What to do when the outdoors wears on your every nerve (Outdoor Diary)

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Humans outside episode 373

There are just certain outdoor things that drive me absolutely bonkers. They make my nerves feel like tattered edges, especially if they’ve been going on for awhile.

And that’s a problem, because I am committed to getting outside every single day, no matter what. … and that “no matter what” includes stuff I don’t like, and even stuff I hate.

So what do I do when this happens? I take these three steps.

Listen now.


Some of the good stuff:

[:35] I’m betting you have some outdoor thing you hate. Don’t be a hero about this.

[1:01] Here are some really good examples

[1:55] And here’s the thing I hate, thank you.

[2:04] I need you to hang on while I get this off my chest.

[4:06] Obviously, it’s not going to keep me inside

[4:34] Which means I have to take a few steps to move through it

[6:54] Here’s a fun fact about Amy in March

Connect with this episode:

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.

Everyone has something outside that they hate.

OK, maybe you’re a unicorn complete with sunshine and rainbows, and you hate nothing. I’m a pretty intense optimist, so if you hate nothing you must be extra special, because you’re definitely doing better than me. But even those who hate nothing can’t have EVERYTHING be their favorite thing, so for you I’m talking about whatever outside thing it is that is at the bottom of your preference list.

Maybe you loath buzzing insects so much that no amount of bug spray, head nets or those thermacell bug clearance zone thingies can convince you to go where those bugs might be. I get it, bugs around your ears are pretty terrible.

Maybe it’s rain. If there is a chance of getting rained on, you’re out. Rain gear doesn’t matter. You don’t want it. I get that too, getting rained on is pretty terrible. Actually, constant rain over days and days is pretty high on my hate list, too.

But for me, there is one thing that gets me more than anything else. It starts out tolerable, and the longer it’s around the less I can handle it. And it doesnt take very long before every nerve ending in my body feels like it is zinging and on edge.

That thing is wind. Howling, blowing, gusting, dirt spraying, ice and snow flinging, bone chilling, frost-bite threatening wind.

I hate, hate, hate it. The longer it is around, the more it is true.

Stay with me for a moment while I get this off my chest if you don’t mind. It’s not one day of wind, and it’s not a gentle breeze that gets me. It’s the days of howling without end where you drive down the street and the swirling, whirling snow and dirt assaults you in a spray of blasting misfortune.

There is no escape from this wind. You got outside, you feel it. You drive in your car, it slams you. And the sound — oh the sound. You come inside, try to go to sleep, want to read a book, need a moment of peace, and the wind is out there, howling and blowing and making a racket. You can hear it when you go to bed. You can hear it when you wake up in the middle of the night. You can hear it in the morning.

Let’s put it this way, I am over the wind.

Now, of course, maybe you’re thinking Am: Why did you move to a place that is known for being windy if you hate wind?

Great question. We’ll call this one of those downsides to moving somewhere sight unseen. I did not in fact know it was this windy. I know, I know. My bad.

Actually the first clue I had to the mighty wind of the Matanuska Valley was the day we pulled into town, a chilling 55 degree and breezing June day, cold on my bones, accustomed at the time to middle Tennessee sunshine. I wandered into the visitor center and asked with trepidation if it was often this windy here in lovely Palmer. And they told me that yes, the wind comes off the glacier. As if this was a good thing.

But I think we can agree that, at minimum, wind coming off a glacier sounds cold and possibly unpleasant.

And I like to think I handle the wind pretty darn well most of the time, given that I hate it. But recently? Recently I have not been handling it well. Recently it has made every last never in my body stand on end. After more than four days of howling wind during one recent week, whew I’m still not recovered.

OK, so that’s what I hate. But do I go outside anyway? I do. And yet when it’s windy like that the fact is that I simply CANNOT go out in that wind. Cant do it. Amy out.

Which means I have to find a way around it. Because going outside isnt supposed to be torture. Going is supposed to be healing, wonderful, enlightening, a treat. It’s supposed to be something I want to do, not something I dread.

So how do I go outside when the nature I have is wearing on my every last nerve?

I get creative. And I find a way to go outside in a way that doesnt feel bad.

It’s easy to say that, but it can be hard to do it. So let me break it down.

If I think about it, getting outside when the thing I hate is happening takes three steps. They’re not complicated, but they do require practical execution.

First, I name it and claim it. What is it that I specifically hate? And what is happening when every part of my being doesn’t want to be out there? Why is it happening?

I’ve learned enough over my days outside to know that when every fiber of me is going against doing something, it’s because for whatever reason the thing doesn’t feel safe. Maybe that safety is because I’m simply uncomfortable from a temperature perspective. Our bodies are smart — they know that being too cold or too hot is not a good thing. So I take a few moments to identify specifically what it is Im hating, and think through what it is about the thing that makes me not want to deal with it.

Next, I try to make sure I don’t judge myself. I think you can tell I’m a pretty go hard kind of person. I want to prove to myself primarily but others at least a little that I can do hard things. If it’s wind that makes it hard, I want to prove I can face it. But this is, of course, judgment that I’ve simply manufactured. There’s no moral imperative here — no Thou Shalt. And so I take a moment to release myself from that and do my best to have no judgment on me from me.

Finally, I figure out a way to go outside anyway. Simply staying inside and avoiding what I dont like means Ill miss a day of my habit, and after more than 2,300 days you know that’s not happening. In a major wind storm a few years ago, I put on the big jacket and found an alcove outside my house that the wind didn’t hit, then ended up spending part of my time playing in the wind with my family anyway. And during the recent spate of multiple days of endless wind, I pulled out my weather app and found a spot in town that the wind was skipping, then took the time to drive there for my outdoor time. It was a safe harbor at a time that I needed it, and I was grateful.

While putting together this podcast episode today I did a quick search of past episodes to see how Ive previously talked about handling unfun weather. And here’s a funny fact — this is the third year in a row that in mid to late March I have an episode whose primary point is how done I am with the winter wind. Apparently anti wind is my primary March mood. What can I say — at least Im consistent. I also found that it’s about this same time that I post a picture with a caption noting that I am, in fact, solar powered. The sun is coming back, and that’s a March mood, too.

I want to see photos of your time outside, regardless of mood. Tag them with #humansoutside365. You can see photos of my outdoor time on Humans Outside on Facebook and Instagram. And until next time, we’ll see you out there.

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