Winter is the season of the year when many people begin spending most of their time indoors. You’ll want to get outdoors this winter to boost your productivity. Consistently being indoors has the effect of blending days together. The blending of days isn’t mentally healthy for anyone — so let’s mix it up a little by adding outdoor activities to our Calendar.
This Winter Boost Your Productivity With Outdoor Activities
It’s much harder to feel like your life provides the variation needed and desired when you stay inside all of the time. Even a quick “nippy-cold-walk” at lunch will boost your productivity and confidence for the long-haul afternoon. You’ll want these outdoor breaks for that very reason and there are plenty of exciting things to do outside that will help clear your head. Here are four outdoor activities to treat yourself to when your motivation and productivity are low.
1. Go for a Mindful Stroll
When you find yourself stuck in a confusing loop of working without motivation, take a walk outside to refresh yourself. While it can be painfully cold outside, it will actually help feel that cold. Sufficient clothing will keep you comfortable as the breeze hits your face, making it easier to focus your mind on the walk itself. The outdoors provides a natural separation from work indoors. Focus on what’s physically ahead of you for the best results.
This change in environment, this combination of low temperature, fresh air, natural sound, and sunlight, puts you in a different mindset than the one you’re working with indoors. It allows you to think of other things, to look at the world outside of your work, and to experience it authentically. So grab someone from the office to walk with for a refreshing walk-talk, or set aside a permanent time to walk around once a day to break up the monotony of being at your desk.
2. Immerse Yourself in Nature-Based Activities
Take a pilgrimage to the next level by seeking out activities designed for nature like hiking or skiing on the weekend. You can, for example, trek out into the forest away from town for a few hours and be fully separated from the work that’s stressing you out. Skiing and hiking are perfect for solitude if you’re overwhelmed by your relationships at home or work.
If water doesn’t freeze over in your area, rent a rowboat and set out into the water for some time alone. Still, it’s exciting to do these things with friends or family too, and they are always welcome to join if that works for you.
You may not be the kind of person who needs solitude for you to recharge, so bring along everyone you want to stay in touch with. Getting out in nature is about getting your energy back however you see fit. Understand that everybody is different, and give yourself time to figure out what’s best for you.
Remember that you don’t have to bring people along if it stresses you. Instead, being alone with your thoughts gives you the chance to renew yourself — and that’s what you’ll want for higher productivity.
3. Return to Your Childhood
When you’re immersed in work for any period of time, it’s essential to fit in exercise for both your physical and mental health. But structured exercise can easily feel like another chore and cause you more stress in the long run. Instead, make your nature exercise something to look forward to — in this case, try stretching the meaning of the word “exercise” as much as you want. Growing up in a warm or cold climate, you’ll surely remember how winded you’d be coming in after playing in the ocean or snow all day. You felt exhausted — and it was great. Think “kid” again, and be that kid.
Snowy days (well, ocean days, too — I’ve had both) are perfect for unstructured exercise. Building a snowman (or woman) is a blast, though I’d rather not do most activities alone — how about you? Instead, explore the neighborhood, and start a snowball fight — it’s an excellent way to burn energy with the snow bearing down on you. Neighbors may think you’re nuts, but that is invigorating too.
Then, you can come back inside and settle back in with a warm cup of tea with a renewed sense of motivation. At the very least, the contrasting environments and mindsets are great for getting away from the more structured work. You’ll come back with renewed focus, and you can work longer, too.
4. Head for the Mountains to Boost Your Productivity
Sometimes longer breaks are needed after a long work week — especially if you have a family with their own responsibilities. Consider a more extended, more involved activity that you can get excited about, like sledding, skiing, or snowboarding. Drive out from the home to find the best hill to barrel down or the closest mountain resort to dust off those skis and relax your brain. Watch for freebies — like Tuesday, ladies’ night at the local ski resort is fun — you’ll spring out of bed the following day with motivation.
It sounds counterintuitive to go so far from work to be more productive but in fact, the opposite is true — you need this time to recharge.
A nice break in the great outdoors will put a spring in your step — and make it much easier to focus at work and get in the zone. It also will allow you to partake in hobbies that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate in — benefitting both sides of the spectrum. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes.
Taking a break where, when, and how you want it will help you recharge. And, yes, if you haven’t taken this type of time for yourself in a while — you may be a little stiff (okay, really stiff). But it feels so good — and you’ll feel alive. Working too much (without a break) makes Jill a dull girl.
Trade your work shoes for snow boots, and they’ll be much more comfortable when you return.
Image Credit: Erik Mclean; Pexels; Thank you