Natural Stress-Busters: Three Ways To Enjoy The Healing Powers Of The Great Outdoors In Austin
A Gallup poll last year revealed that Americans are amongst the most stressed-out people in the world, with roughly 55% of adults saying they experienced daily stress ?a lot’. Current events, work pressures and family life all contribute to rising stress levels, and more and more people are searching for easy ways to build rejuvenation and relaxation into their daily lives. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to effectively combat stress simply by enjoying Austin's great outdoors and activities like a night sleeping under the stars to forest bathing in Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. Here are just three ideas to help you relax in Austin.
Simply Being Outside
It may seem obvious, but whether you’re walking, cycling or enjoying a picnic in the open air, simply being in nature offers huge benefits to your mental health. Texas State Parks are full of beautiful trails and other activities suitable for all fitness levels. Use this list of Texas State Parks with outdoor activities to find an activity for you to enjoy. The Overlook Trail in Bastrop State Park has stunning views of the pine forests or you might try a wildlife trek in Brazos Bend State Park. If you’re more inclined towards a quiet picnic, spread your blanket out by Waller Creek in Waterloo Park. Studies show that spending just 20 minutes outside in nature significantly reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body, no matter what activity you’re doing.
To really boost the stress-reducing benefits of your time outdoors, round the day off with a stop-off at a day spa in Austin, TX. Massage has been shown to reduce stress and tension in the body, and Austin is home to a number of award-winning masseurs. If you’ve spent the day walking or cycling, the physical benefits offered by massage will be a bonus to tired muscles too.
The ancient Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, or ?forest bathing’, has surged in popularity in the west over recent years. This is not without good reason: forest bathing has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate and improve both stress and depression. Forest bathing simply involves disconnecting yourself from your devices and heading into the forest to engage all five of your senses. The focus is not on walking, but on observing your surroundings and engaging with the forest on all levels. Some people even like to remove their shoes to feel the grounding effects of the forest. Any of the Top Ten Texas Nature Preserves are perfect for forest bathing!
Try visiting Angelina National Forest in Lufkin or exploring the beautiful Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. Experts recommend two hours at a slow pace to achieve the full effects, but as little as 20 minutes is sure to have a relaxing effect. Round the day off with a visit to a day spa or a meal at one of Austin’s many restaurants to truly let your cares melt away.
Open Water Swimming
Swimming has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, and what better way to indulge in its stress-busting effects than to do so outdoors? Austin is home to several breath-taking outdoor swimming spots, including Blue Hole outside Wimberley and Jacob’s Well Natural Area, just 40 minutes from Austin. Alternatively, try one of Texas’ best-kept secrets: the Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls at Barton Creek Greenbelt. A half-mile trail leads to the relaxing waters of Twin Falls, and another half mile takes you to the Sculpture Falls. Try swimming in any of these Texas Swimming Holes.
Nature has an incredible power when it comes to healing stress. If you’re feeling the world get on top of you, explore the bounty of natural opportunities Austin and its surrounding area has to offer. You’re bound to come away calmer, more relaxed, and itching for another visit.