opportunity to have a moment outside. Or, if you can spare the time, look into what gardening schemes are in the local community. The It’s Your Neighbourhood Scheme, ran by the RHS, is a perfect place to start. The scheme is organised by a group of volunteers and helps to clean and brighten up spaces in your local area.
Fake It ‘Till You Make It
Of course, nothing beats the real thing, and if you are able to get into nature, do! But a meander in nature may not always be a viable option, and that’s okay. You can actually enjoy some of the benefits of nature simply from images of picturesque landscapes and luscious plants. Seriously! A study from the Korean Journal of Radiology found that when people were shown pictures of scenic, natural landscapes, they were able to more readily recall happy memories, compared to people who saw images in urban settings.
Try this in your day to day life by changing your desktop and/or mobile background to a nature shot. Unsplash has some amazing images, for free too!