How to Spend More Time Outside

Maybe, we thought, if we took our lunch to the lake for a little outdoor picnic, we might be able to will the summer season and her warmer temperatures to arrive in Minnesota early and stay for longer than a hot second. We packed a blanket, a bunch of things for Olivia to chew on, and made a pit-stop at the holy-of-holies (Chipotle) for an afternoon in the April sunshine.

Look at those two and their mean mugs (#hearteyes).

Of course, once we settled into our picnic spot to enjoy our lunch (and teething rings), the wind started picking up, making the outing a bit chillier than we would have liked. Nevertheless, I love that we’ve been making an effort to adventure outside as much as possible this spring, despite the fluctuating temperatures.

As much as I love a good afternoon on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a Netflix series, there’s something so much more refreshing—renewing—about getting outside. Even if it’s just a quick walk around the neighborhood or sitting on your front doorstep.

I don’t need to do a Google search to discover all of the benefits that come from spending more time outdoors. I find myself feeling less stressed as I take a walk around the lake. As if the vastness of my surroundings make my problems feel somehow smaller.

Ironically, taking a walk and exerting energy outside seems to give me more energy to accomplish the things I want to for the rest of the day. I feel more creative and determined to do the work I need to do. Spending time in nature can be just the right “reset button” I need.

Nature is awesome. But it can be hard to find time to actually enjoy it. Here are a few ways in which we like to make time for the outdoors:

  • Take Your Everyday Activities Outside: Reading? Folding the laundry? Writing emails? Eating lunch? Spend that time outside. It doesn’t have to be in some state park or nearby forest (though that would be awesome). Finding a park bench or sitting out on your front lawn can be a good way to get in your daily dose of sunshine while you accomplish your daily to-do list.
  • Make Time for Walks: Walk during your lunch break. Walk after dinner. Walk to the park and with your dinner and eat it there. Walk with your co-workers around your office building. Walk early in the morning before you start your day. Darrin and I love taking walks during the golden hour, right before the sun sets. Carve out 20-30 minutes of your day solely for taking an easy walk outside.
  • Socialize Outside: If you’re getting together with friends, make plans to explore the outdoors and chat while walking a trail rather than over another overpriced meal. It’ll save you money, give your body a little bit of exercise, and provide a beautiful backdrop to your conversation. Win, win WIN.
  • Schedule Outdoor Days: Mark the time you’re planning to spend outdoors on your calendar. Set a reminder on your computer or phone. Pick vacation spots that have beautiful hiking trails or parks that you can explore (maybe do a “National Parks Roadtrip”). In order to spend more time outside, you’ve got to set aside time that you could, yes, be doing other things. If scheduling outdoor time on your calendar helps, then DO IT.

How do you spend your time outdoors? I love that we’re surrounded by so many lakes, here in Minnesota. One of our goals, as long as we’re still living here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, is to see if we can take Olivia to as many lakes as possible. So far so good, I think! 😉

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