A Dutch Idea May Ease Stress, Help Mood This Fall

Our team is always open to trying new things to fight stress and boost our mood. And, we’re eager to give you ideas as well. Even for the most even keeled people, 2020 has been a rough year. Between having to be parted from family, regulations about activities, hassles about groceries, constantly changing recommendations and everything else on the news, everyone is feeling frayed around the edges.

In the spring we wrote about how to celebrate the Danish “hygge” concept. Hygge is an idea of feeling cozy without necessarily being warm. We shared our ideas for how to capture the feeling while alone in warm weather without spending money. Frequently, ideas for destressing cost money — which causes a new type of stress!

Today, we are looking at a totally free way to destress. The Dutch have a concept called “Uitwaaien.” It’s not as well known as hygge. But, unlike trying to capture a feeling, it’s an actual practice: going outside in the wind. The Dutch believe that spending time outside in blustery conditions will help you.

Uitaaien “literally translates to ‘outblowing,’” explains Caitlin Meyer, a lecturer at the Univ. of Amsterdam’s Department of Dutch Linguistics. “It’s basically the activity of spending time in the wind, usually by going for a walk or a bike ride. Uitwaaien is something you do to clear your mind and feel refreshed — out with the bad air, in with the good. It’s seen as a pleasant, easy, and relaxing experience — a way to destress or escape from daily life.”  

Research has shown that spending time in nature cuts depression and stress and being out in daylight helps sleeping patterns. So, the practice has root in science. Another part of it might be, according to researcher that antibacterial and antimicrobial substances released from plants and trees in the air help your immune system. The particles have been shown to improve mood, aid relaxation, lower stress hormones and boost the immune system. But the idea of the blowing out “bad air” is more mental. However, mentally clearing yourself is just as important and has physical impacts.

As blustery weather is setting in around the country, now is the perfect time to get outside. More and more research is showing that being outside is the safest way to see people and the CDC believes that stagnant air poses a threat our health. A windy walk might be safer. You can bring a cup of tea in a cover mug if it’s chilly, and enjoy being outside alone or with company! It’s a good way to clear your head and blow out your worries!
October 07, 2020
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