May Dare: Go Outside (For At Least 30 Minutes A Day!)
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In honor of the arrival of warm weather and all things “spring”, this month’s dare is a simple one:
Go outside…for at least 30 minutes a day.
For most of us, this dare will probably require no arm-twisting. Because really — who doesn’t love being outside in the springtime when the world is green and blooming? When the sunshine is warm and stretches well into the evening? When the grills are fired back up and fresh berries and veggies are back in season aplenty? When sweaters and coats are packed away, and we get to pull back out our favorite tank tops and sandals and sundresses? When winter is gone for good and the warm weather is finally – finally!! – here to stay?
As one of those people who has to make myself “push through” winter each year, the arrival of spring always feels like one big blessed sigh of relief. And I am eager to get out in that spring sunshine and literally soak it up.
But year after year, my spring calendar has a mysterious habit of filling up way too quickly. And between work, and travel, and social events, and holidays, and weddings, and birthdays galore in my world, I often find myself watching too many beautiful spring days pass by through a window while being stuck indoors. Which is not ok with me! So yes, this dare is admittedly for myself as much as anyone else who’s interested in being extra-intentional this year about soaking up the springtime.
It’s a simple one – make it a priority to get outside for at least 30 minutes a day. Or more! But at least 30 minutes. I think that’s definitely do-able.
You may already have a long list of outdoor activities you’d like to pursue this year. But in case you need any inspiration, here are a few simple ideas to mix things up this year:
No need to plan a vacation out of the country to find some adventure. Grab your bike and go exploring around your own city! Ditch your usual jogging “route” and invite a neighbor along for a walk exploring your own neighborhood! Become a tourist in your own city and finally go check out some of those attractions you haven’t yet seen. Even better, make a mini bucket list for the spring so that you have a surplus of ideas ready when a free afternoon or evening opens up.
Move some of your normal “indoor” habits outdoors.
Morning coffee…reading the paper (or blogs)…yoga…lunch break…happy hour…dinner…you name it. Take stock of your various daily habits and pick one or two and transition them outdoors.
Walk, instead of drive.
When possible, make it happen! Even better, try to make plans during the spring that are within walking distance. Make a coffee date with your neighbors nearby, get a workout carrying groceries home from the store, support some neighborhood restaurants – you know, the ultimate “going local”.
Create a cushy outdoor “nook” for yourself.
We all have that favorite chair or couch or nook where we love to curl up indoors. So make a similar place for you outdoors! Hammocks, deck chairs with good cushions, or even just a really nice picnic blanket will usually do the trick if you’re interested in reading a book or taking a nap or just enjoying some quiet time outside. (Also important: effective, pleasant-smelling bug spray in the evenings.) J
Flowers…bushes…trees…vegetables…herbs…fruits…whatever sounds good. A garden is a pretty foolproof way to compel yourself to spend time outside each day.
Grilling is an obvious one here. But don’t forget that you can also eat meals outside that you haven’t cooked outside. Take your coffee and oatmeal out to the porch with you in the morning. Munch on a mid-day energy bar while you take a brisk walk around the block. Happy hour wine and cocktails and beer always taste better in the evening sunshine. And warm evenings were meant for s’mores, even if you just have time to toast your marshmallows in the oven and bring them outside.
Just go outside and be amazed…
…by how stunningly, creatively, meticulously, grandiosely, insanely beautiful this world is. Take in the teeny tiniest details in the bark of a tree. Step back and admire the colors in the sunset and the entire solar system that lies beyond. Feel the power of the wind sweeping across your lawn. Maybe even pull up one of those pesky dandelions and watch the petals float and scatter as you blow them in the wind. I’m telling you — even just taking 1 minute to let yourself be awed by the beauty of an ordinary backyard has the power to shift how you look at the rest of your day. So be amazed. Be awed. And be grateful.
And go outside. :)