Here’s an edited transcript of this installment of Amy’s Outdoor Diary. Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.
I have had a terrible cold. Can you hear it? I think I sound like I’ve had a cold.
Yes, it’s a cold, not a touch of the ‘rona. And my kid brought it home from school, like a terrible gift. Remember 2020? The one thing I will say for it is that most of us skipped getting these annoying colds because we weren’t going anywhere that would give one to us. I’m not going to call that nice, but it was definitely a side benefit.
Anyway, the thing about having a cold is that, while you are definitely not well, you aren’t THAT unwell. You aren’t in bed with the flu sick. You’re just dragging and you don’t feel like doing anything.
In short, I did not feel like getting outside while I’ve had this cold.
Not feeling like going outside can happen for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with having a cold. It’s cold. You’re tired. You’re busy. You’re overwhelmed. You just dont want to. It can feel like box checking, something we’ve been talking about recently.
No matter the reason, there you — you’re just not feeling it.
So what do you do when, for whatever reason, you don’t feel like getting outside?
The thing about trying to go outside every day for at least a year is that to accomplish the goal you have to actually go. And oh by the way, no one ever said it would be easy or even pleasant all of the time. And so you have to find ways to make yourself do the thing even when you don’t really want to.
When that happens to me I think about 4 specific steps that I want to lay out for today, in case this is something you’re feeling right now or for when you feel this way in the future. Because if there’s one thing I can promise you it’s this: there will be a day that you don’t feel like going outside.
First, check in with yourself. What is happening in your life right now that is making you feel this way? Spend a few moments listening to your own voice and understanding what’s going on. For me, this week I didn’t want to go outside because I was feeling tired and a little unwell. Once I understood where my not wanting to was coming from, I could choose an activity that fit in with where I was coming from in that moment. That meant my outside time was a few short walks or a little hot tub time. These were easy things I could do that helped me get outside but didn’t take a lot of effort. This might also be a good time to ask yourself if you’re not wanting to go outside because the weather is bad, and if that’s the case, think about what gear or layers you own that can make it better.
As silly as it sounds, giving myself permission to use a set of chemical hand warmers in my mitten during a short outdoor time when I’d usually save them for a longer trip can make all of the difference in the world.
Next, remember your “why.” Why did you decide to take on this challenge and to head outside every day? What made you want to do this? Was it because you want to see how it changes your life? Was it because you wanted to find an easy way to be healthier or happier? Was it to explore more of where you live or try something new?
On the days that you don’t feel like going outside, spend a few moments reminding yourself of what it was you were trying to accomplish when you decided to take on this daily challenge. As you remember that “why,” think about how you can refocus on it while doing some outside time even if you don’t want to.
Third, consider a favorite activity. Do you just love people or nature watching from a park bench with a hot coffee or tea in your hands? Do you have a beloved path or walking route? Is there a friend you especially enjoy heading outside with? On the days that you’re just not feeling it, go do something that you love. I took a walk during my blah week with my son around our cute little town. We lingered over the mountain views and enjoyed some time in a spot we just really love. It made it easier.
Finally, think about your goal. If you’ve already spent even one day outside on your journey to a year, you’re one day closer to your goal. Don’t quit now and lose all of that work! I am a goal oriented person, so thinking about the goal and the steps I need to take to get there really helps me.
And here’s a bonus idea: if you’re on the struggle bus, jump on social media to check out what I’ve been doing outside or the many other people who are doing this too by following #Humansoutside365 on Facebook or Instagram. And once you get out there, share your outdoor time with me by using that hashtag or tagging me on facebook or instagram. I want to see what you’ve been up to.
And until next time, we’ll see you out there.