Being a better you starts with feeling anchored and clear-minded, and studies show we can get this clarity from spending time outdoors. People tend to complicate this and excuse themselves from the idea as life speeds by, but there are many easy ways for anyone to spend a bit more time outside. I compiled a few that have proven feasible to implement.
Put it in your schedule
Considering that only half of us keep a day to day calendar, this one will look different for everyone but is one of the best tools to help prioritize this intention. When I plan a camping or hiking trip, I will write it in my planner so I can prepare leading up to it because it honestly wouldn’t happen otherwise. An empty weekend rarely rolls around, so don’t put the pressure on yourself to “get outside when you have time”- make time!
Move after dinner
By the end of the day, it can be easy to eat dinner and settle into the couch- especially during the cold months when the dark falls earlier. I always remind myself in this situation of Newton’s first law of motion- things in motion tend to stay in motion, while things at rest tend to stay at rest. Disrupting this routine is the hard part that takes energy- then it’s easy! Ending your day by walking around your neighborhood, town, or a park can help our mind-body-spirit connection and health. Meghan Rabbitt from prevention.com tried walking for 15 minutes after dinner every night and noticed many benefits including a drop in wine consumption, better sleep, and healthier digestion.
Try walking meetings
Walking meetings are a great way to continue being productive and focused while prioritizing time spent outdoors. It may seem counter-culture at first, but in my experience, it is refreshing for both people to switch up their environments and get inspired. I find that this works best in the afternoons and for more casual brainstorming between two people. One of my favorite podcasts and blogs, Good Life Project, published a piece asking the question, “Is Creativity Tied to Your Biological Clock?”. They talked about how studies show that scheduling your day around the way your mind works best- doing your analytical work in the morning and more creative projects in the afternoon increase productivity.
Start a garden
Going outside does not mean constantly summiting mountains or foraging in the middle of the woods. Cleaning up your yard, or starting a garden, is a simple way to spend time outside without leaving your comfort zone and can be a natural next step for someone who prefers staying at home.
Don’t overthink it- just do it
When I consistently get outside, it’s usually because I don’t give myself the few seconds to weigh the pros and cons of going. I just go for it. We can make excuses and talk ourselves out of things that are healthy for us when we allow it to be an option, but it’s much easier to say yes to when it is a simple habit. There is a fine line here- it’s always important to listen to your body, but I never find myself regretting deciding to get outdoors once I am in motion.
Now that you have some ideas, go into 2020 with an open mind and eager intention. Don’t necessarily set a strict News Years Resolution, as they often set us up for failure because we do not consider the unknown valleys of life. Instead, try setting an intention to get outdoors more often and to look at each day as a series of choices. As I mentioned in another blog, “A resolution is a decision to do or not to do something, but an intention creates purpose and gives us direction.”
Cheers to a healthier and happier you!