Self-Care Challenge Day 4: Get Outside

 

7 Day Self Care Challenge Outside

Whether it’s heading out for a run, playing with the kids, hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming, or camping, I love to be outdoors. I find it rejuvenates me, grounds me, and reminds me of my place in the world. I am so very small compared to a mountain, the sky, or even a tall tree. Putting myself, my life, and my problems in perspective is a comfort. Exercising, working up a sweat,  and seeing what I can make this little machine called my body do is a privilege and a thrill. Thankfully it also keeps me in shape and releases a whole lot of mood-boosting endorphins. Exercising outside therefore is one of my number one self-care and stress busting strategies.

 

Tell your friends about the 7 Day Self-Care Challenge using:
#selfcarechallenge on social media!

 

Comment for a Chance to Win:

Remember that if you spend at least 5 minutes on your self-care today and comment about it here, you get one chance at winning a portable art kit or a free spot in my Art Journaling 101 workshop. How do you relax or recharge outdoors or though exercise? If you haven’t done it in a while, I challenge you to give it a chance today and see what you notice, then tell us about it.

 

53 Comments

  1. Jamie

    I was just reading that there are minerals in soil that help to raise seratonin. So playing in the dirt gets you outside with done extra benefits!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Jamie: If the serotonin thing is true, it sounds great! Let’s all dig our toes into the dirt like little children do! Walking in wet grass or in the rain seem like the sorts of things that we rarely allow ourselves to do. We might get “messy.” Messy is good. Messy is fun. Why don’t we do it more?

      Thanks for your comments, Jamie.

      Amy

      Reply
  2. Jamie

    I went outside barefoot….that was fun walking around in the grass. It was a little wet (water sprinkler had gone off in the wee hours of the morning)…..

    Reply
  3. mindy

    I just took pix of my husband & other surfers on some early morning waves. It’s a great way to zoom in & notice details. I love it when I capture the perfect moment in the ride. Meanwhile the sun is sparkling off the sea & despite the breeze I’m warm 🙂

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Mindy:

      I am trying to imagine zooming in on the surfers and the waves. You must have an amazing lens – seeing those waves curl around and the mastery of the surfers – it must be pretty amazing. So many of us find peace and grounding at the beach – something about the amazing combination of sensory pleasures all at once – the sound of surf, the feel of the hand beneath my feet, the breeze tickling my arms, sun warming my skin, the taste of salt water – thanks for the vicarious trip to the beach!

      Amy

      Reply
  4. Debbi Plemons

    My most favorite activity/self care is being outside, especially in the mountains! For now I still live full times north of Dallas, an extremely hot arrangement in August! However, I can still get outside before it hears up to much and do a gentle yoga practice followed by a walk by the lake with my sweet dog (& a special treat today, with my husband, who’s taken the day off to spend with me before I head back to work tomorrow). Being with beloved family in nature can’t be best by anything! It rejuvenated me to my soul!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Debbi:

      I am loving all these “trips” I get to take with you all. So far I have been to the beach surfing and now I’m at a mountainside lake! How glorious. It’s amazing how being in these environments, surrounded by natural elements reaches into our soul and fills us up, isn’t it?

      Cheers,

      Amy

      Reply
  5. Joanna

    I always feel rejuvenated when I spend time outside. Today I did some weeding in the garden and watched the kids blow bubbles. The kids benefitted too from all the exhaling and focusing on the swirling bubbles. Ok, I blew some too. 😉

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Joanna:

      What a great way to spend a morning. Bubble blowing is one of the ways we teach deep breathing to kids, I am not surprised that you stumbled upon the greater benefits of this all on your own. 😉 I’ll have to blow some today. It reminds me too of what another art therapist, Susan Dahl, in Lexington, MA was telling me, which is that she draws her breath. She said that initially it feels like a waste of paper, but that she has found it to be an amazing mindfulness exercise and that it “breathes” greater openness into her art generally. I can’t wait to try it.

