October 12, 2021 5 min read
Maybe it's a trope, but modern life is busy. Between managing your household (whether that includes just your house plants or 5 kids and 2 dogs), working, and whatever other commitments you have, making the time to get outside can feel like a weekend-only luxury. We're here to show you how you can get outside time every day, even on a busy schedule, and even in inclement weather.
Unless you live in a different dimension from the rest of us, your day has only 24 hours, and 8 hours of that should be reserved for sleep and rejuvenation. Since there is only so much time in a given day, you can't expect to actually add time. The secret to "making time" is slowing down and assessing your priorities.
If you're feeling constantly busy, hit the pause button and think about where all your time is going. Make a list of how you spent the last day, or if you can remember, the moments you spent in the previous days. Which of those things really need to be done? Why? What would happen if you didn't do them?
Can't carve out time to think about your time? Try instead to reflect on your time just before bed, as you're drifting off to sleep, or in the shower, or over your morning coffee. The same questions apply: what is really important? Why is it important? What would happen if you did something else instead?
For some of us, that might mean accepting the dishes in the sink longer than we'd like, or removing instagram from our phone. Maybe it means a shower every other day, or waking up 30 minutes earlier, or going to bed 30 minutes later. In order to make time, you may have to stop doing one thing to start doing another.
If your goal is to just be outside more, we have some creative ways to squeeze it in. While assessing your priorities is always worth it, you may not have to give something up to get some extra fresh air.
We may be biased: but switching the car for your bike to commute into work is a great way to get more time outside. Don't let the rain or the turn of the seasons stop you: the right gear keeps that commute enjoyable.
Similarly, if you don't have a bike and public transit is an option: take the bus or the train, but get on a stop later or get off a stop earlier.
Don't want to take a walk or a run in your neighborhood? Take the bus or a ride to a different neighborhood, and take a stroll there. Changing up the scenery, or making a game of checking out all of the neighborhoods around you can make getting outside more compelling.
Walk the dog more, or get a dog. If you already have a pup, giving it an extra stroll around the neighborhood will leave you both feeling great. Don't have a dog? A furry companion will bring a lot of joy to your life, but also will make sure you get regular time outside.
Going shopping? Take a quick walk around the block before you go into the store.
Try going outside at night instead: make a point to stargaze before bed. Being outside doesn't have to be reserved for the sunlight hours. If you live in a place where it's safe to do so, go for a run or a ride after the sun sets. Just be sure you are visible to road traffic (link to visibility gear).
Gardening is a great way to make sure you get outside time every day. Whether it's just flowers in pots, or a whole pumpkin patch, having plants that rely on your attention will ensure that you get outside and get some fresh air more frequently.
At lunchtime, instead of sitting still eating your lunch in the break room or in your car, take a walk! Grab some food that you can hold in your hand, and eat while you're moving. Or, have a picnic in a nearby park.
Change up where you do things, like for example, if you normally have a morning coffee: have it outside. Do you have a meeting with somebody? Why not take that meeting outside and take a walk? There are many simple activities that could be done outside instead of inside.
Change your perspective: when you would normally cancel a hike, run, or ride because of inclement weather, go anyway! As long as the weather isn't dangerous, you'll encounter your environment in a new way, and it's likely that there will be less people around making your connection with nature a little easier.
Some wildlife prefers to be active when it's rainy, some smells are only really noticeable when it's super windy. Streams may flow differently, trees' movement changes; all kinds of different experiences wait within different weather. We're firm believers in enjoying the outdoors no matter what the weather is doing.
If being outside more is important to you, make it a regular part of your life. Transform your desire to be outside from a to-do item into a routine habit. Some of our suggestions above are easy swaps for things you may already be doing: but there are other ways to help make a new activity a permanent part of your life.
Build a small ritual around your activity. The power of ritualization has been utilized by humans across time and cultures. Tradition leaves a powerful imprint on the mind, and allows actions to become second nature (pun intended).
Don't go it alone: telling others about your intention to start a new habit helps you hold yourself accountable. Likewise, getting someone else to join you makes it more likely you'll continue to do it.
Consistency is important to forming a habit as well: try to do things at the same regular interval, the same way, in order to make it stick.
We don't have all the answers, and we're always learning and trying new things to enjoy nature more. We want to hear what has worked for you! Share your ideas and tips with on social. We'll see you outside.
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