During the cold winter months, it can sometimes be hard to find the motivation to go outside. The days can be dark, wet and cold, meaning that the comfort of our homes may seem more appealing. But as we are all forced to spend more time at home this winter, it’s more important than ever to make it a habit to spend some time outdoors as often as we can.
Whether you choose to go for a run, take a stroll around your neighbourhood or go on a family walk to a local nature reserve, spending time outdoors can help to boost your mood, increase your focus and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
So, what are the barriers preventing us from making the most of the outdoors and how can we overcome them?
Before heading outdoors, make sure that you are wearing layers which you can easily take off. This can be especially important if you’re going for a long walk or hiking. It’s easy to forget that as we walk and exercise, our bodies begin to warm up. The benefit of wearing layers is that you can simply take them off if you start to get too hot and sweaty. As you cool back down, you’ll have your layers ready to put back on, keeping you warm until you get back home.
It’s also important to remember your feet! Cold, wet feet can make a walk horribly unpleasant and an experience you won’t want to repeat. Make sure you wear suitable footwear and keep your feet cosy with thick winter socks. Scarves, gloves and hats are also key winter essentials.
If you keep yourself warm, then you’re more likely to have a more enjoyable experience outdoors. The cold, wet weather won’t seem like such a barrier in future, meaning you’ll be far more likely to want to go out again next time.
Warm Up When You Return Home
One of the best things about returning home from a winter walk outdoors is warming up when you get back inside. Take a lovely hot shower or indulge in a relaxing bath. If you have young children, this can be the perfect opportunity for a lovely bubbly bath or some water play.
Alternatively, cosy up on the sofa with some blankets and a hot water bottle. Having a hot drink once you’re home can help you to warm up and give you an opportunity to take a few minutes to relax.
Look After Your Skin
It’s easy for your skin to become dehydrated, dry and cracked in the cold weather. The increased use of antibacterial gel can also contribute towards especially dry hands. However, rather than let than be a factor preventing you from going outdoors, take control and protect your skin.
Ensure that you moisturise your skin before going out into the cold. It can also be the perfect excuse to invest in a moisturiser you’ve long been considering or wanting to try out. Think of it as an opportunity to treat your skin to some much-deserved love and care.
Make It A Habit
The more often you go outdoors, the more likely you are to repeat it again in the future. Aim to make going outdoors a daily habit. Start off with just a few minutes each day and slowly build up the amount of time you spend outdoors. Incorporating time outdoors into your daily routine will mean that you’ll want to keep going, whatever the weather.
Make It Purposeful
Make your time outdoors purposeful so that you have greater motivation to actually go outside. Maybe you want to make your time outdoors dedicated exercise time? Or perhaps, you can make it a daily family activity? You might want to use it as an opportunity to take a break from work/home-schooling.
You could also consider signing up to an online exercise class that you can do outdoors. Or perhaps engage in mindful practice outdoors. Use time outdoors as an opportunity to connect with others and maybe call a friend. Alternatively, use it as an opportunity to share a hobby with a loved one (e.g., going for a run together).
However uninspiring the cold winter months may seem, it’s essential that we all try to spend some time outdoors. Aside from the health and wellbeing benefits it offers, it’s also a much-needed change of scenery from the confines of our homes. If you have children, it’s can be especially important to motivate not only yourself, but also them to get outdoors each day.
This week, we invite you to start going for a daily walk. You can start with just a 10-minute walk on your own or with your family. Maybe use the walk as a chance to start your day with more positivity and energy, or else as a relaxing reward at the end of the day.
If you’re feeling inspired to try something new and give yourself something to work towards, why not sign up to our spring season of 12 Walks to Wellbeing Online? You can then receive a weekly audio guide every Saturday throughout the season (starting in March), which you can do in your own time and chosen outdoor location.
How will be motivating yourself to go outdoors?