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Eight outdoor activities to boost wellbeing

26 June 2020

3 mins

Now that sunnier days are here, it is a good opportunity to spend some socially-distanced time outdoors – not only to appreciate the nice weather and have a change of scene from your house, but also because it can aid mental wellbeing.

Mental health charity Mind has advised that being outdoors can improve your mood, reduce stress and help you feel more relaxed.

Below are eight ideas for outdoor activities:

1. Gardening

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, now is the time to get out in it. Plant new flowers, start a herb garden or try your hand at growing your own vegetables. If you don’t have your own garden, you could see if there are any allotments near you or voluntary gardening opportunities you can get involved in.

2. Discover new walks

Now is a great time to discover new walks. Can you find some hidden beauty spots in your local area or tick off that route you have always wanted to try?

3. Nature spotting

This is a great activity for adults and kids alike. When you are out on a walk, try and identify all the wildlife, flowers and plants you see along the way and take pictures as you go so that you can look them up online later. The Wildlife Trust ran a 30 Days Wild campaign in June with downloadable activity packs for kids which are perfect for nature spotting.

4. Forage for fruits and flowers

Another fun activity whilst on a walk is foraging for fruit and flowers. Are there any summer berries near you that you can pick? A wildflower arrangement might also be a nice touch to your desk. Always make sure that you have permission to pick fruits and flowers and that the fruit you pick is safe to eat. The Sustainability-led Fruit Routes initiative has some great foraging recipes here as well as information on how to forage safely.

5. Take your workout outside

Whether you are cycling, running or practicing yoga in the garden – taking your workout outside is a great way to boost your mood and get moving. Try and avoid working out in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest and remember to wear sunscreen.

6. Have a picnic

A picnic is a lovely way to get yourself out of the house and if you have children, a great way to mix up dinner times. Grab a blanket and your favourite food and head outside to your garden or local park.

7. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness can help to bring your awareness to the present moment, quietening the busy thoughts in your mind. When you are outside, take a moment to focus on one sense at a time. What can you smell? What can you hear? What can you see? What can you feel? More information on mindfulness can be found on the NHS website.

8. Be inspired by nature

In lockdown some people have found they have had more time to be creative. If you are getting involved with arts and crafts, why not create something inspired by nature? Paint a landscape, draw the wildlife you see on your walks or create something for nature such as this easy bird feeder made from an empty toilet roll.

If you would like further support with mental wellbeing, the University has resources available for both staff and students.

Health and Wellbeing

Wellbeing means being in a positive physical, social and mental state. Wellbeing is important to us as happy, healthy people who achieve harmony in their work / life mix are more creative, productive and help to create a great place to work.

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