We all have weeks where we aren’t getting outside as much as we’d like. Too much on at work. A few busy weekends on the trot. Evenings taken up with housework or just some good telly.
Short term, we cope with it. But we aren’t designed to live like this and it’s amazing how quickly this lack of outdoors time starts to grind you down. Your brain feels a little foggier. Thoughts are less clear. Your limbs feel sluggish. You become more anxious. You sleep less well. You crave rubbish food.
If we’re not careful, all that good work from spending time outdoors slips away and the downward mood spiral gathers pace.
This happens to the best of us and I find you often just need a little bit of motivation to re-establish the habit and remind you of the benefits. A quick fix to tide you over until you can get back into the mountains for a proper reset.
So here’s what I’ve been using as little enthusiasm boosts recently. Each one gets round any lapses in quality outdoors time and is guaranteed to leave you hungry for more.
Go for a walk
Easy one this. Just get up from whatever you are doing and go for a walk. You don’t need to prepare. You don’t need any special kit. Put a coat on and wander around outside for a bit. 15 minutes is all it takes (but even 2 minutes is better than nothing).
Lake District Webcams
I love this 50 webcams section of the Visit Cumbria website. Enjoy live streams of your favourite parts of the Lake District when you find yourself pining for them. I start my working day by checking up on Skiddaw. It’s different every day and can also help you assess the conditions for your upcoming trip.
Find a talk
I’ve seen some incredible talks recently. Ollie Ollerton and Jason Fox at the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show. Alastair Humphreys – again at the CCMS. And one which takes some beating – Bear Grylls interviews Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Find someone outdoorsy who inspires you and see if they are doing any talks. Then get it booked. You’ll come away full of enthusiasm and start making exciting plans of your own.
I never used to like running. It was too painful and boring. People talked of “the runner’s high” but I always felt that was a myth. I don’t know what changed my mind – I think I just started doing it more – but after a couple of weeks, I was hooked.
The great thing about running is you don’t need much kit. A pair of trainers and that’s about it. Nor does it take much time. You can get up and go out for half an hour with a couple of minutes either side to get changed. Job done. It gets you outside. You’ll feel much better afterwards. And you’ll become more adventurous the more you do.
If the idea of a run just isn’t for you (but seriously – you should give it a go), then how about something more sedate? Gardening can be a great workout but, more importantly than that, it forces you to slow down, experience nature and appreciate some natural beauty.
If flowers don’t excite you, then grow some vegetables. They taste a million times better than what you buy in a supermarket and you know exactly where it’s come from.
So, what are you waiting for? Pick one for yourself and get keen once more!