After a full year of off-and-on lockdowns and remote work stints, getting outside is more important than ever. Research from the University of Alabama suggests that spending just 20 minutes outside in a park will make you feel happier. Sunshine, fresh air, and exercise will do wonders for your physical and mental health as you rebound from these tough times.
How to Get Yourself Outside More
Don’t sweat it if you’re still struggling to get outside. These suggestions will help you take the first couple of steps so you can make outdoor living an integral part of your life once again:
Utilize Work Breaks
Unless you have a job with strange hours and responsibilities, you’ll have a couple of 15-minute breaks and time for lunch every day. If the rest of your schedule is so jam-packed that you can’t fit in time to go outside, this will be your best shot.
If you plan on going out to eat for lunch, look for a restaurant within walking distance. To fill a 15-minute gap, invite a co-worker to go on a short walk with you for some team bonding. This could even turn into a team tradition that’s included in everyone’s online calendar.
Exercise in the Morning
By prioritizing morning exercise, you’re certain to get some outdoor time into your schedule. The benefits of exercise are well-known, attributing to better physical and mental health and increased productivity.
Morning exercise ensures you make time in your day to get outside. Trying to work out after a long day in the office can be tough, making exercise easy to procrastinate. Exercising first thing each day will also set up a great morning routine for you to get accustomed to.
Of course, you should exercise when it suits you best. Morning happens to be one of the easiest times to get started, even if you snooze your alarm the first few mornings you try. Try going on a morning jog or taking a yoga mat to your back porch.
Move Activities Outdoors
What daily activities can you complete outside? See what you can get done outdoors to make sure you’re getting some sun and fresh air. You might even find that you enjoy these activities more outside than you did inside.
If you spend a lot of time on the phone, take your calls outside. If you’re a person that feels the need to pace while they’re on the phone, you’ll have plenty of room to walk about. If WiFi reaches a shady spot outside, you can catch up on emails or do some typing on a laptop outdoors.
Even some recreational activities can be moved outside. Reading a book, watching TV, or playing a handheld video game can all be done outside your house. You’ll be able to enjoy the same relaxation and feel healthier while doing it.
Schedule Outdoor Events
You can attend so many outdoor events if you make room for them in your Calendar. A set plan is much more effective at getting you outside than wishful thinking.
Look around your community for events you can add to your schedule. A local 5k fun run might be supporting a noble cause and motivate you to get out and run more. Swap meets, concerts, and parades will all make fine additions to your Calendar and become fond outdoor memories.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Need a new hobby to fill the blank spaces in your Calendar? Look for something you can do outside. Pursuing this new hobby will draw you outdoors and help you develop a new skill while you’re at it.
There are plenty of outdoor activities you can pick up, including:
All of these activities you can do by yourself but are even more enjoyable with others. If you ever want to spend some time outdoors with family and friends, coordinate with them using your Calendar. Share events and scheduling links to get on the same page and enjoy some outdoor activities together.
Become a Kid Again
Remember when you were a kid and you’d play outside until dark? It was so easy back then. Perhaps the best strategy for getting you back outside again is to revert to your child-like ways just for a moment.
What was it that brought you outside so much as a kid? Perhaps it was adventuring the woods near your house or finding cool rocks by the side of the road. Look for those little bits of joy that come from the outdoors and you’ll feel decades younger.
Plan a Project
If you own property, there’s always work to be done. Add projects to your Calendar and you’ll always have something to do outside. While it may be hard work, the result will always be rewarding.
Lawn care will always need attention in the spring and summer months. Create a lawn mowing schedule in your Calendar and make reminders to check on any flowers or plants you have growing on your property. You can also make time for other projects such as painting the fence, trimming bushes, or spraying weed killer on the driveway.
You won’t become Meriwether Lewis overnight, but by using your Calendar, you’ll be able to make outdoor activities a habit rather than a sacrifice. Take note of the benefits you get from making time to get outside and use that as motivation to keep venturing out.
Image Credit: daniel reche; pexels; thank you!