Every time I go home to visit my family in Florida, the beach is my must-stop for a full mind-body reset. The soft, white sand (with occasional dips in the cool water) has always served as my happy place, where personal stress, work to-do’s, and essentially all my real-world issues simply—and quite literally, because #Florida—melt away.
“Being in nature or anywhere outside where there is fresh air will always bring benefits for a person’s well-being,” says clinical psychologist Aura Priscel De Los Santos. Even if you despise the way sand sticks to your body or you’re not near a beach, prioritizing time in nature—even if that means a walk around your block—is still an effective component of self care (the expert says so).
“When we leave home and decide to go for a walk, we are doing activities that positively influence our body, such as giving oxygen to the brain, exercising, seeing a different panorama, or simply disconnecting from a situation that generates stress,” says De Los Santos. After a year of cabin fever, she adds, going outside is basically medicine for your mind.
“Mental fatigue that the population has experienced has shown the importance of giving the mind a break, disconnecting, doing different things, and simply being able to breathe and enjoy the moment for a moment,” she says. This feeling of letting go and just being is exactly what the beach does for me.
And the experience is made all the better by having snacks and bevs on hand to hydrate and power you through your day. With 20 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, and no artificial flavors, EVOLVE®️ Plant Protein Shakes are a super easy and delicious way to keep your energy up (aka toes in the sand).
Still need convincing on making the beach—or nature, really—your personal escape for daily self care? We got the rest of the expert scoop from De Los Santos, so you can start reconnecting and feeling like yourself by simply stepping outside.
Keep scrolling for 3 psychologist-approved reasons the beach makes the perfect well-being happy place.
1. The beach can help you disconnect and recharge
“Going to your happy place is being in that space that gives you the security and well-being you are looking for,” De Los Santos says. “Being outside is a symbol of freedom, of being able to move, appreciating the colors of nature, feeling a breath, and disconnecting from all situations that generate stress and anxiety.”
For me, it’s grabbing my chair, a book, and plopping down a few yards from the waves. How can you pay attention to your swamped work calendar or respond yes to dinner plans when you’re fully immersed in your favorite piece of nature? I forget to check my phone *entirely* when I’m toes-deep in the sand, and I consider that a major (disconnecting!) win.
2. The beach helps you take on a “vacation” mindset
You know how when you’re about to go on a weekend getaway, nearly nothing can bother you? That’s what the beach does for me. De Los Santos echoes that since the beach is related to rest and overall peace and quiet, adopting a relaxing vacay point of view totally makes sense.
Another way to punch up the vacation mood (even if you’re in your local park, and not the beach) is to stock your bag with eats and drinks, like the EVOLVE®️ Plant Protein Shakes I mentioned previously—which come in delicious Berry Medley, Double Chocolate, Vanilla Bean and Café Mocha flavors—so you’re feeling empowered all day long.
3. The mental reset can help you handle tough situations
When you’re feeling down or not like yourself, it’s easier to lash out or snap back at people and situations you maybe ordinarily wouldn’t. According to De Los Santos since being in your happy place generates such a feel-good emotional response, you’ll be able to act and respond better (aka calmer) in more stressful scenarios that come up in life. Plus, De Los Santos says spending time outside can also help with sleep, creativity, and immune response.
So even if you don’t have access to a beach right now, you can still reap all the feel-good benefits by heading out on a hike, small walk around the block, or just your backyard—because we *all* could use time to disconnect, recharge, and feel like our best selves.
Photo: Stocksy/Michela Ravasio