      Cheers,

      Amy

      Reply
  6. Alex

    I take my dog on a walk around the neighborhood every morning and evening, and I love our peaceful time outside together! It’s a great way to start and end the day!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Alex:

      Oh, wait till you see tomorrow’s challenge! You are ahead of the game today. 😉 Whenever I stop and snuggle my puppies, let them lick my face, run with them, or throw a ball, I am filled with such happiness. Sometimes we all need to wag more and bark less. Who was it who said that?

      Cheers,

      Amy

      Reply
  7. de

    I start my day with simple stretching, it helps me be more comfortable in my body. When I need a mood shift, I go for a walk. Yoga has helped me stay agile as I age. It has made a huge difference becoming comfortable in my body.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI De:

      I am reminded of this amazing image I saw on Pinterest of an older woman, probably in her late 60’s, doing a deep twist, looking confident, calm, and sexy all at once. I thought, I want to be like that at that age!

      I love too what you say about yoga helping you to be comfortable in your body. It’s something so many women struggle with. To yoga and the outdoors!

      Cheers,
      Amy

      Reply
  8. karin

    AMEN to today’s challenge.
    Ditto to Alex. Every morning I go with 2 dogs. —Also a daily regimen of tai chi; barefoot on grass under a tree is my favorite practice.
    Most noteworthy-I started this challenge week at my ‘Mecca’, East Burke, VT for x-country mountain biking. I had not biked all year. It did not matter. It was like…well…riding a bike. 13 miles of heaven to carry me until same time next year…

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      YAY Karin – As someone who enjoys many “outdoorsy” sports, but has never done mountain biking, that sounds both scary and exhilarating! I’m so pleased that you treated yourself to this “heavenly” experience, as well as nurturing yourself by letting the grass peek beneath your toes during tai chi.

      Oh the doggies who have come into today’s comments. Tomorrow they will have their full day of glory. Heehee. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

      Thanks for sharing,
      Amy

      Reply
  9. Sandy C.

    Morning coffee on the deck. So hard to believe that summer is almost over. I’m taking the time this summer to spend more time on the deck relaxing and soaking up the sun while I still can before the snow. We try to eat all of our meals outside on the deck during the weekend. Perhaps I’ll try evening meditation on the deck tonight, too. 🙂

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Sandy – I too am savoring summer. I try to do it with every season and not get caught up in wishing that the next season would arrive. There is so much to be enjoyed in THIS moment, whatever this moment is. I keep reminding myself of that. Listening about your morning coffee on the deck makes me want to get going on some outdoor projects!

      Evening meditation outside sounds lovely. I try at least a couple of nights a week just to spend a few moments outside looking at the sky – taking in moon and stars. I like to “connect” with people who have passed on and the larger universe this way. It puts me back in perspective.

      Cheers,

      Amy

      Reply
  10. Cindy Gullo

    I LOVE this 7 day challenge!!!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Cindy:

      We love that you are loving it! Do tell what you love about it.

      Also, importantly, have you gotten outside yet today? What is your 5 minutes of self-care?

      Cheers,
      Amy

      Reply
  11. Tara

    Took the opportunity to walk to my eye appointment in this gorgeous day. Amazing all if the new things there are to discover when you walk your neighborhood instead of driving through it.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Tara:

      What a great idea to get where you need to go on foot for your exercise. Europe has many a thing to teach us about this. SLOW DOWN, my friends from there always say. I’m so curious what all you found on your walk?

      Cheers,
      Amy

      Reply
  12. meredith

    What a glorious day! One that led to smiles inside and out every time I stepped out. All the heavy stuff of life went “on hold” for a few moments as I relished the fresh air, blue skies, trees, flowers, and birds chirping away. Free, organic fuel to recharge the mind&body. Ahhhh…

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Meredith – It sounds just like what the doctor ordered! Thanks for sharing it with us!
      Amy

      Reply
  13. Lori

    The weather was just perfect (75 and sunny) for today’s challenge! I thoroughly enjoyed an outdoor picnic lunch with my toddler. It was so refreshing to bask in the warmth of the sunshine, feel the gentle breeze, and listen to the birds sing while enjoying a tasty and healthy lunch with my little guy. What a blessing! I’m not sure why I haven’t done more picnic lunches this summer but this challenge has motivated me to do so for the remaining warm days.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Lori:

      It was a perfect day. I’m thrilled to hear that you have taken the challenge as an opportunity to come up with more fun and carefree ideas of how to enjoy your days. What a treat.

