Spending time outside can increase both your physical and mental wellness. A UK study which challenged people to do something outside for 30 days in a row found that “there was a scientifically significant increase in people’s health, happiness, connection to nature and active nature behaviours, such as feeding the birds and planting flowers for bees – not just throughout the challenge, but sustained for months after the challenge had been completed.”[i] Your time in nature doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Keep reading for some ways to spend mindful moments outside.
- Go for a hike: Taking a walk on a nature path can slow down your thinking and get you some exercise at the same time. There are lots of places to take a mindful walk in Kitchener-Waterloo, including Waterloo Park, Victoria Park, Huron Natural Area, Laurel Creek Conservation Area, and many more.
- Meditate outside: Find a cozy bench outside in the sunshine and take a 5-10 minute break to meditate. There are many apps out that can help you with guided meditation. Try some of our favourites, like Calm; Stop, Breathe, and Think; Insight Timer; or Headspace.
Or try this easy standing meditation: “Imagine a tree standing beside you. Breathing deeply, feel your feet rooted into the ground. Imagine the depth of the roots and the strength under you, supporting you. Imagine your body a solid trunk, but one that is flexible and giving. Allow it to sway, slightly bending in the breeze, your arms open like branches, your hands turned like leaves towards the sun. Breathe deeply and think about the strength and beauty of the tree. Feel the depth of the ground and all its support.”
- Go camping: Spend a weekend or even just a night out in nature. Put your phone down and just enjoy the fresh air and sounds of nature. Grand River Conservation Area operates many campgrounds within 10 minutes to an hour of our campus.
- Do a team sport outdoors: In the summer months, there are many outdoor team sports available through the Athletics and Recreation department, including Intramural teams and Sport clubs that play outside.
There are so many ways to spend time outside that can help with your wellness. Try to take the 30-day challenge and spend at least 30 mindful minutes outside a day.