We are in mid-November. The weather is somewhere between chilly and cold, the trees are bare, and snow is a topic of discussion. While it is tempting to snuggle deep into the couch, binge watch some shows, and eat carbs (and only carbs), I beg of you: Go Outside.
I’m not asking for a major commitment. I’m not asking you to train for a marathon, pedal into the wind, or make an elaborate snow castle. I’m asking you to please tend to your mental health by getting a few minutes (10-20 minutes?) a day of outside time. Take your dog for a walk. Better yet, take your neighbor’s dog for a walk (random act of kindness!) or shovel their sidewalk. Get some fresh air, some sunshine, and a boost in mood.
Research indicates that outside time helps with a variety of things: lowering your blood pressure, improving your mood, and increasing Vitamin D. Going outside with a pal introduces a social component (yay for friends!) and also increases accountability.
Need some ideas about increasing outside time? I’ve got you covered!
- Walk around your block a couple of times.
- Shovel some additional paths.
- No snow? Rake those leaves that are hanging around.
- Grab some chalk and write a friendship note for your neighbor.
- Walk your errands (swing by the post office, the bank, or the library on foot).
- If you must drive, park at the FAR end of the parking lot for once.
- Walk to get coffee or tea. Bring a friend.
- Check out the lights in the trees.
- Grab your camera and snap some pics. Bonus points if you post your pics on social media, but nothing else about your life that day.
- Volunteer at a shelter to walk a dog or two.
- Run errands for your elderly/injured/new parent neighbor.
- Challenge yourself to get outside daily and track your progress on a calendar or an app.
I promise, outside time pays dividends. Like the old commercial says, “Try it. You’ll like it.”
Special thanks to my child, who suggested this topic. I was whining, “What should I write about?” and she said, “Well, you are always telling me to go.outside. So maybe that?”