THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE SEE MY DISCLOSURES FOR MORE INFORMATION
We live in a world where we spend most of our days indoors, so it’s not surprising that many of us feel stressed, anxious, depressed, and even physically sick from being cooped up all day long.
I’ve compiled a list of 29 simple outdoor self care activities that will help you unwind, connect with nature, and focus on your personal well-being.
These activities won’t require much special equipment or skills, making them perfect for anyone who just wants to spend quality time outside.
What is Self Care?
If you haven’t taken any time off recently, now would be a great time to schedule some downtime.
Take advantage of this opportunity to recharge your batteries and refresh your mind.
Self care is simply that, taking care of yourself.
To dive deeper, you can explore the different types of self care and address each of them, but the bottom line is, we should be taking better care of ourselves, not just when we feel sick or tired, but every day.
Benefits of De-stressing Outdoors
Being outside helps us relax and improve our mental health.
A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that people who spent time outside had lower blood pressure and heart rates compared to those who did not.
This is because being outside encourages exercise, which increases endorphin production, and as you might know, these chemicals help reduce stress and improve mood.
Vitamin D, a nutrient you get from the sun, is important for our overall health.
In fact, researchers have discovered that vitamin D deficiency leads to depression and anxiety and that a lack of sunlight causes changes in the way the brain processes serotonin, the chemical responsible for feelings of happiness.
A couple more benefits you should consider:
- Enjoy nature – The beauty of nature calms us down and makes us feel better
- Improve health – Spending time outdoors boosts vitamin D intake and reduces the risk of heart disease
- Reduce depression – Studies show that being outdoors lowers blood pressure and decreases feelings of sadness and loneliness
- Increase creativity – Outdoor environments stimulate our brains and help us be more creative
List of Outdoor Self Care Activities You Can Do Anytime
Meditation is a great tool for self-awareness and stress management.
You don’t have to sit cross-legged while chanting “”om””.
All you need is a quiet space where you will not be disturbed and where you can feel calm and safe.
Try out this app which takes you through a guided meditation session, perfect for those who are just getting started or feeling unsure about what to do.
2. Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qigong
Physical contemplative practice involves slow, purposeful movement meant to calm the mind and body.
This type of meditation is often used to help people cope with stress and anxiety.
One study found that physical contemplative practice helped reduce symptoms of depression among patients suffering from chronic pain.
Another study showed that it improved sleep quality.
A third study demonstrated that it could increase focus and attention.
Getting started is really easy too with lots of resources available as videos.
3. Volunteer at a Pet Rescue
Pet rescues are always looking for volunteers who can help them out.
Whether you’re interested in helping animals or simply getting involved, volunteering is an easy way to give back to the community.
You can spend time with animals of all kinds and get to know the staff members.
Plus, if you volunteer at a shelter, you’ll probably end up meeting new friends.
Many a time, you will be able to interact with the animals outside and have lots of fun doing it!
4. Have a Mini Bonfire
Bonfires are a great way to enjoy the summertime weather while spending quality time outside together.
They’re also a lot of fun for kids, and you don’t even need to build one yourself. You can buy readymade ones from stores like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, etc.
If you’d rather make it yourself, here’s how to do it.
- Choose a spot where there’s room for a big fire pit. Make sure there are no nearby trees or power lines. Also, try to find somewhere away from people, traffic, or pets
- Find some dry wood. Dry wood burns hotter than wet wood, so avoid using pine or cedar logs. Instead, use oak, maple, ash, hickory, or other hardwood
- Once you’ve got your wood gathered, take a look at the size of the area you want to burn. Don’t go too big – you’ll end up needing bigger pieces of wood. Keep in mind that burning larger areas takes longer
- Start building a fire pit. This could be done entirely by hand, but most likely you’ll need help from a friend. Place rocks over the bottom of the pit so that the flames won’t spread out of control
- Light the fire. Use lighter fluid or matches to light the pile of wood. Be careful not to let the flame touch anything flammable, such as grass or leaves
- Enjoy the warmth and relaxation
5. Dancing in the Rain
It might sound crazy but dancing in the rain will bring out your inner child and allow you to let go of stress.
You’ll feel happier, and more relaxed, and the troubles seem to wash away with the rain on your face.
Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!
6. Go Camping
Camping is one of those things that you either love or hate.
For some people, it’s just too much hassle and it doesn’t really fit into their lifestyle.
