As someone who never used to be outdoorsy, it is surreal to me that I’m now the type of person who would prefer to be exploring the countryside than anywhere else. I’m very much a homebody too and love pottering indoors, baking, reading and watching movies. But all of this I appreciate more having spent a chunk of my time in nature. Of course, this all started when Polly, our Golden Retriever came into our life.
We all know that being outside benefits your physical and mental wellbeing, so it makes sense to me to make this a priority in my free time. Whilst making plans for my birthday weekend, instead of booking a night away, or a meal out I thought to myself that I’d much rather spend it walking Polly with the OH (maybe with birthday cake in my rucksack) and taking a long walk by the seaside with family.
So with this in mind I’m making myself an 2018 outdoors list that I’d like to focus on for the year ahead, to ensure I make being outdoors a priority (on the blog soon when I get round to finishing it). But in the meantime if you’re needing a gentle nudge to get outdoors more, here’s some reasons why I love it so much.
Slow down It helps me slow down for part of my day. In a world of being and keeping busy it’s important to me to have mindful time in my day. Whether that’s just watching Polly, talking out loud (more on that later in the post!), listening to the creaking of trees, the birds singing or the crunch of snow underfoot; having the opportunity to think less and feel more is now as important as my morning cuppa.
Free You don’t need to check your bank balance before stepping out the front door. There’s a certain freedom in that, and something we all need more of (cost of living is so high nowadays).
Weather I’ve learnt to appreciate all weathers. Before having Polly I might have complained about bad weather, when in fact I wouldn’t be actually exposed to it for that long (10 minutes tops as I run to the train station/work/shops. When you have to walk in the rain for an hour or so whilst walking the dog, you learn to appreciate each season, and every climate (apart from flooding, that’s all kinds of crap). I of course love sunshine, blue skies and crisp winter days but there’s something that makes me feel alive when the wind is whipping through my hair, and the rain is coming at you from all sides.
Cedar Backpack c/o Absolutely Bear
Clothing There’s a lot of stylish outdoor wear to be had nowadays (or maybe there always has been and I’m in the market for it now). From iconic boots like my black patent Hunter Wellies (c/o JD Williams – I live in these on my daily dog walks), to independent ethical fashion label, Absolutely Bear that make these gorgeous and affordable cotton canvas bags perfect for the great outdoors, and city/town living too (includes a padded laptop compartment).
Home It always surprises me when I talk to local folk who haven’t visited/walked to certain areas of the valley yet. Then I remember before Polly, Hardcastle Crags or Stoodley Pike were the only local spots we used to visit too. I definitely feel more connected to the town I live in simply by walking its hills.
Online Like a lot of folk, the majority of my working week is spent in front of a computer screen. Nowadays I feel more comfortable about being online knowing I’ve spent some time outdoors that day. It’s ok to have a passion for the outdoors and a love for technology too.
Anxiety One-on-one conversations stress me out. Even something simple as sitting have a coffee with a friend can make me panic (I never let it show but I get brain fog, sweaty palms and heart palpitations). I much prefer filling a flask with tea and heading out for a walk instead, and enjoying the moment together. It sometimes feels like you can leave your problems behind as you talk and walk them out.
Creativity I talk aloud sometimes when I walk. Yup, I’m that person. If there’s no one in sight I’ll talk out my plans for that day, making voice notes on my phonewith ideas for work or the blog. Sometimes time away from your regular work can space can help free up ideas, and give inspiration too.
Are you hoping to get outdoors more this year?