7 Outdoor Adventures to Welcome Peace of Mind

 photo via  @jennyaconnors

photo via @jennyaconnors

We all have those weeks: our stress level hits a level we never thought was possible, breakdowns happen, and we wish that we could be anywhere else but in the midst of obligations. When a moment of reprieve comes, you might want to do nothing but relax. To re-energize yourself for next week — or even tomorrow — consider spending some time outside. Studies show that being in nature can reduce your blood pressure, stress, and anxiety — among other things — so grab some sunscreen, turn off your phone, and check out these energizing adventures that will immerse yourself in the great outdoors.

Spend some time in a forest

There’s nothing like getting lost. From a physiological standpoint, trees are a big source of the oxygen that we breath. Spending time surrounded by all of that green without any distractions will boost your mood and give you space to think. Plus, it’ll take you back to your childhood and the days you spent exploring without a care in the world. Who wouldn’t want that again?

Go camping or backpacking

I’ve been bugging my partner to go camping for a while now. He’s an Eagle Scout and spent years camping. He raves about it, and now I have the itch. Camping will put you at nature’s mercy, and you’ll really understand what it means to be just one person in this big world. Maybe you need something that allows you to do more soul searching. In the past twelve years, nearly 14 million young adults and professionals have taken time to backpack across sections of the United States. If you’re looking to do some deep self discovery, consider a weekend backpacking trip instead of just camping in one spot.

Rent a kayak or a canoe at the closest lake, river or ocean

Kayaking is one of my favorite activities. It’s a great workout, but also takes you off land for a little while. You can leave your cares at the shore and just enjoy the challenge of navigating your way, either alone or with a friend. If you’re on the beach or in a relatively unshaded area, this is a great option for getting some sun, too. Those rays give us much-needed vitamin D, and they also trigger mood changes. Seasonal depression is real, so as soon as the sun comes out, put on some sunscreen and soak it up.

Find an outdoor yoga, meditation, or pilates class

As the weather gets better, yoga studios may offer classes outside. Usually they are gentler, more restorative, and meditative. Who needs music in the studio when you have the sounds of nature resonating around you as you strengthen your warriors and focus your thoughts in savasana?

Take a trip to an arboretum or garden

Local arboretums and gardens are full of beautiful flowers, shrubs, greenery and decor. Some cities offer memberships that will get you great perks and free admission. You can bring a friend and walk around admiring the ingenious work of florists and horticulturalists, or explore classes that they offer. This is a great option for you if you’re looking to dedicate time each week outside because it’ll keep you accountable to yourself.

Dig in the dirt

Putting your hands in dirt is one of the most therapeutic activities you can do. I took a second job at a farm down the road from my apartment as a break from the office life, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. I feel so connected to the earth after spending hours staring at a screen or in meetings. As an introvert, it also gives me a well-deserved break from working with people.

Most of us spend so much time indoors, staring at screens or in office spaces that we forget our place in the environment.

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Volunteer at a community garden, plant some flowers on your windowsill or in your yard, or grow your own food.

Visit the closest national park

National parks are some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes that will leave you breathless. They show you the power of Mother Nature and all of that which she is capable. While many of the storied national parks are located in the middle of the country or on the West Coast, there are other great parks to explore in the East, like the Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, Acadia and the Everglades. This map from the National Park Service shows you not only the national parks, but also the national scenic trails, historical parks, and rivers. You can plan out a longer trip or use the map to find the closest adventure.

Do you have any ideas for outdoor adventures? Share with us in the comments!

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