10 Ways to Grieve and Honor a Loved One During National Great Outdoors Month

Posted by: Erin Ward in Grief and Guidance, Memorialization | June 15
Since June is National Great Outdoors Month, we're sharing ways to grieve and honor a loved one while in nature. Spending time outside has many health benefits, and it’s important to take care of yourself while coping with a loss. Per WebMD, these are a few of the health benefits of spending time outdoors: 

  • Decrease anxiety 
  • Improve your mental and physical health 
  • Better regulate your sleep cycle 
  • Increase your concentration  
  • Boost your immune system 
Here are 10 ways to embrace National Great Outdoors Month while honoring your loved one and improving your health. Remember, everyone grieves in different ways, so figure out what activities fit your needs the most. 

Ways to Cope with a Loss During National Great Outdoors Month 

1. Walk or Bike on a Local Trail 

Walk, run, bike, rollerblade – any of these are all great ways to get outside and stay active. Go on your favorite local trail or explore a new one. Choose wherever makes you the most comfortable to decompress and reflect. This could be by yourself, with family and friends, with your dog, or whoever would be good company. 


2. Read or Listen to Music While Relaxing Outside 

If you prefer a more relaxing outdoor activity, reading and listening to music are both good options. Whether you’re lying on a blanket at the beach, setting up a hammock at the park, or sitting on your patio chair, choose a place where you’re most comfortable and feel most connected to your loved one. If you want some privacy, you may want to stick with your backyard, or go to the beach, park, or another public place at a less busy time of day. 


3. Join an Outdoor Sports League or Play Just for Fun 

Committing to an outdoor sports league is a great way to regularly get outside. This could be sand volleyball, golf, tennis, baseball, softball, or whatever outdoor sports leagues are in your area. If you can’t find a team in your area, you could try to start your own. See if family and friends would join, or you could all play just for fun instead. 


4. Try a New Hobby That You Can Do While Outside 

There are plenty of other hobbies you can do outside if you don’t want to play a sport. Whether you already have an activity in mind or want to try a new hobby, choose something that interests you. It doesn’t matter if you’re inexperienced as long as it brings you joy and comfort. 

Need some ideas? These are a few activities you could try:  

5. Go for a Swim or Boat Ride 

Do you enjoy being in the water? If so, you could choose an activity to go along with that. Gather your family and friends for a boat ride on the lake. Invite them over to swim in your pool. Rent a canoe or kayak. There are a lot of options to choose from. Whatever you choose, just make sure to be safe while doing it. 

Ways to Honor a Loved One During National Great Outdoors Month 

1. Hold a Releasing Ceremony to Honor Your Loved One 

A releasing ceremony is a beautiful way to honor a loved one. It’s a meaningful addition to a memorial service, or it’s just as powerful on its own. Whether it’s the anniversary of their passing, their birthday, or you’re just missing them a little extra, gather family and friends to share memories while participating in the releasing ceremony together. Just make sure to choose an environmentally friendly option, like blowing bubbles or lighting candles. This article by Parties with a Cause has even more eco-friendly releasing ceremony ideas. 


2. Visit Their Grave During National Great Outdoors Month 

National Great Outdoors Month is a good opportunity to visit your loved one’s gravesite or ash scattering location. You could clean up the area and remove debris, leave flowers, talk out loud to your loved one, sit and think about them, or whatever you wish. There’s no wrong answer. Do whatever feels right to you. 


3. Dedicate a Memorial Bench to Your Loved One 

Have you considered dedicating a memorial bench to your loved one? You could see if your family and friends want to go in on it together. It would be a meaningful place to visit and feel closer to your loved one. According to Verywell Health, the easiest way to find a local memorial bench program is to do a Google search for memorial bench programs near you. Another option is to purchase your own memorial bench or make one yourself to keep in your yard. 


4. Host a Picnic for Family and Friends to Share Stories and Memories 

Host a picnic with your family and friends to talk about what made your loved one special. Everyone could make one of your loved one’s favorite foods or something that reminds them of your loved one. Have everyone share the significance of what they made and how it pays tribute to your loved one. 


5. Plant a Garden in Memory of Your Loved One 

Start a garden in your loved one’s memory filled with their favorite flowers, fruit, and vegetables. If you don’t have the space for one, see if there’s a plot available at a local community garden. You also could have a memorial tree planted in their memory, so you’re honoring their life while also taking care of the environment. 

What other ways can you grieve and honor a loved one during National Great Outdoors Month? Share your ideas in the comments. 

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