Spending time with Mother Nature is one of my favorite ways to boost my mood, rejuvenate, and destress.
But you and I are living in a world filled with appointments, meetings, carpools, and #allthethings. Taking a hike on a trail isn't always possible with you're busy and short on time, so how can you still get the feel good benefits from being outside? Here are 5 simple things you can do to spend more time with nature to help you feel good and destress.
1) bring outdoor elements inside
One of my favorite ways to do that is to bring the outdoors inside. I love having plants around my house. They bring life into a space, and real plants can also purify your air (double bonus).
I’m pretty much the worst plant mom, so if I can have plants you can probably have plants too.
For all you bad plant parents out there who kill cactuses *guilty 🙋🏽♀️* here are 2 good options:
Fresh cut flowers. Arrange them and put them in water. You can even buy them pre-arranged. Then when they start to wilt, you can simply throw them out or compost them.
Succulents. Let them sit in the sun until their leaves start getting a little thin. You can tell because they don't feel plump when you squeeze them. When that happens, drown them with water. You can "forget" about taking care of them and admire them until you notice the leaves aren't as plump. Then repeat the process.
If fresh cut flowers aren’t within your budget or sunlight and space are at a premium in your home, you can have pictures of nature. Even pictures of outdoor landscapes have been shown to reduce stress.
2) open a window
As the weather gets nicer, feel free to start opening your window. If you have a window in your work space, this is the perfect spot to do it... as long as a rough breeze isn’t going to throw all your papers around.
Having a window open, allows you to open your senses to the outdoors and takes you one step closer to being outside. You get exposed to the varying temperatures and other elements, which provides nuance to your nervous system. This makes you more resilient mentally and physically. And when you’re more resilient, you’re able to handle stress better.
3) sit outside
You don’t have to do anything vigorous or crazy when you go outdoors. Simply sitting on the porch, patio, or park bench can help reduce stress levels.
If you’re sitting in the sun, you get the added bonus of absorbing Vitamin D as long as you’re not wearing sunscreen. This naturally occurring vitamin not only helps you absorb calcium, it also boosts immunity.
You can benefit from as little as 10 minutes outside in the sun. And best of all, it’s free.
4) take a short walk
Now we’re adding in movement while outside 😀
You make it a part of your daily routine by linking it to a task or errand. For example, my mailbox is down the street and around the corner. I make sure I check the mail during the day because I enjoy checking the mail AND it’s a way to make sure I get outside and move.
Other ways you can sneak walks into your day:
park far away from the entrance of the grocery story
walk your dog
spend time in your garden
go to an outdoor farmer’s market
If you’d like to take a longer walk, you can
Whatever you choose, make sure your walks are something you enjoy so that you continue doing it.
5) put your feet on the ground
Yes, you get the benefit of connecting to the earth as you go on a walk. You get an even greater stress relief benefit by actually putting your bare feet on the earth.
This is known as both earthing and grounding. It helps balance you electromagnetically. You absorb the free negative ions from the earth and the earth receives your positive ions. Your charges even out. It's kinda like antioxidants.
Great! But what does that mean in everyday lingo?
Touch your bare skin to the earth or grounding equipment and improve your health. Some benefits include reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure, less cardiovascular risk, and improved mood.
Make your time outdoors more mindful
The more you can be present outside and notice the nature around you, the better it is for your health.
Download my free guided meditation to help bring you more into the present moment by connecting with nature.
More resources & studies on outdoor benefits
If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of the outdoors, check out these related articles and studies.