But for others, it’s something they look forward to every summer.
I’ll admit that I’m still a little skeptical about what happens when you take a tent into the woods with you, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much fun I’ve had doing it.
You don’t even need a full week of vacation days to enjoy the outdoors; just a weekend trip is enough to get the adrenaline flowing.
Always bring along a good sleeping bag, flashlight, comfortable shoes, changes of clothes, a portable stove, and plenty of water.
7. Book a Boat Ride
Boating is relaxing and fun unless you suffer from seasickness.
It’s also a great way to explore the coast.
Many lakes and rivers are connected to the ocean, which means you can easily travel between them.
Some boats even allow you to rent out a whole cabin on board.
If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of dolphins or whales.
Just make sure you wear sunscreen and bring a hat, sunglasses, and show up in comfortable clothing!
8. Go to the Beach
When you’re feeling stressed out at work, there’s nothing better than going to the beach to unwind.
But where should you go?
If you live near the ocean, you can take advantage of the natural beauty and fresh air.
However, not everyone lives close enough to the water to enjoy this type of relaxation.
But if you live inland, you still have options.
There are many beautiful parks and nature preserves nearby.
And if you’re lucky enough to be near a lake, you can spend some quality time relaxing next to its calm waters.
Don’t forget your towel and bring your favorite cold beverage!
9. Grounding for Self Care
Grounding is an easy way for people to help themselves relax.
Essentially, it involves simple activities such as walking barefoot and lying on the ground in order to “electrically” connect you to the earth.
If you’re feeling stressed out, anxious, or overwhelmed, it might be helpful to take some time outside.
There are many other benefits to grounding. Here are a few:
- Better Sleep – Grounding reduces anxiety and improves sleep quality.
- Less Stress – Grounding lowers cortisol levels and increases serotonin levels. This makes you feel calm and relaxed.
- Improved Mood – Grounding boosts endorphins, making you happy.
- Increased Awareness – Grounding allows you to become aware of your body.
- More Connectedness – Grounding connects you to nature and earth.
10. Take Photos in Nature
Nature photography is a great way for you to relax and enjoy yourself while still getting some exercise.
You don’t have to spend money to do it either.
There are many ways to capture images of nature, including digital cameras, smartphones, and even drones.
Go crazy and take as many as you want to capture that perfect moment, and consider printing out a few of your handiwork to show off in your home.
11. Go Hiking in the Hills or Forests
Hikes are great ways to enjoy nature without having to worry about getting lost (just make sure to stay on the trail!).
They’re also great ways for you to catch up with yourself and relax properly.
Take the time to reflect on life and think about things that you are grateful for.
The serenity really does wonders for you, making it one of the best outdoor self-care activities.
Remember though, you never want to go hiking without being prepared.
Pack enough for a day hike, since you might not find anything to eat once you reach your destination.
Bring along a compass, flashlight, map, and cell phone charger, too.
And make sure everyone knows how to locate emergency help.
12. Stretching for Self Care
Stretching outdoors is one way to relax and de-stress.
You don’t have to travel far to enjoy nature.
In fact, most cities offer some sort of park space where you can take a walk and breathe deeply.
But there are many benefits to outdoor stretching beyond just feeling better physically, such as better breathing, improved mood, and a better overall physical condition.
13. Learn Gardening Skills
Gardening isn’t just about growing food; it’s also about spending quality time outside.
Gardening gives us a chance to connect with nature and our environment, and we’re guaranteed to feel better afterward.
A study found that people who spend time gardening are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
The benefits of gardening don’t stop there. It’s been proven that exposure to sunlight helps boost mood and improve sleep while digging your fingers into the earth stimulates serotonin production.
So go ahead and dig up those weeds and plant something beautiful!
14. Go to the Park for a Picnic
There are many ways to do this: you can plan a picnic, bring food to a park, or even buy something to eat there.
To start off, think about where you’d like to go.
If you live near a lake or river, consider taking a boat ride.
Or maybe you’d prefer to take a hike along a trail or a road trip.
Whatever you choose, remember to pack plenty of water and snacks.
Once you arrive, grab a spot under a tree or next to a bench.
This way, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy yourself without worrying about bugs.
Remember to keep your hands clean and wash up afterward!
15. Mindful conversation
Mindfulness is about being fully present in the moment.
When you are mindful, you are aware of what is happening around you without judgment.
