If you’ve heard of it, you’ll know Ecotherapy is a word that keeps popping up more and more in everyday life. There’s not one definition for ecotherapy but it’s often used to describe a regular, group activity led by a professional in an outdoor setting. The thought behind this is that practicing relaxing and mentally stimulating activities in a green setting allows you to connect with nature and forget the stresses of modern life. But you don’t need to join a programme to get the positive mental and physical health benefits! It’s actually way easier than you think – you probably already do some without realising!
Here at Oliver’s Travels, we’re all about finding new ways to improve our health and wellbeing while being as green as we can. That’s why we’ve compiled our favourite examples of ecotherapy that you can do alone or with friends so you can get that zen feeling.
Gardening and horticulture
It’s no secret that gardening is a great way to relax. There’s something seriously satisfying about getting your hands dirty to grow delicious produce (and tucking into a home-grown salad is definitely more rewarding than popping to Sainsburys). But did you know gardening also has great mental and physical health benefits? Not only is the physical exercise a good way to keep active but connecting with nature in this way can actually improve your memory and even your intellect – you’ll learn new skills and relearn how to do things that you used to know. No matter your age, this green fingered hobby is super rewarding to do alone or with friends or family members. So whether you join a community garden and get involved in the group spirit, spend an hour a week tending to the flowers in your garden or take the little ones to help you pick the strawberries at your allotment, you’ll feel a lot better for it.
Our top pick for a villa with a vegetable garden:
Villa Vlasio | Sleeps 8-10 | Price from £38pppn ($49pppn)*
Ever felt like you just needed to get outdoors? The fresh air and green setting is not only thoroughly enjoyable but it’s a great way to have a break from the digital world. By exposing yourself to nature, you can get back to basics and improve your mindset. Rather than being cooped up indoors, you allow yourself to be exposed to natural light patterns and fresh air which can make you feel more relaxed instantly. It may take up to three days for your brain to rest and reboot enough to function optimally but unfortunately, it’s not always possible for us to give up technology for three days on a regular basis. However, the next best thing is to dedicate a certain amount of time a week to outdoor activities. Whether you take time to meditate alone, do some outdoor painting or go for a walk with your partner, your brain will thank you for it. Group activities can also be really beneficial as socialising in nature helps create lasting bonds with people. Why not plan a camping trip, join a Sunday league or explore national parks with friends?
Our top pick for a villa immersed in nature:
The Moat House| Sleeps 12 | Price from £108pppn ($149pppn)*
There’s nothing like our furry friends, right? Coming home after a long day to be welcomed by your excited pooch is one of the best feelings in the world. So it’s not surprising that it’s been proven that spending time with animals can help improve your mental health and general well-being. This connection with nature is a judgement free zone, away from the stresses and pressures of human life, and can leave people feeling happier and more positive. Taking time out of your day to walk the dog or play with your cat can have an extremely calming effect. But if you don’t own a pet, don’t worry. Volunteering at an animal sanctuary, visiting a petting zoo or taking up horse riding classes can all reap the same benefits, especially if done regularly!
Our top pick for a villa that offers horse-riding:
Chateau Des Dynasties | Sleeps 14-16 | Price from £38pppn ($49pppn)*
Now this is a phrase that you may never have heard of but ‘Blue Mindfulness’ is something that people are swearing by. It refers to activities spent in water such as swimming, surfing and sailing. This is based on the idea that water has the power to soothe and calm us while we care for our planet, ultimately making us feel more content and at one with nature. Blue Mindfulness is best achieved through contact with natural water such as wild swimming or watersports set out at sea. Although these are a great holiday activity, those of us that don’t live by the sea can still achieve similar results by swimming in open air pools such as lidos.
Our top pick for a villa with private sea access:
Villa Avgusta | Sleeps 10| Price from £57pppn ($82pppn)*
*Prices correct at time of publishing
Now you’ve seen our top examples of ecotherapy, why not check out our holiday homes? We have some amazing UK holiday homes and villas in Europe that make the perfect spot for some ecotherapy. If you’re not sure where to pick, have a look at our outdoor pursuits page or contact our concierge service for a helping hand.