10 Ideas for Outings Devoted to Relaxation and Self Care

A woman relaxes after hiking to the top of a mountain and looking out over the view

When you are struggling, whether it is with your mental health, loving yourself, or just life problems in general, the last thing you are going to feel like doing is to leave the house if you don’t have to. For many of us our homes have become our safe places, especially during something as stressful as the pandemic.

However, venturing away from home, and stepping out of our comfort zone can actually do wonders for our mental health and self-care. Sometimes leaving the house and changing our environment is exactly what we need. 

In this post we are going to go over 10 ideas for outings devoted to relaxation and self care. 

10 outing ideas to improve your relaxation and self-care

1) Walking or hiking 

This one is probably the most straightforward one, but if you are struggling to leave the house, going for a walk or a hike is most likely the simplest one to accomplish. It is free, and you can spend as much time in nature as you feel like. You can walk wherever you want, it could be a path through a park close to home, through the city, or if you live near more advanced hiking trails or terrain you could go there too.  

Not only does walking help improve your physical aspect of self-care, but it helps to relieve stress and is a change of environment. A review of 14 studies on college students published in Frontiers in Psychology found that spending as little as 10 to 30 minutes in nature decreased self-reported and biological markers of stress.  Appreciating the beauty of nature can help relax you as well. You could also invite a friend or family member to walk with you if you don’t want to spend the time alone. 

2) Get a spa treatment 

This is one of the most popular or mainstream versions of self-care, and there is a good reason for that. Although spa treatments might not be for everyone, and they can be expensive, I find them so relaxing. Papering yourself is a great way to take care of yourself when you don’t have a lot of time.

There are all sorts of different spa treatments to choose from: 

  • Massages 
  • Body treatments 
  • Nail treatments 
  • Facials 

And so much more! 

Spa treatments can help relieve stress, anxiety, and improve our mood. They can also help to improve our circulation and blood flow and make us feel better about ourselves which helps to boost our confidence.  

3) Go on a trip

Traveling is a rather large outing that can take a lot of time and financial commitment, but personally, I find is so worth it. My mental health never feels better than when I return from a trip relaxed and refreshed and ready to take on the world. It is probably my biggest splurge when it comes to self-care and taking care of my mental health. 

With traveling the possibilities are endless. You could go on a hot tropical vacation on a beach, a snowy cabin getaway, or even head to a wellness retreat.  

The escape really helps to reduce stress and is almost like a reset button in my life. 

4) Learn a new hobby that takes place away from the house 

Trying a new exercise class or sport, a painting or craft class, or joining a club can be intimidating at first. But not only are you getting out of the house, but you could be improving your social, physical, and intellectual self-care all at once. 

5) Schedule a get together with a friend 

Catching up with a friend you haven’t seen for a long time might not seem like self-care, but it is. When we struggle our friends can often get neglected as we have other things we focus on instead, but humans are social creatures by nature and there are many benefits to friendship.

According to the Mayo Clinic, friends can boost your mood and reduce your stress, help improve your self-confidence and self-worth, and help you cope with the struggles you are going through.

Instead of isolating yourself, reaching out to a friend can do wonders, and meeting a friend outside your house can be even better.

6) Go see a movie 

The creation of streaming platforms like Netflix, and Amazon Prime makes it even easier to want to stay home and not leave the house, especially for something like seeing a movie. Add in the increasing cost of movie tickets, and concession stands, and it isn’t shocking that movie attendance has dropped all over the world.

However, getting out of the house to see a movie, especially something lighthearted like a comedy, can vastly improve your mood and make you feel lighter when you return home. Being distracted by something that doesn’t take a large mental load when you are already feeling mentally exhausted, can be a great stress release.

7) Go on a picnic 

Your self-care outings don’t have to cost a ton of money. Taking some food you would normally be eating in the comfort of your own home, and having a picnic in a cute and relaxing setting outside can be such a small thing that can make a big difference in your mental health. You can get many of the same benefits you could from hiking, just from being outside.  

It is also an easy outing to tack onto any of the other ideas in this list to make a day of it. 

8) Go camping 

Camping is not for everyone, but it can be a cheaper activity than traveling by airplane and staying in hotels. It is also something you could do with the whole family if you wanted.  

The peace from being surrounded by nature is so relaxing and helps to remind you to slow down in such a fast-paced world. 

9) Head out star gazing at night 

This one doesn’t have to take you too far from home, but if it’s a clear night outside you could try star gazing. Lay down a blanket on the grass, or drive to a clearing where you can see the sky. Star gazing is a great form of anxiety and stress relief.

It also gives you time and provides you with perspective to reflect on what is important in life. 

10) Check out a garden center or greenhouse 

Greenhouses are great places to visit to find inspiration for your own garden or backyard. Combing through a large selection of plants and flowers, decorations, water features, and deck inspiration can help you create your own garden. Creating a backyard self-care area can give you a special place to go to relax and destress every day. It also helps keep you sharp and your mind active.  

Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Can you think of any ideas that we missed from this list?  

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