The last few days have numbered record high temperatures followed by plunging lows, storms, wildfires – basically, unusual weather during an unusual time. It may not seem like going outside is the best idea right now, but as you well know, we are proponents of being one with nature and espouse its relaxing, calming benefits whenever we get a chance. As we are leaving summer and entering — fingers crossed — autumn, it came to us that even the smallest moments spent outside can make sleep come that much easier, that much more fulfilling, that much more “ahhhh” some. And, yep, these are things you can do even in the midst of all that is going on out there in the world without any repercussions or blowback.
Take a look at five of our favorite outdoor activities that just clear out the cobwebs and get us in the mood for a delicious snooze.
Yoga by moonlight
If you are a practitioner of yoga, you probably know all about Sun Salutations. These are commonly done during sunrise or sunset, and are meant to strengthen and balance you. Lesser known, however, are yoga’s Moon Salutations. These wonderful movements are all about turning you more inward, creating a sense of calm and relaxation when the moon is bright. It’s a great way to end the day and prepare for the next. We also like the idea of taking this practice literally out into the moonlight, really getting in touch with the world around you and yourself.
Whether you ascribe to those actual salutations or simply decide to end your day doing yoga or even just stretching outside under the stars, the combination of the movements, the breathing, and nature’s inherent calming quality is wonderfully soothing.
Moving your body
Taking your daily workout out into nature or just having a brisk walk, a swim in the ocean or nearby lake, biking, running — whatever movement works for you, doing so in the fresh air is rejuvenating, exhilarating, and just feels good. We already know that being outside does wonders for your mental, physical and emotional state. It lowers blood pressure, reduces your heart rate — all good stuff. It also costs nothing to go outside and move your body, and it creates the opportunity to mix up your workout routine so you don’t get bored with it. It’s pretty cool, when you think about it. The ability to get up and go in whatever way you like, anytime you like, is right outside your door. And once you engage in your activity, you come home, feeling ready to shower, chill, then take to your bed for a great night’s sleep. Lovely.
Giving into your muse — painting, writing, drawing, singing, dancing...
Some of the best inspiration comes from simply being out with the flora, the fauna and sky above. I always feel like my writing is that much better when I take a walk, find a great place to plant myself, and do some people watching while I jot ideas. The relaxing nature of, well, nature feels like a holistic mind opener, and freeing yourself to give into your artistic side under the open sky is like having a weight lifted off of you. When that happens, your body lets go and there is a satisfaction that comes with giving into your creativity in this way. Fulfillment. Ah, yes. When you get in bed later that night, that feeling can carry you into a rich, welcome slumber, and some pretty amazing dreams.
Dining — picnic under the sun, dinner under the stars
Maybe restaurant eating isn’t so easy anymore, but grabbing your favorite food or meal and creating your own dining experience outdoors is a great alternative. Everyone needs some new scenery now and then, and the wonder of nature is that there are plenty of new views to be discovered. There is so much to choose from when you go out into the world — from fields, to beaches, to deserts, to forests — you can eat in a new “restaurant” every day and night, if you like. Enjoying the outdoors to dine also allows you to get out of your own space for a while, shake off that cabin fever that still permeates so much of what we do, and it relaxes you. There’s just something about laying down a blanket or sitting on beach chairs or finding a spot that has a picnic table that makes you take your time when you’re eating. The conversation feels easier, the food outside just seems to taste better, and you truly relax into the moment. This doesn’t have to be a full on hangout with games, throwing the frisbee or ball, or anything like that. This is really about breaking bread outdoors and reveling in the moment, the beauty around you, and giving yourself the time just to be.
Honestly? We don’t think we need to say a whole lot about this. First thing in the morning, in the middle of the day or last thing before you go to bed at night, sitting outside, closing your eyes and getting in touch with your breaths, allowing the tensions to ease out of you so you can face the day, calm yourself from whatever your day is, or release from what your day has been in nature’s setting is a balm. When the feeling takes you, go outside, find a cozy spot and be. Just be. Namaste.
Embracing your nature
We are tied to the Earth. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, probably. Get out there and do, be, experience. You don’t have to travel far at all. It can be going out on your balcony, into your yard, your driveway, or getting in your car and making a day of it. Whatever works for you to get outside and bring peace into your world will make your nights feel that much more at ease, so that when you slip under your covers, you’ll feel so ready to lay back, close your eyes and drift away.
Rest easy. Nature’s lullabies are calling you.