December 21 marks the winter solstice — the official first day of winter and the shortest day of the year with the least time between sunrise and sunset. In Alaska and other places far north, the lack of light is noticeable from both a physical and emotional perspective. But the darkness can bring lessons of light. In this episode Amy lays out what the solstice and its darkness has taught her. Listen now.

[:45] Once upon a time, what is solstice?

[1:15] What I learned about solstice after we moved to Alaska

[1:50] 3 things solstice means to now

[2:00] A reminder to fight

[2:57] All light matters

[3:40] The light of people

[4:39] The real lesson of solstice

You’ve heard of the gifts from the 12 Days of Christmas? Well, the gifts of heading outside don’t include any lords-a-leaping (that Amy is aware of) but they do include a parade of other (probably better) things, especially in winter.

In this episode Amy talks about just three of the winter gifts she’s received during her outdoor time and the impact they’ve had. Listen now.

[:45] Gifts of the 12 days and what they have to do with any of this

[1:28] The gifts of my outdoor time — focused on winter

[1:35] But first, drama

[2:00] The first gift

[3:10] What getting involved has to do with anything

[3:30] The second gift

[4:27] The third gift

Looking for ways to add outdoor traditions to the holiday season. Over the years Amy and her family have added a variety of outdoor activities to how they celebrate. In this episode Amy shares a few ways you can easily do that with your family and friends, too. Listen now.

[:52] What I learned right off the bat

[1:26] Here come the traditions

[1:45] It’s not just me a thing

[2:10] Do you want to do it too?

[2:15] A little theme here

[3:00] Start simple with some lights

[3:35] Next: try community events

[4:40] One more idea for day specific stuff

At what point is heading outside for your daily habit really, truly just a part of who you are? That’s a question Amy tackled this week when she realized she’d skated right by the 1,900 day outdoor habit mark without even noticing. Hear more on this episode of the Humans Outside weekly Outdoor Diary.

[:45] How I usually keep track of my day tally

[1:01] For a long time, this was important

[2:20] Why this was a surprise

[2:35] Here’s a quick tally of what that means

[3:06] Is this what happens after this much time?

[3:30] It’s just a part of who I am, I guess

[4:37] Here’s how you get this, too

We all know that spending time outside in the winter is a major key to getting through the season happy and healthy. Winter temperatures and not knowing how to get comfortable in it might be one of the things keeping you inside. And that makes sense. Why in the world would you want to go outside if you know you’re going to be uncomfortable, cold and miserable?

With a little help from an expert, heading outside in cold weather doesn’t have to be an impossible and really uncomfortable challenge. Today’s guest, Sarah Histand, works to make winter recreation accessible to everyone, and that starts with learning the simple basics on how to stay warm and happy when you’re out there. She breaks down exactly what to wear when it’s cold outside in this helpful and practical episode. Listen now!

[3:22] Sarah Histand’s favorite outdoor place
[4:16] Fun and weird fact about Valdez
[4:59] How Sarah became someone who likes to go outside.
[7:28] The connection of mind and getting uncomfortable
[12:12] The first thing people need to know about dressing for cold
[15:12] The basic steps staying warm outside
[18:24] What we mean by layers
[22:30] Does getting dress for cold weather have to be expensive?
[25:57] An actual example of getting dressed for a cold day
[30:11] The glory of the buff
[32:33] The biggest cold weather dressing mistake Sarah sees
[33:54] The magic of snacks and peeing (yes really)
[36:24] Amy and Sarah’s favorite underappreciated gear
[39:19] Mistakes that were made
[42:19] Why it’s important to be gentle with yourself
[45:54] Sarah’s favorite outdoor moment