Calm for your limbs: 5 Things to Do Outdoors to Help with Anxiety

This time of year I find that being outside is the pretty much the best medication for anxiety, especially since a lot of my outdoor activities are either alone or with immediate family in a very low stress setting. I thought I'd pass along some of the things that we do that make me the calmest this time of year, in case they're helpful to anyone.

1. Growing Stuff

We are lucky enough to have an allotment, which I know isn't something everyone can or even wants to do, but whatever space you have available to you you can grow things, and there's something about the rhythm of growing things and the attention it requires you to pay to the task in hand that's extremely soothing. If you have windowsill space only you can grow lovely stuff like basil and tomatoes very very easily. If you like houseplants you can do nothing better than to get an aloe vera plant. They don't like sun, they need hardly any water, and if you're prone to sunburn they mean you'll always have soothing after sun on hand! If you've got a garden, vegetables like courgettes and potatoes are super easy and very rewarding to grow, or you could get a raspberry plant or strawberrries which keep themselves going year after year. Flowers are lovely too, but personally I really love growing stuff I can eat!

2. Go for a walk in a natural place

If you're near the beach, a park, the countryside, some woods, whatever you can find that's away from built up areas, it's worth trying to take a walk there on a regular basis. Wherever you live there are likely to be areas of nature about, so maybe do a bit of exploring and find out where your local ones are. I live near the beach and the countryside, but it's taken me 8 years to find the car park for our nearest woods which has been driving me mad because sometimes I just get a craving for trees... I'd hugely recommend an excellent (not indie, but brilliant nonetheless) book, Forest Therapy by Sarah Ivens if you're also into forests. Take it to the forest and read it there!

Resources: The Wildlife Trusts, The Woodland Trust, Discover England's Coast, The National Trails, Forestry Commission

3. Get a membership

If you're financially able to, I'd really recommend getting a membership to a place or organisation. Currently we have a family membership to our local conservation wildlife park which works out at around £7 a month and we go at least once a month - more during the holidays. In the past we've also had a membership to English Heritage which is brilliant. Visiting places where you can learn about history or wildlife or anything that takes you out of the house and out of your brain I find really helpful and if you know you have a membership you can just go whenever you need to get out of the house. Memberships like English Heritage, National Trust and the RHS aren't super cheap but if you've got a few people you could ask to chip in for your birthday or Christmas present it makes a really great gift!

4. Go for a run or do some yoga

If you're physically able to, exercise can really help with anxiety. I've talked about my own love for yoga before and even compiled a Yoga for Anxiety playlist to go along with the first Little Box of Calm

5. Explore!

Go outside and go for a walk. It's super good for your mental health and your physical health, and everyone has a road in their near vicinity that they've never been down. Leave the house with no agenda besides to discover some more of your immediate neighbourhood!

Let us know about the outdoorsy things you like to do to help with anxiety & mental health issues.

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