We are all very familiar with the peaceful comfort that comes from sitting in our temperature-moderated living room on a plush couch watching easy-going programming while munching on our favorite food. No matter how nice the weather may be, pealing ourselves out of our groove and making our way out the back door can seem more like work than a relaxing afternoon.
There are those who love being outdoors and crave the fresh air but for some, stepping outside takes a little more work. There is certainly no shortage of information on the benefits of gracing nature’s floor regularly but how do we motivate ourselves to get outside when we would just rather not?
The first step in any process of improvement is obtaining knowledge. In the case of getting outside, this knowledge can come from both learning about the advantages of getting outside (from physical health to mental and emotional well-being) and personal information like how you feel or what you think when you are actually outside. So begin by hitting Google and finding the wealth of information that will encourage you to get off the couch.
Then the next time you step out, even just to head to your car, try to be very mindful of yourself and your surroundings. How did you feel inside versus outside? Are you rejuvenated or exhausted? Hot or cold? What do you like? What bothers you? Tap all your sense and register how they feel. Do this each time you find yourself outside for a while.
Make it Appealing
Once you are more aware of how being outdoors makes you feel, you’ll want to set the scene to trigger all the positive aspects. Recognizing what you dislike will help you come up with solutions to improve your outdoor time.
If you get too hot, seek shade and consider a personal fan. Hate bugs? Try citronella candles or pleasing essential oils to limit the pests. Is comfort your thing? Look for affordable patio furniture that just beckons to be used.
This is the time to think outside the box and find as many solutions as you can to make being outside a positive experience. Focus on pampering yourself as you create your outdoor space.
Make it Fun
A major complaint about being outdoors is not knowing what to do. In our fast-paced society of constant technological distractions, slowing down and turning off, though healthy, can be a difficult and painful task.
If unplugging and heading outside sounds as boring as staring at a blank wall on a treadmill, then take a book, magazine or headphones. Look up outdoor games and activities if you want to be more active. Or, if you must, grab your laptop or tablet and head out. It’s better to be outdoors on your devices than to not be out at all.
Just be sure to seek out entertainment lest spending time outside becomes a chore you are sure to abandon quickly. Over time and with a little practice, you may slowly begin to unplug and gain the full outdoor experience.
Make it a Habit
Once you’ve made being outdoors a tolerable, if not pleasant, experience, work it into your daily routine. First thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or slowing down in the evening. Just make sure to pick a time you are sure to stick with.
Try not to let weather interfere with your schedule. Even on the rainy and cold days you can manage to set your space accordingly from overhangs to space heaters. Whatever works to keep you heading out daily.
After a couple weeks of consistent outdoor time, return to your awareness step. Check how you are feeling physically and mentally. How do you feel on that walk to the car now? How much more of the outdoors do you notice? Has what you liked changed or stayed the same? Have you noticed any of the health benefits of being outdoors you found in your research? Most see such dramatic improvements that their time outdoors increases.
Even though we were created to exist outside, our evolution has made what was once a natural experience into a foreign and difficult one for some. If you struggle with going outside regularly, give these steps a try and remember that the more you get outside, the easier and more comfortable it will become.