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12 Ways To Live Well & Boost Your Wellbeing In Scotland

Person stands in the middle of a forest path with autumn leaves in Den of Alyth

Den of Alyth

For all of us, factoring in a bit of zen time is the key to finding balance and the perfect way to rest, recharge and re-energise. From exercise in the fresh air to soul-searching in amongst our landscapes, you’ll find mindfulness in Scotland.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness can look different on everyone but, simply put, it is the practice of being in the moment and being aware of what you’re sensing and feeling. There are a number of ways you can do this, including switching off your phone for some digital detoxing, trying to tune into your peaceful surrounding to meditate, or even doing some deep, calm breathing techniques, maybe in the tranquility of Scotland’s landscapes.

Here are some ways you can start your mindfulness and wellbeing journey in Scotland:

1. Eat some healthy local produce

Cooking with ingredients you’ve picked or grown yourself is an unbeatable feeling! If you’ve been busy making wild garlic pesto or if your windowsill fresh herbs are flourishing, then congratulations! Why not venture out to do some foraging in your area or make some fresh purchases at local markets and outdoor venues?

Find out more about booking a course with Wildwood Bushcraft for a foraging adventure 

2. Go for an invigorating beach run or coastal wander

Our country is wrapped in hundreds of miles of coastline and if you’re reading this in Scotland, it’s quite possible you live close to some of it. Pick up the pace with a walk or jog along one of our beautiful beaches. Why not choose a beach or coastal stroll that you’ve never done before? Or perhaps a quiet spot away from the crowds so you can have the whole stretch of sand to yourself.

Find our more about beaches around Scotland

3. Practice the art of yoga

A woman holds a yoga pose on the edge of Loch Faskally

Loch Faskally, Perthshire

Let your senses enjoy the sights, sounds and state of calm beside a loch or waterfall. Take your mat and do some yoga practice or quiet mindful meditation in amongst nature. If you’ve been practicing inside your bedroom for the last few months, a beautiful Scottish view will be a refreshing new vantage point.

Read more about some of our favourite viewpoints in the country

4. Pedal your way to a peaceful mind

If you have wheels, wanderlust and a free afternoon, a spellbinding cycle route is a fantastic way to explore Scotland. Just imagine the wind streaming through your hair as you whizz past new Scottish scenes, or work your way up challenging hills and along winding paths. Take a picnic and enjoy the feeling of freedom and rush of adrenaline.

Find out more about the best cycling routes in Scotland

5. Head to the forest for a moment of quiet

A Japanese-inspired phenomenon, “forest bathing” simply means sitting quietly in a forest or woodland and using your senses to mindfully immerse yourself in nature. Scottish woodlands are filled with character and our wise and wonderful trees promise to amaze! Among our trees, you can find yourself gazing up at towering giants exceeding 55 m or remnants of the ancient Caledonian Forest pine trees that date back hundreds of years.

Read more about relaxing forest bathing spots in Scotland

6. It will only go up from here

Is it time for your big return to the hills? Brush the dust off those hiking boots and spend a day out in the fresh air. Why not tick a Corbett, Munro or Graham off your summer ambitions list?

Visit our page on walking in Scotland to get inspired

7. Discover the joys of wild swimming

Looking down from a hill onto Cullykhan Bay where a group of people are wildswimming

Wild Swimming, Cullykhan bay © VisitScotland / Discover Fraserburgh / Damian Shields

Fancy a dip? Go for a swim in one of our sheltered lochs – wild swimming is one of the best ways to stay in shape. There are many smaller, sheltered lochs or bays which are suitable, just be conscious of safety and go with a friend. Remember to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code guidance for swimming and when crossing land to reach the water, avoiding areas with water traffic or hydro schemes.

Read our list of wild swimming location recommendations and visit the Nature Scotland website to read the Scottish Outdoor Access Code guidance

8. Go where the wild things are

There’s no better stress buster than being at one with nature and getting to know our wildlife. Plan a visit to a wildlife park, see if you can identify some birdies on your walks, or watch out for marine mammals as you explore the coasts. Bottlenose dolphins, porpoises and orcas can be seen in several spots in the summer, if you’re lucky.

Find out more about Scotland’s unique wildlife

9. See Scotland through your camera lens  

Getting out and about with your camera or smartphone is a great way to get outside in the fresh air. There’s always something interesting to capture in Scotland, from a wildlife moment to skies of vivid colours. Try exploring your area first thing in the morning or during “golden hour” just before sunset to get a different shot for your camera roll.

Be inspired by some of our favourite photography moments with our blog on 12 Amazing Photos of Scotland’s Coasts

10. Introducing… your inner artiste

Take your sketchbook or canvas outdoors and interpret Scotland in your own artistic style! Scotland is your perfect muse, with moody landscapes or quirky buildings waiting to grace the pages of your sketchpad. Take your new hobby to the next level and plan a painting holiday or purchase a piece of Scottish art, or admire some of Scotland’s must-see artworks inside galleries across the country.

Read our list of must-see artworks in Scotland to get inspired

11. Reconnect with the land at a Scottish farm

Ah yes, the Scottish countryside! There’s plenty to do at farms across the country, with fruit-picking, Highland coo spotting, farm tours and all sorts of amazing produce to purchase, not to mention the fresh country air to make you feel revitalised!

Find more about farm experiences to enjoy

12. Stay at a Peaceful Retreat

Searching for a detox retreat? Retreat Scotland invites you for a unique getaway to relax and de-stress your mind, body and soul. Located in Drymen, near Loch Lomond, it is the first wellness retreat village of its kind in Scotland. Boost your energy levels and establish new healthy habits with its range of yoga and fitness classes, embrace the fresh air on a mountain hike and get ready to line your stomach with healthy superfoods including vegetarian stews, soups and smoothies. Retire for the evening in one of the comfortable bunk rooms or feel like a pampered pooch in the spa hotel.

Find out more about a stay at Retreat Scotland

When you’re out and about, please remember to follow the outdoor access guidelines. Please always be a responsible visitor and leave no trace behind.

Read our guide on safety outdoors in Scotland to find out more