The importance of mental health and wellbeing is a growing topic of discussion within the UK, gaining increasing traction in the media over the last several years.
That momentum has had a snowball effect that has thankfully translated into many workplaces across the country, with more and more emphasis being placed on employee health and wellbeing.
However, while employers may be taking additional steps to address workplace stress and provide professional support, many of us are guilty of neglecting to do the same at home.
Luckily, this oversight can be easily remedied. In fact, tackling anxiety and keeping the black dog at bay can be as simple as spending more time outdoors…
Mental Benefits of Being Outdoors
The mental benefits of being outdoors have long been heralded by health specialists and wellbeing professionals alike as being a hugely rewarding and consistently effective.
According to mental health charity Mind, spending time outside in the open air has been found to improve mood, reduce stress and anger and increase the feeling of relaxation, among other additional benefits.
This claim has been proven by a recent study by Leeds Beckett University and The Wildlife Trust. The study found that participants suffering from anxiety, stress and depression reported significant emotional and physical improvements after taking part in outdoor activities.
In fact, outdoor activities have proven to be so effective and beneficial to mood and mental wellbeing that there have been calls to include nature as an NHS prescription for metal well-being programmes.
Improve Your Wellbeing Outdoors
As seen above, the positive effects of the outdoors are no joke and the calming tranquillity of nature is a proven commodity that can be both mentally soothing and spiritually pacifying.
In pursuit of such serenity, many Brits choose to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life by escaping to a quiet resort or relaxation haven in order to achieve the ultimate sense of peace for mind, body and soul.
However, while there are countless yoga retreats across the globe, it’s not unusual for these holidays to set you back thousands of pounds and leave a sizeable dent in your savings – hardly the recipe for stress-free life when you return.
Luckily, you don’t need to journey to the Tibetan mountains to clear your mind and find your inner peace. With a few additions and adjustments, you can do it all from the comfort of your own home.
Create the Perfect Meditation Garden Area
Provided you don’t live next to a busy road or have unruly neighbours, you can create your own den of zen right there in your own back yard. Best of all, it doesn’t require any radical renovations to do so.
The art of meditation is deeply-rooted in Asian culture, literally dating back thousands of years. As such, adding an Asian influence to your outdoor space can not only provide a sense of meditative authenticity, it can also bolster the calming benefits of stress-free sanctuary. After all, it’s hard to argue with centuries of success, so why change a winning formula?
Three key features of Asian design are open space, minimalist decor and natural light – none of which are in short supply for most UK gardens and are all readily available, even if you do need to conduct a bit of a garden reset to achieve the open space.
Another key element of Asian design is woody colours, predominantly comprising of either deep dark browns, clean light cedars or a combination of the two. This is one part of the design which will require investment but, trust us, it will be well worth it.
Decking Out Your Meditation Space
A wooden deck area in your back garden can act as the perfect base for your mediation station, providing a clean, open area for you to relax and destress outdoors and a blank canvas for you to build upon.
For practicality purposes, you may want to situate your deck outside your back door upon entry to your outside space. Overlooking the rest of your garden, this also provides the additional benefit of natural scenery, which has additional calming benefits (as long as the rest of your garden is tidy).
That being said, for the purposes of enhanced seclusion and privacy, you may want to place your decking area independently at the bottom of your garden, should space allow. This can also add to the sanctuary feel of your space and provide your area with more of a detached, escapist vibe.
We recommend using modern composite decking for its durable qualities and low-maintenance properties, while the aesthetic appearance is virtually identical to real wood in every way, right down to the grain.
Depending on budget and space, you may also want to accessorise your deck with a weatherproof cover to allow you to use your meditation area whatever the weather. Adding a structural shelter – such as an awning or veranda –provides you with enhanced privacy and can truly turn your outdoor space into the ultimate haven for mental wellbeing.