Register for our newsletter to win a decal: https://humansoutside.com/newsletter
Follow us on Instagram and share your outdoor life with the hashtag #humansoutside365.
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.
How do you keep the things you love about your outdoor life — the peace it gives you, or the break from the busy, or the breath of fresh air that your brain and soul needs even with the literal breath your body takes — while also leaning into the easy outdoor access and outdoor busyness summer brings? How can you protect one while leaning fully into the other?
That’s the question I’ve been asking myself over the past few weeks as we are fully and unmistakingly into summer here in Alaska. School is out. Kids are living outside, running around, exhausting themselves – to my great relief. The weather is a far, far cry from the frigid temperatures of the winter that make getting outdoors such a labor of finding all the jackets and gloves. Instead, we simply decide to go — and we go.
And I sit at my desk working my day job, gazing out my window, wishing to be outside all of the hours of all of the days. That means that on the beautiful days – and there are so many right now – as soon as I am done with anything that absolutely must be done, out the door we go, traipsing to lakes or trails, enjoying our small town’s summer festivals, running, cycling or simply sitting in the sun. I start my days in my hot tub listening to the birds. I end them sorry that I have to go to bed even while the sun is still shining.
But there’s a pressure there to not let a single glorious summer moment slip by unused. I want to see and experience everything. I want my kids to do the same. I am trotting here and there, driving all around, making sure to visit every lake and river. If I am south, I am missing the wonders that are north. If I stay home for my own backyard, I could be down at the river.
All of this business is well-meaning, it’s focused on the outdoors, after all. But it doesn’t mean good things for my peace. Instead of using nature for the things I know it can be great for — giving me peace of mind, and space to expand and breathe — I am doing the thing I always do and being just too busy.
I’ve learned to see this in myself before it gets carried away too long. It’s a tendency towards going, going, going and never taking the time to get the rest I know the outdoors can give me. And the longer I spend centering my life around nature, the better I am at spotting this pitfall of mine.
Which is why when I woke-up after a week of this nonsense stressed by the burning need to go do all the summer things right now — I realized STOP. This must end.
Instead of running dizzy, I want to lean into summer in a way that brings me joy and rest. Instead of ending August looking back with the feeling of living 1,000 lives over 99 days, I want to feel rested and happy, with one of those amazing chaco sandal tans that testifies that the weather was great and you lived a little.
For me, and perhaps for you, the way to do that is to have a plan to check myself before I go bananas. It’s creating a daily intentionality around knowing what I want from the day and pausing to make sure it’s centered around health, not hype.
Recently that meant I pulled the kids from a day camp I’m not sure they wanted to do anyway. We ditched plans to drive north to the Matanuska glacier and cycled through town instead, then spent the afternoon lazily reading by a local lake. It was perfect. I don’t regret it.
Are there parts of your outdoor summer life that deserve this same pause for consideration? Are you running yourself ragged chasing the thing that’s supposed to give you calm?
If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, feeling burned out and overwhelmed and stumped on ways to make the summer sing for you or things to do, you can check out the Humans Outside summer bingo sheet, which you can get by signing up for our newsletter at humansoutside.com/outdoor dash bingo dash newsletter. Ill also include a link to it in this week’s newsletter for those who already subscribe. It’s a fun, free way to have some outdoor summer inspiration.
We wrapped up the full length episodes of season 3 of Humans Outside a few weeks ago, and I’m taking a week here and there over the summer to breathe and adventure and not record these outdoor diaries. But you know you can still find photos – so many photos – of my outdoor adventures on Instagram. You’ve got to pop over and see the incredible Ptarmigan Lake we backpacked to earlier this month — I’ve also included a photo as this episode’s main image if you’re seeing this episode on HumansOutside.com. I want to see your summer adventures and your outdoor time, too. Share those with #humansoutside365. Next week is another break for me as I go on a little adventure — and I can’t wait to tell you about it later. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.