Mental Health Awareness Month: Outdoor Activities That Help Maintain Our Mental Health
It’s mental health awareness month, and many of us snow sports lovers wonder how we will get our dose of endorphins as the snow is melting away.
For those of you living a winter-seasoner life, it can be a difficult time. People are moving away, the snow is melting, our favorite activities are once again months away, and injuries from the season may be lingering - it's a big transition. So, if the end of season blues starts to hit, we think it’s important to reflect, be patient with yourself, and try to practice all the things that keep you mentally healthy. As the winter season draws to a close, getting excited about summer and being in the outdoors is a great way to keep exercising and keep on top of your mental health.
So with this in mind, we have put together a list of outdoor activities that help us love the summer just as much as the winter (or almost as much). That being said, it’s equally important to remember that endorphins are not in and of themselves the solution to all mental health problems and the stresses of the world around us.
We aren't professionals, but we do think good mental health often requires more than just going outside. The outdoors is a great tool to improve and maintain your mental health but this isn't the be-all and end-all to good mental health - they just help. To maintain good mental health, things like talk therapy, medications, daily practices, and physical therapies are sometimes necessary too, and that is OK - more than OK, it’s normal.
Yoga & Meditation
Stereotypical wellness for a reason, yoga and meditation are great ways to improve and maintain good mental health. While yoga is an excellent way to practice balance, patience, and sitting in discomfort both physically and mentally, meditation has been theorized to shrink the part of your brain that controls fear and anger. As nice weather draws near, these are great practices to take to the outdoors. However, rain or shine, you can practice yoga and meditation almost anywhere and with some minor adjustments, you can even practice yoga with an injury. An awesome way to get started is with a short yoga challenge, they usually ease you in and provide you with some structure. Jump into your favorite yoga clothes, and head on over to YouTube for a simple and free yoga challenge (here's one of my favs).
Cycling is a great way to stay fit, get outside, commute to work, see the mountains or just clear your mind. Whether you're going for a leisure ride or right into mountain biking there are many options. Get out there and shred the dirt this summer, and check out our Shred the Patriarchy cycling tees so get started. There’s also a great community! A lot of the like-minded women who you find in the coalition snow sports community are also avid mountain bikers. To get started, we love the Wild Rye Journal!
So, if you snowboard you're already halfway there, and if you're a skier we’re sure you’ll get into it just the same. There are plenty of awesome board sports to enjoy in the outdoors this summer. Skateboarding is a great way to get out, meet friends and challenge yourself. There are extremely cool women in the skate community who are putting on events and creating groups to get more women involved. Check out Coalition ambassador Shelby (@shelbssays) on Instagram for some awesome women's skate nights in the Tahoe area.
While surfing is a little bit more lonesome, it’s an awesome way to connect with nature by learning to read the waves and the water and is a sport that you always feel you can grow from. Surfing is also a great way to find community and enjoy full days on the beach. You can camp out, have BBQs, and fully enjoy the outdoors. Looking for inspo? Check out @womenandwaves, @womenwhosurf_, and @blackgirlssurf on Instagram.
Hiking & Camping
Getting out into the backcountry is not exclusive to winter and is a beautiful way to enjoy nature in the summer months too. What’s great about hiking and camping is it’s a great activity to do with friends or alone! In both cases, it’s important to keep safety in mind, however, we realize going alone can be daunting. So, if you are a solo adventurer check out our “how to enjoy the outdoors alone” blog for our best tips and tricks on venturing into the outdoors alone. If you are hoping to de-stress with something more than just fresh air, check out our Good Lovin' Field Guide over at Après Delight for all the best tips on sex in the outdoors.
However you choose to take care of yourself, it’s just important that you do. Many of us love the outdoors because it provides community and safe space which in turn helps our mental health. We aren’t experts, but these are some of the ways that help us!
P.S. Did you know May is Masturbation Month? Masturbation is known to reduce stress, so if a rainy day prevents you from getting outside we know exactly what you can do indoors! Head on over to Après Delight to enhance your experience.