Strategies to Take Care of Your Mind + Body: Get Outside

Did you know that 20 minutes a day spent outside can provide some awesome health benefits? According to a 2019 study published in Scientific Reports, spending 120 minutes a week in nature can help promote well-being for a healthy mind + body.

Being indoors for prolonged periods of time, living in climates with long winters, combined with quarantining at home during the pandemic has impacted the moods of many. Now that warm weather has finally arrived in Minnesota, how much time have you spent outdoors to take advantage of the-mental-health-benefits-of-sunlight? I am amazed at what a few minutes outside can change the way one feels!

Vitamin D is believed to promote serotonin. Vitamin-D-deficiency can occur when the body is not receiving enough vitamin D, found from sunlight or one’s diet. Since a lot of the Vitamin-D that we receive comes through the sun, getting outside is one of the best ways to soak in the sun (and all its benefits).

If you haven’t been outside in quite a while, try taking small steps such as pulling back the curtains, opening a window, and enjoying a few moments in a sunny spot. Then, you can challenge yourself to get out more within your comfort zone and move outside. If fear is preventing you from activities important to your day-to-day, activities then please reach out for support.

Here are some Activities to Try Outside:

Take a Walk

  • If you work from home, take a walk around the block at the beginning and end of your workday to “mimic” your commute.
  • If you commute to work, meet with co-workers for a short walk during the lunch hour.
  • Explore new places with family, friends, or your dog.
  • Enjoy the beauty of nature on a solo walk at a nature preserve or park.

Relax & Eat Outdoors

  • Warmer weather is a great time to grill some food, pack a picnic, or enjoy a beverage outside.
  • Visit a place that serves food outdoors as part of their dining options.
  • Grab a blanket or pull up a chair to relax and enjoy a break.

Find a New Activity

  • Warmer weather is the perfect time to try a new outdoor activity. These can be adapted to fit your lifestyle.
  • Community or urban gardening, water sports, outdoor yoga, tai chi, geocaching, frisbee golf are just a few to start.

Participate in Seasonal Activities

  • From movies and music in the parks, festivals, food trucks, and special events there are so many fun options.
  • Plan to schedule in fun activities that are seasonal and best enjoyed during the summer months.

Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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