You are able to notice thoughts, feelings, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, and physical experiences.
When we do mindfulness together, it creates a safe space where people feel comfortable sharing personal stories.
We learn how to listen deeply and truly hear each other.
This helps us connect better with others.
Find a partner or group to participate in a mindful conversation.
Alternatively, throw a self care party right in your own home!
16. Bird Watching
Bird watching is a relaxing hobby that allows you to spend time outdoors while enjoying nature.
When you bird watch, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of birds, learn about different species, and connect with other people who share your interest.
There are many benefits to bird watching, including stress relief, exercise, and mental health.
To get started, search for a local bird-watching group and read the resources first.
Next, a handy pair of binoculars and a field guide would get you ready for your first session.
17. Go for a Bike Ride
One of those things that people do for self-care often includes ways to lose weight and become fitter.
If that’s you, consider going for a bike ride.
Cycling is one of the most popular forms of exercise around the globe and if you want to burn calories while getting fit, then riding a bicycle is definitely the way to go.
This is a great sport because it requires just one major piece of equipment and it can be done almost anywhere, not to mention the places it will take you.
Each bike outing could be a new adventure for you!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Ride along the beach
- Ride out to get your groceries
- Cycle up a hill
- Ride in a park
- Bike to work
18. Take a Walk
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get some physical activity into your day.
You don’t even have to go far; just take a short stroll around the block.
If you’re feeling ambitious, try a longer route—a 10-minute jaunt is great for getting moving.
Walking is low impact, meaning it won’t cause damage to joints like running does.
And because it doesn’t require much energy, you’ll feel less tired afterward.
There are many benefits of walking.
For starters, it burns calories. Just 15 minutes of brisk walking each day can burn up to 60 calories.
Walking improves blood flow, too.
When you walk, your heart pumps faster and stronger, helping oxygen circulate throughout your body.
Blood vessels dilate, increasing the amount of blood flowing to muscles and organs.
All together, this helps reduce fatigue and increase stamina.
Journaling is one of the most popular forms of self-care because it lets us connect with our inner world and ourselves.
In fact, many experts say that writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you become aware of your emotional state and make better decisions.
But there are different types of journaling, and some people might find certain methods easier than others (check out the best premade bullet journals)
Although most people write their journals at home, I find that doing this activity outdoors actually makes me think better, and you should try it from time to time.
If you want to try mindfulness journaling, here are three tips to keep in mind.
- Start Small
When you start journaling, don’t overwhelm yourself with too much information. You’ll probably notice that you tend to write longer entries when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. Instead, start small and focus on just one thing per entry. For example, you could write about your day today, or maybe you’d like to write about something that happened yesterday. This way, you won’t feel pressured to fill up every single space in your notebook.
- Use Your Words Wisely
If you’ve ever tried journaling, you know that sometimes the words we use to describe things can change depending on where we are in our lives. For instance, someone who’s recently lost a loved one might call themselves “lonely”. To avoid getting caught up in those kinds of labels, simply note whatever emotion you’re experiencing without attaching a label to it.
- Don’t Judge Yourself
One common mistake people make when journaling is judging themselves based on their entries. While it’s important to acknowledge your successes and failures, it’s equally important to remember that everyone makes mistakes. So rather than focusing on whether you did a good job or a bad job, simply let go of judgment and accept that you’re human.
20. Book an Appointment at an Outdoor Spa
Outdoor spas are becoming more popular these days.
These places offer everything you could want in a day trip – relaxation, exercise, and lots of fun.
They usually include saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, cold plunge pools, and even outdoor hot tubs.
The benefits of fresh air and natural surroundings are unmatched by anything else, especially when it comes to your mental health.
In fact, some people prefer to spend their vacations outdoors because it helps them relax and unwind. There’s no better way to enjoy nature than taking a dip in a hot tub.
21. Watch the Sunrise
Sunrise is nature’s most beautiful moment.
The sun rises over the horizon, casting its rays across the sky.
Birds begin singing, flowers bloom, and everything seems fresh and alive.
But there’s no better place than at the beach or at a high viewpoint to watch the sunrise.
So when you’re planning your next outdoor self-care activity, be sure to add this in too.
Use this nifty tool to find out the times.
22. Take Photos with a Polaroid
The Polaroid camera is one of those iconic pieces of technology that everyone knows about, but few people actually use anymore.
