Beat Blue Monday and reconnect with nature

Posted on 12/01/2017

Thanks to the post-Christmas blues, cold weather and short days, the third Monday of January has been crowned ‘Blue Monday’. According to life coach and happiness consultant, Cliff Arnall, it’s a combination of debt level, weather conditions, time since Christmas and failing our new year’s resolutions that cause this day to be the most ‘depressing’.

Walking and hiking are known to be great for your health – mind and body. Walking boosts your mood, releasing endorphins and reducing stress. “The feeling of interacting with the world, of achieving victory over the challenges set by its landscapes, is a warm bubble bath to the sore subconscious,” says writer Will Storr in his article about the healing power of the ramble.

Take a look at our top tips to start getting outdoors this month and check out our selection of our top hiking routes across the world to start your journey to a brighter Monday!

Our top tips:

  • Build it up slowly. To begin with, walk short routes and don’t overdo it. Gradually increase your pace and the length of your walk each day, and always cool down with a stretch.
  • Walking is great because you can take part on your own or in a group. Take a peaceful walk and rejuvenate your mind, or find a local walking or rambling group to meet new people to enjoy the outdoors with.
  • Mix it up! Search for new routes in your area using the Discovery tab in ViewRanger – the change of scenery will make the walk feel like a fresh start.
  • Set yourself a challenge: our 2017 Outdoor Challenges are to inspire you to get outdoors. Just pick your favourite activity from walking, cycling or running, select the number of miles you think you can cover over the next 12 months and ViewRanger will track your progress. Find out more here.
  • Use your walk for mindfulness – regulate your breathing and clear your thoughts, and use the time to reconnect with nature and yourself. Use these tips for walking meditation and find more reasons to try Mindful Walking.

 

Our top routes:

wales.jpg1. Lake Bala, Gwynedd, Wales (FREE)

Type: Walking
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 8.34 miles
By BBC Countryfile Magazine

Llyn Tegid - Lake Bala in English - is the largest natural lake in Wales. Enjoy this hilly hike around the lake and take in the beauty of the hazy mountains surrounding it, then hire a boat, kayak or paddle-board from the sailing clubs to make your way back.

Best for: A refreshing walk
Download this route here

 

sequoia park us.jpg2. Sequoia National Park: Giant Forest Loop, California, US (FREE)

Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Medium
Length: 7.07 miles
By Backpacker Magazine

This rolling, 7-mile hike travels through some of the largest trees on earth, including the super-sized General Sherman, the largest tree in the world by volume. It will help you clear your head while you marvel at the enormity of nature.

Best for: Reconnecting with nature
Download this route here

 

ireland.jpg3. On the High Passes above Glenmalure, Wicklow, Ireland (FREE)

Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Medium
Length: 11.39 miles
By Walking World Ireland

Explore a valley less travelled with this bracing hike in Wicklow Mountains National Park, taking in the wilderness of the northern peaks and their history and folklore.

Best for: A long, quiet hike
Download this route here

 

NYC us.jpg4. New York City: New York Botanical Gardens, US (FREE)

Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Medium
Length: 4.1 miles
By Backpacker Magazine

Take a break from the city, within the city. Experience chromatic rose gardens, exotic conifers, and old-growth forest on the most beautiful 4-mile walk in New York City.

Best for: Nature lovers
Download this route here

 

scotland.JPG5. Camus o’May Pinewood Trail, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (£)

Type: Walking
Difficulty: Medium
Length: 2.69 miles
By Walkhighlands

This is the longest of three circular waymarked trails through the pinewoods at Camus o' May. Get lost in nature with a walk that offers views up Deeside, passes two attractive forest lochans and offers the chance to spot woodland wildlife.

Best for: A woodland wander
Download this route here

 

france.jpg6. Quatre Lacs, France (€)

Type: Walking
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 6.69 miles
By Walkingworld Ltd

A lovely walk at any time of year which combines lakes and views! Bring a picnic and relax peacefully by the lake.

Best for: A countryside walk
Download this route here

 

dartmoor.JPG7. Sittaford Tor, Dartmoor, UK (FREE)

Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Medium
Length: 7.31 miles
By Gareth Jones

Enjoy a short hike via the stone circle at Grey Wethers, right in the heart of Dartmoor Forest. Pick a day with good weather and you could take a peek at the calming waterfalls.

Best for: Cool and calming waterfalls
Download this route here

 

colorado.jpg8. Colorado Springs: Waldo Canyon Loop, US (FREE)

Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Medium
Length: 5.49 miles
By Backpacker Magazine

Get your heart pumping and don't forget the camera: This scenic 7.1-mile loop in Pike National Forest serves up short climbs, fast descents, and fine views of Pikes Peak.

Best for: Spectacular trailside views
Download this route here

 

lakedistrict.jpg9. Julia Bradbury’s Wainwright Walk: Pillar, UK (FREE)

Type: Walking
Difficulty: Medium
Length: 2.28 miles
By Julia Bradbury

Follow in Julia’s footsteps with her Pillar walk, as seen in her television series Wainwright Walks. Discover why Wainwright said Pillar had ‘the most handsome crag in Lakeland,’ and experience the breath-taking views for yourself.

Best for: A challenging walk with rewarding views
Download this route here

 

yellowstone us.jpg10. Yellowstone National Park: Ribbon Lake via Clear Lake, Wyoming, US (FREE)

Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Medium
Length: 6.74 miles
By Backpacker Magazine

Make a weekend of it: Link two backcountry lakes, a plummeting waterfall, and a billowing fumarole on this 6.7-mile loop near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Get your overnight camping permit ready, because this route is perfect for an easy overnighter.

Best for: Getting away from it all
Download this route here
 

germany.jpg11. Rundweg um Vorwald, Germany (FREE)

Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 5.31 miles
By Tourismus Schmallenberger Sauerland

Boost your mood with flora and fauna: This relaxing hike takes you through the nature and forest reserve, where you’ll see many different species of plant.

Best for: Getting back to nature
Download this route here

 

norway.jpg12. Bergen – Mount Fløyen, Norway (kr)

Type: Walking
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 5 miles
By Walkingworld Ltd

Fløyen is one of the seven mountains surrounding the historic port of Bergen. A funicular railway whisks you 320m to the top for spectacular views across the city, fjords and islands. A good network of trails leads to a landscape of lakes and woods and soon leaves the crowds behind.

Best for: Mountain views
Download this route here

australia.jpg13. The Spit to Manly Walk: a Sydney Classic, Australia ($)

Type: Walking
Difficulty: Medium
Length: 5.69 miles
By Walkingworld Ltd

The walk from Spit Bridge to Manly is a Sydney classic, beloved of Sydneysiders. It illustrates that even in the heart of a big city there is still much natural beauty to admire. It is widely seen as one of the best walks in Sydney.

Best for: Beach views
Download this route here

 

Do you have any route recommendations, or did you try out one of these routes? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!



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