At one point in our lives, or the lives of our society, it was normal and regular to always be outdoor and outside. Growing up in Poland until I was 8 years old, I was walking to school, walking to the store, walking to my grandma’s house, and then to my aunt’s house, and if we had to take a longer trip, like to my grandparents’ garden which was maybe 8km away, I was on the back (or the front) of my grandpa’s moto/vespa. The sun was just non-stop shining down on us all. I believe we had a car, but it wasn’t used for normal, regular day to day transport. Add the fact that we lived in Ustka, right next to the Baltic Sea, where walking to the sand dunes and sandy pine tree filled forest – was everything.
Old school photos, one of a swim in the sea, climbing the fence in my aunt’s chickens’ house, and talking my dolly for a stroll – doing so much playing outdoor. Always being outside was life. All photos from mid 1980’s.
We’ve made so many incredible advances in our current world, but we have started to spend so much less time outside. We now have to force ourselves to get out there for a walk, or for a bike ride, or for a day at the park or the beach. My little daughter, who is three, loves being outside, and naturally wants to come home, grab her bucket and shovel and find some dirt and dig in. My son on the other hand, I have to gently coax to get out there. If he had it his way, he would spend more time inside.
Yet, what can we do, to incorporate MORE time outside to our lives, naturally? Can we organically exclude the car from our errands, or the normal day to day driving?
Try on foot or via bike grocery shop runs.
My main source of car use is driving to the grocery store and back. When I lived in NJ, originally there was a grocery store less than a quarter of a mile from my first home. And I absolutely loved being able to walk there, and back, and grab my groceries for the day or weekend, and walk right back home. Eventually it closed down, and later, my husband and I still at times trekked 2 miles to and 2 miles back to the closest Shop-Rite. It took so much longer, but we used to load up the stroller with our little baby, and then the bottom part with our groceries, and I loved the outside time.
In NJ, we also, whenever the weather permitted, we would take walks around Robbinsville, to the grocery store or bagel shop or to their coffee shop, and even their amazing pizza restaurants. It was so much fun to get outside, WALK, get to a destination, do what you need to do there (buy, or eat or shop, or just look) and walk back. Being outdoor was everything.
Getting more outside time was probably one of the biggest motivators of why we moved south, and wanted nice weather all year round. Being outside is healing. And since my main goal in life is figure out how all of us can grow and stay incredibly mentally strong in all we do, and raise our children the same way – being out in nature – is a must.
We headed to the beach yesterday, and just being able to sit out there, with my toes in the sand, with the wind blowing, and fresh air everywhere – fed my cells. I loved it so much that after we came home and settled in, while my baby was napping, I took my mug of tea outside, and got back in my beach-chair in the late afternoon. I couldn’t get enough. Shine down on my sun, blow on me wind!
Once you feel how freeing, and relaxing, and de-stressing fresh air, and the sun, and just looking up at the sky is, it’s something we will want to do, and must do all the time.
What can you do each day, to get out there in the fresh air? Can you take a walk each morning, or each lunch time? I know it’s sometimes it seems it’s more fun to head out to a restaurant with coworkers for lunch, but what if you spent it walking around the office park? What if you ate your lunch outside? What if you just sat outside whenever you had a break, or could get outside. What if you brought your chair outside your home, and just took a few deep breaths, while you could, each evening, while the sun was going down.
I know that you may be reading this, and you may be getting angry or rolling your eyes, or just saying to yourself, how the heck will you find time to spend outside. It’s maddening the amount of things you have to do each day, and at night, and there is no way in heck that you can even take a five minute break. But you must. I know change sucks, but it’s a non-negotiable for a healthy life. We must STOP, and break, and be outside, even if it’s just a few minutes during the day’s sunlight.
Getting a dog, has really forced me to get out there a lot more. I’m determined to take my big fur child for a daily walk. He loves it. We take him to a doggy park each weekend, and he goes nuts running around with his friends. It honestly is the best thing to see, and unfortunately during the week, all we have time is a nice long walk, but I know it’s better than just letting him out in a backyard, or nothing at all. If you have pets, get them used to a nice hearty walk. Get them out in the sunshine (or clouds, or rain), regardless of the day and weather, and go along for the rid.
I know Florida is about to turn into a hot humid state in the next couple of weeks, but I’m determined to stay up with our routine. Even yesterday at the beach, I had my spf beach-shirt on, and a hat and sunglasses and my regular facial sunscreen. Though outside time is everything, there is no reason to start turning into a prune, or building up skin cancer cells. Cover up, regardless of the weather, and enjoy. (Even knowing this, I still picked up color on my face, which I think happened on the ride there & back.)
My children are still a bit little, but I’m excited to incorporate some outdoor adventures when they can hang and keep up. I want to go hiking, and exploring the many outdoor spots, and nature around where we live. Beauty surrounds us all REGARDLESS of where you live, nature is everywhere, and we must seek it, find it, and incorporate it in our lives. Whether it’s mountains, or lakes, or the ocean, or just some really beautiful parks or streets – go out there and explore. We must do it for our mind, for our strength, for our sanity, for our happiness, calm, and peace. It’s a MUST DO, and it sets us up for success.
It’s impossible to work inside, under bright lights and come home, and stay home, and then go back out to work, and then come home, and the only air we breath is once we get out of the car, and then back inside. It’s impossible to stay healthy this way. Doctors are so quick to prescribe pills for our minds, and we as patients are too quick to accept. We must create a life that nurtures our minds and bodies with nature’s medicine. I’m not saying to do anything like GET OFF pills, I’m just gently saying that we all must create a life that builds up our strength, and not a life where every aspect is directly or indirectly draining us.
Recognize what’s happening, and put your observations together for change and improvement.
Then, like the boss you are, incorporate, LITTLE BY LITTLE everything that will make so many things better.
This was our car, which I don’t remember using very often. That’s my little sister standing by it, removing the snow from it. Then, my grandparents on my dad’s side, and me in the stroller. It looked cold, but we were still outside. Lastly, me with the chickens. Chilly, but dressed warmed and getting that sunlight. I’m grateful for this childhood, and being raised out in the fresh air.
None of us just woke up in 2018, and found ourselves on one end of the nature spectrum or the other. We all got there slowly. So whatever you are, accept it, and now – better it. If you are already in an awesome spot, just keep going, and maybe invite a friend for some outdoor time, now or on the weekend.
I’m not anywhere NEAR where I want to be. I want to SPEND MORE time outside, doing everything from day to day tasks, to huge big adventures that will feed my soul and continue to build life and memories and health into my family. We, as women, as mothers, as parents, as humans, are the ones who can show our children the beauty of nature, outside time, fresh air, the sun, the clouds and the rains – and that they always must create a life, that incorporates all of this and more.
Cheers, may the sun shine down on us all, and feed our hearts, and minds happiness galore!