Improving mental well-being through fun in the sun

pt Health Occupational Therapy

With the brilliant, warm summer days upon us, spending time doing fun activities outdoors can be a wonderful way to ease mental strain and improve mental well-being in various ways. If you want to capitalize on the benefits of outdoor fun, we have some great tips for you!

Having fun outside has amazing benefits for your overall health, especially emotionally. Research has demonstrated that simply being outdoors improves self-esteem, mood, and happiness while contributing to lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress.

We have all heard the benefits of physical activity, but did you know that doing physical activity outdoors has been linked to a strengthened social connection for teens and improved physical health as well as reduced depressive symptoms for older adults?

Now with all these benefits in mind, why not try a fun outdoor activity?

Are you looking for leisurely fun? Here are a few ideas to start with:

  • Have a picnic or BBQ with a (small) group of friends or family
  • Take a book or writing journal to a park bench, nearby beach or lake, or your favourite outdoor place
  • Draw, paint, or take photos in a neighbourhood green space
  • Take any activity you enjoy and do it outside

Are you looking for a more physical activity? Try one of these 5 fun activities:

  • Go for a walk or run around the neighbourhood
  • Practice yoga outside; on your balcony, in your backyard, or at a park
  • Consider recreational sports activities: playing frisbee, tennis or badminton, soccer, or swimming
  • Get out on a bike or strap on some roller blades (don’t forget your helmet!)
  • Head out for a hike with a friend (search for trails or parks near you!)

If you have children with disabilities and are concerned about accessibility, visit accessnow to find accessible outdoor areas near you by clicking on ‘Explore nearby places’ and navigating the interactive map.

To learn about how occupational therapy can help you integrate these suggestions into your life, check out our services page. If you feel like you need support, please reach out. Find a clinic near you and book online to schedule an appointment.

This blog post originally appeared on Lifemark.ca and was written by Yingyan Lin and Isa Mendez, 2nd year occupational therapy students at McGill University.

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