      Amy

      Reply
  14. Christine

    I love being outside, running, walking, and the landscapes where I live are gorgeous… Today however I just stayed and enjoyed the garden with one of our cats… It’s our family garden, it was my grandma’s before my parents and my brothers and I. Old trees, flowers, vegetables… we are very lucky to have that place!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Christine:

      I feel like I can envision the garden. It makes me wonder if you are cooking the fruits of your gardening labors? It sounds lovely.

      Cheers,

      Amy

      Reply
      • Christine

        Oh yes we are cooking what the garden give us. The fruits and vegetables don’t taste the same than those of the store… and eating the fruits of the trees planted by my grandfather is for me like living a part of the family history…

        Reply
        • Amy Johnson Maricle

          Christine – this cooking ritual sounds so lovely. I adore the picture you paint.
          Amy

          Reply
  15. Laura

    I’ve just arrived in New Orleans and I’m sitting by the pool outdoors with a fabulous view and the glorious warm breeze is refreshing me from my travel. Why are breezes so glorious?! Could fall asleep here while I wait for friends to arrive. On another note, this a huge self-care weekend for me and it took a lot of logistical juggling to pull it off and I’m really proud of myself!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Laura

      Wow- a weekend away with friends by the pool, that sounds glorious! I’m proud of you for pulling it off too! May you bask in it.

      Cheers

      Amy

      Reply
  16. Andrea Monreal Castillo

    I usually go everywhere in my car, which by the way I got by my own and I’m very proud of that !! haha but today instead of go and buy some things that I needed since a few days ago I walked, it was good time because I needed small things so it was perfect, it’s healthy, I was able to enjoy the fresh air, the sun, and I even took out my shoes in a little garden near of my house so it was fun too!!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Andrea:

      Like Tara did the other day, getting back to our roots and letting your body carry you where you needed to go was such a perfect way to combine the “to-do’s” with your “me time.” Weaving self-care into your day is a perfect way to make sure that it happens daily. Making it a habit is the key. You will reap the rewards of it in the short and long-term.

      Thanks for your great example,

      Amy

      Reply
  17. Teresa Tatum

    So, today was crazy busy and I am going to take a bubble bath tonight before bed for my self care. And, it will be longer than 5 minutes!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Teresa:

      BUBBLES! How fun! And thank goodness you will take more than 5 minutes for it too. Cathy Malchiodi commented on one of my FB posts about the challenge and noted that there is research proving that if you make it 15 minutes per day over a sustained period that you will see notable improvements to your sense of well-being. Amen to that.

      Cheers,

      Amy

      Reply
  18. Kara

    I had good intentions of getting outside and enjoying the day. In a perfect world I would have gone for a walk, maybe take a stroll around the garden. Instead I didn’t take my 5 minutes of outdoors until it was dark outside and I didn’t really enjoy it as I had hoped. To be honest the best “outdoors” experience today was driving with my windows all the way down.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Kara – I love, love, LOVE your ability to be honest, because I know that there are others reading how had the same experience. We do our best each day, and some days it works out great, and others it doesn’t, but the point is to create an attitude of self-care. The attitude is that it’s a given. Of course you do something for yourself each day, it’s a non-negotiatlbe for feeling happy and balanced in this life. When we ignore it, it shows.

      I am normally an AC person in the car, because I don’t like the way my hair blows all around and tickles me. But some days I open the windows to get the fresh air and feel connected to the outdoors, especially if I’m not on the highway. I too did this purposefully yesterday and it was the perfect temperature, so it was glorious! This counts! The idea is giving thought to what you need and doing it.

      Cheers,

      Amy

      Reply
  19. Chibi Jeebs

    I walk the dog every morning as soon as I get out of bed: it’s so nice and quiet – lovely way to wake up and start the day.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Chibi – I love that morning quiet and getting to be outside first thing in the day – it seems like such a natural way to begin. A good reminder, I guess, that when things feel out of balance, getting out of doors should be one of our first recourses.

