5 tips for Getting Outside Out This Winter
Sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and bagel in hand, staring out of the window as the wind howls and the rain lashes onto the glass, its quite easy for one and one's troop to stay in the comfort of the castle. Being someone who makes his living working outside, in all weathers throughout the seasons, I understand the benefits of fresh air this time of year. Apart from the obvious health benefits, it can offer great clarity of the mind, help shift some of those stagnant thoughts that might be getting you and your household down. Whilst we live through a pandemic, which is impacting on everyone’s lives, one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and our loved ones is get outside. It can often feel like going for a run when you are not a runner, any excuse and the whole idea of getting outside can fall apart and lets be honest, it can be quite easy to find that excuse if that’s what we look for. If we know that getting outside is so beneficial on so many levels, why do we often find ourselves failing to achieve this objective? If you are not an outdoors person then hopefully these five ideas will help you with your intentions to get outside and connect with nature this winter.
5 tips to get the troops outside this winter
1. Announce the Intention
First thing in the morning let the whole family know that you will all be leaving the house. Whether for a walk, bike ride or maybe something educational. Research shows that by setting an intention as a group/family, we will be more likely to succeed in following it through. It’s easier to state the intention some time ahead of the actual activity, rather than just before.
2. The right clothing
It doesn’t have to be expensive but it does have to be right! We don’t need a £300 jacket to get out the door for 30 minutes in the UK. To make sure you and the kids don’t regret going out in the winter and to combat the moans of everyone, make sure you dress for the weather. Sometimes it’s not just a case of looking out the window, sometimes you have to go outside and feel it. Looking out the window doesn’t tell you how cold it is or what the wind is doing for example. You don’t want to dress warm and forget your waterproof/windproof jacket if it is the wind that is going to make you cold. Remember on cold days, that lots of thin layers are better than a thick layer. The thin layers will help trap pockets of warm air. On every walk the kids will shed clothing like a snake, for this reason we find it important to carry an empty backpack with us.
"There is no such thing as badweather, just poor clothing"
3. Have a purpose
Just getting outside for the sake of doing so can be difficult for some, we have dogs, so we need to venture out daily, though occasionally, we often have to add other activities to vary our walks a bit and help motivate the children. Try looking for animal homes, take spotter sheets or play colour bingo, Geocaching is great in non-pandemic times. There are some great curriculums that will help with activities you can follow such as Exploring Nature With Children, these will help you get out and about all year round. There is so much to see and learn in nature that can’t be replicated in the home.
4. Check the weather
In the south of England we are lucky that it hardly ever rains from dawn to dusk, even in winter. Most days it is raining there will be respites, times of the day where the tap is turned off or at least turned to a trickle where we can get out with the least discomfort. Use a good weather forecast to decide these times in advance, go out in these breaks in the weather if you can. Just remember that even in this day and age a forecast can be spectacularly wrong, I suggest you lean on the side of caution when deciding what to wear.
5. The reward
Finally, its vitally important to reward yourself, a reward for yours and your families achievements. For me, I won’t leave the house for a walk in the winter without my Cantigo (thermal cup) full of coffee, I love the feeling of having a warm drink when there is a chill in the air. Liz and I often have to resort to cake for the kids, whether that be something for during the walk or something for after. If you are cutting back on the sweet stuff for the kids, then a promise of a film or games night can work. Have a think what may work for your children, with a little thought you will find their motivation.
I live for the outdoors, I’m lucky to live this passion through my day job and I’m lucky to be able to share it with my family. I know not everyone shares this passion, but whilst there isn’t much else on offer but a trip out the front door, I truly hope these helpful tips can make a little difference for someone to get outside and enjoy the benefits.
Have a splendid day.