Stress and anxiety are common experiences in our lives. And you fail to deal with stress on time, it may lead to anger, disappointment, and frustrations. The good news is that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to relieve stress and anxiety. Spending time engaging in various outdoor activities provides a cost-effective method of relieving stress and anxiety. From hiking to swimming, birdwatching to cloud watching, here are some outdoor activities that can help with stress relief.


Often, depression, stress, and anxiety can cause you to lose focus and spiral into hopelessness. Therefore, if you are stressed, you may end up stuck on disappointments, failures, and challenges that you are facing every day, instead of enjoying life. But when you go for a hiking trip, you will take your mind to a different setting and escape the mental rut that you have been stuck in. For instance, if an upcoming project is giving you sleepless nights, going for a hiking trip with your friends will help to remind you that there is a beautiful world out there to be enjoyed and the project is just a small part of your life.

Also, hiking will help you to disconnect and unplug from your day-to-day life. Your radio, TV, and phone are constantly buzzing with information, entertainment and messages. Therefore, chances are high that you rarely have some quiet time to reflect on your thoughts. On the other hand, wilderness areas are peaceful and quiet. By going for a hiking trip, you will have an opportunity to disconnect from the noise and chaos that you encounter every day and enjoy some quiet time in the wilderness. Spending time in the wilderness, will, therefore, help to reduce depression and anxiety while giving you an opportunity to reflect on your thoughts quietly. In short, hiking will help to clear your mind, boost your brain, disconnect from the world and just have a quiet time out there in the wilderness.

Nature Walks

The great outdoors provide a wide range of things that you can do to relax your mind and relieve stress. Apart from hiking and camping, you can do bird watching and explore different types of flora and fauna. If you are camping in a park where flower picking is not allowed, then you can simply use your camera to capture amazing photos. Also, you can engage in a scavenger hunt or a photo safari with your friends and family. Furthermore, you can try to forage or look for edible berries and plants. However, don’t eat anything that you collect in the wild, without consulting an experienced nature enthusiast. Ensure you bring along a compass, a map, and other navigational tools. After that exploration, you can then relax in your hammock, watch the stars and just relax.

Water Activities

If you live near a water body such as a river or lake, then you can engage in various types of water activities. For example, you can snorkel, dive, and swim. You can also bring along a kayak or a canoe, and spend the entire day sailing on the water. Also, you can bring a picnic table and enjoy some packed meals with your friends. You can also do some fishing if it’s permitted by the forest park where the river or lake is located. Catching fish and releasing them back to the water will also help to rejuvenate and refresh your mind. And if you don’t live near a large river or lake, you can still enjoy some water activities like skipping rocks or playing with squirt guns.

Cloud Watching

As much as cloud watching may appear like a boring activity, it can be quite amusing and relaxing. And you can do it even in your backyard. Following the clouds, as they move along the sky will help to stimulate your imagination and take your mind to another world. When you are looking up at the sky, you are not simply looking at white floating pillows. You will be spotting all sorts of shapes and objects. It also provides an effective means of distracting the mind. Therefore, if you are feeling stressed, an hour or two of watching the clouds will help to distract your mind from whatever is creating the stress or anxiety. Furthermore, it’s free and simple. So, why don’t you give it a try?

Playing Games

When you are playing a game, your mind usually shifts its focus elsewhere, and this can help to relieve stress and anxiety. And your options are almost endless when it comes to the games that you can enjoy when you are outdoors. For instance, you can play classic card games such as solitaire, euchre, gin, war, fish and poker, just to name a few. Other games that you can play to beat boredom and alleviate stress include Apples to Apples, Uno as well as Cards Against Humanity. All these games are simple, fun and entertaining. Apart from card-based games, you can also play tabletop games like checkers, chess, and backgammon.

If your campground has a flat terrain, then you can also enjoy lawn games with your friends or family. Some easy sports or games that you can enjoy include croquet, Frisbee, badminton, volleyball, corn hole, football, soccer, softball, and lacrosse, among others. For a winter camping trip, you just need to bring a sled and do some sledding. And if you have a snowboard or skis, you should carry them when you are going for your outdoor adventures. As you can see, your options are almost endless when it comes to the games you can play when you are outdoors.

Bird Watching

Spending your free time in the forest parks and other wilderness areas watching birds is not only an exciting way to pass time but it can also help with stress relief. Also, birdwatching provides an amazing opportunity to connect with your friends and family. And any person can enjoy it, regardless of their abilities or age. Furthermore, going for a birdwatching trip will give you a much-needed change of scenery while the different colors, sights, sounds, and smells will provide a great distraction for people struggling with stress. For birdwatching, you can visit a nearby nature reserve, take a walk in the countryside or even join a birdwatching society near you. If you have a large backyard, then you can create a garden that can attract different types of birds.

Cooking Delicious Meals Outdoors

Cooking provides an opportunity to express your creativity, practice patience, and improve your relationship with different types of foods. Furthermore, when you prepare and cook a great meal, it leaves you with a feeling of accomplishment. It can also raise your self-esteem significantly. Therefore, if you are struggling with stress or depression, cooking, especially over an open fire, can help to boost your mental health.

You can cook different types of meals when you are out there on a camping trip or during an afternoon picnic with your family. For instance, you can wrap potatoes and burritos with aluminum foil and cook them using coals. Once you’ve finished cooking your favorite food, you can then relax and enjoy it under the stars for a fulfilling experience. The whole experience of cooking over an open fire will not only give you a sense of pride and control but it will also rejuvenate your mind and soul.

Closing Remarks

As you can see, there are numerous outdoor activities that you can engage in to relieve stress. And unlike other treatments for depression and anxiety, most of these outdoor activities are available to any person, regardless of their location or income. Additionally, most of these above outdoor activities will not cost you anything. Therefore, if you are struggling with stress, depression or anxiety, you simply need to identify an outdoor activity that you can engage in and you will improve your mental health significantly.

About the Author Cindy

Hello, I'm Cindy. I’m a super duper mega hiking enthusiast, with a love for everything that has to do with outdoors, hiking, gear, footwear and more.

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