That does not mean that it is no longer useful. In fact, the results might just surprise you!
Can your phone give you an instant physical photo after you take it? Yea I didn’t think so.
Not only that, I love the effects on a Polaroid cam, that vintage, dreamy look.
23. Go Shopping at Local Farmers’ Market
Local farmers’ markets are popping up everywhere.
From rural towns to urban neighborhoods, there’s no shortage of options.
You don’t even have to go far to find one; many cities offer weekly markets where you can pick up some locally grown produce.
If you’ve never been to a farmer’s market, you could benefit from these two tips:
- Know Your Needs
Before you head off to shop, think about what you’re looking for. Do you just want to browse around and see what’s available? Or do you want to know exactly how much food costs and what it looks like? Some markets offer free samples, while others charge a small fee for tasting.
- Get Organized
You’ll likely have a list of things you’d like to purchase, whether it’s fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, eggs, bread, snacks, etc. Make sure you bring cash, as most vendors won’t accept credit cards. Also, keep track of your purchases in a notebook or app so you remember everything you bought later.
24. Mindful painting outdoors
Painting outside is a really fun self care activity in my opinion.
I love being out there, looking up at the sky, breathing deeply, and getting lost in it all.
In fact, painting outside is such a relaxing way to spend time, that it could actually help you destress and unplug.
And even though it doesn’t require much effort, it still offers many benefits.
First, it helps you clear your mind.
When you’re sitting down to paint, you’re forced to focus on something else besides yourself.
Your thoughts are put aside, and you become completely absorbed in what you’re creating.
In turn, you’ll find yourself thinking less about everything around you, and more about how you want to make your piece look.
Next, it gives you a chance to reflect on life.
As you stare into space while painting, you’re able to think about things that matter most to you.
What makes you happy? How does the world affect you? Why do you care about certain things?
These questions aren’t always easy to answer, but when you’re painting, you can start to figure them out.
Finally, it lets you express yourself.
Whether you choose to use colors that represent your mood or emotions, or simply stick to black and white, you can communicate exactly what you want to say.
Plus, since you’re working with a blank canvas, you can really let loose. You can draw whatever you want, or try something totally different.
25. Go Swimming in a Lake or Pool
Swimming is great exercise and fun activity for kids and adults alike.
But swimming pools aren’t just for swimming anymore.
They’re now used for everything from fitness classes to water aerobics.
If you live near a body of water, consider taking advantage of its many health benefits.
Go swimming in a lake or pool, go hiking along a riverbank, take a kayak out onto the ocean, or visit a local park.
There are numerous outdoor activities that can be done at any location.
So whether you live near a lake, stream, pond, beach, or ocean, there are plenty of ways to stay fit and healthy outdoors.
26. Go to a Working Farm
Farm visits are good for your physical and mental well-being.
They provide opportunities for social interaction, exercise, and relaxation.
If you’re looking for a place to go, try searching online for “”farm near me.””
You’ll likely find listings for local farms, including information about hours of operation, admission prices, and special events.
Farms are not too difficult to find if you know where to look.
27. Read a Book Outside
Reading a book is an easy and enjoyable activity.
You don’t have to read every day; it doesn’t even have to be a long book.
A short story is fine too.
Just make sure you’re reading something that you enjoy.
And when you do that outside in a place like a garden or a park, you get to immerse yourself in nature and have a natural symphony to accompany you.
28. Star Gazing
On a clear night, look up at the stars and see what constellations are visible.
If you live near a city, there might be a planetarium nearby where you can view the sky through telescopes.
You could even go camping and use a telescope to observe the night sky.
Star gazing parties could be an alternative that you never considered, so you might just want to add this to your night self care checklist!
29. Try Out a Hammock
Hammocks are one of those things you never really think about until you see someone else relaxing in one.
They look like something you’d use to hang laundry, but they’re actually quite versatile.
You can use them outside, or inside, and they are perfect for lazing and relaxing.
If you know of an area where you can secure your hammock, try spending some time there with just your favorite drink and book in hand.
A nap is highly recommended too!
In Conclusion: Outdoor Self Care Activities
In conclusion, if you haven’t already done so, take advantage of the beautiful weather and spend some quality time outdoors doing fun outdoor activities like hiking, biking, fishing, camping, etc.
Not only will you feel better after spending time outside, but you’ll also have memories to cherish forever.