Getting outdoors used to be scary for me, a former city girl through and through. Always wanting to be an outdoorsy gal, but the moment a bug even buzzed by me-not landing on me-just flying by to taunt me...I'd freak! Well, seven years ago we moved out West, waaay outside of the city where I was working and had built a life in, with the comfort of skyscrapers surrounding me. Anyhow, I've grown up since those days in the city and we made the move to the country and although the first year was very hard for me(it was truly culture shock and the commute buried my soul alive), I've learned to deeply appreciate and love the peace and slower pace of life that we've made here. We have roots in a small town with an incredible community to call home for our kids to remember the best years of their childhood. So...the outdoors and the glorious insects have grown on me. Fast forward to the current days...A friend of mine, Rachel, had recently posted on Facebook sharing her commitment to spending more time outdoors this year guided by 1000 Hours Outside. Taking the plunge, I committed to it as well and so far (only 13 days in) we couldn't imagine not being outside more. There is so much more to see and do in life than being stuck behind a desk, staying in the house all day, every day, in a job you detest, or doing anything that doesn't bring you joy. Getting outdoors and being immersed in nature quickens my spirit and awakens passions that have been suppressed. Breathing in the fresh air and taking in the views of wherever we visit brings me so much peace.
When I share with people that we're committing to 1,000 hours outdoors this year their mouths drop instantly. Thinking I'm insane for even aspiring to accomplish that. In the same conversation they calculate how many hours that would be on average per day...it's roughly 2.75 hours per day. However, I encourage you to not view it like that. You're not boxed in to being outdoors every single day for 2.75 hours per day. Maybe you spend a whole day at the lake, or go on a camping trip and are literally living and sleeping outdoors for a whole weekend or even a week, or going skiing, having lunch with a friend on the patio, or going on a bookcation for a weekend and are able to sit outside all day reading an incredible book (or two), or maybe work is mobile for you and you are able to sit outdoors on a patio or lay out a blanket at the park while working, or better yet-if you enjoy exercising, instead of doing your workout indoors, simply take it outdoors. There are so many creative ways to get outdoors without it seeming like a chore or a bore. Really, it's exciting to think about and it gets you out of your normal, possibly mundane, routine. The benefits of getting outdoors more far outweigh the cons. There have been studies completed proving that being outdoors makes you healthier and happier.
Our daughter isn't as much of an outdoorsy gal, unless we're getting on the road to overland and camp somewhere. She's just not into being outdoors if it's just to go to the park or a simple walk. Probably thinking, "I'm too old for that." The excitement of the wild, untouched lands is what gets her super interested in being outside. Especially animals! She loves to travel and see new places and she truly loves to go camping. Fishing and hiking trails are a couple of her favorites. On the other hand, our son is very much an outdoor lover. Ever since he could walk (excuse me...run...he would run everywhere, not walk, but run...headfirst too, with his arms stretched out behind him like he was flying), his choice was, and is, to always be outside getting dirty and into anything he can investigate. It's hard to keep him inside haha. Needless to say, since we've been outside even more lately he has been the happiest little guy ever. We've been hiking, walking the dog, riding bikes, playing at parks, exploring mountains and winding around through outdoor sculpture gardens while in Santa Fe. Some days it has been as simple as sitting outside on the patio instead of being inside the house. Our son loves to take his toys outside onto the patio, or grassy area, to play. Our daughter even took our cat, Luna, onto the patio (leashed) to exlore together haha. It makes my heart so elated to know that my kids are falling in love with being outdoors more and are becoming more interested in nature.
They will learn so much more, by being free to explore. That kind of rhymes....more....explore....get it? haha getting back to my point...When kids have the freedom to investigate nature on their own, it triggers so many happiness waves through their little bodies that it makes them even more interested in learning and they feel more at ease to ask questions. Essentially, they are able to be themselves. Kids need the freedom to play, explore, tinker with things, create, etc. in order to discover who they are and what their purpose is. They don't need to have a career path set in stone when they are 5 years old, or even when they are 14 years old! Yes, as parents we all want our kids to be successful and have a high paying position to be financially secure when they are older. Ask this question though: Is it "success" if they become workaholics with loads of unnecessary stress weighing them down and are essentially unhappy? Shouldn't we instead take that pressure off of them to "perform" and help them focus on pursuing something that really makes them happy and feel truly fulfilled? Who knows, maybe they'll become a master at something they enjoy if they are driven by passion and not just a high paying position. I digress...
I implore you to check out this website: 1000 Hours Outside. On here there are many, many ideas on how you can transition to being outdoors more. There are alllll kinds of ways you can make it exciting, challenging, educational and even peaceful.
You literally have the world at your fingertips, now you just need to point to the direction you want to head towards and then create the avenue to get you there.
Also, on this website they have free downloadable tracker sheets you can print out and color in as you spend time outdoors. We chose the Log Chart to print out, but they have several more you can choose from here. This applies to people of all walks of life too. If you're single, great! If you're married with kids, great! If you're a single parent and need to have the kids with you, great! You get the picture...No one is disqualified...Anyone, is welcome to partake in the great outdoors and enhancing their time while living. It will truly improve your quality of life!
So...will you join us on this journey to spend 1,000 hours outdoors this year?
Sending each of you loads of Love and Light,
Here are some photos of our time outdoors together so far this year. I hope it encourages you. Enjoy!