Physical activity and time outside are two wonderful gifts for your body and mind; they're proven to reduce stress and anxiety, and offer a greater sense of well-being. In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in the UK, L.L.Bean has partnered with Mental Health America to provide 10 tips to quickly boost your energy, mood and state of mind.
Set aside just 10 minutes.
Just 10 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity outdoors twice a day can significantly benefit your mind and body.
Set yourself up for success.
Plan for moments in the day when you typically have the most energy. If you enjoy morning walks, for example, set out everything you need the night before so you don't have to think about it in the morning.
Treat it as a treat.
Outdoor activity isn't a chore or an obligation; it's a well-deserved break in your day. You're treating yourself to fresh air, more focus, a healthier body and a better mood.
Give yourself a goal.
Maybe your goal is to try a new yoga flow, walk a new trail or try a new style of workout. That's plenty to focus on for now. Just making this time for yourself counts as a win.
The outdoors is your playground.
Step outside and take in all the possibilities. Practice meditation or strength exercises right on your front step or in your backyard, or take a walk or jog around your neighborhood or local park.
Do what feels good.
"Moderate or vigorous activity" can mean a lot of things - it doesn't have to mean running a marathon or lifting heavy weights. Safely choose an activity you love and embrace the feeling.
One of the great benefits of time outside is that it arouses a feeling of awe - a sensation of being in the presence of something bigger and more powerful than us. Savor that feeling and be present for the taste of air on your lips, the warmth of the sun on your skin and the feeling of the ground beneath your feet.
Notice the benefits.
As you cool down from your activity and get ready to head back inside, notice how you feel. Is your head clearer, your focus sharper? What about your mood - are you less stressed? Fully absorb the benefits of movement and think about what you need to do to make it most effective.
Change it up if you need to.
Do you find you are too tired at the end of the day to head outdoors? Next time, try it first thing in the morning. Are you having trouble staying focused or motivated? Team up with a friend so you can keep each other on track (and keep each other company).
Have patience with yourself.
According to Mental Health America, it takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become automatic - so if it doesn't feel natural or routine for you right away, you're not alone. Every time you go outside, you're doing something good for yourself, and taking care of your physical and mental health.