      Thank you,

      Amy

      Reply
  20. Jill

    Spent some time in the garden today after a long day. I loved the balance of the cooler air temperature combined with the warmth of the sun. I really enjoyed spending time with my daughter picking green beans and admiring al the colors and textures of the veggies, herbs, and flowers. I felt calm and blessed to have such a wonder in my own backyard- and extremely grateful for having such a gifted gardner for a husband. Ended the day with a warm bath…thanks again self care challenge!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Jill –

      I too find that sun/breeze quotient so delicious! Wow – you really focused on the senses today. What a great reminder. They really are a huge part of what will help us to feel calm, plugged in, and in balance.

      Thanks for the lovely images of you and your daughter in the garden.

      Amy

      Reply
  21. susanblackallen@gmail.com

    Completely agree with this post! Just got back from camping in Vermont and felt very recharged by it. Separately ourselves from nature is very unnatural!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Susan:

      We are so glad to have your voice here on the #selfcarechallenge. Camping in VT sounds lovely! I agree that when we are separated from nature too long it seems to really take a toll on us. Do you have some things you do regularly to stay connected? Thanks for that reminder.

      Amy

      Reply
  22. Jodi Hickenlooper

    Outside is one of my favorite places. Last night we had a huge thunderstorm. This morning everything outside felt so clean. I spent some time reading on the back patio this morning … time well spent.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Jodi:

      I don’t know about you, but I loooove a good thunderstorm. As long as you are in a safe place it’s an amazing way to experience the power and beauty of nature’s strength – like watching large waves crash.

      It’s funny your comment about everything feeling so “clean” this morning, isn’t that like life sometimes? After we get through a storm, and all that rain falls in our lives, we do our best to manage it/solve it/understand it, and then we rest. When we wake up, things can feel a bit new again when relief sets in. We appreciate the absence of the storm, but also see things with different eyes.

      Thanks for sharing with us.

      Amy

      Reply
  23. Marina

    I have been looking for beauty right in front of me and capturing it w my iPhone. It was exciting to find it in a close up in the honey jar and in the bottom of a glass of wine. I liked the transparency of these elements and how in the photo you can’t really tell what they are from because I did a close up. pure abstract art!!!keep up the creative self care for all!!Marina

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Marina:

      Oh I love these moments so much and when you can make things look abstract and amazing simply because of their elements. I wish you would post one or two to the Maricle Counseling Facebook page if you feel comfortable.

      And thank you for inspiring US, by sharing your ideas.

      Cheers,

      Amy

      Reply
  24. Patricia

    I had a business meeting to attend with a group of great ladies, and asked one of them if we could carpool, to allow more time to visit along the way. I enjoyed seeing the beauty of nature as we drove along, (sunny day, blue skies, and wide-open fields) and also as I entered a new neighborhood and took in the beautiful landscaping. I took a short break from the meeting and looked into my friend’s backyard, with a lovely lawn and plants.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Patricia – That’s the way to do it – just being mindful to take little opportunities to enjoy, take in nature and beauty. That’s self-care.

      Cheers,
      Amy

      Reply
  25. Laura

    oops i posted an empty comment! … and I commented on facebook! hopefully i’ll get it right today! 🙂

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Laura – No worries – this happens to all of us sometimes! We love the FB comments, just be sure to tell us about your self care here too.

      Cheers!

      Amy

      Reply
  26. Christine Nagy

    Ok, I had to work a 12 hour day in Boston yesterday, so I’m a day late on posting Thursday’s self care. However, in walking from South station over to my office building in Boston, I was able to enjoy all the blooming flowers, and beautiful patterns of clouds in the skies. Little pieces of nature to enjoy amongst the big city bustle – a sharp contrast to all the right-angled tall buildings…

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Christine: I think cloud patterns are amazing too. Yesterday on my run I was so inspired by what everyone had been posting and I tried to really focus on the big, wide sky and feeling the expansiveness of it. Like your tall buildings, it was in contrast to the highway I ran over at one point, but soon I was passing by a reservoir, so that made up for it. It’s all about what you are looking for though, isn’t it? If you are looking for the beauty in your day, you will find it, if you look for what is wrong, you can find that too. It’s such an interesting thing trying to find the balance in this life.

      Cheers,

      Amy

      Reply

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