We spend so much time inside. We work, sleep, eat, watch TV… all between four walls. If you’re like most other Americans, you may begin to feel a bit fatigued, a bit uninspired by all that time indoors. And you aren’t just imagining it: too much indoor time might be harmful to our health! The good news is there’s an obvious, natural antidote: the great outdoors.
In a recent Science Daily article, researchers reported that “spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.”
Craving more outdoor time but not sure how to get the most out of your garden? Here are five DIY ideas that’ll get you enjoying your green space, and boosting your own health, in no time.
1. Make Outdoor Breaks a Daily Thing
Many of us intend to enjoy our morning coffee or afternoon snack on our patios or in our gardens, but life gets in the way. We end up downing our lattes in traffic or chowing down on granola bars right in front of our computers.
Make it a point to set aside just a few minutes to enjoy your pick-me-ups al fresco. The change of scenery will leave you feeling recharged, more satiated and ready to tackle your next todo.
If your outdoor space isn’t ready to host your coffee break, start simple with a nice bistro set and a classic windchime. If you’ve got the space, go all out: invest in an outdoor dining table and chairs, and think about adding wall decor and ornaments to finish the look.
2. Take One Task Outside Every Day
We’re all busy. And that, naturally, becomes an excuse for spending so much time indoors. But the truth is, even on our busiest days, we can at the very least tackle one item from our todo lists while outside.
If you owe your sister a phone call, why not head into your outdoor space and give her a ring? Need to proofread something for work? Print it out and edit with a pen and paper, outside! Not all tasks can be taken outside, but it’s quite likely at least one can. Each morning, review your todo list and select one or two things you can enjoy while soaking up the sun.
3. Prepare a Rain-Safe Outdoor Space
An outdoor space for sunny, warm days is a no-brainer. But do you have a nice place to enjoy the rain? Creating a safe haven to enjoy stormy days can help us reap the health benefits of time spent outdoors, even when the weather’s a bit moody.
A small porch or patio can be rain-proofed with the right awning. You can also waterproof your deck relatively quickly and inexpensively.
To add finishing touches to this space, consider a rain chain. Rain chains, a perfect mix of style and function, help direct water flow away from roofs while creating soothing sounds that’ll relax and revive you.
4. Create a Space Kids Will Love
Got kids? Grandkids? Nieces and nephews planning a visit? Getting children away from the TV (or iPad… or Iphone…) can be a lofty task, but it’s a whole lot easier if you’ve got a unique, adorable outdoor space that ignites their imaginations.
At Happy Gardens, we believe outdoor spaces are meant to be gorgeous... but they’re also meant to be fun. That’s why we stock unique, handmade ornaments and garden statues. Animal-inspired statues are particularly popular with kids. And even adult dog and cat lovers can’t resist them, either.
Don’t forget to add outdoor seating and pick up a few lawn games or toys to round out the space for your younger guests.
5. Designate and Design a Place to Truly Unplug
Much of this list encourages you to move everyday tasks like work, dining and leisure outdoors. But if you’re really serious about reaping the health benefits of spending time outdoors, then you should consider preparing a special spot to practice some self-care.
Maybe that’s yoga. Maybe that’s meditation. Maybe that’s reading or painting or even napping. Whatever it is that helps you relax and unwind, prepare an outdoor space that encourages you to get outside and find your calm. A heavy-duty yoga mat, low-to-ground chez lounge or a weatherproof rocking chair can be a great start. For bonus points, add wall decor or wind chimes that make the space feel like your own.
Have more questions about optimizing your outdoor space so you’ll use it even more? At Happy Gardens, we’re here to help via phone or live chat.
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