Things To Do

6 Ways To Decompress Outdoors This Winter That’ll Get Your Blood Pumping

By Bridget O'Donohue

The instinct to lock the doors, fire up the heater and embrace life as a hermit when winter rolls around can hit hard. But, science and good old-fashioned common sense have taught us that we need to fight that urge to hibernate. Chasing a daily dose of Vitamin D and a healthy hit of endorphins can work wonders for your mental health, and leave you feeling more centred, calm and ready for whatever life throws at you. 

Not sure how to inject more of the outdoors into your day-to-day? Enter: your third place. It's a pretty simple term thrown around by a lot by sociologists, describing a neutral social space between work and home. It's that sweet spot where you're free to dodge expectations and productivity—giving you the chance to decompress, recharge, and reconnect. And if the great outdoors doesn't hit every one of those points, we’re not sure what does. 

To help you find your third place in nature this winter, we teamed up with Kathmandu to uncover a fresh slew of outdoor activities that'll fend off the frost and get the blood pumping. With their slick new winter range of insulation for any situation, you can zip up, breathe in the fresh air, and soak up some natural beauty in the cracking winter sunshine.

Hiking 

Australia’s diverse landscapes offer up an endless playground of terrain to tackle—with hikes up and down the country for everyone, at every level. The best part? It’s almost always free, and involves snacking on an endless supply of nuts and choc—a good enough reason on its own to get out there when the mercury drops. Whether you’re a social walker or seasoned adventurer, the key to winter hikes is nailing the gear—you’ll need a base layer that gets rid of moisture, a middle layer for warmth, and a waterproof layer to keep you dry. Just chuck on a pair of warm socks, hat and gloves, then round up the crew and hit the mountains. 

A Local Getaway

tiny house

There’s no greater reset than heading off-grid and out of service, to tuck yourself away in some cosy digs for the weekend. Tiny houses for rent are often uber-sustainable, miles from civilisation, and nestled away in some of the most stunning natural locations. And whenever you’re not tucked up in bed, you can rug up and explore expansive forests, trawl wild beaches, or park up in a park with a hot choc. Finishing each day off with a cosy outdoor fire under the stars? Better for easing tension than a trip to the masseuse. 

Foraging

For the food-focused folks, foraging is a ripper way to soak up the great outdoors while getting creative in the kitchen. There’s plenty of wild food to be foraged if you know where to look, and our native habitat offers up plenty of ingredients to serve at your next dinner party. Native wood sorrel, vanilla lily, lily pily, kangaroo apple, warrigal greens, and finger limes can be found in and around major cities—and if you’re not sure where to start, Urban Forager offers up handy hints for beginners. Just remember to go deep on the research for anything you harvest, and give everything a thorough wash. 

Hitting The Slopes

drinking mulled wine

If you’re looking for a new winter hobby that'll kick-start the adrenaline, add skiing to the list. With killer slopes at Buller and Hotham in Victoria, Perisher and Thredbo in NSW, and Ben Lomond in Tassie, there’s no shortage of peaks that come alive in winter to help you embrace the chilly temps. And if downhill isn’t your bag, there’s always snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing, where you traverse snow-covered terrain and beautiful bushland—even with a bit of wild camping on the side. 

Walking Trails

As city dwellers, we’re pretty darn lucky to be surrounded by endless pockets of glorious nature primed for exploration. A quick lace-up of the shoes, zip-up of the raincoat, and stroll, cycle or roll down the road can see you dropped into bushland surrounded by ancient trees and bracing fresh air. Don’t believe us? Make tracks to the Merri Creek trail in Melbourne, Woronora River Bridge Walk in Sydney,  Boondall Wetlands in Nudgee, Brisbane or Bells Rapid Walk Trail in the Perth Hills

Al-Fresco Yoga Practice 

There's nothing quite as effective to rein in the stress levels and loosen the shoulders as a good yoga sesh. Even more so when you take it outdoors and get the grass beneath your feet. Taking the vinyasa out-of-studio and into a local park on your lunch break or Saturday morning is a beaut way to top up on fresh air and good chats. If you're keen to get involved and out into the wilderness, there's plenty of free apps and YouTube classes for you to follow along with. And if you’re a rookie looking for a class to join, there's a stack of community classes where you can connect with like-minded balance-chasers and breathe in the fresh air together. 

Ready to get amongst it? Dog walk, trail run, ski trip and beyond, find your insulation and be prepped for any situation with Kathmandu's new winter range

Editor’s note: this article was produced in partnership with Kathmandu. Thank you for supporting the partners who make Urban List possible. To read our editorial policy, click here.

Images: Urban List, Supplied 

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