Starting to feel cooped up inside? Have you noticed a change in your mood and overall well-being? For some of us, the winter blues are real and in full force right now. With the current state of our world as well as the cold winter months, it may be harder to find the motivation to get outside. However, outside is likely the best place to be. Getting outside is important for your health and nature is known to decrease stress, improve immune functioning, and improve your overall mental wellbeing. Use these as your reasons for getting out into nature even if it’s cloudy and cold.
With the New Year here, what better time is there to set intentions? Make it your intention to get outside for at least 20 minutes at a time each day. Find outdoor activities that you truly enjoy, because then you will be more likely to spend time outside.
Try These Winter Activities Out
I had forgotten how fun this was. Sleds are $5-40 dollars at Canadian Tire or Walmart. Buy a sled, you won’t regret it! Release your inner kid and enjoy this fun and exhilarating activity.
- DANCE IN A PARKING LOT
Grab a couple of friends, family members, or your roommates and dance in an empty parking lot with music blasting on a speaker. Outdoor club? My roommate and I recently did this and it was a huge mood booster.
Always a winter activity staple, head to an outdoor rink and get moving!
- PLAY IN THE SNOW
Another activity that we used to do a lot as kids but may have forgotten about. Build a snowman, have a snowball fight, make a fort or a snow angel.
- GO FOR A WALK
Simply go for a walk, either with company or by yourself. Bundle up and listen to your favourite podcast or playlist, or mindfully listen to the sounds of nature.
- SKIING, SNOWBOARDING, OR SNOWSHOEING
This may be an activity that is harder to do during the pandemic but not impossible. Be adventurous and try something new!
Make It Happen
The first step is setting aside time in your day to be outside. Do what works best for you, whether it's starting your day outside, taking a break in the middle of the day, or ending your day under the stars. The second step is to stop making excuses and just get out there. Yes, it's cold. Dress for the weather. You can always look forward to a hot beverage when you come inside to warm up!
It is easy to get overwhelmed with online studies at the beginning of a new term. We sometimes lose sight of the importance of getting fresh air. Winter can be intimidating, but if you start feeling cooped up or unproductive, that is the time to take a break outside, preferably surrounded by nature. While outside, be in the present moment. Pause, breathe, and enjoy time outside whether in the company of your favourite people or in solitude.