Evidence suggests that sunlight pushes up levels of serotonin and noradrenaline, two key feel-good chemicals. In a nutshell, sunlight makes you feel happier.
Here are some sunny outdoor activities to try while you’re social-distancing. What is your favorite outdoor activity?
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It’s Springtime here in Minnesota and with that brings gardening. Digging in dirt has shown to reduce anxiety levels as digging the soil stirs up microbes and breathing them in can increase serotonin production, which makes you feel happier and more relaxed. Try planting your favorite native flowers or making a bee and a butterfly sanctuary with these flowers.
Love fresh veggies? Onions are an easy veggie to grow that requires minimal effort. Tomatoes and cucumbers are also good beginner veggies to try. Grab a cute pair of gardening gloves and give it a dig!
Still have that tent tucked away in the garage or storage shed? Pull it out and set it up in your backyard for a camping staycation. In an area where you can have a fire pit? You can pick up a portable one at your local hardware store or build your own. Make an easy fire-roasted lunch and pull out the bean bags or bocce ball while sipping on a cold beverage. And after a warm day in the sun, settle in, roast some marshmallows, tell scary ghost stories, and gaze at the stars for a relaxing night under the night sky.
Leave treasures for others on your walk
Communities are seeing colorfully painted rocks show up on their public trails or positive chalk messages left on city sidewalks. Join in on the fun! Grab a bucket and some rocks, set up a table outside, and get to painting! Make colorful patters or paint silly faces. Paint what makes you happy. And then hit the trails and leave the rocks in easy to spot areas for other people to find. Something so small brings a large amount of joy. Or if you have extra chalk on hand and want to feel like a secret agent, leave positive messages on well-walked paths for others to find. If you love to draw or are feeling artistic, leave a few of your signature drawings and brighten someone’s day!
Get out those walking shoes
Go for a simple slow walk around your neighborhood. Pause to notice the dandelions or budding trees. Listen to the different bird songs. Feel the wind across your cheek. Sunshine coupled with some joyful movement is a sure way to take pause and breathe in the day.
Have a kiddo at home? See if your neighborhood has joined in on the Teddy Bear treasure hunt and see how many you can find! Another great thing to look out for is colorful hearts on your neighbor’s windows. How many can you find? And you can join in too! Set up a table outside or sit on your stoop, grab some colorful construction paper, and cut out some hearts to display in your window to spread joy not germs.
At the end of the day, do what makes you feel more relaxed and happy. Grab that sunshine by the fistfuls, take a deep breath, and enjoy the day.
We’re all in this together.