Best Outdoor Hobbies to Improve Your Mental Health

By Alycia Downs

Sep 28, 2020

Check out the best outdoor hobbies to improve your mental health, manage stress and anxiety, inspire creativity, and improve self-esteem. 

We live in a fast-paced society where “being busy” is often treated as a badge of honor. We’re “too busy” to slow down, look up, and be present, let alone find time to ourselves or to dedicate to stress-relieving outdoor hobbies. All of that hustle can take a toll on your health and happiness.

Studies have shown there are significant benefits to spending time outside such as managing stress and anxiety naturally, boosting endorphins (your body’s pain reliever) and serotonin (your mood-regulating hormone), inspiring creativity, improving self-esteem, and overall improving your mental health. All great reasons to jump up right now and discover your new, favorite outdoor hobbies!

If you need a little inspiration, here’s a list of outdoor activities that may help improve your mental health.

  • Meditation or prayer. Our minds are bombarded daily with sensory overload, thousands of things begging for our attention. Try finding a quiet place outside to be still, close your eyes, clear your mind, and center yourself.
  • Exercise. Traditional exercise isn’t the only way to get your happy hormones flowing. Just focus on moving your body with outdoor hobbies such as yoga, hiking, running, walking, sports, dancing, or whatever you like best.
  • Fishing. Nothing clears your mind like the joys of fishing. You can go solo or bring a friend, hit the water or fish from shore. This activity can challenge your mind and help improve your critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Gardening. There’s nothing quite as fulfilling as growing life from dirt. Whether you’re gardening food, flowers, or just for fun, it's satisfying to see the fruits of your labor pay off as your seedlings sprout and flourish.
  • Art. Express yourself by getting artsy with your outdoor activities. Consider photography, painting, writing, or whatever fuels your creative spirit.

These would also make great outdoor families activities that you can enjoy together with your loved ones.

Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs is a freelance content creator and avid sportsman who contributes to numerous publications promoting tourism, fishing, and outdoors. Alycia is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and is actively involved with conservation and fishing non-profit organizations. Visit her personal blog at or on Instagram @tideandtale.