During the month of January I set out to get out of my comfort zone of wintertime hibernation and get outdoors for at least 30 minutes each day!
We made it all but two days: January 1st which was thrown out in the beginning and one day when old man winter got the best of me and I just couldn’t be bothered to do anything that entire day. Otherwise we were out there! During the snow, the record breaking freeze and even in the cold rain. Luckily there were a few nice days thrown in this month making those moments easy to get outside. So what do you do outside in the winter besides grit your teeth and bare it?
Well…we frolicked in the snow, did a little sledding, looked up at the clouds, enjoyed time on the playground, visited animals, ran around in the rain, jumped and played in puddles, creeks and at the beach, took walks, pulled weeds in a garden, wandered around an apple orchard, played in a “house” of branches, looked for animal tracks, did a little yard work, and ran a few races. Every day my to do list included going outside, sometimes being as simple as stepping out into the backyard to draw with chalk, spin around in circles or throw rocks into a puddle. Some days I had to push to meet the 30 minute mark because of the cold but for many days the goal was easily surpassed, particularly when at the park or during those warmer days.
There is something peaceful that comes with being outside when no one else wants to be. Many times we’d be out at the playground, park or walking around our neighborhood with no other folks in sight. It was quiet and calm with just the sound of wind, birds chirping, or falling rain. Almost as if we had the world to ourselves.
Did getting outside daily help with the wintertime blues? I’m sure it has but certainly hasn’t made me immune to them all together. There have been a couple days where I’ve just been flat out over the cold but I do think getting outside has helped pass the time while keeping us active and giving me some fun winter memories to look back at. I’ve never really been a winter person. I’m someone who’d rather crawl up in a hole and hibernate for the entirety of January and February, but that’s just not a reality for anyone no matter what their job is. So if I have to get out and do something, what better place than outside with the trees, birds, clouds and dirt?
Plus, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. At least that’s what I told myself the day we were out in borderline freezing rain. Much of getting outside and tolerating the cold comes down to mindset. One day, as teenie and I were out for a chilly walk in the stroller I’d been repeating to myself over and over in my head how cold it was. Then I passed a neighbor who was headed to her car. We exchanged hello’s and when she asked how I was stated how I was just trying to stay warm. With a cheery smile on her face she noted “well, it could be colder.” YUP, it could be. That’s exactly why this month I’m working on mindset because the winter months are tough and if I can add some positivity to my life when I need it the most then hooray!
It’s important to mention that layers also matter. Lots and lots of layers. 😉 There were days when teenie had the sniffles but we went outside and played anyways. I figured if she was playing inside then she could play outside as long as she was bundled up appropriately.
Now that the challenge is over I want to continue getting us outside daily, especially now that it has become a habit. The only time we may dip out is when its raining and super cold (because that’s just plain miserable, haha) or in the event of illness. But we really can’t go wrong with getting a little sun and fresh air every day, even when it is only 30 degrees.