My top 5 go-to places to de-stress

Stress affects us all in different ways, and we each find our own kinds of relief.  My stress relief comes in the form of visiting specific types of place that help me to gain a fresh perspective on things.  In this article I will share with you my 5 go-to places to de-stress.

The connection between mind and body is indisputable.  We know that when we experience stress in our mind, this will have physiological effects on our body through the release of hormones.  When our mind is not relaxed, we will likely carry muscle tension, which can lead to headaches and other chronic conditions.

But, in my opinion, the Mind-Body connection is not a bilateral continuum.  I believe there is a third element to this triumvirate, and that is Place.

The place we are in can have a direct and profound effect on our mind, and consequently our body.  That is why, when I experience the effects of stress, I make a conscious effort to get myself to the right place to de-stress.

How places help you to see things differently

I know from my own experience how easy it can be to gain a better perspective just by being in the right place.

A well-chosen change of scene can go a long way towards achieving a renewed sense of clarity. I find that being in the right place can really minimise the negative feelings that life’s challenges can sometimes bring.

Amy walking on Mount Snowdon

1. When your problems feel too big

Head for the mountains, hills or higher ground.  An increase in your current altitude will create a physical change in your perspective of the world by default. 

Personally, nothing beats mountain walking when I’m in need of a boost.  Not only will mountain walking release adrenaline but it will provide you with a sense of real accomplishment.  Being up a mountain is like the ultimate in taking a step back from the hustling, bustling world.

From your quiet, high-up spot, you can look upon all the tiny towns, cars and people.  I find it a comforting reminder of just how small I am.  Just another of the world’s 7.7 billion people, going about my life, with my own set of worries, just like everyone else.

Here in the UK we are spoilt for choice with beautiful mountain ranges in Snowdonia National Park, the Peak District and the Scottish Highlands.  If you can’t get to those, just find some hills or the highest point you can get to.  When I lived in Harrow, I’d walk up to Harrow-on-the-Hill and look out over London. Changing your physical perspective works no matter where you are, but being amongst giant mountains really helps.

View over Lake Annecy and Annecy Town

2. When you are worried about a deadline

Visit a woodland or forest.  Look up at the biggest trees and think about how old they are.  Think of the historical events they have survived.  Will they still be there post-Brexit?  Even if we leave without a deal?  I’m pretty sure they will, and I’m even more sure that they won’t lose any leaves worrying about it.

Many of the big trees you see will have lived through two world wars and the Industrial Revolution.  Any many will live well beyond the Technological Age.  We are but children to them.  Our time on this earth is transitory, and our problems, even more so.  The deadline that is causing you anxiety will come, and it will go.  

If you can’t get out to a woodland, I’m sure you’ll find some old relics growing in your local park.

Woodland scene

3. If you want to feel lucky

Go outside on a clear night and look up at the stars.  If you live somewhere urban, try to go somewhere a bit less light-polluted so you can see more of what the night sky has to offer.

Between all those beautiful, twinkling celestial bodies millions of light years away, there is a whole lot of space.  Vast distances of inhospitable nothingness. Yet here we are, on our beautiful planet with its (as far as we know in our lifetimes so far) unique atmosphere.  And in it, there is so, so much life.  Aren’t we so incredibly lucky to have been created and granted the gift of life in this special environment?

I love this photo taken by my partner Joe Vary of us doing some star-gazing last year.  Can you spot the Milky Way?

Looking up at the stars

4. When you need some positivity

Visit a garden.  It might be your own, or one of the many stunning public gardens the country has to offer.  All around you will be evidence of a life force that is greater than us all.  Each and every plant you see will have its own survival plan programmed into its genetics.  Flowers grow into fruit.  Fruit produces seeds.  And those seeds will carry the plant’s DNA and everything it needs to grow again as soon as the conditions are right.

There will likely be people around.  They too will be signs of the powerful force for life.  New generations of babies and young children, new lives created by this extraordinary phenomenon.  Elderly people, who have survived untold experiences and are still here, enjoying the garden, just like you.

However challenging life can feel, I find it reassuring to know that behind our daily efforts and aspirations, we are supported by an invisible force that engineers as much as possible to survive and thrive.  In a garden, you can even hear this life force working, if you close your eyes and listen.

5. When you are lacking in energy

Visit the coast and place yourself in the company of the relentless sea.  The hardest worker I know, the sea is always carrying heavy ships.  Always lapping away at the shore, never stopping for a moment’s rest.  It provides a hospitable environment for all manner of sea life, most of which we can’t see from our point of view.  But it’s all there, beneath the surface.  Surviving.  Thriving.

Day in, day out, the tide moves in and draws out.  There is a never-ending energy in the sea that I have not noticed anywhere else.  The rhythm of the waves can mesmerise your visual and auditory senses and bring you a sense of calm.  This combination of relentless energy and sensation of calmness makes the coast such an attractive retreat for so many of us.  

After spending even a short time by the sea, it’s difficult not to leave the coast with a renewed vigor and feeling of peace.

Waves gently lapping at the shore

What do these places all have in common?

You got it in one.  They are all outdoors. 

So, even if you can’t get to any of those places just now, the change of scene to intentionally go outdoors can make a difference to the way you feel.  Just feeling the weather on your face can invigorate you and help you to regain a healthy perspective.

There you have it; my top 5 go-to places to de-stress and restore inner calm.  I hope you found them useful.  

Don’t forget – if you are stressed because your workload is too much, I can help you.  As a Virtual Assistant I can take tasks off your list, freeing you up a bit more.  Take a look at the sort of things I can help you with, and please get in touch if you would like a chat.  You can book a free 30-minute consultation call by clicking here.

Where do you go when you need to restore inner calm?  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment sections below.

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