Spend time outdoors for 30 days to improve your health and wellness

30 days suggestions on a calendar

Spending time outside can increase both your physical and mental wellness. Your time outside doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. There are lots of ways to spend some time outdoors this summer. We’ve compiled a collection of 30 ways to spend time outdoors in the month of August. Some of them focus on physical activity, others are meant to encourage your sense of joy, community, or whimsy, and others are meant to help you disconnect from the day-to-day and cultivate your sense of calm. You might not complete them all and you can certainly do a single activity on multiple days, but the idea is to spend at least 30 minutes outdoors in some way, every day if possible.

Here’s our list of 30 ways to spend time outdoors:

  1. Talk a walk in nature. There are lots of trails in Waterloo Region that you can explore for free. Learn more on the Region, City of Waterloo, and City of Kitchener websites.
  2. Sit on a deck or patio and draw a mandala. Learn how to draw a mandala in this tutorial.
  3. Walk or bike to school. Learn more about the Bike Centre on campus, where you can repair your bike or rent a bike for a term.
  4. Eat your study break snack outdoors. There are plenty of nice places to eat outdoors, including the picnic benches in the Arts Quad, or the patio outside of the Math C and D.
  5. Plan a camping trip with friends. Grand River Conservation Authority operates several campgrounds within 10 minutes to an hour of campus. Read more about the health benefits of campus on the Ontario Parks blog.
  6. Spend some time gardening. Whether you have a garden in your backyard, you have some plants in planters on a balcony, or you have a small succulent in the window of your room, spend some time tending to plants. See the Michigan State University website for more information on the health benefits of gardening.
  7. Sit outside and watch the birds. Turning your attention to nature can help you refocus your mind from your day-to-day worries. Interested in identifying the birds you see? Learn more about North American birds from the Audubon society.
  8. Have a picnic. Grab some friends and a picnic blanket and eat some sandwiches in the sunshine.
  9. Watch the stars in your backyard. Sit in your favourite lounger chair on your back deck and spend time star gazing. Try to identify different constellations. See In The Sky to find out what’s visible at this time of view.
  10. Sit outside and do a guided meditation. Use one of our favourite apps to have a moment of calm in the great outdoors. Try Stop, Breathe, and Think; Calm; Headspace; or Insight Timer.
  11. Take a walk through Waterloo Park. Here are some walking directions from campus.
  12. Study outside. Find one of the many lovely outdoor seating areas around campus and crack open your books.
  13. Visit an outdoor summer festival or event. There are many different events and summer activities in Waterloo Region. Find one you’d like to go to in this listing from Explore Waterloo Region.
  14. Find a quiet spot and listen to the sounds of nature. Visit Waterloo Park, Laurel Creek, or one of the many nature trails in the region. Focus your mind on your senses to help stop focusing on worries and to-do lists.
  15. Play Frisbee with some friends. Grab some friends and a Frisbee and find an open field.
  16. Sit on a deck or patio and knit. Even if you don’t know how, you can get needles and yarn at the Dollarstore and start with some basics. Give your mind a break by focusing on learning something different.
  17. Lie down under a tree and listen to music. Close your eyes and let the music wash over you. Choose something you find calming or inspiring.
  18. Eat lunch outside. Whether it is at home on your back deck or balcony, or at school on a bench, take some time away from your computer and eat lunch outside.
  19. Get a bubble wand and blow some bubbles. Recapture the joy of this simple activity from childhood. Pretend each bubble is a worry flying away from you.
  20. Have a swim in an outdoor pool. There are several in KW, including Moses Springer, Kiwanis Park and Pool, and Harry Class Pool.
  21. Go on a litter walk and clean up your neighbourhood. Bring some gloves and a garbage bag and feel the glow of physical activity and doing a good turn.
  22. Read something not school related outside. Pull out your favourite book, the latest in your favourite comic series, or a glossy magazine.
  23.  Listen to a wellness podcast while walking. Take a walk and pop on your headphones to listen to advice on self-care and more. See some of the podcasts we’ve reviewed on our website.
  24.  Take a walk after dinner. Before you settle in to your post dinner study or Netflix routine, take a 30 minute walk around your neighbourhood. Use the full senses approach again and take note of all the different things you see, hear, and smell.
  25.  Go fly a kite. You can find cheap kites at the dollar store. Spend some time challenging yourself to learn how to fly a kite again.
  26.  Do some yoga in your backyard or a park. Don’t know any poses? Try an app like Down Dog to get you started.
  27.  Invite some friends over for a backyard BBQ. Cook up something healthy and delicious on the grill and connect with some friends over a meal.
  28.  Decorate your sidewalk with chalk. Draw a mandala or leave a motivational message for the next person to walk by.
  29.  Take a hike at Laurel Creek. Connect with the sights and sounds of nature on Laurel Creek’s many trails.
  30.  Play a game of mini-golf with friends. Have a competition to see who can get the lowest score. You can find a mini-golf course up at Max’s Sportsworld.

Taking some time out to connect with nature, but also to increase your self-care and community building practices, are keys to leading a healthy life throughout your university career. Try out one of our outdoor suggestions today and follow along to complete the challenge in August. Make sure to stay safe though: stay inside if there’s a thunderstorm and make sure to protect yourself from the summer sun. Enjoy the challenge!

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